Thursday, February 26, 2009

"An aggressive educational work is necessary within churches to combat anti-semitism"

The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Charlotte Knobloch, has warned about serious anti-Semitic tendencies in the churches.

"Recent events illustrate how deeply rooted anti-Semitism is, especially in the fundamentalist currents of the Catholic Church," she says to WELT ONLINE. "It is shocking, with such assumptions that in an enlightened society Jewish people are criticised from behind or openly called murderers of God," criticized Knobloch.

The President of the Central Council of Jews will take part on Sunday at the central ceremony of the "Week of Brotherhood" with German President Horst Köhler at the Hamburg Schauspielhaus. She will, however, not be making a speech.

As Charlotte Knobloch said, the Central Council of Jews expects from the "Week of Brotherhood," that from all sides a clear demarcation will be made from anti-Semitic groups, who agitate with age-old stereotypes against Jewish people. It is not sufficient in churches to condemn anti-Semitism. Rather it was the moral duty of the churches to combat anti-Semitism within their own ranks.

Knobloch called on those responsible, "to direct themselves as quickly as possible to false anti-Semitic developments within the churches." To condemn latent anti-Semitism, an aggressive educational work is necessary.

In the context of the "Week of Brotherhood", which has been organized since 1952 and the Christian-Jewish dialogue, the President of the Central Council of Jews said: "This dialogue, which for decades has grown slowly and led to a coexistence of religions in mutual respect, can only continue to function well if the theme of anti-Semitism is made a topic, paid attention to and clarified and that the historically burdened mission to the Jews in a modern society can no longer have a place. "

Charlotte Knobloch also commented on the clashes with the Vatican in recent weeks and the rehabilitation of the British churchman Bishop Williamson, who denies the Holocaust. The Pope did condemn the denial of the Holocaust and any form of anti-Semitism, but as yet has considered no consequences for the anti-semitic SSPX, she criticized. It was in this context, incomprehensible and absurd, that the Vatican had allowed Williamson time for consideration so that he could convince himself about th existence of the Holocaust. "This is a farce for all survivors of the genocide, in which six million Jewish people were murdered."

Charlotte Knobloch again criticized the role of Pope Benedict XVI on the question of the Jewish mission. The reformulation of the Good Friday Prayers is in her view a clear step backwards in Christian-Jewish dialogue. "Through the backward looking intervention of the Pope, words have been give to a disdain of the Jewish religion which is not appropriate to a tolerant theology and therefore is dangerous."
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