“Anti-Semitism is still a formidable challenge facing Europe, while this continent’s cultural heritage is in no small part a Jewish heritage” CEC’s General Secretary Guy Liagre told a conference on Jewish-Christian coexistence in Hungary organised by the UNESCO Hungarian National Committee.
He told the event dubbed “Our Common Future - Our Common Responsibility” held at the Tihany abbey’s visitor centre that instead of opening new historical wounds, we have to search for the common ground and values that Christianity and Judaism have.
In the past, mistrust and persecution in the name of churches towards Jewish people was the basso continuo in church history. “It is the differences of others that enrich me; but as differences are signs of tension, the dialogue should focus on them”, Liagre said.
“Lending credence to the concept of Jews as ambitious to conquer power was a trap people were all the more likely to fall into” he added, speaking about the holocaust, “because the Nazis saw culture as a homogeneous, self-contained whole which had some mythical purity.” Anti-Semitism contains the seeds of absolute violence for the destruction and annihilation of others”, he added.
It is important to note, underlined Guy Liagre, that Nostra Aetate, a declaration concerning the relations to other religions and believers published during the Second Vatican Council set in motion a dynamic that has shaped inter-religious dialogue with more players than just the Roman Catholic Church.
For the past ten years, the Charta Ecumenica, signed by the Conference of European Churches and the Roman-catholic Church in 2001 and inspired by Nostra Aetate, has stimulated Christian Churches to be involved in dialogue with the Jewish community: “All of humanity is created in God's image, and it is contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures to discriminate, show hatred towards or harass any person on the basis of colour, race, religion or condition of life”, the General Secretary said.
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a communion of 115 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all European countries, and 40 organisatios in partnership. It was founded in 1959. The CEC has offices in Geneva, Brussels and Strasbourg.
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