ROME (JTA) – Pope Francis at a meeting with a World Jewish Congress delegation at his Vatican residence extended New Year’s wishes and warned of a third world war.
Among the topics brought up on Wednesday night at the meeting a week before Rosh Hashanah was the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Francis also offered his best wishes for the Jewish New Year.
The delegation was headed by WJC President Ronald Lauder and included WJC Secretary General Robert Singer; the pope’s old friend Claudio Epelman, WJC’s Latin America director; and other Jewish leaders who had attended a WJC meeting in Berlin.
The meeting took place in a “very intimate atmosphere,” Andras Heisler, president of the Hungarian Jewish umbrella organization Mazsihisz, told the Hungarian media.
Heisler also said the pope reiterated his statement made Saturday at a World War I memorial that the crises raging today around the globe could represent a third world war, “one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction.”