Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

Letter from Archbishop Cupich in support of the Jewish community

(From the Oct. 16, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)

October 7, 2014

Dear Parishioners:

On the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the sons and daughters of Abraham complete their high holy days, which began with Rosh Hashanah.

Tragically, as the Jewish people in Spokane gathered on Oct. 3 at Temple Beth Shalom to celebrate this holy day, their place of worship was defaced by the hateful image of a swastika.

I have expressed to Rabbi Tamar Malino, who just arrived this fall in Spokane, my heartfelt support and solidarity, but also my deep sadness. No child is born a bigot; they are taught to be so. That is why we Christians need to clearly denounce such hateful actions and sentiments and commit ourselves to educate our children to reject anti-Semitism. We also need to recognize the sad history in which Christians were responsible for so much suffering and persecution of Jews over the centuries. The great example of St. Pope John Paul II has much to teach us. After meditating at Jerusalem's Western Wall in 2000, he placed in the wall a written prayer to God expressing deep sadness for all wrongs done to Jews by Christians. It ended, "Asking your forgiveness, we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant."

With similar sentiments I have assured Rabbi Malino that Catholics in Eastern Washington stand with her community and unhesitatingly and completely denounce in the strongest terms possible this deplorable action and the bigotry that it represents.

This weekend, the Prophet Isaiah will proclaim that the Lord “will destroy the veil that veils all peoples, the web that is woven over all nations.” I ask that the Jewish people be remembered in the General Intercessions, asking God to purify the hearts of those who harbor bigotry towards them, and to remove the veil of hatred and ignorance from the hearts of those who were responsible for this abhorrence.

In the Lord,

Most Rev. Blase J. Cupich
Bishop of Spokane



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