It is in front of the remains of the synagogue of Bratislava that Pope Francis recalled Monday that the name of God had been dishonored during the Second World War because it was often used in “the madness of hatred.” In front of representatives of the Jewish community , the head of the Catholic Church expressed his shame for the massacre of 100,000 Slovak Jews.
“Here, reflecting on the history of the Jewish people marked by this tragic affront to the Most High, we admit with shame how many times his ineffable name has been used for unspeakable acts of inhumanity. How many oppressors have said: God is with us, and yet it was they, who were not with God “ stressed the Argentine Pope.
Fewer than 300 survivors remained in the country after the war. Today the Jewish community is only about 2,000 people.
The Pope called to be “united in the condemnation of all violence, of all forms of anti-Semitism”. He made a similar appeal on Sunday in Budapest, the first stop on his journey.
Relations between Catholics and Jews took a fresh start after the Second Vatican Council document, “Nostra Aetate,” which in 1965 finally advocated respect for Judaism. For centuries, the Jewish origin of Jesus had been obscured and the Jews presented as a people deciding in Church sermons.
The place where the Pope went is considered a symbol of historical cohabitation, because for centuries the synagogue had existed next to Saint Martin’s Cathedral.
Three days before the pope’s arrival, Bratislava issued an official apology for the dark legacy of President Jozef Tiso, a Catholic priest who agreed to send tens of thousands of Jews to German death camps. .