The Scandal of Catholic Church's
Role in the Nazi Holocaust
Section 1
How "the one true Church"
helped bring about
the Jewish Holocaust :
Section : Intro[ 1 ]234.

( 5 = Roman Catholic victims )

[  http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/RC_scandal.html ]

Introduction :

This first of four sections will show that tragically, the Catholic clergy were not simply uninvolved bystanders who failed to intervene in horrendous crimes committed by others.  Rather, the madness that unfolded in the early-twentieth century had roots that went back through 16 centuries or more of Catholic Church history, during which time "men of God" had fostered a terrible, unjustified contempt for Jews.  When, in the end, madmen in a country where 98% of the population identified themselves as "Christians" dreamed up their "final solution" for the age-old "Jewish problem", there were millions of willing Christian hands, both Catholic and Protestant, ready to carry out those plans (as we lay bare in subsequent sections of this site.)

A ) How Power Corrupted the Roman Catholic Hierarchy :

According to Matthew 20 : 25-27

"Jesus called them (the 12 apostles) to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them.  It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."

For the first three centuries A.D., no Christian clergyman had much power, and anyone who dared to raise his head much above the rest risked having it cut off by the pagan emperors.  But all of that changed dramatically in the early fourth century, when the Emperor Constantine was supposedly converted.  From then on the High Priests of Christianity became part of the emperor's court.  As the centuries passed, they strayed further and further from the humility preached and modelled by Jesus of Nazareth, and became far more likely to be the persecutors than the persecuted.  (For a good birdseye view of Constantine's impact on the Church, see this article (on a web site that I don't identify with otherwise).

While Jesus himself discouraged those who wanted to treated him as a supernatural being and chose to be known as nothing more than a poor carpenter's son, the popes and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church have gone out of their way to find titles and honors that would obviously offend Jesus, who told his followers to avoid even the most innocuous of titles, such as "father" and "teacher".

        Perhaps the most egregious of these is the title of "Vicar of Christ".  ( The word "vicar" means "stand-in" or "substitute", just like the word "vice-" does in titles like "vice-president".)  Try to put yourself in Jesus shoes, and ask yourself what he must think of people who do pretty much the opposite of what he taught, while claiming to be his one and only chosen personal representative.

When the famous British Lord Acton wrote to the Catholic Bishop Creighton, in 1887:"All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." he was only expressing a theory.  But, as we will show in the pages which follow, the history of the Nazi Holocaust has proven how correct that theory is, and how tragic the consequences when so-called "men of God" turn their backs on the extremely wise teaching of Jesus and strive to dominate, rather than love and serve mankind.
        Here are a few of the proclamations made by arrogant men posing as "men of God" :

Pope Gregory VII (1073-85) :
"The pope cannot make a mistake."

Pope Paschal II: (1099-1118)
"Whoever does not agree with the Apostolic See
is without doubt a heretic."

Pope Innocent IV (1243-54):
described himself as
"the bodily presence of Christ."
( presumably by a kind of
transubstantiation at his election)

Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) :
"Every human being must do
as the pope tells him."

Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903):
"We hold upon this earth
the place of God Almighty."
( Encyclical Letter, June 20, 1894 )

Here is what Jesus himself said, (according to Matthew 23:1-14) :

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach.  They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them.  They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long.  They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi.

        But you are not to be called 'Rabbi', for you have one teacher, and you are all students.  And call no one your 'father' on earth, for you have one Father – the one in heaven.  Nor are you to be called 'instructors', for you have one instructor, the Messiah.  The greatest among you will be your servant.  All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted. "

How can anyone who claims to take Jesus Christ seriously hear or read the words above and not be troubled by the behavior of today's "princes of the church"?  Does it really matter that we now call our houses of worship "churches", instead of "synagogues", and "reserved pews in the synagogue" have been superseded by ornate cathedral thrones, and the pompous garments worn by today's hierarchy differ in superficial ways from those of the high priests of Jesus' day ?
        How can anyone read Jesus' demands that his disciples shun titles of honor, and never suspect that, if Jesus considered the titles "Father" and "Teacher" objectionable, he would hardly approve of "Monsignor" (which is French for "My Lord"), "Your Excellency", "Your Eminence", "Your Holiness", "The Holy Father", "Supreme Pontiff", and perhaps most presumptuous of all, "Vicar of ( i.e.  stand-in for ) Christ", the equivalent of "Vice-Messiah" !

How can a billion people be so uninformed?

The Roman Catholic Church boasts a billion members. That figure may well be over-blown, but in today's world, when there are so many opportunities for people to become educated and informed, how can so many people continue to believe this organizations outrageoous claims, beginning with the one that it, and it alone, represents the teaching of Jesus Christ?

