Friday, September 07, 2007

Our Churchgoing Friends

Along with the wonderful debunking of the Supply Side myth excerpted below, the current TNR contains a review of a new book about the Holocaust, one that contains new sources, and previously unpublished documentary material. The review is facinating, and suggests the book is, too. Here are just a few sentences from it, dedicated to those Orthodox Jews still unable to accept the well-proven complicity of the Catholic Church in the disaster:

On July 15, 1941, in the first month of the Einsatzgruppen murders of tens of thousands of Jews behind the lines on the Eastern Front, Polish Catholic officials sent the following message to the Polish government-in-exile in London:

As far as the Jewish Question is concerned, it must be seen as a singular dispensation of Divine Providence that the Germans have already made a good start, quite irrespective of all the wrongs they have done and continue to do to our country. They have shown that the liberation of Polish society from the Jewish plague is possible.... Clearly, one can see the hand of God in the contribution to the solution of this urgent question being made by the occupiers.
By December 1941, deportations of Jews from Germany to the East had sharpened controversies in both the Catholic and Protestant churches.

On December 17, 1941, German Christian church leaders of Saxony, Nassau-Hesse, Mecklenburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Anhalt, Thuringia, and Lubeck announced that the "severest measures" should be taken against the Jews, who should be expelled form German territories. The overwhelming majority of Catholic church leaders who had previously denounced the Nazi murders of the mentally ill and physically handicapped said nothing about the deportations of Jews from Germany. Friedländer concludes that between 1939 and 1945 the vast majority of church officials remained silent. They made clear and ugly distinctions between a tiny minority of Jews who converted to Christianity and the vast majority who did not. They accepted that there was a fundamental inequality between Christians and Jews, and failed to use the moral authority of the church to attempt to stop the genocide in progress. Anti-Semitic antipathies rooted in traditional Christian theology combined with fear of communism led the preponderance of leadership in the Christian churches of Europe to remain silent and on occasion to fan the flames of anti-Semitism. We read of the occasional priest or minister who gave a dissenting sermon (and was sometimes arrested or murdered as a result); but these were exceptions that proved the rule.

I remind you again that John Paul II, the pope OJ's love the most, worked tirelessly to promote the beatification of his predecessor Pius XII, the man who presided over this disgrace.

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