April 10, 2010 -- New York -- AJC is urging the Italian Bishops Conference to condemn the anti-Semitic libel statements of Catholic Bishop Giacomo Babini, published Friday on Pontifax, an Italian Catholic extremist right-wing website.
Babini, the retired Bishop of Grosetto, referring to the pedophile scandals, accused Jews of a “refined Zionist” media attack against the Church. He called Jews a “Deicide” people and inferred that the Holocaust took place due to Jews “strangling Germany economically” through “usury.”
“We urge the Italian Bishops Conference to categorically condemn these slanderous stereotypes, which sadly evoke the worst Christian and Nazi propaganda prior to World War II,” said Rabbi David Rosen, AJC's International Director of Interreligious Affairs.
AJC’s representative in Rome had conveyed the global advocacy organization’s dismay to the Italian Catholic Church.
"These remarks are entirely contrary to the official line and mainstream thought of the Catholic Church,” Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, one of the highest representatives of the Italian Conference of Catholic Bishops and former President of its Commission on Ecumenism and Dialogue, told the AJC.
Rabbi David Rosen added: “The high level of mutual trust and solidarity that binds our two communities today demands that there be zero-tolerance for such defamatory statements by religious representatives.”