European Jewish Congress (EJC) President Dr. Moshe Kantor met with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Friday, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The Pope spoke about the importance of the day and said that "for us, remembering the victims of the Holocaust is important so that this human tragedy never happens again."
"Jews still bear the marks of the Shoah in their hearts and even today continue to be threatened by anti-Semitism in all its vicious forms," Dr. Kantor said, praising the visit by the Pope to Auschwitz last year.
Dr. Kantor gave the Pope a book chronicling all the Jewish communities in Europe and a beautiful decorated Blessing for the Home. They each expressed that they will pray for the success of the other, and discussed many other issues, especially the Pope’s strong moral approach against terrorism and extremism.
"We commend your condemnation of global terrorism, and join you in your fight against what you described as ‘the plague of terrorism’," Dr. Kantor said. "We need a reaffirmation of the principles that bind the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, about what unites us and say a strong no to violence and hate, and yes to tolerance and reconciliation.
"As a representative of the Jewish People I would also like to express my deep sadness and condemnation of the persecution and destruction of ancient Christian communities in the Middle East. We see both ancient Jewish and Christian sites being destroyed across the region and our voices should be united in calling on the international community to end this barbarism and offence against history and religion."
The Pope and the Dr. Kantor also spoke about interfaith work and building bridges between the two communities.
While the current teachings of the Church towards Jews, Judaism, and Israel are overwhelmingly positive, there are many parts of the Catholic world where problematic attitudes still prevail and where anti-Judaism if not anti-Semitism is still to be found. Remarkably, the teaching of Nostra Aetate and of the Magisterium (the current positive attitudes towards Jews) following on from it, are not a mandatory part of the syllabus for the formation of priests everywhere.