November 9, 2009
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S HOLOCAUST LEGACY
Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah, A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair (New York: Knopf. 2002) (“The anti-Semitism that the Church had spread implied or even openly asserted that Jews had to be eliminated from Christian society, such as by forced conversion or expulsion, even though the Church and its bishops did not call for their mass murder, and even though they often made a point of enjoining their faithful against committing violence. So when I refer to the church’s “eliminationist antisemitism,” unless specifically stated otherwise, it should be understood as an assertion either that the Church was calling for the nonlethal elimination of Jews or that its demonology of Jews was, however intended, compatible with or implied eliminationist solutions, including perhaps extermination—even through the Catholic Church was doctrinally opposed to , and itself did not advocate, killing Jews.” Id. at 25 (italics in original). “What must a religion of love and goodness do to confront its history of hatred and harm, and to perform restitution? Id. at 31. “A moral reckoning is predicated upon four notions: (1) that human beings are responsible for their actions; (2) that it is right for us to judge other people’s actions; (3) that to do so, we must have fair and clear criteria; and (4) that our judgments must be transparent in their reasoning to conclusions.” Id. at 119. See Richard Bernstein’s review, “The Church and the Jews, Down History’s Tragic Road,” NYT, Monday, December 9, 2002.).