TO THE EDITOR:
I learned so much from reading Rhode Island Catholic’s article “PC forum addressing Anti-Semitism in Passion Play,” even though I was one of the people who spoke on the panel at the event.
The quotes featured of the speakers, including myself, were so well chosen that the article made a complicated subject seem clear without simplifying the message that was the purpose of our program. I am grateful to the Rhode Island Catholic for covering this important topic and for the Jewish-Catholic Theological Exchange at Providence College, held twice a year.
The article quotes Judith Banki, a scholar of Jewish-Catholic interaction, and also quotes me as observing that most people who are not Jewish do not even notice anti-Semitic content. As Rhode Island’s own Father Edward Flannery, author of “The Anguish of the Jews,” has written: “Catholics have torn from their history books the pages that the Jews have memorized.” I have noted this quite clearly in numerous settings, surprised at first, but no longer.
The article also quotes from Father Kevin Spicer’s paper telling of how seeing the Passion Play himself was a “truly religious experience.” Combining my observation and Spicer’s has made me realize how I have not been open to how seeing this crucifixion dramatized must be a moving experience for most Christians. Only when a religious Catholic family member of mine pointed out how Mary is a painfully grieving figure did I even see that. And I am a Jewish mother.
I think we can all use a fresh look at The Passion Play.
Hilary Salk, Author, “Eavesdropping in Oberammergau”