FRENCH CATHOLICS ASK FORGIVENESS ON BEHALF OF WW2-ERA BISHOPS

October First, 1997

Al-Bushra welcomes the geste of the French Catholic Bishops to apologyze for the silence over what happened to our Brothers and Sisters the Jews in Europe, and look to it with respect and love. We hope that our Dear Brothers and Sisters, the Jews, and especially the Israelis, find in this kind apology of the French Catholics and the other European Bishops (remember that the Arab-Christians in the Middle East have never persecuted the Jews, on the contrary when persecuted by the Europeans, Jews were received with love by Arab Muslims and Arab Christians all over the Arab Countries, a lot of our Jews Brothers and Sisters of Marocco, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Tunis, Palestine, Syria etc consider themselves as Arab-Jews; the Catholic Arabs of the Middle East has nothing to do with the Catholic or Christian Europeans or American faults and mistakes towards anybody) as a call to them to offer to the world and especially to the Palestinians and Lebanese their apology for their silence over the atrocities committed against those people in the past (Deir Yassin... Qana... etc) and for their financial contrebutions and the mass medai coverup to take Arab Lands, demolishing of Arab Houses and building of settlements using illegal ways and in contradiction with the United Nation resolutions, Geneva conventions and Interantional law.

This French Apology should urge the Israeli authroties to stop discremination against the Arab Palestinians Muslims and Chrisitans in to-day Israel and give them back their fundamental rights of free access to their Religious, Cultural and Industrial Capital Jerusalem, and stopping confiscation of Palestinian lands and IDs, demolition of their houses and the way the Israelis are humiliating them in every way. It should be a call for *JUSTICE, PEACE and TRUTH*, This what the apology of the French bishops stands for.

FRENCH CATHOLICS ASK FORGIVENESS ON BEHALF OF WW2-ERA BISHOPS

PARIS (CWN) - France's bishops issued a formal apology on Tuesday on behalf of their World War II-era predecessors for failing to stand up for Jews who were deported to concentration camps by the Nazi-backed Vichy government.

Auxiliary Bishop Olivier de Berranger of Saint Denis delivered the apology during a memorial service at the Drancy internment camp outside Paris. Up to 76,000 Jews were deported from France to Nazi concentration camps for extermination. "We cannot, of course, ask forgiveness of the victims who died in the camps, but we will ask it of the descendants of those who long bore the heavy burden of the teachings of contempt," Bishop Berranger told Le Figaro newspaper before the event, which was attended by Catholic and Jewish leaders.

The memorial service coincides with the Jewish New Year as well as the 57th anniversary of the enactment of anti-Semitic laws by the Nazi-backed French Vichy government on October 3, 1940. Although many Catholics joined the underground Resistance movement, spoke out against arrests of Jews, and helped Jews hide from Nazis, many bishops remained silent and even encouraged people to obey the government. The current archbishop of Paris, Jean Marie Cardinal Lustiger, was one of the Jewish children who hid in a Catholic monastery and eventually converted to Catholicism as a teenager.