The College of Cardinals has elected its new Pope, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio, -- the the first non-European Pope in a thousand years; the first Jesuit; the first from the Americas and the first Pope Francis named after St. Francis of Assisi -- one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic church and noted for being a champion of justice and for his love for the poor. Reports are also out that Pope Francis is a friend to Jews, a critical attribute, given the persistent anti-Semitic boycotts, divestment drives and sanctions [BDS] against Israel in many Christian denominations including the largest Protestant one in Canada: The United Church.
The Jesuits , known as the "Society of Jesus," are deemed to be the smartest and largest order of priests and brothers in the Church; Pope Francis entered the society at age of 21.
Some reports even claim that the first Jesuits were "crypto‑Jews" and that its founder, Ignatius Loyola, himself was a "crypto‑Jew." Apparently, when one of its members, the little known Vicar for Hebrew and Russian-speaking Catholics for the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Jesuit Father David Neuhaus, was preparing some children of Filipino guest workers for their first Communion in Jerusalem in 2010, and asked them what they knew about Easter, they sang him one of the traditional hymns from the Passover Seder dinner that stated: "We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and God took us out with a strong arm and a mighty hand." According to Catholic News Service ,while some Christian catechists would have been horrified, Father Neuhaus's response was to applaud the children. The Hebrew-speaking apostolate has made it his mission to teach children about the Jewish heritage of the Christian Church, as well as fostering positive Christian-Jewish relations -- a commendable and obligatory effort, particularly given the anti-Semitic history of -- and vilification of -- Jews by the Christian Church and the continuation of many Christian Churches
Pope Francis is said to have had good relations with Argentinian Jews: he was praised by Jewish community leaders for his response to the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association that killed over 80 people. Further, in 2005, Bergoglio signed a joint statement against terrorism with Jose Adaszko of the Israel Mutual Association of Argentina, and Omar Helal Massud of the Islamic Center. The intent of the statement was to prevent the recurrence of anything like the 1994 bombing. World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder, who met Bergoglio in 2008, expressed optimism that he will continue the work of bridge-building between the Catholic Church and world Jewry.
Many Zionists and pro-Jewish supporters had held their breath as, according to a daunting report, entitled Will a Notorious Anti-Semite Become The Pope?, Cardinal Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras appeared on many media shortlists. This outspoken anti-Semite reportedly blamed the Jews for deflecting attention away from "Israeli injustices against the Palestinians" by arranging for the media to give undue attention to the Catholic sex abuse scandal.
Time will reveal the next steps for the new Pope Francis; in the meantime he has been congratulated and applauded by all people who care about decency, human rights and pluralism worldwide. One, Rabbi Marvin Hier, the Dean and Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he predicts that Pope Francis will have "cordial relations" with the Jewish community, and stated that he is hopeful that Pope Francis will emerge as a supporter of the State of Israel .