New Republic editor Martin Peretz was quoted in the Jan. 13 Sunday Times of London as saying Pope Pius XII was “an evil man.” His charge is based on a piece by Daniel Goldhagen in the Jan. 27 edition of the magazine that blames Catholicism for the Holocaust. Catholic League president William Donohue replied to both men today:
“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.”