Reflections on the Vatican's 'Reflection on the Shoah.'.The summer of 1987 was a particularly difficult moment in Roman Catholic-Jewish relations throughout the world. In June of that year Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Italian: Giovanni Paolo II, Polish: Jan Paweł II) born had a widely publicized pub·li·cize
tr.v. pub·li·cized, pub·li·ciz·ing, pub·li·ciz·es
To give publicity to.
Adj. 1. publicized - made known; especially made widely known
publicised and highly controversial meeting at the Vatican with Austrian President Kurt Waldheim. At the time the former Secretary-General of the United Nations was charged with participating in deadly crimes against innocent civilians, especially Jews, when he served as a German army officer in the Balkans during World War II.
In addition, the controversy surrounding the presence of a Carmelite convent at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland was at its most intense in 1987. The building chosen by the nuns a few years earlier was an original camp building used by the Germans during the Holocaust to store the lethal Zyklon B Zyklon B
hydrogen cyanide; used by Nazis for mass extermination in concentration camps. [Ger. Hist.: Hitler, 970]
See : Genocide poison gas poison gas, any of various gases sometimes used in warfare or riot control because of their poisonous or corrosive nature. These gases may be roughly grouped according to the portal of entry into the body and their physiological effects. .
Many Jewish and Catholic leaders vigorously argued that the convent needed to be moved to a new location that was not part of the Auschwitz killing site. The issue of the convent was an international cause celebre cause cé·lè·bre
n. pl. causes cé·lè·bres
1. An issue arousing widespread controversy or heated public debate.
2. A celebrated legal case. that required the intervention of Vatican officials and, ultimately, the pope himself before the crisis could be satisfactorily resolved. The nuns now reside in a new convent that was built in the early 1990s, six hundred meters from the death camp.
Finally, during the summer of 1987, the pope was preparing for a lengthy visit to United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. that included a long-planned September meeting in Miami with American Jewish leadership Jewish leadership has evolved over time. Since the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, there has been no single body that has a leadership position over the entire Jewish diaspora. . The strong negative reaction to the Waldheim audience and the acrid Auschwitz convent crisis placed the Miami assembly in some jeopardy.
An emergency meeting between the pope and international Jewish leaders at Castel Gandolfo Castel Gandolfo (kästĕl` gändôl`fō), town (1991 pop. 6,784), in Latium, central Italy, in the Alban Hills, overlooking Lake Albano. Possibly occupying the site of ancient Alba Longa, it is the papal summer residence. , the papal summer residence, was arranged by the Vatican to ease the tensions. When the meeting concluded on September 1, 1987, the Holy See announced that a formal document on the relation of the Catholic Church to the Shoah (the Hebrew word for Holocaust) would be developed and published soon. Pope John Paul II affirmed the importance of the proposed document. As a direct result of the fruitful Castel Gandolfo conversations, a successful Miami meeting took place a few days later.
Nearly eleven years passed, however, before the Vatican published the long-awaited document on March 16, 1998, as We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah. During that period, both Christians and Jews eagerly anticipated the text, which was to be the church's formal attempt to confront directly the terrible years of 1933-45, when the persecution and then the mass murder of Jews was the policy of Germany's Nazi government.
When We Remember finally appeared, however, it raised more questions than it answered and created more problems than it solved. It remains a highly controversial document, drawing praise and criticism from both Christians and Jews.
The twelve-page statement is divided into five sections: "The Tragedy of the Shoah and the Duty of Remembrance," "What We Must Remember," "Relations Between Jews and Christians," "Nazi Anti-Semitism and the Shoah," and "Looking Together to a Common Future." A short but important letter from the pope to Edward Cardinal Cassidy introduces the document. Cardinal Cassidy is the president of the Pontifical pon·tif·i·cal
1. Relating to, characteristic of, or suitable for a pope or bishop.
2. Having the dignity, pomp, or authority of a pontiff or bishop.
3. Pompously dogmatic or self-important; pretentious. Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, and his Commission is the primary author of We Remember. The papal letter, although brief, embodies John Paul's personal endorsement of the document.
