Heard the one about the Pope, Jesus and the antisemite?
WHEN A group of Latin American Jews visited the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis last week they knew they would receive a warm reception from the Pontiff, who is famously friendly towards Jews.
What they did not expect was to hear him tell a joke about an antisemitic Catholic priest.
According to Claudio Epelman, exec-- utive director of the Latin-American Jewish Congress, the joke went like this: “One day during his sermon, the priest found a way to attack Jews as usual, in a vicious way. During a pause, Jesus got down from his cross, looked at the Virgin Mary and said ‘let’s get out of here Mum, they don’t seem to like us’.”
The group much appreciated the joke, and Mr Epelman later told the Argentine newspaper La Nación: “It’s incredible that the Pope would tell a joke like this. It says so much about the wonderful relationship he has with Jews”.
At the end of the audience, Mr Epelman said the Pope prayed that God “bring us closer together as brothers and make us better at serving those in need”. After a moment of silence he concluded “God bless us all”.
Among those at the audience with the Pope were leaders of the Jewish World Congress, including chairman Ronald Lauder and chief executive Robert Singer.
Mr Epelman, who is Argentinian, knew Francis when he was Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires.
“It was his style to as Archbishop of Buenos Aires to deal directly with the leaders of the Argentine Jewish community and then [when he was elected Pope] we all felt we were the Pope’s best friend,” he said.
Francis has always adopted an informal style, which has endeared him to the world.
Joke that gives hope: the Pope