How can they not know that "The poor Son of Man possessed nothing he could lay his head on. And his disciples should pronounce the gospel without money in their belts. He would only allow them a walking staff and sandals, according to Mark.' According to Matthew and Luke, he even forbade these.' The biblical Jesus demands the renunciation of all possessions, and in the primitive Christian community, where his teachings and the style of his shared life with his disciples had to have the most continuing effect, there was also more than a hint of communism... The New Testament even observes: "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had . . . there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales... and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need."'

Early Fathers such as Cyprian and, in particular, the noble Basil praised the communism of original Christianity,' Doctor of the church John Chrysostom preached that "the community of property is more an adequate way of living for us than private property, and it is in accordance with nature.”

BEFORE the reign of the Roman emperor Constantine in the early 300's, "Christians" were followers of Jesus Christ who were persecuted and many suffered martyrdom rather than give up their faith in Jesus. AFTER the so called "conversion" of Constantine, "Christians" stopped following Jesus – as I will show below – and started following Constantine.

After 475 CE, the Church of Rome gave a quarter of the entire church income to the bishop. The clergy received a quarter; the lower clergy, however, also had to depend on outside earnings. A quarter was distributed among the poor and a quarter used for maintaining church buildings." But it seemed as if the pope was consuming all four parts for himself alone for years. Gradually the ownership of massive property developed, which was termed patrimonium ecclesiae or patrimonium St. Petri. The Roman Church not only had massive possessions in Italy but also in Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Dalmatia, Africa, and even in the Middle East. After the fifth century, the bishop of Rome, whose "predecessors" had to preach the gospel barefoot and without money, had become the biggest landowner in the Roman Empire.

Then, during the reign of Steven III in the eighth century, a religious war led to the creation of the Papal States, those grotesque monstrosities that would separate the north and the south of Italy for more than a millennium. By using the carrot of heaven and the stick of hell and presenting a letter from St. Peter himself, the pope drove the Frankish ruler Pepin, whose usurped royal dignity the church had recognized and whose predecessor it had put in the monastery, to two crusades against the Lombards, who were threatening Rome. In 756 Pepin gave the conquered territories to St. Peter and his alleged" successors, who thereby not only had massive estates but also had their own army at their disposal.

Now, however, the newly formed Papal States, which had arisen through two bloody wars, were given a more ideal origin. While Pepin still reigned, the so-called donatio Constantini, the Donation of Constantine, was fabricated, which was to tie in with the legend of Sylvester. According to this legend, the terrible persecutor of Christians, Constantine, was healed from leprosy, converted, and baptized by Pope Sylvester I, and, as a reward, Constantine richly thanked the pope by granting him imperial titles and rights not only with the Lateran, as was actually the case, but also with the city of Rome and even "all the provinces of Italy and the Western lands:"

This notorious document, which presented the Papal States as a gift from the first Christian emperor, dated and signed personally, played a crucial role in the popes' battles with the emperors as "classic evidence." And with a view to this document, anyone who misappropriated curial property or even favored any such action in any way whatsoever was condemned by the church.

Hadrian I, who, out of fifty-five letters he wrote to Charlemagne, wrote forty-five that almost exclusively concerned the papal territories, was the first pope to refer to the forgery. In the twelfth century, it went into the Decretum Gratiani, which received the first place in the Corpus Iuris Canonici, the valid law book of the church until 1918. After the followers of Arnold of Brescia had already recognized the fraud, it was finally uncovered in 1440 by the papal secretary and humanist Laurentius Valla in a document that was published by Ulrich von Hutten in 1519. Roman Catholic historiography, however, did not admit the forgery until the nineteenth century. The Papal States, which had been considerably expanded under Innocence III at around 1200, were lost to the popes during their sojourn in Avignon (for most of the 14h century). But by the beginning of the sixteenth century under Julius II, they had achieved their greatest expansion. The pope, who also took up arms to fight in the campaigns, went to war in almost every year of his reign.

At the end of the eighteenth century, Napoleon's soldiers occupied the territory, Pius VI was taken to Valence as a prisoner, and the Papal States were divided up between France and Italy.

While the history of the Papal States has important consequences for the whole of Christendom, it has the most relevance to the history of Italy, which is why I cover it in greater detail at my Moral Relativism Italian Style page, (from which most of the above was copied).