The letter clearly reveals the Polish-born Pontiff's acute personal sorrow in describing ". . . the sufferings of the Jewish people during the Second World War. The crime which has become known as the Shoah remains an indelible stain on the history of the century that is coming to a close." His words are an emphatic refutation ref·u·ta·tion also re·fut·al
1. The act of refuting.
2. Something, such as an argument, that refutes someone or something.
Noun 1. of those who deny the reality of the Holocaust as well as those who minimize its horrors. His letter represents one of the positive features of the document. A century from now when all the survivors of the Holocaust are dead, these words of the pope from Poland, who was born in 1920 and witnessed first-hand the German occupation of his country in 1939, will remain, as will his declaration, in another context, that "this is the century of the Shoah."(*)
In his letter to Cardinal Cassidy, the pope calls for "a future in which the unspeakable iniquity INIQUITY. Vice; contrary to equity; injustice.
2. Where, in a doubtful matter, the judge is required to pronounce, it is his duty to decide in such a manner as is the least against equity. of the Shoah will never again be possible." The pope's words are more powerful than the overly cautious committee-approved document that follows. Unlike the pope's words, We Remember is obviously the work of many authors and lacks a single compelling voice of conscience and contrition con·tri·tion
Sincere remorse for wrongdoing; repentance. See Synonyms at penitence.
Noun 1. contrition - sorrow for sin arising from fear of damnation
contriteness, attrition .
This call for remembrance is an integral part of the pope's teachings. His special emphasis on remembering the Shoah has been a hallmark of his pontificate. Since he became pope in 1978, John Paul II John Paul II, 1920–2005, pope (1978–2005), a Pole (b. Wadowice) named Karol Józef Wojtyła; successor of John Paul I. He was the first non-Italian pope elected since the Dutch Adrian VI (1522–23) and the first Polish and Slavic pope. has consistently stressed the importance of building mutual respect and understanding between Catholics and Jews. His focus on the Shoah was reflected most notably in his 1991 address to Jewish leaders in Budapest. He also reiterated this theme at the 1994 Vatican concert that commemorated the Shoah. At the conclusion of his remarks at the concert, the pope publicly identified with the victims of Nazi German terror when he declared: "Do not forget us!"
The first two sections of We Remember reflect the tone and substance of the pope's letter, and together they spell out the document's raison d'etre rai·son d'ê·tre
n. pl. rai·sons d'être
Reason or justification for existing.
[French : raison, reason + de, of, for + être, to be. . The first part describes the unique bond the church has with the Jewish people. ". . . [It] is unlike the one she shares with any other religion. However, it is not only a question of recalling the past. The common future of Jews and Christians demand that we remember, for 'there is no future without memory.' History itself is memoria futuri."
This opening section also calls for "all Christians" to recognize how the "image of the Creator" in human beings "has been offended and disfigured dis·fig·ure
tr.v. dis·fig·ured, dis·fig·ur·ing, dis·fig·ures
To mar or spoil the appearance or shape of; deform.
[Middle English disfiguren, from Old French desfigurer " by the horrors of this century. For Catholics, the "unspeakable tragedy [of the Shoah] can never be forgotten." It is necessary, the document asserts, to recall its terror. "Women and men, old and young, children and infants [were murdered]. . . . It is a major fact of the history of this century. . . . All this was done to them for the sole reason that they were Jews." This call for appropriate remembrance of the Shoah is one of the strong features of the whole document.
Although only three paragraphs in length, the opening section correctly notes that the Shoah "raises many questions." Although "much scholarly study still remains to be done . . . such an event cannot be fully measured by the ordinary criteria of historical research alone. It calls for a 'moral and religious memory' and, particularly among Christians, a very serious reflection on what gave rise to it [the Shoah]."
