Pope Pius XII’s role before and during the Holocaust, both as Pius XI’s Secretary of State and as wartime pope, is the subject of ongoing controversy. The controversy began at war’s end when the existence of ratlines, a system of Vatican approved escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe to avoid prosecution for war crimes, came to light. It intensified in the early 1960s when…..
Europe’s population during the 1920’s, ’30’s, and 40’s was approximately 95% Christian. Clearly, anti-Judaism, the Church’s 1900 plus year doctrine of animus against Jews, contributed to the culpability, complicity, and indifference of so many, many Europeans, both before and during the Holocaust. The following letter of complaint to Reich authorities from Mrs. Eleonore Gusenbauer of Ried, a village in Austria near Mauthausen, written in September, 1941, for example,…..
Shaken by Germany’s military defeat in War World I, the humiliating terms of the Versailles Treaty, and the social and economic turbulence of the 1920’s and ‘30’s, most Germans yearned for better days, including restoration of their nation’s dignity and power. In this context Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist Party, with its promise of strong central leadership, a better way…..
Article 16 of the Reich Concordat of 1933 required Catholic bishops and priests to swear an oath of allegiance to the Third Reich. It read:
“Before bishops take possession of their dioceses they are to take an oath of fealty either to the Reich Representative of the State concerned, or to the President of the Reich, according to the following…..
During the Third Reich several Roman Catholic prelates were known as “Brown Bishops” (brown being the official color of the Nazi movement), because of their enthusiastic support of Nazism, including Konrad Gröber of Freiburg, Adolf Bertram of Breslau (photo above), Michael Buchberger of Regensburg, Antonius Hilfrich of Limburg and Military Bishop Franz Josef Rarkowski . Clearly, their…..
On July 20, 1933, at a formal ceremony in Rome, only six months after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli (the future Pius XII) on behalf of Pope Pius XI, signed the Reich Concordat between Nazi Germany and the Vatican, making it the first treaty between the new regime and a sovereign state. At the…..
The image of Jews as “God-killers” and their refusal to convert to Christianity has fueled a long tradition of Christian intolerance, hatred, and violence. Here a few examples of manifestations of Christian anti-Judaism (animus against Jews based on religion) that have occurred over the centuries.
In 1171, in the town of Blois, southwest of Paris, Jews were accused of ritual…..
For close to two millennia, popes have had an enormous impact on the world stage: in religious, geopolitical, legal, social, artistic and cultural matters. Because for so many centuries popes participated as advocates or critics in every important moment of history, papal history has mirrored the history of Western civilization. Popes were absolute monarchs of the Papal States…..
A premise of my book, “The Holocaust, the Church, and the Law of Unintended Consequences, How Christian Anti-Judaism Spawned Nazi Anti-Semitism,” is that Nazism’s virulent brand of genocidal anti-Semitism was rooted in the Church’s 1900 plus year animus against Jews, termed anti-Judaism.
“Anti-Semitism,” wrote Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1994, “is a great sin against humanity.” But he made…..
James Carroll, in “Constantine’s Sword, The Church and the Jews,” implicitly invoked the law of unintended consequences when he described the Church’s dilemma regarding the Holocaust. Carroll contends, for example, that the Church did not fail to rise to the challenge posed by Hitler out of cowardice, anxiety over Bolshevism, or preoccupation with its own power and prerogatives. He cites…..