Bishop speaks out on anti-Semitism

February 2022

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Over the years the Diocese of Venice has cherished its relationship with the Jewish Community. Thus, recent reports of anti-Semitic incidents within the Diocese of Venice, particularly in Sarasota County, are disturbing. Anti-Semitic flyers were distributed to more than a hundred homes in several Sarasota neighborhoods Feb. 11, 2022. This is on the heels of similar incidents last month.

I ask the Faithful of the Diocese of Venice to join me in condemning these despicable acts. Hate is never to be tolerated. Pope Francis said anti-Semitism is “a fuse that must not be allowed to burn. And the best way to defuse it is to work together, positively, and to promote fraternity.” Let us be united in prayer.

The Diocese of Venice places a priority on strengthening its bond with the Jewish Community. An emphasis has been placed on deepening our shared roots and the teaching of tolerance in our schools and parishes. The Diocese is honored to host two important gatherings: 1) “Yom HaShoah – An Hour of Remembrance,” held in Sarasota County, in which the Catholic and Jewish Communities come together in remembrance of the Holocaust, and 2) “Kristallnacht, The Night of Broken Glass,” which is held in Collier County. Although these events have been interrupted by the Pandemic in recent years, we look forward to their return.

As part of our ongoing relationship, the Catholic-Jewish Dialogue in Collier County will be hosting Rabbi Abraham Skorka for a return visit to the Diocese of Venice. Rabbi Skorka will speak at St. John the Evangelist in Naples on April 3. He has worked together with Pope Francis over the last 25 years to create many initiatives aimed at inspiring human beings to seek interreligious friendship. We strive to do the same in the Diocese of Venice.

Anti-Semitism is neither human nor Christian. It is unacceptable. Let us join together to condemn and work to prevent such acts.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Frank J. Dewane

Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida