Speaking during a visit to Slovakia, Bratislava – one of the most affected countries in Europe – Pope Francis called on Europe around the world to show “solidarity” during the economic recovery from the Kovid-1 pandemic epidemic.
On his first foreign trip since the colon operation in July, the 84-year-old Argentine pontiff called the epidemic “the biggest test of our time.”
“It has taught us how easy it is for us, even when we’re all in the same boat, to withdraw ourselves and just think about ourselves,” he said.
Slovakia, a member of the European Union with a population of 5.4 million, has the highest per capita Covid-1 infection and death rate in the world for several weeks this year.
In Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, the pope said, “After months of epidemics after long and trying, fully aware of the problems that will be faced, we are hoping for favorable economic progress in the European Union’s recovery plan.”
But he warned against a “fleeting feeling of excitement” and a focus on profit when countries begin to recover and show Europe “solidarity that can cross borders and bring it back to the center of history.”
The pope is scheduled to meet with members of Slovakia’s Jewish community on Monday, warning a day later that anti-Semites are still hiding around the world.
The meeting will take place in Ribbon Square where Bratislava was a Jewish neighborhood where a shrine demolished during communist times stood.
Three days before the pope’s arrival, the Slovak government apologized for the first time for its role in the Holocaust by the then-ruling Nazi puppet regime.
Particular emphasis is placed on the “reprehensible” anti-Semitic laws adopted in 1 The1, stating that “the Slovak cabinet feels a moral obligation to express public regret by the then ruling power.”
At the behest of the then government, led by Joseph Tisso, a Catholic priest, thousands of Slovak Jews were deported and killed.
A memorial in Ryban Square commemorates the 105,000 victims of the Slovak Holocaust.
After the war, most of the survivors either emigrated or settled and hid their Jewish identity.
Under communism, Jews were tried and imprisoned for alleged Zionist crimes, and the regime banned their religion.
The number of these communities is now about 2,000 and the anti-Semitic attitude Slovakia, a predominantly Catholic country.
During a just-hour whistle-stop visit to Hungary on Sunday, the pope spoke of an “anti-Semitic threat.”
Addressing Christian and Jewish leaders, he said, “This is a fuse that must not be allowed to burn. And the best way to deactivate it is to work together, positively and to promote a sense of brotherhood.”
The Roman Catholic Church ended the century’s official anti-Semitism at the Vatican’s 2nd Council in 155, approving a document called the “Nostra Atte” to show respect for Judaism.
But relationships can still break down.
The pope faced criticism from Jewish religious authorities last month when he made some remarks about their holy law book, the Torah.
During a visit to Hungary, Pope Francis met with the country’s anti-immigration prime minister, Victor Urban, before urging believers to be “open and considerate.”
The head of the 1.3 billion Catholics has often called for help for marginalized and people of all faiths fleeing war and poverty, in contrast to Urban, who sees himself as the protector of “Christian Europe” from immigrants.