By Norma Zager
“The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands.” Monsignor Cyril Salim Bustros, Greek Melkite Archbishop of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Boston, speaking at a Vatican Press Conference in 2010
A reminder of anti-Semitism is never good for the Jewish people, or all people for that matter.
Good Friday, the day that commemorates the crucifixion of Christ, is a paradox in that it was the day a Jewish man was killed, and it is the day that has been used by some to promote hatred toward his people.
In searching the Internet it was obvious the killing of Christ has not been forgiven. Many mentioned the fact Jewish leaders and Pontius Pilate killed Christ.
Just what we need right now in a world rife with hatred toward the Jewish people.
The Catholic Church above all others continues to perpetrate this hatred.
Although from the altar of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome John Paul II led Catholicism into uncharted territory by seeking forgiveness for sins committed against Jews, heretics, women, Gypsies and native peoples, it was against the advice of many of his church leaders afraid it would weaken their authority in the world.
This seems to have done little to secure a better relationship between the Catholics and Israel.
With all the nations in the world, Israel has few allies. Vatican City is most definitely not among them.
In actuality, by their silence and lack of comment pertaining to Israel, they scream loudly their anti-Israel sentiment.
And then of course there is that occasional anti-Semitic remark from one of their leaders, just to remind their followers it is still game on.
When Israel is criticized and boycotted, the Church is silent. When the Jews in Europe are murdered and attacked, the Church is silent.
In fact, through their silence they seem to be agreeing with these events. Their quiet shouts volumes to the haters of the world.
Despite later denials from their leadership, priests continue to create controversy through blatant hateful comments about Israel and the Jewish people.
It is not falling on the deaf ears of the Jewish people.
The Catholic Church that initiated the crusades to convert Jews and Muslims to Christianity was a brutal exercise in warfare. People were killed, tortured and forced to succumb to the church.
On Friday, October 13, 1307, a superstition was born into the world when the Catholic Pope ordered the mass murder of the Knights Templar who had vast fortunes and were exercising that power over the Church.
The Church, whose armies have now shrunk to a Swiss guard, was once a powerful and brutal force used to push the its agenda throughout the world.
It is almost impossible for me to fathom that Jesus Christ meant for a church started in his name and to carry on his message of peace would participate as a great vehicle for the spread of anti-Semitism throughout history.
I can’t imagine this was his intent. Nor can I imagine he would be happy with the result of this exercise and the hatred and murders of his own people.
Too often the leaders of the Church seem to set aside the hard cold fact that Jesus was a Jewish man, living a Jewish life.
Studying the Torah, keeping the dietary laws and praying to the God of the Hebrews.
The Pope wears a Yarmulke and a prayer shawl for goodness sake.
Now they use his name and his peaceful mission of bringing a new awakening to the world against his people and perpetuate their pain and suffering.
I can’t in any world imagine this is what Christ would have wanted.
I can’t imagine his intent was to bring pain and suffering upon anyone, least of all his own kind.
Of course I do not pretend to speak for Christianity. I only speak as a Jewish person watching in wonder the hatred that spews from a church of Christ.
As a Jew I stand apart from Christianity. Respectful of its teachings and its message, I embrace any efforts to promote good will toward all men.
After all it is not only Jesus Christ that aspires mankind to create a better world.
It is all good men of good intent.
The Catholic Church must take a stand against hatred.
It must take a stand against anti-Semitism.
It must speak out loudly against the murder of Jewish children in France, the Netherlands, England or anywhere else in the world.
It must speak out for those who are maligned and aggressively libeled in a hostile world.
If Christians do not support Christ’s family, who will?
Aside from the Vatican, there is a great awakening in many factions of the Christian community espousing love for Israel and the Jewish people.
This has been a true unification of purpose by Jews and Christians who have opened their hearts and minds to forge a partnership for good.
Now there is a new coalition for peace. A new momentum toward understanding, and a bond of strong mutual support – for the Jews and Christians alike.
Many have already embraced this overt facilitation of the Jewish people and Israel.
Their numbers grow each day and through this bond Israel has gained a strong ally in the world.
It is long past the time for the Catholic Church to step up to the plate.
It is time for the silence to end and the positive vibes to begin.
On Good Friday good can happen if the Vatican steps forward to speak the words it has so long failed to say:
The Jewish people are our brothers, our family and they deserve our support, not our disdain and ridicule. It is time to stop blaming the Jewish people.
It is time for European Jewry to stop paying for the hatred and anti-Semitism of past Church fathers.
It is time to come together and eliminate all that has formerly forged a separation.
Perhaps this year will be the year when the Church buries the bad feelings of the past and begins a new era in the Judeo Christian history.
One can pray that happens.
If not on Good Friday when?