“The way Hamas went door to door and executed families, just simply executed them, whole families — the last time this kind of thing happened was during the Holocaust,” he said. “So, it’s at the top of everyone’s minds and the world didn’t respond so well the first time around.”
He added: “So we would love it if Catholics, if the Catholic Church, if Catholic universities, if we get it right this time. We don’t want to fail in our love for them as we have in the past.”
Hildebrand urged Catholics to “speak out against antisemitism” and to think about what they can do, whether it be “simply lending your voice, it could mean material support, it could mean agitating for your alma mater not to treat the Jews this way or to be complicit in antisemitism.”
“We see this as a small way, a small thing we can do, to really love our Jewish brethren and to have solidarity with them, to let them know that we recognize what is happening to them and that not only do we oppose it, but we’re willing to help them.”
When it comes to extending the initiative to Muslim students who might face prejudice as well because of the current war in the Holy Land, Hildebrand said that if Muslims in the U.S. found themselves in similar circumstances, he hopes the school would respond with equal generosity.
“At Franciscan, we follow the teaching of the Church and so our fraternity does not stop with the Jews, of course,” he told CNA. “I haven’t seen a lot of persecution of Muslim students at American universities and if that turned out to be a widespread problem, I would hope we would respond with equal fraternity to them. But the Jews obviously have a special place in the Christian heart and the Christian mind, the Christian dispensation, but when you read the Vatican II teaching on these sorts of things, our fraternal obligations, do not stop at our Jewish brethren even though we have a special bond with them. The Lord commands us that our love should know no bounds.”