“Today the Jews. Tomorrow You.”
by Andrew Doran
In a world teeming with violent anti-Semitism, Catholics ought to draw inspiration from the Jewish people and stand together.
Why should Catholics, and Catholic institutions, stand against anti-Semitism? Rooting out the cancer of Jew hatred is, for us an American imperative and at the same time a Christian obligation. The Philos Project, which promotes positive Christian engagement in the Near East, recently organized a conference with partners at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio to probe the subject, and to galvanize lay Catholic writers, intellectuals, clergy, and students who see things the way that we do.
There have been many such Christian-Jewish collaborations in the past, of course, but what set this conference apart is that none of the main participants identify as religious liberals, that is, as inhabiting the sort of religious disposition that looks to cultivate interreligious dialogue as an expression of ecumenical broadmindedness. Instead, the conference we had in mind would bring together traditional Catholics and traditional Jews. We wanted our coreligionists at the conference to meet Orthodox rabbis, and for them to meet their Catholic counterparts. There would be no serene and vapid embrace of syncretic mush, or guitar-strumming validation circles.
The conference was many months in the making. When we first proposed it to the leadership of Franciscan University, they didn’t hesitate. Some might wonder why Catholic educators and church leaders would want to have a conversation about anti-Semitism, but our partners at Franciscan saw the same signs of rising anti-Semitism as we did, and to all of us it was obvious that we needed to do this. That was before the Hamas massacres of October 7. On October 8, the organizers asked, for many reasons, whether this conference that brings traditional Jewish and Catholic writers and leaders together would still happen. The leadership at Franciscan said, “Now more than ever.”
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Nota bene: The Egyptian Armenian lady referenced in the article is my grandmother.