The Vatican statement, candidly acknowledging that "the Shoah took place in Europe . . . in countries of long standing Christian civilization," asks what influences "the attitudes down the centuries of Christians towards the Jews" might have had on Nazi German persecutions. Was the Holocaust "made easier by anti-Jewish prejudices embedded in Christian minds and hearts?" Did the centuries of Christian teaching of contempt towards Jews and Judaism make Catholics "less sensitive or even indifferent" to the Shoah? These opening sections pose many of the relevant questions, such as these, that are addressed in subsequent parts of the document.
Unfortunately, the remaining sections of We Remember are much more problematic and troubling. The authors set the proper tone and ask the correct questions at the outset, but they then provide ambivalent, ambiguous, and in some cases unsatisfactory answers. For that reason, after over a decade of anticipation, the statement is a profound disappointment to many Catholics and Jews.
The Rev. John T. Pawlikowski, Professor of Social Ethics at the Catholic Theological Union The Catholic Theological Union of Chicago is one of the largest schools of theology in the world and trains men and women for lay and clerical ministry within the Roman Catholic Church. in Chicago, has written that We Remember ". . . is marked by some perspectives which are incomplete and sometimes even misleading." The Rev. Richard P. McBrien, Crowley-O'Brien-Walter Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame Notre Dame IPA: [nɔtʁ dam] is French for Our Lady, referring to the Virgin Mary. In the United States of America, Notre Dame , has declared: ". . . I believe the weight of the evidence is on the side of the Vatican statement's critics. . . . [B]y the standards of 1998, the Vatican commission that issued the statement did not go far enough."
The document's various internal contradictions and problems are sharply revealed in its central sections, which deal with historic relations between Jews and Christians and Nazi anti-Semitism and the Shoah. For example, while confessing that the ". . . history of relations between Jews and Christians is a tormented one," the document also states that the Jewish people "in their devotion to the Law, on occasion violently opposed the preachers of the Gospel and the first Christians." This observation is unfortunate and unnecessary for several reasons. It conjures up the old negative canard ca·nard
1. An unfounded or false, deliberately misleading story.
a. A short winglike control surface projecting from the fuselage of an aircraft, such as a space shuttle, mounted forward of the main wing and that has been at heart of much of Christian teaching about Jews and Judaism: The Jews of Jesus' time were wedded to static vindictive religious "Law" filled with zealotry zeal·ot·ry
Excessive zeal; fanaticism.
a tendency to undue or excessive zeal; fanaticism.
See also: Behavior
Noun 1. and restrictions. In contrast, the "preachers of the Gospels," many of whom were themselves Jews, were filled with overflowing love and spiritual liberation from the Law's severe yoke yoke (yok)
1. a connecting structure.
n 1. something that connects or binds. .
By using the words "violently opposed," the Vatican text transmits the not-so-subtle message of a moral equivalency equivalency
the combining power of an electrolyte. See also equivalent. between historic, often deadly, Christian persecution Christian persection could refer to:
tr.v. den·i·grat·ed, den·i·grat·ing, den·i·grates
1. To attack the character or reputation of; speak ill of; defame.
2. of Jews and Judaism and the anti-Christian attitudes and behavior of some Jews. It is an equation that has no historic basis. Indeed, it was frequently the church, especially after the First Crusade in 1096, that was the primary source of religious violence. Pagans, Jews, and all other non-Christians were often the targets of officially sanctioned "violent" assaults carried out by Christians.
This harsh and false dichotomy has fostered anti-Jewish attitudes and behavior among many Christians for centuries. In fact, it is precisely this kind of negative teaching that the Roman Catholic Church Roman Catholic Church, Christian church headed by the pope, the bishop of Rome (see papacy and Peter, Saint). Its commonest title in official use is Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council Noun 1. Second Vatican Council - the Vatican Council in 1962-1965 that abandoned the universal Latin liturgy and acknowledged ecumenism and made other reforms
Vatican Council - each of two councils of the Roman Catholic Church in 1965 has been aggressively combating. It is unfortunate that this most important statement on Catholic-Jewish relations since the Council contains the discredited negative references to the Jewish "Law" and "violent" Jewish opposition to "preachers of the Gospel."