        A Pope in all his splendor How can Jesus possibly smile on Popes wearing robes and crowns that even the most powerful leaders in the world would find embarrassing in their pompous arrogance?  The papal "tiara" isn't just a crown, it's three crowns in one!  And is there a head of state anywhere in the twentieth century who had the arrogance to have eight mere mortals carrying them about in royal "sedias"?
        Where in Jesus' teaching did Pius XII get the idea that it should be the exclusive privilege to kiss the pope's hand, that mere archbishops should be allowed to kiss the pope's foot and knee; and abbots should only be allowed to kiss his foot?  (p. 213 of Hitler's Pope)

        According to Mark 10 : 17-18

As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before Jesus, and asked him,  "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"   Jesus said to him,  "Why do you call me good?  No one is good but God alone."

While Jesus set the example of refusing to accept the title of "good" for himself, how can "the faithful" not see how incongruous it is for clergy who can't dream up enough outlandish titles for themselves to claim that they represent this same Jesus?
        Now, when people develop an exaggerated sense of their own importance, goodness, holiness and wisdom, they inevitably develop a corresponding contempt for the importance, goodness, holiness, wisdom of others.  As we will show below, the Catholic Church, from the period of Constantine right up to and throughout the Holocaust, spent a tremendous amount of time and effort promoting contempt (if not always persecution as well) not only of the Jewish people, but of many other groups as well.  See what cruelty - instead of love - has been inflicted on so many as a result of the contempt inspired by the Catholic Church for "heretics", "schismatics", "infidels", homosexuals and "witches" not just in the distant past, but in our day as well, at CatholicArrogance.Org.

A special case of papal arrogance and contempt for the Jews :

The Pope who made the claim official (in 1870) that popes are the infallible vicars of Christ, was Pius IX  (whom Pope John Paul II beatified, along with Pope John XXIII ).  His importance is such that we devote an entire page to him at CatholicArrogance.Org/Catholic/Pius_IX.html.  The following well documented episode of this pope's life is an amazing illustration of what can happen when human beings accumulate too much power, with nothing to keep them in check :

"In 1858, a six-year-old Jewish child, Edgardo Montaro, was kidnapped by papal police in Bologna on the pretext that he had been baptized 'in extremis' (i.e.  when near death) by a servant girl six years earlier.  Placed in the reopened House of Catechumens, the child was forcibly instructed in the Catholic faith.  Despite the pleas of Edgardo's parents, Pio Nono adopted the child and liked to play with him, hiding him under his soutane and calling out, "where's the boy?" The world was outraged; no less than 20 editorials on the subject were published in the New York Times and both Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria and Napoleon III of France begged the Pope to return the child to his rightful parents, all in vain.  Pio Nono kept Edgardo cloistered in a monastery, where he was eventually ordained as a priest." . . .  ( from Hitler's Pope, by John Cornwell, p.11)

"The notion of Jewish obstinacy was a crucial element in the case of Edgardo Montaro (also spelled "Mortaro).  When the parents of the kidnapped Edgardo pleaded in person with the Pope for the return of their son, Pio Nono told them that they could have their son back at once if only they converted to Catholicism – which, of course, they would do instantly if they opened their hearts to Christian revelation.  But they would not, and did not.  The Montaros, in the view of Pio Nono, had brought all their suffering upon their own heads as a result of their obduracy." (from Hitler's Pope, p. 27)

or read a whole book on the subject: The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortaro, by David I. Kertzer

If only the Catholic Church had done the right thing and insisted that Pope Pius IXth recognize the human dignity of this one Jewish individual and family, then the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII might have been better prepared seventy years later to recognize the human dignity of the many million Jews of Europe, most of whom lived in countries which were dominated by Roman Catholic populations and/or heads of state, i.e.  Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, Spain, France, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, Hungary and Croatia.

B ) The Very Long History of Catholic Persecution of the Jews :

To get a sense of how deeply imbued with contempt for the Jewish religion, and all of its adherents that members of the Catholic Church had become by the time that Adolf Hitler was born into a very Catholic family in the very Catholic country of Austria, I urge the reader to at least peruse the following abbreviated version, if not the complete Timeline of the Church's anti-Judaism:

Period: Events :
c. 240     Origen of Alexandria writes that the Jews "have committed the most abominable of crimes" in conspiring against Christ, and for that reason "the Jewish nation was driven from its country, and another people was called by God to the blessed election".
248     St. Cyprian writes that the Jews have fallen under the heavy wrath of God, because they have departed from the Lord, and have followed idols.
306     The Council of Elvira decrees that Christians and Jews cannot intermarry, have sexual intercourse, or even eat together.
325     Conversation and fellowship with Jews is forbidden to the clergy by the Council of Nicea.
4th century     The emperors of "the Holy Roman Empire" decree that Christians converting to Judaism will incur the death penalty, as will Jews obstructing the conversion of other Jews to Christianity. And Jews and forbidden to marry Christians, hold public office, or to own slaves.
c. 380     St. Gregory of Nyssa refers to the Jews as "murderers of the Lord, assassins of the prophets, rebels and detesters of God,. . .  companions of the devil, race of vipers, informers, calumniators, darkeners of the mind, pharisaic leaven, Sanhedrin of demons, accursed, detested,. . .  enemies of all that is beautiful".
388     A mob of Christians, at the instigation of their bishop, looted and burned the synagogue in Callinicum, a town on the Euphrates.  The Emperor Theodosius wants those responsible punished and the synagogue rebuilt at the expense of the bishop, but St. Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, pressures him to relent and condone the action.
400     St. Augustine writes: "the Church admits and avows the Jewish people to be cursed, because after killing Christ they continue . . . in impiety and unbelief".
c. 400     Calling the synagogue "brothel and theater" and "a cave of pirates and the lair of wild beasts," St. John Chrysostom writes that "the Jews behave no better than hogs and goats in their lewd grossness and the excesses of their gluttony".
See more complete examples of the teaching of these
very authoritative early "Fathers and Doctors of the Church", which
influenced the attitudes not only of later Catholics, but Protestants as well.
413     A group of monks sweep through Palestine, destroying synagogues and massacring Jews at the Western Wall.
414     St. Cyril of Alexandria expels Jews from his city.
681     The Synod of Toledo orders the burning of the Talmud and other books.
c. 937     Pope Leo VII encourages his newly appointed archbishop of Mainz to expel all Jews who refuse to be baptized.
c. 1010-1020     In Rouen, Orléans, Limoges, Mainz, and probably also in Rome, Jews are converted by force, massacred, or expelled.
1081     Pope Gregory VII writes to King Alphonso of Spain telling him that if he allows Jews to be lords over Christians, he is oppressing the Church and exalting "the Synagogue of Satan".
1096     Massacres of Jews takes place in the First Crusade, destroying entire Jewish communities in Mainz, Speyer, Worms, Cologne and other cities.  The Jewish chronicler reports: "The enemies stripped them naked and dragged them off, granting quarter to none, save those few who accepted baptism.  The number of the slain was eight hundred in these two days." The chronicler Guibert de Nogent reports that the Rouen Crusaders said: "We desire to go and fight God's enemies in the East; but we have before our eyes certain Jews, a race more inimical to God than any other".
1182     Jews are expelled from France, all their property is confiscated, and Christians' debts to them are cancelled with the payment of one-fifth of their value to the treasury.
1235     Thirty-four Jews are burned to death in Fulda (Germany) on a blood-libel charge.
1267     The Synod of Breslau decrees compulsory ghettos for Jews.
c. 1270     St. Thomas Aquinas writes that the Jews sin more in their unbelief than do pagans because they have abandoned the way of justice "after knowing it in some way".
1190     The Third Crusade, led by Richard the Lion-Hearted, stirs anti-Jewish fervor and results in the mass suicide of the York Jews in Clifford's Tower on March 16.
1247
    Pope Innocent IV writes a wonderful defence of the Jews: "they are wrongly accused of partaking of the heart of a murdered child at the Passover. . .  Whenever a corpse is found somewhere, it is to the Jews that the murder is wickedly imputed.  They are persecuted on the pretext of such fables. . .   they are deprived of trial and of regular judgment; in mockery of all justice, they are stripped of their belongings, starved, imprisoned and tortured".
    But subsequent history shows what little impact his words had on the church.
In 1227, 1234, 1246, 1254, 1260, 1284, 1289, 1326, and 1368 a series of Councils at Narbonne, Arles, Béziers,
Albi , Arles, Nîmes, Vienna, Avignon, and Vabres
all require the wearing of a round patch by Jews.
In 1290
and 1294
