HERE’S WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT GOLDHAGEN

Catalyst March Issue 2002

“I was struck by the title of Goldhagen’s article, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ That is, what would Jesus have done if he had been in Pius’s shoes, or if he were in John Paul II’s position today? But Goldhagen is Jewish, as are half the chief editors of The New Republic. It is disingenuous for Jewish journalists to pretend they care what Jesus would say about these matters.

“They should ask instead, ‘What Would Maimonides Say?’ Goldhagen holds today’s Catholics responsible for the deeds and words of other Catholics who are long dead. Who does he remind you of? The Church once held all Jews responsible for the death of Jesus. Now, the fact that individual Jews were involved in what happened to him is indisputable. Maimonides, in his famous ‘Epistle to Yemen,’ speaks frankly of how Jewish leaders ‘meted out punishment to [Jesus].’ By Goldhagen’s logic, Catholics were right to blame the Jews, down to the present, including those who had nothing to do with that event.” - Rabbi Daniel Lapin, president of Toward Tradition.

“[Mr. Goldhagen] has an unconcealed antagonism against the Catholic Church, and it shows.” - Rabbi David Rosen, international director of inter-religious affairs at the American Jewish Committee.

“Goldhagen’s article is based on no original historical research. It is entirely dependent on recently written, secondary sources that are in English. This contributes to what can only be judged an inexcusable number of sloppy errors. Several of the dates he provides relating to the establishment of European ghettos are wrong (most by only a year or so, but one by more than 50 years). He is also wrong (by three decades) about the beginning of the process for Pius XII’s beatification; he is wrong about the date the so-called ‘Hidden Encyclical’ was made public; and he seems to misdate the beginning of the Holocaust. He is certainly wrong in calling the Holy See’s concordat ‘Nazi Germany’s first international treaty.’

“He is wrong to say that the Belgium Catholic Church was silent; it was one of the first national churches to speak out against Nazi racial theories. He is way off base to suggest that German Cardinals Bertram, Faulhaber, and Galen were insensitive to or silent about Jewish suffering. Goldhagen says that Pius XII ‘clearly failed to support’ the protest of the French bishops, when he actually had it re-broadcast on Vatican Radio for six consecutive days! He also misidentifies the role of Vatican official Peter Gumpel (who is the relator or judge, not the postulator or promoter, of Pius XII’s cause for sainthood). And he is wrong to say that Gumpel was designated by the Vatican to represent it at a meeting with the recently disbanded Catholic-Jewish study group.

“He seems unaware that Catholic scholars on that committee disassociated themselves from statements issued by their Jewish counterparts following the collapse. He identifies Christian II as the king of Denmark during the war when it was actually Christian X. In what is perhaps a typographical error, he refers to Pope Pius XI as having been Cardinal Secretary of State; it was actually his successor Pope Pius XII. As bad as these are, other errors are much more troubling.” - Ronald Rychlak, professor of law at the University of Mississippi and the author of Hitler, The War, and The Pope.

“This is a remarkably uninformed piece….He lives in fantasy land and he is making this up. It’s a sad case and he ought to see a psychiatrist.” - Eugene Fisher, associate director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.

“Goldhagen is, as usual, quoting the egregious James Carroll here, but he endorses this ridiculous and badly-expressed sentiment: ‘The German people [during the Holocaust] maintained their ostensible Christian identity – which is why the question about . . . acquiescence in genocidal crimes is a question about the content of that identity.’ In other words, Christianity leads inexorably to the Holocaust – it caused it.

“Never mind that Hitler and his minions despised Christianity and plotted against it, never mind that there was a deeply anti-Christian impulse in central German government since the founding of the German state, never mind that Pius XII told his people that Hitler was the Antichrist. In the view of Goldhagen and the wacky Catholic Carroll, there’s something inherently Christian in being a Nazi. As Garry Wills likes to say in his risible book Papal Sin, the Nazis who conducted the holocaust were ‘persecuting Christians.’

“Why is Nazism Christian? Um, well, because Nazism occurred in Germany, which was a mainly Christian country. And look – the only people through history to oppose the Jews were – people who weren’t Jewish! And the Pope – he’s the boss of all the Christians, isn’t he? And Pius XII was Pope when the Holocaust took place.

“It looks ridiculous put this way – but that, in essence, is Goldhagen’s argument.” – Sam Schulman, New York writer and former Boston University professor of English, in theJewish World Review.

“For Goldhagen, the cross and the swastika are interchangeable. This strikes me as not only offensive, but deeply dangerous. By regarding the Catholic Church as morally indistinguishable from the Nazi Party, Goldhagen disturbingly undermines the uniqueness of the evil Hitler represented.” - Andrew Sullivan, syndicated columnist.


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Written by Bill