Pope Francis met with Jewish leaders this week at the Vatican. The religious leaders discussed contemporary immigration and the resistance to refugees in Europe. “Europe often forgets that it has been enriched by migrants,” the Pope told the World Jewish Congress. He warned that “Europe is closing itself up…Europe is lacking creativity.” The exclusion of immigrants in some parts of Europe is leading to problems that are manifesting themselves now. “We need to reflect on integration, which is important,” he said, the “people who committed the terrorist attacks in Belgium were not properly integrated.”
World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder told the Pope that “We Jews have all been immigrants. We understand the situation the immigrants find themselves in. We pray for peace. We need to live in peace.”
Pope Francis said that Catholics and Jews needed to work together to create more bridges for immigrants. He told the Jewish leaders:
We need more friendliness and kindness, and we should not be afraid to speak out against brutality. We should go on a joint journey together to make the world more secure. We need to speak out for peace.