Dialogue Leaders Decry Violence Against Christians, Sacred Sites

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Catholic and Jewish leaders 14 August called for “effective measures” against violent acts taking place against Christians and Christians sites across the globe.

“We deplore all acts of religious persecution no matter their target,” they said in a joint statement said. “Church communities have been subject to persecution, attack, expulsion and even murder. As a result, these same communities have often seen their numbers decrease, especially as their populations are dislocated from centuries old homes.”

The statement was released in Washington by the Catholic-Jewish dialogue sponsored by the National Council of Synagogues and the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The dialogue is co-chaired by Rabbi David Straus, chairman of the National Council of Synagogues, and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York. The statement was first developed at the dialogue’s 25 June meeting.

Dialogue members said they came together “to express our mounting concern” over increasing level of religious persecution, “but concern is not enough.”

“We are convinced that sincere and effective measures against such actions must be taken and that we can all assist in re-evaluating and revising our teaching, preaching and liturgical texts to promote respect for religious differences, even while affirming our own traditions,” they said in the statement.

Dialogue members pledged their “collective efforts towards better understanding and respect among the diverse faith communities of the world.

“We urge world political and religious leaders to join in condemning unequivocally acts of aggression, intolerance and violence against religious communities and their sacred sites,” they said in the statement. “We pray that we may contribute to the realization of our shared teaching to love our neighbors as ourselves, as found in Jewish, Christian and Muslim sacred texts.”

They also committed themselves “to the imperative of promoting peace among the spiritual communities of the world as the foundation for peace among nations.”

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