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Kristallnacht: Austrian bishops, “decisive action against all forms of anti-Semitism and for the human right to religious freedom.”

The Austrian Bishops’ Conference that concluded its autumn assembly yesterday (November 5 to 8), released a report on the proceedings with a reflection on Kristallnacht, November 9 1938. “The November pogrom is one of the darkest pages in modern history”, the bishops wrote, but “living memory paves the way to the future, for looking into the dark pages of history protects us from repeating the mistakes of the past.” Similarly, “in commemorating the memory of the November pogroms the Christian Churches of Austria unequivocally stand beside the Jewish Community” although this memory is linked to “the painful acknowledgement of multiple failures”, namely, “centuries-old anti-Jewish religious sentiment” have “weakened those forces needed to resolutely oppose, as Christians, the madness of National-Socialism and anti-Semitism.” “Too feeble” were the voices that denounced, “too few the righteous” who defended, saved and helped the Jews. Since then, and notably after the Second Vatican Council, “the awareness of the inexhaustible fidelity of God to his people, and the brotherhood of Christians and Jews rooted in the faith, constitute the solid foundation of mutual dialogue” that initiated friendships, the bishops concluded. These friendly relations must “give Christians and Jews the strength to undertake decisive actions against all forms of anti-Semitism, promoting the human right to religious freedom, here and across the globe.”

 

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