(JTA) — Pope Francis called on his emissaries and followers to never forget the Holocaust.
“The memory of the Shoah and its atrocious violence must never be forgotten. It should be a constant warning for all of us of an obligation to reconciliation, of reciprocal comprehension and love toward our ‘elder brothers,’ the Jews,” the Pope said in a message through the Vatican’s Secretary of State in Berlin to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Neocatechumenal Way.
The Neocatechumenal Way is one of the Catholic Church’s biggest and controversial missionary movements. The movement, founded in Spain in the 1960s works to teach Catholic adults within their faith and each year sends out families on mission around the globe. Missionaries, which are estimated at up to 1 million, have been accused of cultural insensitivity.
The Neocatechumenal Way celebrated its 40th anniversary June 9-10 in Berlin. Among the events marking the anniversary was a Symphonic-Catechetical celebration titled “The Suffering of the Innocents,” composed by Kiko Argüello, the Way’s co-founder, and held at the Berlin Philharmonic.
In the symphony, victims of the Shoah are commemorated.
“Rooted in and inspired by the Biblical lamentation, this symphony commemorates the many victims of the Shoah,” read the message the pope sent through the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro-Parolin to Archbishop Heiner Koch, Archbishop of Berlin, which was read out loud at the event.
Pope Francis, the former cardinal of Buenos Aires, in December called the Holocaust a “hell” in a book on Nazi medical experiments “The human arrogance exposed during the Shoah was the action of people who felt like gods, and shows the aberrant dimension in which we can fall if we forget where we came from and where we are going,” the pope wrote.