Nearly 2,000 years since the crucifixion of Jesus, concerns persist that some malicious people who hear the story of the Passion of the Christ during Lent might justify antisemitism, in thought or deeds.
At an event at the U.S. embassy to the Holy See responding to a rising tide of anti-Semitism in various parts of the world, the Vatican’s current Cardinal Secretary of State revealed that one of his predecessors, a full 25 years before the Holocaust erupted in Nazi Germany, vowed solidarity with the “children of Israel” in a letter to an influential American Jewish group on the basis of defending human dignity.
In a sign of solidarity with the Jewish community of New York, local religious leaders — including some from the Diocese of Brooklyn — have issued a statement condemning the spate of anti-Semitic attacks that hit the New York City area late last year during Hanukkah.
Pope Francis condemned the “barbaric resurgence” of anti-Semitism and criticized the selfish indifference that is creating the conditions for division, populism and hatred.
Pope St. John Paul II made history in 1986 when he visited Rome’s synagogue. Elio Toaff, the chief rabbi of Rome during the time, called the Holy Father’s visit a “gesture destined to go down in history” and a “true turning point in the policy of the church.”
While Giacomo Casanova is usually remembered as a womanizer, the 1700s Italian adventurer was also a gifted writer and translator. His memoirs are a 12-volume, 3,500-page fascinating portrait of Europe in the 18th century. Many years ago, while reading the book, I was struck by this paragraph: