Greg Barrett
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During the evening of January 31, 2019 there was an anti-Semitic attack on the BerMax Café on Corydon Avenue in Winnipeg. This is an appalling and horrific incident. As someone working in the area of Interchurch and Interfaith Learning for the Archdiocese of St. Boniface it is heartbreaking to witness our Jewish brothers and sisters go through yet another vicious attack.

On October 28, 1965, fifty three years almost to the very day prior to the killings in Pittsburgh, the Catholic Church promulgated a teaching originating from its highest authority. The Second Vatican Council, through its document Nostra Aetate, clearly teaches –

“Furthermore, in Her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of Anti-Semitism, directed at Jews at any time by anyone.” 

Despite this ringing declaration, the Teaching of Contempt that so many have spoken of continues its 1800 year march through human history. The same spirit that engineered the deaths of Jews so short a time ago in Pittsburgh is alive and active in our community of Winnipeg right now. In the face of this reality and the world-wide increase of anti-Semitism it is a mistake to assume that this is just the work of a few. Expressions of regret and horror are not nearly enough. The spirit of hate in our community has taken action – how will the voices of love respond? The question, brothers and sisters, is what will our community do to summon forth the better angels of our nature. Are we, after all, just reliving history and taking on the role of guilty bystanders?

Greg Barrett

Co-Coordinator: Interchurch and Interfaith Learning

Archdiocese of St. Boniface   


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