It will be remembered as the most irresponsible frontal assault on Roman Catholicism to be published by a mainstream magazine in years. To be specific, we are referring to theNew Republic’s lengthy diatribe by Daniel Goldhagen that appeared in the January 27 edition of the magazine.
The article, “What Would Jesus Have Done?”, is an excerpt from a book that will appear in the fall, A Moral Reckoning: The Catholic Church During the Holocaust and Today. Ostensibly about the alleged failure of Pope Pius XII to defend the Jews during the Holocaust, in reality the work is an indictment of the history of the Catholic Church. There are so many omissions of fact, historical inaccuracies and deliberate twisting of the evidence as to put it in a class all by itself. This is not the work of a scholar. It is the work of a bigot.
The editor of the New Republic magazine, Martin Peretz, was quoted in the January 13 Sunday Times of London as saying Pope Pius XII was “an evil man.” William Donohue replied to Peretz and Goldhagen in the following news release:
“Ask any American who were the evil men of the last 100 years and the names of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao and bin Laden roll off their lips. Ask Martin Peretz and he answers Pope Pius XII. Never mind that this pope has been credited by Jews all over the world (e.g. Pinchas Lapide, Golda Meir, Albert Einstein, as well as dozens of Jewish organizations) with saving more Jews than any other person, Peretz, following Goldhagen, is convinced he was ‘evil.’ Could it be that he came to this conclusion because he is riddled with guilt? After all, he inherited a magazine that bowed to Hitler. Dorothy Wickenden, a writer who previously worked for Peretz, has written that ‘The New Republic counseled fatalism and restraint in the face of Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco.’ Now had the magazine’s editors followed the lead of the Catholic Church, perhaps more Jews would have been saved.
“As for Goldhagen, he finds incredulous the idea that without anti-Judaism in the Church, Nazism would never have existed. This shows his naiveté: the pseudo-scientific racism and exterminationist policies of Hitler were born of a particular set of historical conditions having nothing to do with Catholicism. But to those engaged in witch-hunts, a careful examination of these factors is nothing but a distraction.
“Goldhagen likes his history black and white. His previous work, one that was widely discredited by serious scholars, sought a wholesale indictment of the entire German nation. His new scapegoat is the Catholic Church. But what separates him from the cottage industry of Pius’ critics is his thinly veiled hatred of Catholicism from top to bottom. Indeed, his enfeebled attack on the Catholic Catechism demonstrates that it is the theology he despises most. Which is why Goldhagen is nothing more than a Jewish version of Bob Jones.”