In the same section, the Vatican describes the rise of National Socialism National Socialism or Nazism, doctrines and policies of the National Socialist German Workers' party, which ruled Germany under Adolf Hitler from 1933 to 1945. (Nazism) in post-World War I Germany. This "extremist form of nationalism" promulgated prom·ul·gate
tr.v. prom·ul·gat·ed, prom·ul·gat·ing, prom·ul·gates
1. To make known (a decree, for example) by public declaration; announce officially. See Synonyms at announce.
2. a "pseudoscientific pseu·do·sci·ence
A theory, methodology, or practice that is considered to be without scientific foundation.
pseu basis for a distinction between so-called Nordic-Aryan races and supposedly inferior races," especially the Jews. We Remember asserts that the "Church in Germany replied by condemning racism," listing some of the Catholic leaders, including both Pope Pius XI Pope Pius XI (Latin: Pius PP. XI; Italian: Pio XI; May 31, 1857 – February 10, 1939), born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, reigned as Pope from February 6, 1922 and as sovereign of Vatican City from 1929 until his death on February 10, 1939. and Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XII (Latin: Pius PP. XII), born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (March 2, 1876 – October 9, 1958), reigned as the 260th pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City, from March 2, 1939 until his death. , who spoke out in the 1930s against Nazi racial ideology.
However, the declaration of the German Catholic bishops issued in January 1995 clearly recognizes that such Catholic responses to Nazism in the 1930s were inadequate: "Today the fact is weighing heavily on our mind that individual initiatives [such as those noted in We Remember] to help persecuted Jews and that even the pogroms [Kristallnacht] of November 1938 were not followed by public and expressed protests; . . . [We have as Catholic bishops] the heavy burden of history. . . . [T]he 'Church which we proclaim as holy and which we all know as a mystery, is also a sinful church and in need of conversion.'" (This statement comes from the declaration issued by the German and Austrian bishops conferences in 1988 on the fiftieth anniversary of the November 1938 pogroms.)
The forthright statements of the German and Austrian bishops have a much more historically balanced view of the official Catholic responses to Nazi anti-Semitism than does the Vatican document. In addition, there seems to be a tension between the bishops' statements and We Remember regarding the behavior of the church as a church and its individual members.
Father McBrien cites the Second Vatican Council's "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" (Article Eight): "The Church, however, clasping clasp·ing
Denoting a leaf whose base partially or completely surrounds a stem. sinners to its bosom bos·om
1. The chest of a human.
2. A woman's breast or breasts. , at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance penance (pĕn`əns), sacrament of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Eastern churches. By it the penitent (the person receiving the sacrament) is absolved of his or her sins by a confessor (the person hearing the confession and conferring the and renewal." For McBrien, "there is no theological or doctrinal doc·tri·nal
Characterized by, belonging to, or concerning doctrine.
Adj. 1. impediment A disability or obstruction that prevents an individual from entering into a contract.
Infancy, for example, is an impediment in making certain contracts. Impediments to marriage include such factors as consanguinity between the parties or an earlier marriage that is still valid. to attributing sin to the Church as such in this whole terrible matter of the Shoah and of the Church's complicity in it."
McBrien is challenging one of the central themes of We Remember: the clear distinction between the church and the behavior of its members. In May 1998, Cardinal Cassidy delivered an important address on the Vatican document in Washington, D.C., at the Annual Meeting of the American Jewish Committee
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the circumstances popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, and the laity."