    Jews are expelled from England and southern Italy, then from Bern, in Switzerland.
1294     Jews in France are restricted to special quarters of the cities.
1298     The Jews of Röttingen, charged with profaning the Host, are massacred and burned down to the last one.
1347-1350     During the Black Death, Jews are accused of poisoning wells in order to overthrow Christendom, and many thousands of Jews are killed.
In 1350, 1367 and 1381     Jews are expelled from many parts of Germany,
Hungary and then Strasbourg.
1394 The expulsion of Jews from France, begun in 1306, is completed
with an edict promulgated on the Jewish Day of Atonement.
1420 - 1432 Jews are expelled from Austria,
Mainz, Fribourg, Zurich, Cologne and Saxony,
1434     The Council of Basel decrees that Jews cannot obtain academic degrees.
1435     King Alfonso orders the Jews of Sicily to attach a round patch to their clothing and display one over their shops.
In 1439,1453 and then 1454     Jews are expelled from Augsburg, Wurzburg, and Breslau.
1456     Pope Callistus III bans all social communication between Christians and Jews.
1462     Jews are expelled from Mainz following a conflict between two candidates for the arch-episcopal seat.
In 1467
and 1471
    Jews are expelled from Tlemcen, Algeria, then from Mainz again (by the archbishop).
1475     The entire Jewish community in Trent, northern Italy, is put to death on the allegation that it had murdered a boy for religious purposes.
1492     After forcing many Jews to be baptized and then referring to them as "marranos" (i.e.  swine), and after an Inquisition in which some 700 marranos were burnt at the stake for showing signs of "Jewish" taint, Spain expels all Jews from the country.
1485, 1497 and 1519     Jews are expelled from Warsaw and Cracow (Poland), then Portugal, then Regensburg (Germany).
1555-1559     Pope Paul IV restricts Jews to ghettos and decrees that they are to wear distinctive headgear.
1566-1572     Pope St. Pius V expels Jews from the Papal States, allowing some to remain in Rome's ghettos and in Ancona for commercial reasons.
Mass Expulsion of Jews
A nonlethal eliminationist epilogue
to the murder of 2,900 Jews in Frankfurt:
Copper–plate engraving, by Georg Keller
of Jewish expulsion on August 23, 1614,
published in 1633 : Johann Ludwig Gottfried,
Historische Chroniken, Frankfurt.
1592-1605     Pope Clement VIII includes a ban on all Jewish books in the expanded Index of Forbidden Books.
1826     Pope Leo XII decrees that Jews are to be confined to ghettos and their property is to be confiscated.
1806 A French Jesuit Priest, Abbé Barruel, had written a treatise blaming the Masonic Order for the French Revolution.  He later issued a letter alleging that it was the Jews, not the Masons who were the guilty party. This was the source of many of the beliefs in an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world, which continue to this day.
1846 - 1878 : Pope Pius IX restored all of the previous restrictions against the Jews within the Vatican state. All Jews under Papal control were confined to Rome's ghetto - the only one left in Europe by the 1930s, until the Nazis recreated brought them back again.
Pius IX was beautified in the year 2000 – the last step before sainthood.
1881 The assassination of Alexander II of Russia was falsely blamed on Jews. About 200 individual pogroms against the Jews followed. ("Pogrom" is a Russian word meaning "devastation" or "riot.")
1894 French Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew, was framed by antisemitic officers, found guilty and was given a life sentence. The Church, government and army united to suppress the truth. Ten years later, he was declared totally innocent. The Dreyfus Affair became world-wide news for years.
1903+ Anti-Jewish pogroms continued in Russia, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths during the first two decades of the 20th century.
1905 It was the Russian secret police who created the spurious "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." A Russian Orthodox priest, Sergius Nilus, published them in 1905. It was promoted as the record of "secret rabbinical conferences whose aim was to subjugate and exterminate the Christians." The forgeries are still being circulated. They appear from time to time in Muslim media. Wal-Mart stocked them in their online bookstore until 2004-SEP.
1930s Some American clergy used their their radio programs to attack Jews. Father Charles E Coughlin was one of the best known clergyman of his day. "In the 1930's, radio audiences heard him rail against the threat of Jews to America's economy and defend Hitler's treatment of Jews as justified in the fight against communism."
        This history is what the French Jewish scholar, Jules Isaac, was referring to when he wrote, "Without centuries of Christian catechism, preaching and vituperation, the Hitlerian teachings, propaganda and vituperation would not have been possible."  ( Jésus et Israel - Paris 1948, page 508, )

