US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, Israel-Hamas war, Gaza crisis

Pope Francis leads a Mass at St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on February 2.
Pope Francis leads a Mass at St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City on February 2. Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis on Saturday reiterated the Catholic Church’s condemnation of “every form of anti-Judaism and anti-semitism”, in a letter released by the Vatican addressed to “my Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel”. 

He described “manifestations of hatred towards Jews and Judaism as a sin against God”.

“Together with you, we, Catholics, are very concerned about the terrible increase in attacks against Jews around the world,” he continues.

“My heart is torn at the sight of what is happening in the Holy Land, by the power of so much division and so much hatred […] My heart is close to you, to the Holy Land, to all the peoples who inhabit it, Israelis and Palestinians, and I pray that the desire for peace may prevail in all.”

Francis said: “In a special way we pray for the return of the hostages, rejoicing because of those who have already returned home, and praying that all the others will soon join them.”

A spate of antisemitic attacks have shaken Jewish communities in Europe in the wake of Hamas’ brutal attacks in Israel.

In London, the first week after Hamas’ attacks saw a 1,353% rise in antisemitic incidents, the Metropolitan Police reported.

Germany’s Vice Chancellor, Robert Habeck, said in a video message in November that “Jewish communities are moving their members to avoid certain places for their own safety – and this is happening today, here in Germany, almost 80 years after the Holocaust.”

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