During the same address, Cardinal Cassidy declared: "For Catholics the church is not just the members that belong to it. It is looked upon as the bride of Christ The Bride of Christ is a metaphor for the Church, Ecclesia. The image originates from the Old Testament prophets, who described Israel as God's bride, for example in Isaiah 54:5. , the heavenly Jerusalem, holy and sinless." This distinction between the "sinless" church and "members of the church" who may act in sinful ways, and even commit genocide, is, of course, an internal Catholic matter. But this distinction is confusing, especially when the German and Austrian bishops speak of a "sinful Church and in need of conversion," or when the Second Vatican Council speaks of the church as "always in need of conversion and penance."
The section dealing with Nazi anti-Semitism, the Shoah, and the Catholic Church at the heart of We Remember is the most problematic and troubling. It makes a sharp distinction between "anti-Judaism" and "anti-Semitism." Admitting that "Christians have been guilty of anti-Judaism" for centuries, it carefully removes the church from the anti-Semitism that resulted in the Shoah. In its September 1998 response to We Remember, the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations declared that the suggested dichotomy between "anti-Judaism" and "anti-Semitism" is misleading. One shades into the other.
In the document's most surprising, even astonishing a·ston·ish
tr.v. as·ton·ished, as·ton·ish·ing, as·ton·ish·es
To fill with sudden wonder or amazement. See Synonyms at surprise. statement, it states that "the Shoah was the work of a thoroughly modern neopagan regime. Its anti-Semitism had its roots outside of Christianity and, in pursuing its aims, it did not hesitate to oppose the Church and persecute per·se·cute
tr.v. per·se·cut·ed, per·se·cut·ing, per·se·cutes
1. To oppress or harass with ill-treatment, especially because of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs.
2. her members also." This statement flies in the face of nearly twenty centuries of anti-Jewish teaching and preaching by many church leaders. Ironically, ancient paganism was far more tolerant of Jews and Judaism that was the Christian Church.
There were countless Christian acts of hatred aimed at Jews, some of which were copied by the Nazis, including the imposition on them of the yellow Star of David, the creation of ghettoes, and the assertion that Jews are eternally condemned by God because of their alleged faithlesshess in rejecting Jesus as the Messiah. Happily, these ugly teachings were repudiated by the church in 1965 at the Second Vatican Council, but these desperately needed reforms came twenty years TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts, and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised, will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
2. after the end of the Holocaust.
The statement also discounts the vast number of Christian anti-Jewish texts, prohibitions, laws, and acts of discrimination that took one scholar, Heinz Schreckenberg, twenty-three hundred pages to list. Pawlikowski notes that Schreckenberg's work, "The Jew in Christian Art Christian art is a term that covers all visual works produced in an attempt to illustrate, supplement and portray in tangible form the principles of Christianity. Virtually all Christian groupings use or have used art to some extent. ," graphically illustrates how deeply "anti-Semitism permeated Catholic catechesis cat·e·che·sis
n. pl. cat·e·che·ses
Oral instruction given to catechumens.
[Late Latin cat and preaching and the popular culture it created."
Because Nazi anti-Semitism was racial, it refused to recognize the legitimacy of Jewish conversions to Christianity. Traditional Christian anti-Semitism, in contrast, sought to persecute Jews, but it always held out the possibility of baptism as a means of "escaping" Judaism. Even conversion did not always prevent virulent vir·u·lent
1. Extremely infectious, malignant, or poisonous. Used of a disease or toxin.
2. Capable of causing disease by breaking down protective mechanisms of the host. Used of a pathogen.
3. Christian hatred as the converted Jews in Spain learned during the Inquisition Inquisition (ĭn'kwĭzĭsh`ən), tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church established for the investigation of heresy. The Medieval Inquisition
In the early Middle Ages investigation of heresy was a duty of the bishops. in the fifteenth century. Pawlikowski sees the clear linkage: "We Remember leaves the distinct impression that there is no inherent connection between Nazi ideology and classical anti-Semitism. This is basically inaccurate."
