The Papacy, the Jews, and the Holocaust

The Papacy, the Jews, and the Holocaust

Frank J. Coppa
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 376
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  • Book Info
    The Papacy, the Jews, and the Holocaust
    Book Description:

    This work not only examines Rome's reaction during the fascist period but delves into the broader historical development and the impact of theological anti-Judaism

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1595-2
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. INTRODUCTION: The Papacy and the Jews between History and Polemic
    (pp. vii-xviii)

    THE PAPACY, OR OFFICE OF THE BISHOP OF ROME, has long played a crucial role in Western civilization, exercising a unique role in Catholicism and generating widespread interest.¹ Some writers, linking the cross and the swastika, have seen its history and theology as steeped in hostility toward the Jews and as influencing what one writer has called “the longest hatred,” anti-Semitism.² In the post–World War II era, and increasingly since 1963, there has been renewed scrutiny of Rome’s alleged “pathological” aversion to Jews, which forms part of the literature on Jewish-Christian relations.³ My inquiry focused initially on Pius XII’s...

    (pp. xix-xxii)
    (pp. 1-40)

    DEFENDERS AND DENIGRATORS of the papacy have explored its policies and practices toward Jews over the centuries in order to commend or condemn the institution. Since Rome’s position toward the Israelites was dialectical, oscillating between paternal protection and overt persecution, both camps have found evidence for their preconceived conclusions and stereotypical prejudices. Focusing on one aspect of the relationship while virtually ignoring the other makes for interesting polemic but not for good history. “Since it is so important to reject an inhuman anti-Semitism and to encourage formation of a truly human relationship between Christians and Jews,” in the words of...

  6. 2 ANTI-JUDAISM IN THE CHURCH: From the French Revolution to the Mid-Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 41-76)

    THE PAPAL RESPONSE to the ideological transformation initiated by the French and Industrial Revolutions reflected a clash of cultures. The popes from Pius VI (1775–99) to Gregory XVI (1831–46) were pressed to reconcile the traditionalism of the Church and papal transcendent claims with the liberal and nationalist innovations of the age. It proved a difficult and at times an impossible task. It is within this context that the Church’s attitude toward Jews and the separate, though related, issue of its response to Jewish emancipation during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries must be examined. After the Nazi genocide, however,...

  7. 3 PIO NONO AND THE JEWS: From Reform to Reaction, 1846–1878
    (pp. 77-106)

    GIOVANNI MARIA MASTAI-FERRETTI was elected pope on 16 June 1846, assuming the name Pius IX (Pio Nono), in honor of Pius VII, who had issued the dispensation that allowed the epileptic Giovanni to enter the priesthood.¹ Ordained in 1819, he received holy orders not to make a career but to serve as a pastor of souls. His first assignment as a priest was at a Roman orphanage, where he remained until 1823. From 1823 to 1825 he accompanied the apostolic delegate to Chile and Peru, in a venture he initially thought would be more missionary than diplomatic.² Following his return...

    (pp. 107-141)

    THE TASK OF THE 1878 CONCLAVE, the first following the papal loss of Rome, and the papacy’s self-imposed “imprisonment” in the Vatican, did not prove easy.¹ The pontificate of Pius IX, Pio Nono (1846–78), had witnessed problems with Italy, Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland, among other powers. Serious ideological dissension complicated the picture, with some resentment of papal policy within the church, and more outside. These were those who questioned the policies of the “unmoved and immovable” Pio Nono, who had arrayed the powers of the Church against the social, scientific, and political trends of contemporary civilization, and called...

    (pp. 142-179)

    AFTER THE DEATH OF BENEDICT XV IN JANUARY 1922, Achille Ratti, the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, was elected pope and assumed the name Pius in honor of Pius IX, whom he admired. Ordained a priest at the end of 1879, following study at the Gregorian University and the Sapienza in Rome, he received degrees in philosophy, theology, and law. He was summoned to Rome in 1910 to serve as vice-prefect of the Vatican Library, becoming its prefect in 1914. Ratti had to abandon this refuge in 1918, when he was appointed apostolic visitor to Poland. During his visit to Sandomierz,...

    (pp. 180-218)

    TOWARD THE END OF PIUS XI’S PONTIFICATE, a dual specter haunted the Vatican. There was the fear that relations between Rome and the fascist dictators would deteriorate to the point that the concordats would collapse, and there was the fear that a new world war would erupt, with disastrous consequences for the Church. Those who sought to avert these plagues counted upon the leadership of the politically astute Eugenio Giovanni Pacelli, who had been nuncio in Munich and Berlin and knew Germany well. Expected to pursue a more diplomatic, less confrontational course than his predecessor, Pacelli did not disappoint those...

  11. 7 JOHN XXIII, PAUL VI, AND VATICAN II: Aggiornamento and the New Relationship between Catholics and Jews
    (pp. 219-254)

    PIUS XII’S DEATH IN EARLY OCTOBER 1958 led to the conclave of 25 October. Although the full complement of cardinals then numbered seventy, only fifty-three were present, and when two died prior to the conclave their number was reduced to fifty-one. The Italians, who constituted eighteen out of the fifty-one, represented the largest and most important bloc, followed by the French cardinals, who formed the second-largest group after the Italians.¹ This solidified the candidacy of the seventy-six-year-old Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, who was well known and admired by both groups. His advanced age likewise proved advantageous, for many of the cardinals...

  12. 8 APOLOGY AND RECONCILIATION: John Paul II Confronts the Church’s Anti-Judaic Past and the Holocaust
    (pp. 255-295)

    FOLLOWING PAUL VI’S DEATH IN 1978, the Church remained deeply divided over the consequences of the Second Vatican Council. Some warned that Rome confronted its most serious crisis since the French Revolution. Conservatives, led by Marcel Lefebvre, denounced conciliar innovations, regretted the reconciliation with Judaism and the abandonment of the Latin mass, and pined for the traditionalism of the pre–Vatican II period. To complicate matters, liberals who decried Rome’s conservative stance on sexual and administrative issues as well as the limitations on the laity, were likewise dissatisfied, complaining that John’s aggiornamento had been aborted. Some believed that the Church...

  13. CONCLUSION: The Papacy and the Jews, Past and Present
    (pp. 296-312)

    THE OFTEN TORTURED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CATHOLICS AND JEWS stretching over millennia has undergone dramatic and substantial changes during the latter half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first. Two events played a key role in this transformation, which some have described as an evolution and others as a revolution: the Holocaust and the Second Vatican Council. The tragedy of the former played a part in ushering in the reforms of the latter, two decades after the genocide of the Jews. In a sense, the fifteen lengthy sentences of the “Nostra aetate” of Vatican II, conceived by...

    (pp. 313-346)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 347-353)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 354-354)