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The Papacy, the Jews and the Holocaust Hardcover – 15 Mar 2006

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"In this important study, Frank J. Coppa surveys the long history of Jew hatred in the Roman Catholic tradition, the positive and negative role of the papacy therein, and the relationship between the Catholic brand of Jew hatred, so called anti-Judaism, and anti-Semitism.... Coppa's fine book marks the beginnings of a new brand of scholarship on the role of Jew hatred in Roman Catholic and Holocaust history." - Church History "Coppa has produced what must rank as one of the clearest and most nuanced studies to be had.... The special quality and unique character of this study is Coppa's constant attempt to balance the actions and inaction of the papacy.... Anyone interested in the papacy in the 20th century or in the moral stances of the historical church will find it essential reading." - Italian Quarterly "In his introduction to this book, Frank J. Coppa declares that his purpose is to 'provide a historical account of the relationship between the papacy and the Jews in the modern age.' In eight long, fact-filled chapters, Coppa does just that." - American Historical Review "Coppa's study is... the best available, single-volume survey of the relationship in the modern period between the papacy and the Jews." - Theological Studies" --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Paperback.

About the Author

Frank J. Coppa is professor of history at St. John's University. In addition to Controversial Concordats: The Vatican's Relations with Napoleon, Mussolini, and Hitler, published by CUA Press, he is the author or editor of twenty books.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
a thoughtful review of difficult decisions 15 Mar. 2012
By Lewis M. Weinstein - Published on
Format: Paperback
Overall, Coppa delivers an excellent review of the relationship between virulent Catholic anti-Judaism for centuries and the efforts of Hitler to exterminate the Jewish people.

Coppa, a Catholic scholar, begins by describing the longstanding denigration of Jews in the Catholic dogma ... Jews who had had once been children in the house of God became dogs and outcasts because of their obstinate refusal to believe in Jesus.

There is extensive discussion on the vastly different views of Pius XI and Eugenio Pacelli (later Pius XII) during the fateful 1930s, as they disagreed on whether to speak out and risk incurring the wrath of the Nazi regime, with Pacelli strongly opposing and ultimately prevailing. In gutting Pius XI's planned 1939 encyclical, Pius XII rejected and excised the explicit condemnation of Hitler's racist antisemitism.

Coppa concludes with Pope John Paul's evaluation of the impact of Catholic teachings on the path of the holocaust ... it was easier for Christians to ignore the brutality of the death camps in light of their mistaken belief in the responsibility of the Jews for Christ's death, beliefs created and maintained by wrong and unjust interpretations of the New Testament.

My own conclusion after reading Coppa's analysis is that while one can appreciate the dilemmas the Nazis caused for Catholic leaders, and also recognize the brave efforts made by many Catholics priests, nuns and lay people to save thousands of Jews, there is no question that the hierarchy of the Church failed to achieve or even seriously strive for the moral leadership which could have saved the lives of millions of Jewish and non-Jewish civilians, by speaking out early and often against Hitler's murderous brutality. Of course, hindsight reveals that the Church was not alone in this regard. Britain and the U.S. deserve no accolades for their behavior during the mid-to-late 1930s when Hitler perhaps could have been stopped in his tracks.

Also of particular interest to me in connection with the novel I am currently writing are the glimpses of Munich's Cardinal Faulhaber, from his relatively outspoken support of Jews and opposition to the Nazis in the 1920s, to his far more passive statements in the 1930s. This has led me to try to understand more clearly how the Vatican operated (and still operates) to control the thoughts and statements of subordinate cardinals and bishops, a process highly visible in the Church's sexual abuse scandals of our own day.
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