The distinction between anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism has also been vigorously criticized by Jewish leaders. Martin S. Kaplan, the American Jewish Committee's Interreligious Affairs Commission Chair has written: "The Vatican statement thus articulates a vast new problem, seeking to disconnect a thousand years of anti-Jewish behavior and persecution from the Final Solution of the Holocaust, as if a split personality allowed Christians to be anti-Jewish, but once their behavior crossed a certain line in the Holocaust, then they were reflecting their pagan roots."
Following World War II and the Shoah, the French Jewish scholar, Jules Isaac, coined the term "the teaching of contempt" to describe the systemic pattern of transmitting anti-Semitic teachings to generations of Christians. "The Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions," Nostra Aetate Nostra Aetate is the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council. Passed by a vote of 2,221 to 88 of the assembled bishops, this declaration was promulgated on October 28, 1965, by Pope Paul VI. , proclaimed on October 28, 1965, at the Second Vatican Council in Rome, emphatically "deplored . . . all hatred, persecutions and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews at any time and from any source." Sadly, We Remember fails to acknowledge the well-established and well-documented connection between the tragic Christian record of anti-Judaism "down the centuries" and the creation of the cultural and political climate in twentieth-century Europe that made the Shoah possible.
In this section of the document, many important questions are raised but not fully examined. For example: "But it may be asked whether the Nazi persecution of the Jews was not made easier by the anti-Jewish prejudices imbedded in some Christian minds and hearts. Did anti-Jewish sentiment among Christians make them less sensitive, or even indifferent, to the persecutions launched against the Jews by National Socialism . . .?"
Other questions include: "Did Christians give every possible assistance to those being persecuted, and in particular to the persecuted Jews?" The response to this question is especially ambiguous and troubling. "Many did [give support to persecuted Jews], but others did not." This statement conveys the false impression that the number of Christians who helped Jews during the Shoah was nearly equal to those Christians who were indifferent to the Jewish plight. This is simply not true. The reality is that few Christians actively aided Jews; many participated in the Holocaust persecutions and killings, while the overwhelming majority of European Christians were indifferent to the anti-Jewish actions of the Nazis and their collaborators.
Another troubling aspect of We Remember is its ardent defense of the wartime activities of Pope Pius XII. Not surprisingly, this section has drawn sharp criticism. This bitterly contentious issue involves not only Jewish critics of the wartime pope, it stirs deep passions among Catholics as well. I personally regret that this defense of Pius XII Pius XII, 1876–1958, pope (1939–58), an Italian named Eugenio Pacelli, b. Rome; successor of Pius XI. Ordained a priest in 1899, he entered the Vatican's secretariat of state. is included because it further compromises an already weakened statement. My own sense is that a defense of Pius would be better presented in a separate Vatican document once all the relevant archival documents relating to relating to relate prep → concernant
relating to relate prep → bezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc the World War II pope have been analyzed by appropriate Catholic and Jewish historians : Top - 0–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z List of Jewish historians:
Main article: List of Jews.
See also lists of Jews by country and List of Jewish American historians. of the period. Because of the importance of Pope Pius XII during the Shoah, it is vital that scholars have full access the pertinent records. Only in that way can this difficult question be satisfactorily addressed.
On September 17, 1998, John Cardinal O'Connor, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , spoke in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the dedication of Clark University's doctoral program in Holocaust Studies, the first in the United States. He said that he was "personally persuaded that the silence of Pius XII [during World War II] . . . enabled him and others to save the greatest number of lives." However, the cardinal also declared: "I would like to see [the Vatican Archives] opened. . . . It would be much better for the world, much better for the Church, if the Archives were opened tomorrow. . . ." The cardinal told the newspaper Catholic New York: "The Pope [John Paul II] would open everything, but not everyone in Rome is as open-minded."
