The Pope at Yad Vashem

Pope’s speech. Reaction. The problem: German pope who was 18 when WW2 ended says nothing about Germany having done it, or about the German Catholics who helped make it happen, or about the legacy of Catholic antisemitism that made it possible.

8 thoughts on “The Pope at Yad Vashem

  1. Just watching a TV news story about a real Anti-Semite John Demjanjuk.
    To be fair Benedict didn’t mention German Lutherans or atheists who made the Holocaust possible either (granted, he is not the leader of either), or Catholics and humanists who opposed National Socialism. In my opinion it’s time to be glad for what he said, not be critical.
    The Holocaust was not just a German issue, it was an issue that humanity must face, same for anti-Semitism.
    Anti-Semitism was (is) not an exclusively Catholic problem. There were more Catholics (including clergy) who opposed what went on than those who supported it. Edmund Burke (Irish Whig & supporter of American Liberty) said that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. Pius et al did nothing and that calls into question their (non) actions but anti-Semitic remains a strong term. That is not unlike the failure of John Paul to tackle the abuses crisis.
    If we define anti-Semitism as what Pius et al did then we must find a new word to describe those who participated in the Holocaust. Unlike previous apologies the only thing Benedict has to apologies for is the silence of Pius, Pius could have spoken out earlier, so could Churchill and Roosevelt. They have all met their maker, personally I would let Him be their judge.
    Bill, this is an issue that we all have strong opinions on but I do think you are harsh on the Church. There are plenty of better sticks to discipline the Church with.

    • Who are Catholics who compare to Bonhoeffer and Barth and the Confessing Church? Who are the Catholic bishops that compare with the Lutheran bishops of Denmark who saved nearly all the Jews of that country? These are the real examples we need to compare the Catholic actions of WW2 to. And it was the Catholic church, over 1700 years, that gave us such things as the blood libel and Oberammergau.

  2. No Catholics who are as famous as Bonhoffer and Barth, true, Saints Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein come to mind though. There is also Father Rupert Mayer. The 1941 pastoral letter of the German bishops also comes to mind, as does Mit Brennender Sorge. The Catholic Church never had the shame of becoming a national church and endorsed racist policies. It’s not a competition, its a shame that all humanity share.

    • Maximilian Kolbe was a virulent antisemite, who bought into and promoted the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, as his writings demonstrate. Edith Stein was a discalced Carmelite through most of the Hitler years–she did write to Pius urging him to condemn Naziism, but that’s all we know of. So these are not people who put their lives on the line actively opposing Nazi ideology and antisemitism.

      “The 1941 pastoral letter of the German bishops also comes to mind, as does Mit Brennender Sorge.”

      The 1941 letter protested German actions against the church, but didn’t mention the Jews. Mit Brennender Sorge condemns the general Nazi racial ideology–there are no explicit and specific references to Jews.

      “The Catholic Church never had the shame of becoming a national church and endorsed racist policies.”

      Its polity wouldn’t allow that. But it did have plenty of bishops who wore Nazi armbands and collaborated with no punitive actions being taken against them by the Vatican.

      • That’d be the Maximillian Kolbe whoes name is in Yad Vashim as one of the righteous who is also a Saint. Your hysterical high pitched standards are a poor joke.

      • No, he is not listed as “Righteous” by Yad Vashem. Here is the Yad Vashem list of Poles so honored.

        I don’t think the standard of considering someone antisemitic who defended one of the most notorious antisemitic forgeries is all that “hysterica” or “high pitched.”

        As to the fact that the Roman Catholic church declared him a “saint”–well, lots of unpleasant people have been so declared. That’s an internal problem for the Catholic church to come to terms with.

  3. I think we are seeing that the Pope is an excellent academic, an astute theologian- not so much the politician however.

    He has said much in the past regarding these issues, but I’m not sure he grasps the political need to repeat one’s self and how to operate in great public opportunities where emotions and image can count just as highly as intention.

Comments are closed.