Church of England: Centuries of Christian anti-Semitism led to Holocaust

The 121-page report said attitudes towards Judaism over centuries had provided a “fertile seed-bed for murderous anti-Semitism.” 

By JNS

Christian theology played a part in the stereotyping and persecution of Jewish people that ultimately led to the Holocaust, according to a new report released by the Church of England on Thursday.

Titled “God’s Unfailing Word: Theological and Practical Perspectives on Christian-Jewish Relations,” the 121-page report said attitudes towards Judaism over centuries had provided a “fertile seed-bed for murderous anti-Semitism,” and that Anglicans and other Christians must repent for the “sins of the past,” as well as actively challenge anti-Semitic attitudes or stereotypes.

“The attribution of collective guilt to the Jewish people for the death of Christ and the consequent interpretation of their suffering as collective punishment sent by God is one very clear example of that,” the report said. “Within living memory, such ideas contributed to fostering the passive acquiescence if not positive support of many Christians in actions that led to the Holocaust.

“Christians have been guilty of promoting and fostering negative stereotypes of Jewish people that have contributed to grave suffering and injustice. They therefore have a duty to be alert to the continuation of such stereotyping and to resist it.”

The report also called on Christians to be “sensitive to Jewish fears” and encouraged followers of the Church to rediscover the relationship of “unique significance” between the two faiths. The bond should be viewed as a “gift of God to the Church” to be received with care, respect and gratitude, it said.

The report’s section on Israel defends the Jewish people’s right to self-determination and classifies some of the approaches and language used by pro-Palestinian advocates as “indeed reminiscent of what could be called traditional anti-Semitism.”