A moral reckoning : the role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and its unfulfilled duty of repair New York : Alfred A. Knopf ; Distributed by Random House, 2002 Daniel Jonah Goldhagen Hardcover. 1st ed. 362 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. -342) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket and no underlining, highlighting or marginalia in text. VG/VG
From the author of Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust comes this inquiry into the Catholic Church’s role in the Holocaust that goes not only beyond anything previously written on the subject but beyond the limits of truth and decency.
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen puports to lay out the full extent of the Catholic Church’s involvement in the Holocaust, transforming a narrow discussion fixated on Pope Pius XII into an investigation of the Church throughout Europe. He posits that the Church’s and the Pope’s complicity in the persecution of the Jews goes much deeper than has been previously understood. According to Goldhagen the Church’s leaders were fully aware of the persecution, they did not speak out and urge resistance and instead, they supported many aspects of it with some clergy even took part in the mass murder – they may as well have been the clerical arm of the einsatzgruppen.
But Goldhagen goes further. He conjures a way to assess the Church and its clergy’s culpability. He then devotes the largest part of the book to proposing a new and fuller understanding of restitution which is of course his central argument. If there were no profit in restitution what would its point be?
Using anecdotal evidence to develop universal themes Goldhagen ignores any and all facts that don’t fir his thesis. His is a world that began at Kristillnacht and it is merely a litany of every perceived injustice that followed.
The Holacaust was the most horrendous persecution of civilians of the 20th century in the West and was the work of the Godless and the Godly alike. Rather than perpetuating hatred as a response to injustice the world would be far better served – and is far better served by others – by furthering reconciliation and understanding. A view of the Yad Vashem recounting of The Righteous Among Nations is of far more profit than reading this book!