        "For almost twenty centuries . . . the (Roman Catholic) church was the archenemy of the Jews—our most powerful and relentless oppressor and the worlds’ greatest force for the dissemination of Anti-Semitic beliefs and the instigation of the acts of hatred. Many of the same people who operated the gas chambers worshiped in Christian churches on Sunday. . . . The question of the complicity of the church in the murder of the Jews is a living one. We must understand the truths of our history."

—Abraham Foxman, Anti-Defamation League. {Never Again: The Threat of Anti-Semitism (New York: Harper-Rowe, 2004) pp. 74-75. }

1933     In 1939 by Roberto Farinacci, a member of Mussolini's Fascist Grand Council, while speaking on "The Church and the Jews" says:   "We fascist Catholics consider the Jewish problem from a strictly political point of view. . .  But it comforts our souls to know that if, as Catholics, we became anti-Semites, we owe it to the teachings that the Church has promulgated over the past twenty centuries."
1933     The Catholic Chancellor of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler justifies his anti-semitic policies to the German Catholic hierarchy on the grounds that he is only treating the Jews the way their church has treated them for centuries.  He reminds the prelates that their Church has regarded the Jews as dangerous parasites and pushed them into ghettos for 1500 years.  (See more below on this page.)
1936 Cardinal Hlond of Poland urged Catholics to boycott Jewish businesses.
1938 Hitler brought back various century-old church laws, ordering all Jews to wear a yellow Star of David as identification. 1940: The Nazis confined Jews to inner-city ghettos. 1941 to 1945: The Nazi Holocaust resulted in the execution of over 6 million Jews, a similar number of non-Jews such as Soviet prisoners of war, Polish intellectuals, and about a half million Roma (Gypsies). Also killed were an unknown number of Jehovah's Witnesses and homosexuals. Of these victims, only the Jews were marked for total annihilation.
        For a similar survey of the 2000 year history of Christian anti-judaism, see this highly respected, non-partisan Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.org web site.

C ) The Depth of the Catholic Church's Anti-Semitism :

The quick overview above doesn't begin to show how horribly the Jews have been treated over the centuries by "Holy Mother the Church" or "the Mystical Body of Christ", if you will.  For that we must get much closer to the scene with the help of detailed historical accounts such as those of Peter De Rosa and James Carroll.  First we go toThe Vicars of Christ, written by the one time Roman Catholic Jesuit priest and professor at the prestigious Gregorian University in Rome, Peter De Rosa:

        "In the year 1096, half of the Jews of Worms (in Germany) were slaughtered as a crusade passed through the town.  The rest fled to the bishop's residence for protection.  The Bishop agreed to save them, (but only) on condition that they ask to be baptized.  The Jews retired to consider their decision.  When the doors of the audience chamber were opened, all 800 Jews inside were dead.  Some were decapitated; fathers had killed their babies before turning their knives on their wives and themselves: a groom had slain his bride.  The first century tragedy of Masada was repeated everywhere in Germany and, later, throughout France.  When the Crusade took the great prize, Jerusalem, one of their first acts was to set the synagogue on fire with all the Jews inside." (Vicars of Christ, pp. 157-8)

"Pope Paul IV, who hated Jews, had worked on the document for hours at a time. . .  Soon it was finished.  On 17 July 1555, a mere two months after his election, he published Cum nimis absurdum, a Bull which never appears in pious anthologies of papal documents.  For this was to prove a landmark in the history of anti-Semitism. . .

( It was said of him: ) 'His arm is dyed in blood to the elbow.'  It is no surprise that during Paul's brief pontificate the population of Rome was almost halved.  Jews, who had nowhere to run to, took the brunt of his bigotry.  He knew by heart all the church's edicts against Judaism.  The onslaught on the Jews had begun very early.  In the Roman Empire, Jews had overcome initial hostility to win for themselves full citizenship by the Edict of Caracalla in the year 212.  A century later, when Constantine became a Christian, persecution of Jews began.  They were excluded from all civil and administrative posts, forbidden to employ Christians, or give to and receive from them medical aid.  Intermarriage between Christians and Jews was classed as adultery and made a capital offence.  In a lawsuit between Christians and Jews, only Christian witnesses were acceptable to the court.  Fathers of the church, such as Ambrose in the West and Chrysostom in the East, provided a theological basis for despising Jews which has the power to shock even today. . .

Innocent III and the Fourth Council of the Lateran in 1215 took up the cause of anti-Semitism with a will.  And Paul IV, who hated every form of dissent, was determined to carry on, with impeccable cruelty, the work of the great Innocent.  Cum nimis absurdum stressed that the Christ-killers, the Jews, were by nature slaves and should be treated as such.  For the first time in the Papal States, they were to be confined to a particular area called, after the Venetian Foundry, a 'ghetto'.  Each ghetto was to have but one entrance.  Jews were obliged to sell all their property to Christians at knockdown prices; at best they realized 20 per cent of value, at worst a house went for a donkey, a vineyard for a suit of clothes.  Forbidden to engage in commercial activity or deal in corn, they could otherwise sell food and secondhand clothes (strazzaria); thus was their status reduced to that of rag-pickers.  They were allowed one synagogue in each city.  Seven out of eight in Rome were destroyed, and in the Campagna (countryside), eighteen out of nineteen.  They were already without books; when he was a cardinal, Paul IV had burned them all, including the Talmud.  They were obliged to wear, as a distinguishing mark, a yellow hat in public.  They were to use only Italian and Latin in speech, in their calendars and accounts.  They were never to employ Christians in any capacity, even to light their Sabbath fires in winter.

. . .  A House for Catechumens, that is, for convert Jews, was to be built and paid for by Jews.  Censors of Jewish books had to be paid for by Jews, as was the Gentile gate-keeper whose job it was to lock them in at night. . .

