Pope denounces anti-Semitism, terrorism and war in meeting with European rabbis

Pope Francis met with European rabbis on Monday and condemned anti-Semitism, war and terrorism in a written speech that he preferred not to read, a sign of his discomfort.

During an audience at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, Pope Francis told the rabbis that he was happy to receive them, but added that he was not feeling well and therefore preferred not to read the text of his speech but to hand it to them, so they You can take it with you wherever you go.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the pope had “a bit of a cold and the audience was very long.” He noted that the 86-year-old pope “prefers to address European rabbis alone, which is why he spoke.”

He added that the pope would continue with his planned activities for the remainder of the day. Towards the end of the afternoon, I arranged a meeting with children from all over the world.

In prepared remarks to the rabbis, Francis said his first thoughts and prayers were “above everything, everything that has happened in recent weeks,” a clear reference to the war between Israel and Hamas, which The war began with Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7. Israel, including hostage-taking in the Gaza Strip.

“Violence and war are intensifying again in this land blessed by the Most High, a land that seems to have been fighting against vile hatred and the noise of deadly weapons,” Francis wrote in his speech.

Several European countries, including France, Austria and Italy, have experienced recent incidents of vandalism and anti-Semitic slogans, with Francis adding that “the spread of anti-Semitic demonstrations is worrying and I firmly condemn”.

The pope has suffered multiple health problems in recent years, including two abdominal surgeries and chronic knee problems that have forced him to use a wheelchair when traveling long distances. This year, he was hospitalized with what the Vatican called bronchitis, but the pope called it pneumonia.

Just a few days ago, when asked about his health on Italian national television, Francesco responded with his usual phrase: “I’m alive, you know?” and said he would travel to Dubai in early December to attend the United Nations Climate Conference. COP28.

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