Senior Archbishops called on Catholics from around the world to gather together to actively help fight the rise of Antisemitism at an event held Tuesday night.
The event was hosted by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) to celebrate Monsignor Giuseppe Placido Nicolini’s heroic actions in helping save hundreds of Jewish lives during the Holocaust by allowing Jews fleeing Nazi deportation to be housed in the Italian city of Assisi, what has been termed as the “Assisi Network.”
“Sadly, in our day, we are witnessing a troubling increase in hate-filled anti-Semitic language and acts of violence against Jews in the U.S. and elsewhere,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago. “Christians can not just be alarmed by Antisemitism. We must look to the example of Bishop Nicolini and band together in a network of support and protection.”
“We have come to recognize the deep harm that Antisemitism causes and a better understanding of its roots. We must create the kind of network in Assisi that saved the lives of Jews, but also saved the humanity of those who saved them.”
The event highlighted the history of Catholic-Jewish relations since the Holocaust and the importance of strengthening those bonds in the face of rising Antisemitism.
“May today’s event help us ‘Never Again’ to choose violence against our brothers and sisters in the human family,” said Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States. “’Never Again’ to turn a blind eye to such violence being enacted in our midst.”
“Each one must be our brother’s keeper, and act accordingly,” said Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Cyprus. “The Catholic Church condemns and combats Antisemitism in all of its forms and is totally committed in fighting it as one of mankind’s oldest, most pernicious and most destructive forms of bigotry and hate.”
“Combatting Antisemitism also means combating its causes and identifying them. These include social distress, uncertainty, fear, and the scapegoat mechanism,” said Father Manuel Barrios, Secretary General of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union. “We must acknowledge that we are all brothers and sisters, we belong to the same human family and are called together to take care of one another. This is the cure for many of the evils that are afflicting our world today.”
The mission of the CAM event centered on the recognition of past leaders who confronted Antisemitism, in its most extreme form during World War II, as a means to inspire the current generation of civic and religious leaders to courageously confront antisemitism and other forms of bigotry.
“Today, we see more and more bridges between the Catholic Church and civil and religious Jewish leaders,” said Natan Sharansky, CAM Advisory Board Chair. “Unfortunately, Antisemitism is on the rise across the world and CAM is constantly looking for allies in this fight, trying to mobilize people across the world, because it is not just a problem for the Jewish people but also for anyone who wants to live in a world of justice and freedom.”
The event also featured Mayor of Assisi Stefania Proietti, Ambassador of Israel to the Holy See Raphael Schutz, Chairman of the European March of the Living Benjamin Albalas, CEO of B’nai B’rith International Dan Mariaschin, and Anna Cividalli, a descendant of a saved member of the Jewish community in Italy during the Holocaust.
"In 2023, we stand at a unique point in history. The opportunity for Catholics and Jews at all levels of leadership and laymenship to build meaningful relationships and stand together against hatred as siblings in faith proves evermore paramount. Let’s follow in the footsteps of the holy and righteous men and women who have gone before us to achieve what many claim to be impossible: peace between peoples, and an end to antisemitism and all forms of hate," said Catherine Szkop, CAM Partnerships and Diplomatic Relations Manager.
The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) is a global coalition engaging more than 650 partner organizations and over two million people from a diverse array of religious, political, and cultural backgrounds in the common mission of fighting the world’s oldest hatred. CAM is an organization facilitating a non-partisan movement to build a better future, free of bigotry, for Jews and all humanity.