Roman Jews suffered specially in that their ghetto was a stretch along the right bank of the Tiber, malarial and frequently as waterlogged as Venice.  Within a circuit of five hundred yards were crammed four to five thousand people.  According to one Jewish writer, they were 'clothed in rags, living on rags, thriving on rags'. . .

The impact of Paul's Bull was immediate.  Within days, there was a ghetto in Venice, another in Bologna called the Inferno.  Paul's aim was to convert Jews en masse.  Many did cross over to Christianity; most did not.  Atrocities resulted everywhere. . .

Paul died in 1559, but his Bull had set a pattern that was to last for three centuries. . .  Everywhere, synagogues were closed for months on end on the pretext that a single unauthorized book had been found there.(Vicars of Christ, pp. 191-3) . .

One Christian superstition of the time was that whoever was responsible for baptizing an infidel gained free passage to Paradise.  Ruffians roamed the city, pouncing on Jewish children and christening them with rainwater.  In the eighteenth century, Benedict XIV decided that a child baptized against his or her parents' wishes and contrary to the procedures of canon law was none the less a Christian and had to live as one.    If he did not, he was labelled a heretic, with the dire penalties that entailed.  The ghettos were loud in mourning when such crimes occurred.  They grieved, too, when a Jew, converted to Christianity, did as the priest told him and snatched his children from the ghetto.  Once they were baptized, the mother was never allowed to see them again. ( We saw above how Pope Pius IX implemented this official policy in the 'cause celebre" of his very own kidnapped Jewish son, Edgardo Mortaro.) . . 

In the worst days of papal oppression in Rome, Jews lived in a space confined by high walls.  Naturally, they had to build upwards.  As a result, houses collapsed, sometimes during wedding celebrations.  Fires spread rapidly. . .

The French Revolution ushered in the age of enlightenment.  The light did not reach the Vatican.  A succession of popes reinforced the ancient prejudices against Jews, treating them as lepers unworthy of the protection of the law.  Pius VII was followed by Leo II, Pius VIII, Gregory XVI, Pius IX - all good pupils of Paul IV. . . .

If a Christian doctor was called to treat a patient in the ghetto, he had first to try to convert him to Christ.  If he failed, he was to leave at once.  Three or four Jewish children were taken every Monday for baptism and turned into Christians.  Whoever objected, even the parents, was hauled before the Inquisition.  If two Christians testified that a Jew by word or deed had insulted a Catholic priest or the true religion, he was put to death.

Leo II (1823-9) decided Christians were getting lax.  He again locked Jews inside ghettos.  He also forbade vaccination against smallpox during an epidemic because it was 'against the natural law'. . . 

In September 1870, Italian troops took Rome.  They were greeted by scenes of jubilation only matched when the Allies recaptured the city after the Nazi occupation in the Second World War.  Eleven days after Rome fell, on 2 October 1870, the Jews, by a royal decree, were given the freedom which the papacy had denied them for over fifteen hundred years.  The last ghetto in Europe was dismantled.  When that happened, Jews must have felt that their trials were over at last.  How could they know that their darkest hour was still to come?" (Vicars of Christ, pp. 194-5)

Another outstanding Catholic writer's close-up view of
    The crucial role of the Roman Catholicism in Germany's antisemitism :

"To imagine that the Catholic Church was craven in the face of the challenge posed by Adolf Hitler, that it failed to oppose him out of cowardice, is to ignore, as we shall see, the brave history of Church resistance in the not too distant past - this Church was not cowardly.  Nor does the Church's anxiety about Bolshevism adequately account for its relatively more benign stance toward Nazism.  Not even the other usual explanation, that the Church was too concerned with its own power and prerogatives to risk defending the Jews, is enough to account for what happened.  No: Nazism, by tapping into a deep, ever-fresh reservoir of Christian hatred of Jews, was able to make an accomplice of the Catholic Church in history's worst crime, even though, by then, it was the last thing the Church consciously wanted to be.

Obviously, there were precedents to Hitler's attempted genocide of the Jews - Stalin's terror-famine aimed, in 1932-1933, at the people of Ukraine, the extermination of Armenians by Turkey during World War I, the brutal reductions of native peoples in remote lands colonized by Europeans, beginning with the Canary Islands in 1478 and continuing in the Americas, Australia, Asia, and finally Africa at the turn of the twentieth century.

That an effectively genocidal exploitation of the New World was launched around the time of Ferdinand and Isabella's expulsion of Jews from Iberia is not lacking in significance, to put it mildly.  A religious assumption underlies both events.  The record of European imperialism from the fifteenth century on is the record of the movement from aliens defined as condemned in the afterlife to aliens defined as condemned in this life, from aliens defined as less than worthy, to aliens defined as less than human.  The Church, at the onset of the colonial era, was conditioned, and was conditioning others, to see unbaptized strangers as belonging to the company of devils.

