Pope Francis

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Reflections of Pope Francis and Rabbi Skorka for a Book on the Shoah

[From José Mobilio, David Znajderhaus, and Beatriz Boó, Moralidad y Legalidad en Tiempos Oscuros [Morality and Legality in Dark Times] (Tribunales Ediciones, 2017).]

Reflections of Pope Francis and Rabbi Abraham Skorka on This Work

Science dissociated from ethics becomes senseless. Scientific and technological achievements only acquire significance in the mind of the person who knows how to thank God for having been able to develop them – God who has put enormous possibilities in the multiple aspects of existence into their reach. The last century has been the most prolific in the development of science and technology, like no other in history. However, the spiritual blindness of many has seasoned these developments with horror and dismay, transforming them into ends in themselves in order to feed their macabre egos upon their achievements.

One of the most ominous examples in this regard was the experimentation that Nazi doctors made on human beings. In the extermination camps, doctors who passionately studied the procedures to be used to alleviate pain and heal their patients experimented with their peers in worse ways than with the animals that are used in laboratories (which themselves must be treated with respect and consideration).

What went through their minds and souls? A thousand-and-one times we must question ourselves about these horrors because they were the most ignominious manifestations of the degradation of culture. People who were trained in primary, secondary and university educational institutions, who were awarded with diplomas to practice one of the professions that demand great responsibility and nobility, were transformed into monsters thirsting to dominate nature in order to feel like masters and lords over others, with decision-making power over their lives. Therefore, the intellectual and spiritual effort of Drs. José Mobilio and David Sznajderhaus to study and deepen understanding of these nefarious facts deserves our attention and contemplation.

The challenge to each individual is to complete oneself through spiritual effort, transforming oneself into a being of good and elevated spirituality. In the story of Genesis (1:26) the strange phrase appears: “And the Lord said: let us make man,” multiple exegeses have developed for centuries about the plural pronoun that describes the action of God in the creation of the human being. Perhaps it should be interpreted as the eternal call of the Creator to his creature par excellence: “Let us make man.” I must contribute what is mine; will man bring what is necessary to be fully human? Being the possessor of free will, will he choose the good, the just and the merciful, or will he perch on the heights of arrogance, blind to his ambitions, and end up destroying everything that is at his side? This book is a contribution to finding paths that lead to a positive response to this dramatic question.

Vatican City, February 21, 2017

(signed) Francisco                                    Abraham Skorka


Letter of Pope Francis to Rabbi Skorka upon the book's publication:

Dear brother,

I know of the upcoming presentation of the book Moralidad y Legalidad en Tiempos Oscuros, whose authors are Drs. Mobilio, Znajderhaus, and Boó, for which we did a joint reflection. The human arrogance exposed during the Shoah was the action of people who felt like they were gods and shows the aberrant dimension into which we can fall if we forget where we came from and where we are going.

This text will help testify to that hell in order to protect humanity from repetitions or imitations of that reality.

I ask you to convey my greetings to the authors and to all those who have contributed to the formation and publication of the book. May the Lord bless you.


(signed) Francisco