Today's Los Angeles Times (Wed. May 31, 2006) features a nasty anti-Catholic op-ed by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. Goldhagen is an author of several works that have brutally attacked the Catholic Church, including a 2002 New Republic piece that's been called "one of the most virulent attacks against the Roman Catholic Church ever printed in a major American publication" (and a rabbi opined that!).
Goldhagen wrote in the Times in reference to Pope Benedict's recent appearance at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp. The smears and invectives from Goldhagen are numerous. He baselessly asserts an "unavoidable causal, historical and moral link connecting the church, the Nazis and Auschwitz" while staking his bogus claim of "a connection between the Catholic Church, Christianity and the Holocaust." Goldhagen then accuses Pope Benedict of "clouded historical understanding" and "whitewashing of the past."
But especially brutal are Goldhagen's attacks on Pope Pius XII (the Church's leader during World War II). Goldhagen claims that Pope Pius XII "supported or called for the persecution of the Jews." He then implies that Pius was an anti-Semite and did nothing during the Holocaust by asking, "Why they (the Church) didn't speak out. Why they didn't do more to help Jews."
In fact, while liberal "scholars" like Goldhagen have sought to smear Pius XII, the historical record lauds this Pope for rescuing thousands of Jews and speaking out against the Holocaust. For example:
The Israeli diplomat and scholar Pinchas Lapide once claimed, "The Catholic Church under the pontificate of Pius XII was instrumental in saving lives of as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands." Lapide adds that this "figure far exceeds those saved by all other Churches and rescue organizations combined." ("The Truth About Pope Pius XII," by Sister Margherita Marchione. Ph.D.) Lapide wrote a 1967 book, Three Popes and the Jews.
A December 25, 1942, New York Times editorial declared, "The voice of Pius XII is a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas...He is about the only ruler left on the Continent of Europe who dares to raise his voice at all."
Headlines from the New York Times in 1942 read, “Pope Is Said to Plead for Jews Listed for Removal from France” (August 6, 1942) and “Vichy Seizes Jews; Pope Pius Ignored” (August 27, 1942). (Must-read source: "The nun versus the spin master," by Margherita Marchione).
A wartime pamphlet by Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels reportedly branded Pius XII as a “pro-Jewish Pope” (source).
In a 1940's Time magazine article, Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. …The Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom." (source)
Here's some excellent articles on the truth about Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust:
- "The Truth About Pope Pius XII," by Sister Margherita Marchione. Ph.D.
- "The Real Story of Pius XII and the Jews," by James Bogle
- "How Pius XII Protected Jews," by Jimmy Akin
- "Catholic Heroes of the Holocaust," by Elizabeth Altham
- "How to Manufacture a Legend: The Controversy over the Alleged Silence of Pope Pius XII in World War II," by Robert A. Graham, S.J.
Also highly recommended are the terrific books, The Myth of Hitler's Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis by David G. Dalin and The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice by Philip Jenkins.