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American Jewish Congress Welcomes Bishops’ Statement on Passion Plays

The American Jewish Congress today lauded a statement issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops that sternly warned the writers and producers of passion plays during the Lenten season not to allow them to become “a source of anti-Semitic reactions.” In a statement signed by Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld, president and Rabbi Joachim Prinz, past president, the American Jewish Congress declared: “having had occasion in the past to express our concern and distaste for the caricature of the Jew and the vicious representation of the supposed Jewish role as presented in some passion plays, we are gratified that the Bishops have launched this effort to combat religious prejudice and bigotry. The vision of Pope John and the historic aggiornamento of the Roman Catholic Church must find their ultimate expression and enduring effect on parish level. The action by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops is a major step toward that mutual respect for the full spiritual dignity of the person of which the Vatican Council spoke in its historic schema on the Jews. The American Jewish Congress welcomes the Bishops’ statement as consonant with the requirement of our faith that we seek to make the presence of God felt in interpersonal relationships.”