By Lisa Zengarini
The Catholic bishops of France have reiterated their strong stand against antisemitism, expressing concern for growing intolerance against Jewish people in the country.
In a statement released on Monday, during an official visit of the two main leaders of the French Jewish community at the Bishops’ Conference (CEF) headquarters in Paris, the CEF Permanent Council said that the battle against antisemitism should be “everybody’s concern” and that French bishops are determined to continue to support all those engaged in it. The document, entiled “The fight against antisemitism and antijudaism is the testing ground of true fraternity”, is signed, amongst others, by Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims, the CEF president.
The peril of hate speech
In the statement, bishops say their call to be aware of the dangers of rising antisemitism in France is “all the more urgent today”, as in recent years society has witnessed a worrying “trivialization of violence” raised through hate speech, especially on social networks , where anonymity can lead “to the worst excesses ".
According to the French Bishops, this call for awareness is particularly relevant for Catholics, in the light of the “unique ties” between Christians and Jews, as Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI reminded. "If the faith in Jesus differentiate and separate us, it also compels us to recognize that overcoming anti-Semitism and antijudaism is the indispensable foundation of a true universal fraternity, remembering the dark days of history and the victims of the Shoah as well as the antisemitic murders of recent decades,”, the statement stresses.
"Path of healing"
In this demanding "path of healing", the French bishops finally urge "not only Catholics, but also all their fellow citizens to fight vigorously against all forms of political and religious antisemitism in and around them".
The signing of the document was preceded by talks on the long-stading relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community in France. Representing the Jewish community was the Chief Rabbi of France, Haïm Korsia, and the President of the Representative Council of the French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), Francis Kalifat.