Anti-Semitism is Unjustified and Reprehensible
Friday, 31 October, the Holy Father received the Catholic, Protestant
and Orthodox scholars attending a symposium on "The Roots of
Anti-Judaism in the Christian Milieu," sponsored by the Historical-Theological
Commission of the Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.
"The Church firmly condemns all forms of genocide, as well
as the racist theories that have inspired them and have claimed
to justify them… Racism thus a negation of the deepest identity
of the human being, who is a person created in the image and likeness
of God," the Pope told the group of 60 scholars.
is a translation of his address, which was given in French. (excerpted)
subject of your symposium is the correct theological interpretation
of the relations between the Church of Christ and the Jewish people.
The Council’s Declaration Nostra Aetate laid the foundations
for this and I myself, in exercising my Magisterium, have had occasion
several times to speak on them. In fact, in the Christian world
-- I do not say on the part of the Church as such -- erroneous and
unjust interpretations of the New Testament regarding the Jewish
people and their alleged culpability have circulated for too long,
engendering feelings of hostility towards this people. They contributed
to the lulling of consciences, so that when the wave of persecutions
inspired by a pagan anti-Semitism, which in essence is equivalent
to an anti-Christianity, swept across Europe, alongside Christians
who did everything to save the persecuted even at the risk of their
lives, the spiritual resistance of many was not what humanity rightfully
expected from the disciples of Christ. Your lucid examination of
the past, in view of a purification of memory, is particularly appropriate
for clearly showing that anti-Semitism has no justification and
is absolutely reprehensible.
October 31, 1997
Next: Abhorrence for Genocide Against