28: Antisemitism: The Historical Legacy and the Continuing Challenge for Christians
Article first published online: 18 JUL 2012
1996 Center for Migration Studies
Center for Migration Studies special issues
Special Issue: The Word of Cardinal Bernardin
Volume 13, Issue 1, pages 207–214, January 1996
How to Cite
(1996), 28: Antisemitism: The Historical Legacy and the Continuing Challenge for Christians. Center for Migration Studies special issues, 13: 207–214. doi: 10.1111/j.2050-411X.1996.tb00135.x
- Issue published online: 18 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 18 JUL 2012
- Cited By
In recent years, Cardinal Bernardin highlighted the Church's strong stand against antisemitism and acknowledged its past wrongdoings, calling antisemitism “the most tragic form that racist ideology has assumed in our century.” The Cardinal traces antisemitism back to the Greco-Roman civilization, highlighting events such as the Jewish revolt against the Romans and the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, both of which generated tension and alienation of the Jews by the first Christian populations. He underlines that inclusion of this rocky and often painful history is crucial for a present day reconciliation between Christians and Jews. This era also gave birth to the “perpetual wandering” identity attributed to Jews who, according to Christians, were condemned to perpetual statelessness as a punishment for killing Jesus.
Until the twentieth century, Bernardin explains, antisemitism remained a dominant part of Western Christendom, contributing to the development of common Christian attitudes towards the Nazi movement and the party's success.
As Christians, he advises, we must confront antisemitism by: restoring the history of anti-Judaic theology to Catholic teaching materials; work towards an understanding of the Holocaust by dealing honestly with the Church's failures, promoting the education of the Holocaust in Catholic education; recognizing bonds with Jewish people; and above all engaging in public repentance as a Church. Cardinal Bernardin calls us all to reflect on the legacy of antisemitism and join together to confront any resurgence that may occur.