Pope Francis Tells Jewish Delegation: Christians Are Now Suffering, Like You Did in Past

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Pope Francis exchanges gifts with a delegation from the Latin American Jewish Congress. September 17, 2014.Credit: AFP

Pope Francis welcomed a World Jewish Congress delegation, led by President Ronald S. Lauder, at his residence in Rome Wednesday evening in honor of Rosh Hashanah.

Lauder and the pope mutually condemned the attacks against Christians around the world, especially in the Middle East. "In the world, there is still great suffering. First it was your turn. Now it's our turn," the pope told the delegation, which comprised worldwide representatives such as Robert Singer, CEO of WJC and Claudio Epelman, Director of WJC Latin America in Argentina.

Francis also expressed his desire to visit the thousands of refugees in Jordan, including many Christians, who fled sectarian violence in Syria and Iraq.

Lauder, who has called the oppression of Christians one of the world's most pressing issues, strongly agreed with the pope's comments. He showed a paper bearing the Hebrew letter nun, explaining that: "It is the symbol used in Iraq and Syria to identify Christians' houses as the yellow star was used in the past against European Jewry."

"The truth is that Israel is the only safe place for Christians in the Middle East," Lauder added.

Lauder, an American businessman, also commented on growing European anti-Semitism in his remarks, which "spread even more in Europe after the Gaza war." Lauder has recently complimented Germany's recent publicized efforts to combat the surge of abuse against European Jewry.

The meeting ended with the pope and Lauder calling for a global prayer in favor of the Christian victims around the world.

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