ADL Protests Archbishop's Outrageous Remarks About Judaism

New York, NY, October 25, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep concern at remarks by a Greek Melkite archbishop based in the United States who suggested, as part of a Holy See conference in Rome on the Middle East, that Judaism should no longer exist. The League called the remarks by Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, "the worst kind of anti-Judaism, bordering on anti-Semitism."

Archbishop Bustros, who belongs to the Greek Melkite Church and resides in Newton, Mass., reportedly stated that God's Covenantal promise of land to the Jewish people, "was nullified by Christ" and that "there is no longer a chosen people."

The archbishop was in charge of the committee that drafted the final report for the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, a two-week conference that concluded October 23 in Rome.

The following is the full text of the letter from Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, to Cardinal-elect Kurt Koch, the newly appointed President of the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews:

Dear Cardinal Koch:

We write to protest the shocking and outrageous anti-Jewish comments made by Greek Melkite Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros in connection with the final communique of the Bishops Synod on the Middle East.

By stating that God's Covenantal promise of land to the Jewish people, "was nullified by Christ" and that "there is no longer a chosen people," Archbishop Bustros is effectively stating that Judaism should no longer exist. This represents the worst kind of anti-Judaism, bordering on anti-Semitism.

Archbishop Bustros contradicts decades of official Vatican and papal teachings which affirm God's ongoing Covenant with the Jewish people at Sinai, and calls on Christians to appreciate the Jewish people's religious self-understanding, including its spiritual attachment to the land of Israel (CF. The 1985 "Notes on the Correct Way To Present Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church 25").

As we prepare to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Vatican Second Council and the adoption of Nostra Aetate, which launched a historic new and respectful theological and familial relationship between Catholics and Jews, we urge that you swiftly and publicly correct Archbishop Bustros's shocking and damaging statements.

We also respectfully ask that the Vatican clarify whether Archbishop Bustros' interpretation of the Synod's final report reflects the intention of the Synod on these profound theological matters.

We look forward to your response.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

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