Holocaust Remembrance Day

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks and Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield, Head of the Movement for Reform Judaism unite to reflect on their recent visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau and give their message for Holocaust Memorial Day 27 January 2009:

Episcopal Life reports:

Williams says that “one of the most deeply shocking things about the Holocaust … when you see Auschwitz-Birkenau, is that so many people thought this was natural. The call is to rediscover the depths of real humanity as held in the hand of God, with all the dignity, all the capacity that goes with that.”

Sacks says that “the fact that we can come together — people of all faiths — to experience [an] environment where one faith was persecuted — isn’t that a measure of how far we have come for the good?

“[The Holocaust] was a crime that was meant to be concealed and denied, as if the perpetrators realized that Holocaust remembrance would defeat what they were trying to do. That in itself tells me that we are right to remember and to encourage everyone to remember.

“When we are able to come together, as we did on this wonderful and moving occasion — we have won a certain victory, and we must keep winning because the danger never goes. The Holocaust has the power, if we can face it without fear, to teach us that we must not be silent in the face of oppression … individually and collectively we can act to prevent future tragedies.”

Read more here.

Last week the Pope reinstated a bishop who does not believe the holocaust took place, as reported in The Lead. That there are still people who believe this makes it even more important to carry the message again of this terrible act of inhumanity and our capacity to participate in evil.

Today The Times reports that “The Chief Rabbinate of Israel has cut ties with the Vatican over the Pope’s decision to lift the excommunication on an English bishop who denies the full extent of the Holocaust.”

In a measure of Jewish anger around the world at the decision to reinstate the four bishops of the Society of St Pius X, the Chief Rabbinate has written to the office of Pope Benedict XVI condemning Bishop Richard Williamson’s comments as “odious” and “outrageous”. The letter was leaked to the Jerusalem Post.

Jewish leaders in the UK have also protested at the lifting of the excommunicatons on Bishop Williamson and three other bishops.

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