The new Catholic Pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who's replacing the previous one, Benedict, has some Jewish connections in Argentina
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentinian cardinal who was elected pope and will take the name Francis, is said to have a good relationship with Argentinian Jews.
The Montreal Gazette
Bergoglio, 76, a Jesuit, was the choice of the College of Cardinals on Wednesday following two days of voting in Vatican City. He is the first pope to come from outside Europe in more than a millennium; reflecting the changing demographics of Catholics, he comes from Latin America.
As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio attended Rosh Hashanah services at the Benei Tikva Slijot synagogue in September 2007.
Rabbi David Rosen, the director of interfaith affairs for the American Jewish Committee, told JTA that the new pope is a "warm and sweet and modest man" known in Buenos Aires for doing his own cooking and personally answering his phone.
After the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in 1994, he "showed solidarity with the Jewish community," Rosen said.
In 2005, Bergoglio was the first public personality to sign a petition for justice in the AMIA bombing case. He also was one of the signatories on a document called "85 victims, 85 signatures" as part of the bombing's 11th anniversary. In June 2010, he visited the rebuilt AMIA building to talk with Jewish leaders.
Like his predecessor, Pope Francis reached out to Rome's Jewish community at the very start of his pontificate, pledging to continue to strengthen the increasingly close ties between Catholics and Jews.
Just hours after he was elected the first non-European pope in history, Francis sent a letter to Rome's chief rabbi Riccardo di Segni, saying he hoped to "contribute to the progress that relations between Jews and Catholics" have seen since the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council.
Francis might be just what the Jewish world's looking for in a Christian figure.
Labels: Christianity, Europe, Israel, Italy, Judaism, Latin America