Vatican City, Jun 30, 2022 / 10:30 am (CNA).
Pope Francis missed a meeting with a Jewish delegation on Thursday morning after experiencing a flare-up of knee pain, according to the Vatican.
“Pope Francis was unable to meet this morning on account of aggravated knee pain,” a bulletin from the Holy See Press Office said on June 30.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, represented the pope at the interreligious meeting at the Vatican. Koch delivered a speech that the pope had prepared in advance for the audience with the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations.
Pope Francis’ canceled appearance comes after he had recently shown some improvement in his mobility, walking with a cane at the Mass for the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul on June 29.
📹 HIGHLIGHTS | Pope Francis presided over the opening rites of the Mass for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. He also gave the homily and prayed before the tomb of St. Peter after Mass with a delegation from the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. pic.twitter.com/8nCEthXXYA
— EWTN News (@EWTNews) June 29, 2022
Pope Francis was back in a wheelchair on June 30 and received an Eastern Orthodox delegation at his residence in Casa Santa Marta rather than in the usual Apostolic Palace.
In the pope’s prepared speech for the interreligious meeting, he stressed that “hatred and violence are incompatible with our faith in the God who is ‘merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in mercy and faithfulness.’”
“In our turbulent times, it is critical that Jews and Christians encounter one another more frequently and work together in an effort to counter certain negative trends found in our western societies: idolatry of self and of money, extreme individualism and the culture of indifference and of waste,” he said.
“We are called to bear witness together to the God of mercy and justice, who loves and cares for all persons. We can do this by drawing upon the spiritual patrimony that we in part share, a patrimony that we are responsible for preserving and understanding ever more profoundly.”
Pope Francis reiterated the Catholic Church’s commitment to oppose every form of antisemitism and support for preventative action through education within families, parishes, and schools.
The International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations represents 11 major Jewish organizations in dialogue with the Vatican, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and the World Council of Churches. Rabbi David Sandmel currently serves as the chair of its board of governors.
“By strengthening dialogue, we can resist the extremism that, sadly, is a pathology that can appear also in religions. Let us pray that the Lord will continue to guide us on this path of dialogue and fraternity,” Pope Francis said.
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