HAU

The Roman Catholic Church, the Holocaust, and the demonization of the Jews: Response to "Benjamin and us: Christanity, its Jews, and history" by Jeanne Favret-Saada

David I. Kertzer

Abstract


Following eleven years' work, in 1998 a high-level Vatican commission instituted by Pope John Paul II offered what has become the official position of the Roman Catholic Church denying any responsibility for fomenting the kind of demonization of the Jews that made the Holocaust possible. In a 2001 book, The popes against the Jews, I demonstrated that in fact the church played a major role in leading Catholics throughout Europe to view Jews as an existential threat. Yet defenders of the church position continue to deny the historical evidence and to launch ferocious ad hominem attacks against scholars who have researched the subject. The anti-Semitism promulgated by the church can be seen as part of the long battle it waged against modernity, with which the Jews were identified. 


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau4.3.020