Pope Francis paid tribute to the persecuted Slovak Jews and thanked the Bratislava Jewish community for opening its doors to healing and brotherhood.
(Vatican News Network)Pope Francis met with Jewish groups at the Fisheries Square in Bratislava on the afternoon of September 13. The city’s synagogue was demolished by the government in 1969. The pope took the opportunity of the meeting to express his respect to the Slovak Jews and thank them for their willingness to persevere on the road of reconciliation and friendship.
This group is led by the Chairman of the Central Union of Judaism of the Slovak Republic. In a speech to them, the Pope said that he came here as a pilgrim to meet people and was moved by this historic square. A synagogue, adjacent to the Coronation Cathedral. Speaking of these two buildings, the Pope said that it is “an expression of the peaceful coexistence of two groups, an unusual and recalling symbol, and a remarkable sign of unity in the name of our ancestor God.”
Subsequently, the Pope condemned the tragic massacre of more than one hundred thousand Slovak Jews during the Second World War, and the holy name of God was tainted in the fanaticism of hatred. In order to eradicate every trace of the Jewish community, the synagogue was eventually demolished. The Pope stated that looking back at the history of the Jewish nation, we must admit with shame that God’s incomparable holy name is “often used for indescribable inhumane acts”. How many tyrants have said that “God is with us”, in fact, they are not with God!
The Pope said: “Dear brothers and sisters, your history is our history, and your suffering is our suffering. Memories cannot and must not give way to oblivion, unless we first share and drive away the darkness of the night. There will be a lasting dawn of brotherhood.” The pope said he firmly believes that now is “the moment when the image of God shining in mankind is no longer obscured. Let us help each other in this respect”.
Then, the Pope stated that there are many hypocritical idols insulting the holy name of the Most High: “Idols of power and money override human dignity; an indifferent attitude that turns their eyes elsewhere; a form of manipulation that uses religion to serve power. But. It also includes the ignorance, anger and hatred of forgetting the past and defending everything.” The Pope called for the condemnation of all forms of violence and anti-Semitism, and efforts to ensure that the image of God in the humanity He created will never be desecrated.
The Pope said: “In truth and honesty, follow the road of brotherhood that purifies memory, heals the wounds of the past, and remembers the beauty and goodness received and dedicated.” The Pope quoted the Jewish national classic “Tamu”. German (Talmud)’S famous saying: Whoever destroys a person destroys the entire world, and whoever saves a person saves the entire world.
At the end of his speech, the Pope reiterated and deeply believed that the world needs to open its doors. He hoped that in Slovakia, where the East and the West, the South and the North meet, “may the families of the children of Israel continue to maintain this mission and let this call become The mark of blessing for all families in the world”.
Finally, the Pope blessed all those present, “May the Most High bless the families of brothers and sisters who respect each other, love each other, and work together. In all the disputes that tarnish our world, may you always be united and become Witness of peace”.
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