TO THE VATICAN DELEGATION IN JERUSALEM: WHAT HAPPENED TO NOSTRA AETATE?
At a time when PJTN is on the frontlines in educating and motivating Christians, Jews and all people of conscience on the need as never before to be supportive of Israel and the Jewish people, I was outraged to learn that last week a delegation from the Vatican visiting the Temple Mount remained silent as a Muslim cleric in their presence made an address that denied Jewish ties to Jerusalem. The cleric at the Al-Aqsa Mosque went on even further to declare that the Jews have been attacking the holy sites of Jerusalem and have no right to be there.
Where was the outrage and defense of Israel from the Vatican envoys who sat silent? And certainly where was the voice of Pope Francis? The Vatican has remained silent as the rights of the Jewish people to inhabit and worship in the land God gave to them was both desecrated and denied last week.
Unlike the Vatican delegates, we will not remain silent. PJTN is standing to express condemnation of what occurred and to boldly underscore that the promotion, whether bold or subtle, of false and dangerous anti-Jewish rhetoric and what can be perceived as an undercurrent of hatred, resentment, intolerance, and annoyance towards Judaism, or minimization of the Jewish roots, or the Jewish roots of Christianity, must not be tolerated within the 21st century Catholic Church and the more than 1.2 billion Catholic followers it pastors.
I remind Pope Francis and our Catholic brethren of the wonderful message of ‘Nostra Aetate’ and the importance of that message being vital to our world as never before in history. I am challenging Pope Francis to help unite Christians globally in prayer and action against the horrific rise of the new wave of antisemitism we are seeing. Nostra Aetate, the formal document of the Catholic Church that decries hatred, persecutions, and displays of antisemitism against the Jewish people, was signed by Pope John Paul VI following its formal adaption in 1965. In its adaptation, the Catholic Church acknowledged that Jews are not responsible for the death of Jesus, eliminated the deocide narrative and recognized that the Jewish covenant with God for the land of Israel has not been broken. It further states that Christianity sprang from Jewish roots and is inextricably intertwined with Judaism.
In 2014 Pope Francis allowed Muslim prayer and readings from the Koran in the Vatican. He must not now let his silence in the face of evil speak volumes.
In the face of the most horrific days of Jewish persecution when silence from Christians was tragically deafening, Dietrich Bonhoffer said: “Silence in the face of evil, is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak, is to speak. Not act is to act.”
PJTN calls Catholics—and all Christians, Jews and people of conscience to stand with us at this time when antisemitism is rising around the world at an increasingly alarming rate! We must not remain silent.
Thank you for standing with us and for letting your voices be heard.