Key documents located in Rome and in other parts of Europe that would provide definitive information about Pius XII remain inaccessible even to qualified scholars. Until and unless the full record is made available by Catholic authorities, all we have is an incomplete and inadequate picture. It is highly problematic when Plus XII's defenders and detractors base their judgments on limited knowledge of the primary source material. Personal testimonies (however sincere) and incomplete data do not allow for a strong defense of anyone in history, least of all the controversial spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church during World War II. To cite one example of the difficulty presented by the lack of access to all of the primary documents, the Vatican document asserts that ". . . Jewish communities and leaders expressed their thanks for all that had been done for them, including what Pope Pius XII did personally or through his representatives to save hundreds of thousands of Jewish lives." To buttress buttress, mass of masonry built against a wall to strengthen it. It is especially necessary when a vault or an arch places a heavy load or thrust on one part of a wall. this claim, it lists the post World War II testimonies of four prominent Jews, including the late Golda Meir, a prime minister of Israel. But there is no attribution nor any historical evidence presented to support the claim that such a large number of Jews were saved by Pius XII's efforts. Most scholars of the Shoah believe, in fact, that no one person or institution saved "hundreds of thousands" of people. Without full substantiation of this figure, the assertion lacks credibility.
In the closing paragraph of this troubling section, the document lists other horrors of this century, including the "massacre of the Armenians, . . . the Ukraine in the 1930s, the genocide of the Gypsies, . . . racist ideas in America, Africa, and the Balkans, . . . the millions of victims . . . in the Soviet Union, in China, Cambodia and elsewhere." This clutter of other tragic twentieth-century events weakens the intended power of the document. Instead of focusing solely on the Shoah, a kind of menu is presented that weakens the uniqueness of suffering in all of the examples cited. It seems to me each horrific event needs to be addressed on its own, not added to a genocidal stew of twentieth-century atrocities. This approach appears to suggest that the Shoah, an "indelible stain on the history" of this century, cannot be dealt with by and for itself. By cataloging other such fearful events of our time, We Remember runs the risk of minimizing them all.
The final sentence of this section is enigmatic and problematic. "Nor can we forget the drama of the Middle East, the elements of which are well known." Which elements? Which drama? Known to whom? Is this a form of compensation and recognition for the Palestinians who are currently engaged in a difficult peace process with Israel, the Jewish state that regained its independence only three years after the Shoah? Since We Remember is filled with empathy and solidarity with the Jewish people, did the Vatican authors feel it necessary to "balance" their extraordinary concern for Jews with a veiled acknowledgment of the Palestinians? Is this baffling baf·fle
tr.v. baf·fled, baf·fling, baf·fles
1. To frustrate or check (a person) as by confusing or perplexing; stymie.
2. To impede the force or movement of.
1. sentence a back-hand slap at the policies of Israel? I sense that this entire paragraph, with its omnibus litany litany (lĭt`ənē) [Gr.,=prayer], solemn prayer characterized by varying petitions with set responses. The term is mainly used for Christian forms. Litanies were developed in Christendom for use in processions. of horrors and its cryptic cryp·tic
1. Hidden or concealed.
2. Tending to conceal or camouflage, as the coloring of an animal. reference to the Arab-Israeli conflict The Arab-Israeli conflict (Arabic: الصراع العربي الإسرائيلي, , was tacked on to the original text by Vatican officials who were not among its original drafters.
The brief closing section urges Catholics and Jews to work together on issues of mutual concern, reaffirming Pope John Paul Pope John Paul is the name of two Popes of the Roman Catholic Church:
Unfortunately, this otherwise laudable laud·a·ble
Healthy; favorable. section retains traces of an inaccurate moral equivalency. In the new century, "there will be no more anti-Judaism among Christians or anti-Christian sentiment among Jews, but rather a shared mutual respect. . . . "Surely, there is no comparison between Christian anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism and anti-Christian feelings among Jews. The roles of victimizer victimizer Psychology A victim who, having been physically, sexually, emotionally abused, reverses the role and abuses others and victim are not analogous; those roles as they have been played out throughout history demand careful clarification and not a facile (language) Facile - A concurrent extension of ML from ECRC.
