The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC), on behalf of all the Catholic Bishops in Pennsylvania, condemned the hateful anti-Semitic acts recently seen in the Commonwealth. These crimes have included the painting of swastikas on synagogues.

“These acts are offensive and hurtful to all of us,” PCC Executive Director Eric Failing said on behalf of the bishops. “Hate is never right, but it is especially heartbreaking when you see innocent people targeted because of their religious beliefs.  We remain resolute in standing beside our Jewish brothers and sisters as we condemn the attacks and the hateful sentiment that fuels them.”

Rev. James Lease, director of the Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the Diocese of Harrisburg added, “The Diocese of Harrisburg, following the Decree of the Second Vatican Council, Nostra ætate, “decries hatred, persecutions, and displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.” We support our Jewish neighbors in this time of trial and invite all people to “pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another.” (Romans 14:19)”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, incidents against Jewish institutions have more than tripled in Pennsylvania during the past year. The latest took place this week at a synagogue in Harrisburg, just a few miles from PCC headquarters. The swastika is one of the most painful hate symbols for Jews, harkening back to the Nazis and the genocide of World War II.

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is based in Harrisburg and is the public affairs arm of Pennsylvania’s Catholic bishops. Learn more about the PCC at

(Al Gnoza is the Communications Director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference.)

By Al Gnoza, Special to The Witness