Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 29, 2022 / 14:15 pm (CNA).
The U.S. Catholic bishops strongly condemned in a Nov. 28 statement what they called a “reemergence of antisemitism in new forms.”
“Outraged by the deeply hurtful proliferations of antisemitic rhetoric, both online and in person, and the violent attacks on Jewish individuals, homes, and institutions, we wish to convey our sincere support to the Jewish people,” the bishops wrote.
“In unequivocal terms, we condemn any and all violence directed at the Jewish people, whether motivated by religious, racial, or political grievances,” said the statement, which was signed by the nine bishops on the Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Committee.
The statement was issued on the 60th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Nostrae Aetate, which made clear the Church’s condemnation of hatred and violence against Judaism, beginning a new era of understanding and cooperation between the two faiths.
Since Nostrae Aetate, the bishops’ statement explained, “the Catholic and Jewish faiths have learned to encounter each other in a spirit of goodwill and a sincere desire to encourage our respective faithful to live together.”
The bishops called on Christians to join them in opposing acts of antisemitism:
“As the 60th anniversary of this prophetic document approaches, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs has issued a statement urging all believers in Christ once again to decry all ‘hatred, persecutions, displays of antisemitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone’ (Nostra Aetate, 4).”
The bishops went on to remind the faithful of Christianity’s shared heritage with Judaism.
“We continue to remind ourselves of the shared spiritual patrimony that remains the foundation of our relationship with the Jewish people. We affirm that the Jewish people cannot be held responsible for the death of Christ or be depicted as rejected or accursed in theological discourse. It must always be remembered that Jesus, Mary, and his apostles were all Jewish.
“Finally, we remain firm in our dedication to a just political solution — a secure and recognized Israel living in peace alongside a viable and independent Palestine,” the bishops wrote.
Antisemitism in the form of violence and online rhetoric has been a growing issue in recent months. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reported 2,717 antisemitic incidents across the nation in 2021, a 34% increase in incidents from 2020 and an all-time high since ADL began tracking.
“As partners and neighbors, we seek to foster bonds of friendship between members of the Body of Christ and the Jewish people,” the bishops stated, recalling that Pope Francis said “a true Christian cannot be an antisemite.”
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