Spain’s Catholic Church to investigate claims it celebrates blood libel
The Spanish Catholic Church is investigating claims by an Israeli newspaper that some towns and villages still commemorate the “blood libel” that Jews used the blood of Christian children in religious rituals.
Libel dates back to the Middle Ages and was used to justify the forced expulsion or conversion of Iberian Jews during the Spanish Inquisition of 1492.
The Ha’aretz newspaper reported that parishes in Toledo, Zaragoza and elsewhere still perpetuate the myth, with rituals supported by both the church and local authorities.
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Every September, the villagers of Santo Niño de La Guardia in Toledo, central Spain, commemorate the alleged kidnapping and murder of a Christian child by Jews, even though no child was ever missing in action. The child is revered as a saint.
Likewise, in the Basilica of Zaragoza, there is a small chapel dedicated to a child who was allegedly kidnapped and tortured by Jews, with a memorial service held every October.
Jacob Daniel Benzaquén, president of the Spanish Network of Jewish Communities, said civil authorities sometimes support these commemorations.
Speaking to The Guardian, he said: ‘It is very sad that these events continue to this day and are celebrated with such enthusiasm and shame that the church authorities have not stopped them, despite our pleas. .”
Local media reported that the Archbishop of Madrid said the church is reviewing “cults and rituals involving saints such as the Niño de La Guardia which refer to the legend that Jews killed Christian children for celebrate the Passover”.