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Pope’s favourite inter-faith ceremony is disrupted in Buenos Aires

Seminarians praying at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires (CNS)

An inter-faith ceremony marking the anniversary of Kristallnacht was interrupted by ultra-traditionalists on Tuesday in the Agrentine capital of Buenos Aires.

The inter-faith ceremony in the Metropolitan Cathedral, attended by Catholics, Jews and Protestants, is an annual event which was formally led by Pope Francis when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires and his good friend Rabbi Skorka.

But a small group disrupted the event this year, shouting the Rosary and distributing pamphlets which read: “Followers of false gods must be kept out of the sacred temple.”

Archbishop Mario Poli, the new Archbishop of Buenos Aires appealed for peace while protesters were escorted away by the police. He said: “Dear Jewish brothers, please feel at home, because that’s the way Christians want it, despite these signs of intolerance. Your presence here doesn’t desecrate a temple of God. We will continue in peace this encounter that Pope Francis always promoted, valued and appreciated so much.”

Kristallnacht took place in 1938 in Germany when synagogues were burned and thousands of Jews were rounded up and forced into concentration camps by the Nazis.

Skorka, who co-wrote a book of with Pope Francis on Judaism and Christianity, described the incident in an interview with Radio 10 on Wednesday.

Rabbi Skorka said: “The cathedral was full, with people standing, prepared for a profound act of introspection, when a group of about 40 people began to recite from the Christian liturgy, the ‘Our Father,’ and began to hand out little pieces of paper saying that Jews were blaspheming the place.”

Skorka said protesters made comments like “the Jews killed Jesus.” He said one Jew confronted them, saying, “My grandmother died in Auschwitz,” to which an activist replied, “Do you believe that lie?”