Pope Francis visits synagogue, discourages religious violence

Posted by Katie Loftus
Sunday 24, January 2016 | Category:   Pope Francis

According to The Huffington Post, Pope Francis made his first visit to a synagogue and condemned violence in the name of religion on Sunday. The temple, Rome’s main synagogue, has now hosted three popes including Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

The visit marked the commemoration of improved relations between Catholics and Jews. The pope used this opportunity to call for improved relations between all religions and to discourage extremism that results in conflict and violence.

"The violence of man against man is in contradiction with any religion worthy of this name, in particular the three great monotheistic religions [Judaism, Christianity, and Islam]," he said. "Conflicts, wars, violence, and injustices open deep wounds in humanity that call on us to strengthen our commitment to peace and justice. Neither violence nor death will ever have the last word before God." 

The pope was accompanied by Rome’s chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, and Yahya Pallavicini, an Italian Islamic leader involved in coordinating interfaith dialogues.

There were also a handful of Italian Hollocaust survivors at the ceremony. Pope Francis rose to give them a standing ovation and said, "The Shoah teaches us that we need the maximum vigilance in order to intervene quickly in defense of human dignity and peace."

In closing, the Pope called for the "rediscovery of the Jewish roots of Christianity" and repeated an appeal for Catholics to "say 'no' to every form of anti-Semitism. Jews and Christians must, therefore, feel like brothers united by the same God and by a rich common spiritual heritage."

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