BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- Ultra-traditionalist Roman Catholics have openly challenged Pope Francis by disrupting one of his favorite events, an interfaith ceremony in the Metropolitan Cathedral meant to promote religious harmony on the anniversary of the beginning of the Holocaust.
The annual gathering of Catholics, Jews and Protestants marks Kristallnacht, the Nazi-led mob violence in 1938 when about 1,000 Jewish synagogues were burned and thousands of Jews were forced into concentration camps, launching the genocide that killed 6 million Jews. Before he assumed the papacy, Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio and his good friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka led the ceremony every year.
A small group disrupted Tuesday night's ceremony by shouting the rosary and the "Our Father" prayer, and spreading pamphlets saying that "followers of false gods must be kept out of the sacred temple."
"The cathedral was full, with people standing, prepared for a profound act of introspection, when a group of about 40 people began to recite from the Christian liturgy, the `Our Father,' and began to hand out little pieces of paper saying that Jews were blaspheming the place," Skorka said.
Skorka said protesters made cutting comments like "the Jews killed Jesus." He said one Jew confronted them, saying, "My grandmother died in Auschwitz," to which an activist replied, "Do you believe that lie?"
The Rev. Christian Bouchacourt, the South America leader of the Society of Saint Pius X, said Wednesday that the protesters belong to his organization and that they have a right to feel outraged when rabbis preside over a ceremony in a cathedral.
"I recognize the authority of the pope, but he is not infallible and in this case does things we cannot accept," Bouchacourt said in an interview with Radio La Red.