This morning, the B’nai B’rith International delegation led by its President, Seth J. Riklin and its CEO, Daniel S. Mariaschin, has met with Pope Francis at the Holy See.
Pope Francis declared that “helping the vulnerable, and those in need is the most tangible way to promote human fraternity”, which are among the key guiding principles of B’nai B’rith International. In this regard, the Pope has underscored the importance of assisting the needy by citing Psalm 146.9: “The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless.”
In this message for peace, Pope Francis has underscored how “violence generates new violence, weapons lead to death and war is never the solution, but rather a scourge” and that “the antidote to the escalation of evil is memory: the memory of the past, of its wars, the memory of the Shoah and other numerous atrocities”.
The B’nai B’rith Delegation has gifted Pope Francis with a silver Kiddush goblet, which serves the double function of sanctification and tasting of wine, as well as wishing longevity to the Pontiff.
Pope Francis has expressed his personal interest for the promotion and deepening of Hebrew-Catholic relations and interreligious dialogue, which he had cultivated prior to his election as Supreme Pontiff. Riklin also touched upon this theme, expressing his sincere hope for a growth in the relations between the two religions, as well as citing the fundamental principles, challenges, and objectives of the organization, which are centred around combating antisemitism and defending the State of Israel.
The Pope has also touched upon the theme of indifference, which the B’nai B’rith Rome President Sandro Di Castro commented as follows: “The theme of indifference is a battle that we have always fought, especially after the racial laws and the subsequent deportations of the 20th Century. We cannot remain indifferent to certain atrocities – fighting against indifference is fundamental”. Giordana Moscati, the Head of International Relations of the B’nai B’rith Rome was also present at the event.
According to Ariela Cassuto, President of the Italian B’nai B’rith Union, “the encounter has been extremely meaningful and touching”.