Following multiple bomb threats called into Jewish Community Centers and the vandalizing of a Jewish cemetery, U.S. Catholic bishops on Friday offered “deep sympathy, solidarity, and support to our Jewish brothers and sisters who have experienced once again a surge of anti-Semitic actions in the United States.”
“I wish to offer our deepest concern, as well as our unequivocal rejection of these hateful actions,” Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, head of the bishops’ committee on interreligious affairs, said in a statement. “The Catholic Church stands in love with the Jewish community in the current face of anti-Semitism.”
“The Catholic Church stands in love with the Jewish community in the current face of anti-Semitism.”
Since early January, nearly 70 bomb threats have been called into Jewish Community Centers in more than 27 U.S. states, including some made this week.
On Monday, a Jewish cemetery outside St. Louis announced that more than 150 headstones had been toppled, leading to condemnation from an array of religious leaders. Vice President Mike Pence visited the cemetery on Wednesday to help with cleanup, following criticism that the Trump administration had been slow to condemn the bomb threats.
President Donald J. Trump weighed in on Tuesday, calling the apparent rise in anti-Semitism “horrible” and “painful.”
Earlier this month, Pope Francis met with about 35 members of the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League in Rome. During that meeting, the pope denounced anti-Semitism, which he said is “still widespread today” and called it “completely contrary to Christian principles and every vision worthy of the human person.”
“Today more than ever, the fight against anti-Semitism can benefit from effective instruments, such as information and formation,” the pope continued. “Indeed, if it is necessary to pull out the weeds of evil, it is even more vital to sow the seeds of goodness: to cultivate justice, to foster accord, to sustain integration, without growing weary.”
The head of the A.D.L., Jonathan A. Greenblatt, said in a press release earlier this month that he thanked the pope for standing up for religious minorities around the world. In his Feb. 9 address to Pope Francis, Mr. Greenblatt said his organization was “deeply troubled by the rise of violent religious extremism and of reactionary nationalism, including in the United States.”
Bishop Rozanski, who heads the Diocese of Springfield, Mass., said in his statement that neighbors must support one another in the face of religious bigotry.
“I encourage everyone to remember their neighbor, to find the opportunities to be lights of resistance, resilience, and persistence during these contentious times, especially with all our brothers and sisters of faith,” he said.