(JTA) — Centuries of Christian anti-Semitism led to the Holocaust, the Church of England said in a new report that called for repentance.
“God’s Unfailing Word: Theological and Practical Perspectives on Christian-Jewish Relations,” which was released last week, also asked Christians to accept the importance of Zionism for most Jews.
The report, more than 140 pages, calls the Christian-Jewish relationship “a gift of God to the Church, to be received with care, respect and gratitude, so that we may learn more fully about God’s purposes for us and all the world.”
British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis criticized the report, however, and in an afterword to the document wrote that it fails to reject targeting Jews for conversion.
“Even now, in the 21st century, Jews are seen by some as quarry to be pursued and converted,” Mirvis wrote. “The enduring existence within the Anglican Church of a theological approach that is permissive of this behavior does considerable damage to the relationship between our faith traditions, and, consequently, pursuing a comprehensive new Christian-Jewish paradigm in this context is exceptionally challenging.”
The report suggests that Christians “think carefully” about evangelizing their Jewish neighbors.
“Conscious of the participation of Christians over the centuries in stereotyping, persecution and violence directed against Jewish people, and how this contributed to the Holocaust, Christians today should be sensitive to Jewish fears,” it says.
The report states that “Christians have been guilty of promoting and fostering negative stereotypes of Jewish people that have contributed to grave suffering and injustice. They therefore have a duty to be alert to the continuation of such stereotyping and to resist it.”
It also says the Holy Land had significance for Jews and Christians “beyond the significance of all other lands.”