Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Answering Shmarya

Shmarya, I must note, continues to bait me.

When Shmarya and I first crossed paths, he was at war with the Lubovitch Rebbe for allegedly telling Chabad emissaries not to help Ethiopian Jews. Shmarya, enraged, published a series of posts condemning Chabad for their indifference in the face of suffering. He uncovered old letters, and old quotes, and managed to prove, to the satisfaction of many, that Chabad has some blood on its hands. All in all, it was a run of solid blogging.

But now Shmarya has a new mission, a mission which is the exact antithesis of the mission that first brought him to my attention. When I men Shmarya he was assiailing the Lubovitcha Rebbe's apathy, but today he whitewashes another man's indifference. Again, and again he attempts to exonerate the legacy of Pius 12, the man who permitted 4000 Jews to be rounded up within sight of his own bedroom window.

And that's not all.

As scholars have documented, Pius 12's crimes include an overeadiness in 1933 to negotiate a Nazi-legitimizing Reichkonkordat and an indifference to the fate of unbaptized Jews as reflected in the record of Vatican initiatives limited to converted Jews. They include his 1939 cancelation of his predecessor's encyclical condemning Nazi anti-Semtism, and his failure to mention the Jews - or even the Nazis - is his Christmas message of 1942. They include his many meetings with Ustashi leaders, including at least one - the mini-Hitler Ante Pavelic - who was given sanctuary in the Vatican after the war.

And even that's not all!

As Daniel Goldhagen has famously asked:

Why, as a moral or practical matter, did Pius XII excommunicate all Communists in the world in 1949, including millions who never shed blood, but not excommunicate a single German or non-German who served Hitler-- or even the Catholic-born Hitler, Himmler and Goebels themselves?

Why did the Church hold a special memorial service for Adolf Hitler?

Why did Pius XII encourage the clergy to speak out against the Nazis' murder of the mentally ill and yet remain silent about the killing of Jews?

Why did Pius XII intervene in Germany on behalf of Catholics who had converted from Judaism but not on behalf of Jews?

Why did Pius XII protest the Germans' invasion of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, with separate telegrams to the sovereigns of each (and printed in large type on the front page of the Vatican's official daily newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano) but not the Germans' slaughter of the Jews?

Why didn't he ever instruct preists and nuns to give sanctuary to the Jews?

Why didn't he ever instruct local parishes to destroy the baptismal records the Nazis used to identify Jews?

Why? Why? Why? And why does Shmarya think he's serving the cause of truth by seeking to exonerate this man? How can it be said that the Pope did everything he could to save Jews, when he did so much more on behalf of converted Jews?

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