05252022

A Pledge to the Good and the Just

 

The trauma of the Holocaust, the genocide perpetrated by Germans, weighs heavy on us. Shame and disgrace will always remain. Jewish life, however, is an essential part of Germany. Jewish life belongs to the Western world, which was formed and determined by it. Christians are especially pleased by new developments among their Jewish brethren and cherish them.

Rosh Hashanah can unite Christians and Jews. The festival is based on the Hebrew Bible, the first Testament, which is a permanent foundation for Christians. We celebrate God’s unceasing mercy. We ask for guidance for the year to come. And we do not forget those who perished. Their legacy should inspire us for the time ahead.

These great certainties characterize the Jewish New Year’s holiday. Christians can identify with them completely.

“As a Christian bishop, I am ashamed to see the security measures Jews in Germany face due to concrete threats.”

 

A Realm of human knowledge

Our lifetimes are in His hands. We have to answer to Him. What people commit, omit and suffer does matter. Law and justice always find just measure and worth in God. With their certainties and intuitions, religions are advocates for mankind. They stand for inalienable dignity. Religion is a realm of human knowledge that serves mankind. Just as religion always needs criticism, it needs the power of an enlightened mind to remain authentic.

On this occasion I am thinking of the developments in Jewish life in Germany. Christians are happy about vibrant congregations and the large influx of Jews from the former Soviet Union, and recognize the efforts to integrate so many immigrants. Christian parishes would welcome regular and closer contact with their Jewish brethren but understand that Jewish congregations are mainly occupied with building an identity for themselves.

“As Christians, we must support Israel and Israel’s security no less than our Jewish co-citizens do.”

As a Christian bishop, I am ashamed to see the security measures Jews in Germany face due to concrete threats. Unfortunately, these measures also cause a sense of alienation.

Our current headlines and public debates also concern Jewish life in Germany and make it sometimes more difficult, as exemplified by the discussion to ban circumcision. Public debate cannot be prohibited in a free society. Faiths always have to ans-wer to the public and to respect the law.

Christians will always call for the respect of other religions and must be alerted when subcutaneous moods come to the fore.

Christians must support Israel

Our German past, the solidarity of Christians and Jews, and the responsibility for a peaceful future of mankind make Israel a permanent topic. As Christians, we must support Israel and Israel’s security no less than our Jewish co-citizens do. People of faith should link hands whenever one attempts to take a life. Whoever threatens somebody with terror is an enemy of God and man.

Our faith obliges us to take a stand and to speak up! Let us write in the Books of Life our pledge to the Good and the Just anew. Let us inscribe it firmly in our memory and put our seal upon it.

Hans-Jochen Jaschke is the Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Hamburg. He chairs the German Bishops Assembly’s subcommission on interreligious dialogue

Photo Credit: Erzbistum Hamburg

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