26 February 2015, The Tablet

Bishop of Paisley denounces rise of anti-Semitism

The bishop of Paisley has endorsed an all-party statement on anti-Semitism released earlier this week by the Jewish community in Scotland expressing sadness and concern about recent terrorist murders in Paris and Copenhagen.

Citing the Second Vatican Council document Nostra Aetate, which asserted a “common patrimony” with Judaism and decried hatred, persecution and displays of anti-Semitism, Bishop John Keenan said that the Church in Scotland deplored intolerance and hatred.

“The Jewish community in Scotland is small, located mostly within the Diocese of Paisley and, according to some reports, it is shrinking as many Jews decide to seek security and safety among larger communities elsewhere in the UK or in Israel,” said the bishop. “Their departure is Scotland’s loss, as a nation we will be culturally and spiritually impoverished without a Jewish community”.

East Renfrewshire Council has plans to create a unique Jewish-Catholic joint campus school in Newton Mearns, replacing Calderwood Lodge in Newlands, currently the only Jewish school in Scotland. The new school will be the only shared denominational school in the country.

The Church in Scotland had been resistant to shared campuses, but only because previous plans had involved the siting of a denominational and a non-denominational school on the same campus, in the supposed interests of “community integration”.

Jews in Scotland have traditionally enjoyed a higher level of tolerance and integration than in the rest of the United Kingdom. Despite internecine conflict between Protestant and Catholic communities, there was little overt anti-Semitism.

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