Spain’s Catholic Church to investigate claims it celebrates blood libel

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Spain’s Catholic Church to investigate claims it celebrates blood libel

Toledo Cathedral
Toledo Cathedral

Spain’s Catholic Church is investigating claims in an Israeli newspaper that some towns and villages still commemorate the ‘blood libel’ that Jews used the blood of Christian children in religious rituals.

The libel dates back to the Middle Ages and was used to justify the expulsion or forced conversion of Iberian Jews in the Spanish Inquisition of 1492.

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.

Every September, villagers in Santo Niño de La Guardia in Toledo in central Spain commemorate the alleged abduction and murder of a Christian child by Jews, even though no child was ever reported missing. The child is venerated as a saint.

Likewise, in the basilica of Zaragoza, there is a small chapel dedicated to a child who was allegedly abducted and tortured by Jews, with a remembrance service held every year in October.

Jacob Daniel Benzaquén, president of Spain’s network of Jewish communities, said civil authorities sometimes support these commemorations.

Speaking to The Guardian, he said: “It’s very sad that these events continue to this day and are celebrated with such enthusiasm and a shame that the ecclesiastical authorities haven’t put an end to them, despite our requests.”

Local media reported that the Archbishop of Madrid said the church was revising “cults and rituals involving saints such as the Niño de La Guardia that refer to the legend that Jews killed Christian children in order to celebrate Passover”.

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