Comunità di S.Egidio

de Lisboa

September 26th, 2000

José da Cruz Policarpo
Patriarch of Lisbon


Dear sisters and brothers,

This historical centre of Lisbon, where today we embrace in friendship, has in the past been the stage for intolerable acts of violence against the Hebrew people. Neither may we forget the misfortune of the "Cristãos Novos": the pressures to convert; the popular uprisings, the suspicions, the denunciations, the process of the Inquisition.

As the major community in this city for close on a thousand years, the Catholic Church recognises that her memory is deeply stained by these words and deeds, so often carried out in her name, which are unworthy of human dignity and of the Gospel she proclaims.

In an attitude of conversion, which is both personal and an expression of my community, I solemnly take up once more, before God and before you all, today, the rebuke of the II Vatican Council:

The Catholic Church, in Lisbon, "rejects, as foreign to the mind of Christ; any discrimination or harassment because of race, colour, condition of life, or religion. Accordingly, … she ardently implores [her members] … as far as in them lies, to keep peace with all (cfr. Rom 12,18), so that they may truly be sons and daughters of the Father who is in heaven (cfr. Mt 5,45)." (Nostra Aetate, 5)

+ José, Patriarch of Lisbon