The Catholic Church must apologise to Jews for its sins

As heartfelt public apologies are made for the crimes of slavery, it would be very welcome if the Catholic Church said sorry for the hideous atrocities perpetrated against the Jews


Pope Francis arrives to lead his weekly general audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican on October 21, 2020. (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO / AFP) (Photo by VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images)

September 08, 2022 12:28

Towns and cities that traded in slavery are now rightly making heartfelt public apologies for their dreadful crimes.

It would be very welcome if the Catholic Church made a similar apology for the hideous atrocities that were perpetrated against the Jews. This is not a wide stretch for, in a way, what they did to us was even worse than slavery, which aimed to exploit the body. With Jews, the purpose was slaughter.

I would like to hear: “This is a terrible thing that we did, that we allowed to happen, from which we turned away. We beg for your forgiveness. You cannot erase history, but if you confess and ask for forgiveness, you can erase the stench that continues to surface from it.”

There is very little understanding of the blood libel, a filthy lie promulgated largely by the Catholic church. And there is also an unfortunate ignorance of Jewish ritual and Jewish law. We actually get rid of blood. The idea that Jews are obsessed with it was a projection of their own narrow-minded interpretation.

At the time, the church worked hand in hand with society and was the highest power in the land. Under Richard I, if a Jew was charged with a vicious crime his wealth went to the state, and all financial obligations to him were eradicated.

Huge fortunes were stolen from the Jews who were, conveniently, the only people allowed to practise usuary. Their money helped build the enormous churches that small communities up and down the country would never otherwise have been able to erect.

In the following century, having milked the Jews for years, Edward I expelled them. And it was in England, of course, where Jews first had to suffer the ignominy of wearing a badge of identification.

This rank hypocrisy of benefitting hugely by usuary while condemning the Jews for it is part of English history, and while what happened can never be undone, an apology to help wipe the stain clean would be most welcome.

As would a statement to their God that such things will never be repeated, that the Catholic church will never allow antisemitic comments and lies to be circulated and tolerated again.

September 08, 2022 12:28

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