July 29, 2016
Joint statement by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
on the visit of Pope Francis to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp
Ottawa, ON – Today, His Holiness Pope Francis will visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. The Pope's visit is an important occasion to recall the terrible consequences of hatred and indifference in the world. This will mark the third papal visit to the infamous site, following in the footsteps of Saint John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. The visit is in keeping with the papal record over the past half century of fostering Catholic-Jewish ties and speaking out against antisemitism, as well as other forms of hatred, intolerance, terrorism, and modern manifestations of genocide.
Shimon Koffler Fogel, Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) remarked: "Today's papal visit is a vital statement about the dangers of antisemitism, the duty to remember, and the imperative to speak out against genocide in our own time. We commend Pope Francis and our friends in the Catholic community for taking a strong stand against antisemitism, which poses a resurgent challenge in Europe and elsewhere. On this as on a range of issues, His Holiness has proven a principled leader who has inspired many beyond the Catholic Church. The Jewish community is appreciative that the Pope has today marked another milestone in Jewish-Catholic relations."