["Facile: A Symmetric Integration of Concurrent and Functional Programming", A. Giacalone et al, Intl J Parallel Prog 18(2):121-160, Apr 1989]. balancing sentence.
I am deeply disappointed that the document is significantly weaker in tone and substance than the statements on the Shoah issued by the German bishops in 1995 and the French bishops in 1997. Those two documents, along with statements made by the bishops of the United States, Italy, and Poland, are landmark declarations in the long and painful Christian effort to come to terms in a spiritual and theological way with the evil of the Shoah. Some Vatican officials have publicly explained the obvious discrepancy between the vigorous national bishops' statements and the weaker Vatican statement by noting that We Remember is intended for the universal Church, even in those areas of the world with little or no Jewish population. They further state that it is precisely the bishops of Europe, the site of the Shoah, who are best qualified to address the terror of the 1930s and 1940s in all its aspects. In addition, the American bishops represent the nation that, along with its wartime allies, played a decisive role in defeating Nazi Germany.
Other Catholic leaders argue, however, that for millions of Catholics, especially in Asia and Africa, this document may be their only source of reliable information about Jews, Judaism, and the Shoah. Precisely because its audience is global, it should have been made as strong and unproblematic as possible.
We Remember is rich with remembrance of tragic history. It is abundant with calls for repentance; it is eloquent in its resolve to improve future Catholic-Jewish relations. But the fourth "r" of responsibility is inadequately and incompletely addressed. I find it revealing that this key word is found only once in the entire statement, not surprisingly in the pope's letter of contrition addressed to Cardinal Cassidy. ". . . The Church . . . encourages her sons and daughters . . . to place themselves humbly before the Lord and examine themselves on the responsibility which they too have for the evils of our time."
Because of the various limitations and problems of the Vatican document, it is extremely important that it not be the only resource on the Shoah for the world's Catholics. Appropriate new teaching materials, historical research, and liturgical forms are, urgently needed to augment and strengthen We Remember, which, taken by itself, is an inadequate teaching tool.
Cardinal William Keeler Keel´er
n. 1. One employed in managing a Newcastle keel; - called also keelman ltname>.
2. A small or shallow tub; esp., one used for holding materials for calking ships, or one used for washing dishes, etc. of Baltimore, a former president of the National Conference of Catholic bishops and a leader in the Catholic-Jewish encounter, and Dr. Eugene Fisher, the NCCB's Director of Catholic-Jewish Relations, recognized this need when on the day We Remember was published, they said: ". . . [W]e must commit our resources, our historians, sociologists, theologians, and other scholars, as the document mandates, to study together with their Jewish counterparts all the evidence with a view to the healing of memories, a reconciliation of history."
Will We Remember, which was so eagerly anticipated, stimulate the intensive Catholic study of "all the evidence" and the contemplation of the Shoah that is urgently required? Or will this well-intentioned but compromised and ambivalent document mark the formal conclusion of the church's exploration into the Shoah? Only time will tell.
* I strongly believe that after 1945 the word "Holocaust" must always be spelled with a capital "H" and without any plural ending. Unfortunately, today the term "Holocaust" is being misused and abused when it is employed to describe every terrible event that takes place. Such continued abuse of the word may soon lead to the loss of its distinctive meaning. For that reason, I commend the Vatican authors of We Remember for using the Hebrew term "Shoah," which can only refer to the destruction of six million Jews Six Million Jews
their deaths a testimony to Nazi “Final Solution.” [Eur. Hist.: Hitler, 1123]
See : Genocide between 1933 and 1945.
RABBI A. JAMES RUDIN is the National Interreligious Affairs Director of the American Jewish Committee and a former Chair of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations. He is the co-editor of "Twenty Years of Jewish-Catholic Relations." In 1997 the Polish Council Polish Council may refer to: