Pope meets Jewish group, decries "depraved" antisemitism

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis denounced the “depraved hatred” behind a wave of anti-Semitic attacks in parts of the world and said interfaith dialogue can help counter it.

Francis met Friday with a delegation of the American Jewish Committee and praised their longstanding good relations.

He lamented that their meeting was taking place amid the spread of a “climate of wickedness and fury, in which an excessive and depraved hatred is taking root.”

And he warned that for Christians, any form of anti-Semitism is “a rejection of one’s own origins, a complete contradiction.”

The audience occurred days after Francis responded to longstanding requests from Jewish groups to open the Vatican archives of its World War II-era pope, Pius XII, who has faced accusations of having failed to speak out enough against the Holocaust.

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Francis didn’t refer publicly to Pius, whom the Vatican has long defended as having used quiet diplomacy to save lives.

The president of the AJC, John Shapiro, did, thanking Francis for opening the archives starting in 2020.

“We look forward especially to the involvement of the leading Holocaust memorial institutes in Israel and the U.S. to objectively evaluate as best as possible the historical record of that most terrible of times, to acknowledge both the failures as well as valiant efforts during the period of the Shoah,” Shapiro said.

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