Australian Bishop bans Jewish jokes

By Dan Goldberg, May 7, 2009

Heard the one about the Catholic bishop who wanted to ban Jewish jokes?

The Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson, has written to almost 150 priests saying Catholics should be sensitive towards Jews.

“While I know most of you would not tolerate the improper nature and offence caused by Jewish jokes, I sadly note that this has happened in our church in the past. I know you will agree with me that this is unacceptable.

“Since the terrible crimes committed against the Jewish people in the 20th century, Catholics must continue to search their hearts,” he added.

The small Jewish community in Adelaide, which numbers under 1000, welcomed the Archbishop’s letter.

Rabbi Shoshana Kaminsky, of the Beit Shalom Progressive Synagogue, said she appreciated the bishop’s gesture. “Many people… do not realise the intense pain such comments can cause.”

Charges will be dropped against the Catholic priest from New Zealand who smeared blood on the memorial to Yitzhak Rabin during Israel’s invasion of Gaza in January.

Father Gerard Burns was originally charged by police with willful damage. He now has to take on tasks for police in exchange for the charges being dropped.

Mr Burns led a demonstration of several hundred pro-Palestinian demonstrators through the streets of the Kiwi capital. When the protesters reached the monument to the slain Israeli prime minister, Mr Burns sprinkled droplets of red paint mixed with his own blood on the plaque.

“I have a great esteem for the Jewish faith,” he said, later adding, “but the Israeli state is another beast altogether.”

Last updated: 12:10pm, May 7 2009