· In conversation with Abraham Skorka ·
“He called me on my cellphone while I was walking down the street with my son Rafael, who is specializing in cardiology. He told me: ’Please continue your walk with your son’. He was aware of everything because he had telephoned my wife Silvia. They had spoken mainly about work, rehabilitation and physical cures because my wife is a physiotherapist and she deals primarily with children in intensive therapy”. It was last 18 March, the first day of the solemn beginning of his pontificate.
Abraham Skorka, in a long conversation with this article’s author and with the Editor-in-Chief of our our newspaper, recalled the first telephone call he received from Bergoglio just days after his election in the conclave. He especially recalled how his friendship with the Archbishop of Buenos Aires began and grew through the years. He also described how the journey of their friendship continues to grow now, under such different and yet such similar circumstances: “When he received me in his study, which was filled with books, letters and newspapers, he told me: ‘I am very comfortable here at Santa Marta, it's untidy just like at my home’”.
Even before becoming a fraternal friend and
companion along the way, Skorka’s name was known to the Archbishop of Buenos
Aires, who read and appreciated the articles he wrote for the daily
Argentina has a history of very rich dialogue
between religions: “Just think of the friendship between Guillermo Schlesinger
and Fr Carlos Cucchetti, the books co-authored by bishops and rabbis, such as
that by Bishop Justo Laguna and Mario Rojsman or that by Estansislao Estban
Karlic and Jorge María Mejía. Many Jews arrived in Argentina in successive
waves together with many immigrants who were encouraged to populate the vast
territory of our country. Since 1880 and then in the 20s and 30s. The families
of my father and mother left [their homeland] to seek better living conditions
and to escape anti-semitism, which was very strong in Poland. My father came
from Końskie and my mother from Lodz. My wife Silvia is the daughter of German
Jews who escaped from Germany in 1939. Her grandfather was captured during the
“Night of Broken Glass”; his wife did everything in her power to have him
released and they managed to flee in
When the questions touched on the subject of Pope Francis’ upcoming journey to the Holy Land, the Rector of the Latin American Rabbinic Seminary recalled Nostrae aetate and Pope John xxiii gesture in introducing himself as Joseph, “your brother”. “This expression,” Skorka added, “struck me in a particular way, also because the biblical account of Joseph’s brothers recognizing him is the scene from Genesis that is represented on the façade of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires”.
St. Peter’s Square
Dec. 15, 2019
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