New York, NY, March 13, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina as the next Pope Francis.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:
We congratulate the new Pope and wish him well in his important new responsibility. We believe that the election of Francis I is a significant moment in the history of the Church. We look forward to working with him to continue to foster Catholic-Jewish relations as we have with his predecessors. There is much in his record that reassures us about the future.
Under his leadership in Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio made important strides in maintaining positive Catholic-Jewish relations following the transformational papacies of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI - pontiffs who launched historic reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people.
Cardinal Bergoglio maintained a close relationship with the Jewish community in Argentina. He has celebrated various Jewish holidays with the Argentinian Jewish community, including Chanukah where he lit a candle on the menorah, attended a Buenos Aires synagogue for Slichot, a pre-Rosh Hashana service, the Jewish New Year, as well as a commemoration of Kristallnacht, the wave of violent Nazi attacks against Jews before World War II.
In 2010, during a commemoration of the 1994 bombing, Cardinal Bergoglio called it “a house of solidarity” and added “God bless them and help them accomplish their work,” which showed his dedication and support in standing up against extremism.
In 2010, he together with Argentinian Rabbi Abraham Skorka, published the book “On Heaven and Earth” addressing issues of interfaith dialogue. The new Pope’s sensitivity to the Jews emerges from this work in his comments on the Church’s approach to the Jewish people since Vatican II, the Holocaust and the Arab-Israeli conflict.