Pope warns against ‘new seeds’ of anti-Semitism

Pope warns against ‘new seeds’ of anti-Semitism
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Pope Francis warned Sunday that society should guard against new seeds of anti-Semitism. 

Francis prayed for the gift of discernment "to detect in time any new seeds of that pernicious attitude, any whiff of it that can taint the heart of generations that did not experience those times and can sometimes be taken in by such siren songs," according to The Associated Press.

He made his remarks in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas, marking the 75th anniversary of the destruction of the ghetto in Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, after the Nazi occupation in World War II.

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Francis said that he would pray later Sunday at a plaque in the ghetto and asked for "dialogue and shared commitment for justice and peace."

A papal aide told Reuters that the pope intended to speak to an audience beyond Lithuania and address fears about increasing anti-Semitism more broadly. 

While The Associated Press reports that the debate over Lithuanian complicity in Nazi war crimes is a sensitive issue in Lithuania, elsewhere some are pointing to the rising prominence of populist forces in multiple countries as a possible influence on rising anti-Semitism.