Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt meets Pope Francis in the Vatican City in Rome
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt meets Pope Francis in the Vatican City in RomeCourtesy

Pope Francis met on Monday with a delegation of rabbis led by Conference of European Rabbis President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt to discuss the current situation in Israel and the spike in antisemitism in Europe.

“Not weapons, not terrorism, not war, but compassion, justice, and dialogue are the fitting means for building peace,” the Pope stated.

According to the Vatican's official news site, Vatican News, the Pope was not feeling well enough to read his speech and, therefore, handed copies of his prepared remarks to members of the delegation.

In his prepared remarks to the Rabbis, Pope Francis expressed his concern for the spread of anti-Semitic demonstrations in the world as a result of the conflict, which, he said, he “strongly” condemns.

The Pope emphasized that at this time, “believers are called to build fraternity and open paths of reconciliation for all and before all, in the name of the Almighty.”

They are, therefore, required to be, as the Pope put it, “witnesses of dialogue”. According to him, by its intrinsic social nature, “humanity is not only capable of dialogue, but is the dialogue itself”, and “it is only in dialogue with the transcendent One and with our brothers and sisters who accompany us that we can understand and mature."

Pope Francis recalled that the dialogue with Judaism is particularly important for Christians because the faiths have shared roots: “We need Judaism to understand ourselves better,” said the Pope. “It is therefore important that Jewish Christian dialogue should keep its theological dimension alive while continuing to face social, cultural and political questions.”

Mentioning Pope St. John Paul II’s remarks during his visit to the Synagogue of Rome in 1986, in which he spoke of Jews as Christianity's “older brothers”, the Pope restated that Jewish-Christian dialogue is more than an interreligious dialogue: “It is a family dialogue,” he said.

The Pontiff concluded his remarks by stating that Jews and Christians are "linked to each other before the one God" and are called "to bear witness to His Word with the dialogue and to His peace with their actions."

"May the Lord of history and life grant us the courage and the patience to do so. Shalom!” he concluded.

Rabbi Goldschmidt presented Pope Francis with a letter from the families of the hostages, and the Pope shared the urgency of returning the hostages to their families. The clergy then discussed new ideas and thoughts regarding solving the current hostage situation.

On Sunday, the Pope took to X to call for a ceasefire: "I continue to think about the serious situation in Palestine and in Israel where many, many people have lost their lives. In God’s name, I beg you to stop: cease using weapons! I hope that avenues will be pursued so that an escalation of the conflict might be absolutely avoided. Let the hostages be freed immediately. Let’s think of the children, of all the children affected by this war, as well as in Ukraine and by other conflicts: this is how their future is being killed. Let us pray that there might be the strength to say, 'enough'."