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    Catholicism & the Holocaust – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. What is your view of the Vatican report on Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust?

    Pope Pius XII

    Pope Pius XII

    A. The report is very significant for what it says and what it does not say.

    It says clearly and honestly that Pope John Paul II and the Roman Catholic Church recognise the immense tragedy of the Holocaust and urge Christian repentance for acts of omission and commission.

    This makes this one of a series of seminal Roman Catholic contributions to rapprochement with Jews and Judaism. The present Pope in particular must be commended for his consistent policy of concern that Catholic-Jewish relations should be healthy.

    The report is, however, puzzling in important respects:

    1. It seems to whitewash Christianity without admitting that centuries of negative Christian teaching about Jews created a climate in which a Holocaust was possible.

    2. It seems to ignore the enthusiastic ringing of church bells at Hitler’s visits, the bishops and clergy who either applauded Nazism or lacked the moral courage to oppose it, the at best lukewarm attitude of Pius XII towards the Jewish victims, and the impression that Pius’ real sympathies were elsewhere.

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