Pope denounces populism as fertile ground to foment anti-Semitism
Pontiff says doctrine that has gained popularity in Western world is born of ‘selfish indifference,’ gives rapid rise to hatred
VATICAN CTIY — Pope Francis on Monday denounced populism, saying it is born of “selfish indifference” and provides fertile terrain for hatred, including anti-Semitism.
Francis spoke while meeting with a delegation from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human rights organization that fights anti-Semitism.
The pontiff noted that in 2016, during a pilgrimage to Poland, he prayed at the site of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Francis decried the recent “barbaric resurgence of anti-Semitism,” and said that populism provides a fertile terrain where “hate rapidly grows.”
Much of Europe, where populist parties have gained traction, has seen an uptick in anti-Semitic incidents.
Francis said that by encouraging integration and mutual understanding, hatred can be countered.
He added: “I’ll never tire of firmly condemning every form of anti-Semitism.”
In November, Francis denounced the “inhuman, un-Christian” rebirth of anti-Semitism, lamenting its resurgence, after the world thought the “brutalities” of the Holocaust were over.