A senior priest in the Catholic Church of Romania appeared to liken Jews to a virus in a filmed Easter greeting.
The reference was part of the a message, sent out to national television stations, by Father Francisc Dobos, the spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Bucharest. The disciples of Jesus, he said, reading from the Christian Bible, “feared the Jews, and here in the bracket we should read: feared the virus.”
In an open letter, Maximillian Marco Katz, the head of a Romanian NGO monitoring antisemitism wrote that Dobos’s apparent effort to make his message more relatable by connecting scripture to present-day concerns and fears fell short. “Unfortunately, what many of the listeners of your message will [hear will] be the comparison between Jews and a killer virus, and so the traditional religious antisemitism is passed down from generation to generation for over 2000 years,” said Katz.
In a Facebook message responding to these claims, Father Dobos stated: “Someone interpreted my message as comparing the Jews with a virus. I was shocked that some people have made such an association”, adding that that he had spoken to representatives of the Romanian Jewish community and that none of them had felt that his post had been antisemitic.