And the scientific Enlightenment, pursuing its decidedly nonreligious agenda, added its own twist to this legacy, especially in the figure of Charles Darwin (1809-1882).  He applied his own idea of the survival of the fittest to racial, ethnic, and national groups of human beings.  Like certain species of grass, some racial groups are destined to survive and thrive while others, like less hardy grasses in the scorched savanna, are destined to wither and disappear.  "At some future period not very distant as measured in centuries," Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man, "the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races."  The Swedish writer Sven Lindqvist, reflecting on this legacy of European colonialism, commented, "We want genocide to have begun and ended with Nazism."  But it didn't.  Hitler was less the beneficiary than the product of religious and racial assumptions that had their origins, perhaps, in the Jew-hating sermons of Saint John Chrysostom or St. Ambrose, and certainly in the blood purity obsession of Torquemada.

The line between these two phenomena carves the narrative arc that achieves its apogee with the "Germanizing" of Darwin, especially in Nietzsche, at least as he was caricatured by the Nazis.  Hitler's all-encompassing ideology of race was "a vulgarized version," in one scholar's phrase,' of social Darwinism that held sway in the imperial age among both intellectuals and the crowd.  It was the dominant cultural and political idea of the day.  "The air he [Hitler] and all other Western people in his childhood breathed was soaked in the conviction that imperialism is a biologically necessary process, which, according to the laws of nature, leads to the inevitable destruction of the lower races.  It was a conviction which had already cost millions of human lives before Hitler provided his highly personal application.

So however much Hitler twisted what preceded him, it is also the case that he emerged from it.  Nowhere is this more true than in the way Jews served him in that "highly personal" way.  When Nazism defined Jews as the negative other, in opposition to which it defined itself, it was building on a structure of the European mind that was firmly in place before Hitler was born.  If nothing else is clear by now, it is that that structure of mind had its foundation in Christianity, and moreover, that defining the Jew as the negative other had served as a self–protecting Church's modus operandi down the centuries, from the Gospel of John to the sermons of Luther, from Saint Ambrose to the anti-Dreyfusards.  Antisemitism was a consistently exploited organizing principle, a pillar of Protestant and Catholic identity.  Individual Jews and whole Jewish communities were periodically sacrificed to this principle.  We have seen that again and again.  And we have seen, too, the even more pathological turn in the European imagination when the Jew went from being the hated other to being the attached parasite that was attacking society from within.  [ p. 476 ]

D ) The "Good Samaritans" of the Jewish Holocaust :

Before actually getting into the sad role played by the Christian churches during the Jewish holocaust, I would like to shine the spotlight of history on those who played the role of "Good Samaritans" at that horrendous time.  Although they were relatively few in number, they showed what the churchmen of those days could have done if only they had been half as holy as they wanted the world to believe they were.

  • There is so much to be said about what might be called "the Good Samaritan" nations of that period, namely Denmark, Norway, Sweden and even Japan, which saved most of their Jews, and Bulgaria, which saved all of theirs, that we devote an entire page to them, and urge you to read about them at CatholicArrogance.Org/Catholic/SaviorsofJews.html.
  • Although some people believe that the most powerful church on earth, with the most wealth, and the most members in every part of the world, was helpless to prevent the massacre of 6,000,000 innocent and helpless Jewish victims of the Nazi extermination machine, (not to mention th 4,000,000 fellow Catholics and other non-Jews), a few individuals like Raoul Wallenburg showed how much people of courage and intelligence could do, when he repeatedly put his life on the line to ultimately save as many as 100,000 Jews. 
            "When Adolf Eichmann (the head of Hitler's Jewish mass-extermination plan) began shipping out the Hungarian Jews in whole trainloads, Wallenberg intensified his rescue actions.  As the freight cars full of Jews stood in the station, he would even climb on top of them, run along the roof of the cars and hand bundles of protective passports to their occupants.  On one occasion German soldiers were ordered to shoot him, but were so impressed by Wallenberg's courage that they deliberately aimed too high.  He was then able to jump down unharmed and demand that those Jews who had received his protective passports be allowed to leave the train and return to the city with him."   from the excellent web site on Raoul:
    www.raoul-wallenberg.org.ar/english/wallening.htm

    Oskar Schindler was mmortalized in the multi-award-winning movie by Steven Spielberg, called "Schindler's List".  This man proved how much a single person with imagination and courage could accomplish when possessed of genuine love for his neighbors.
  • While most people know that Japan was one of Germany's most brutal allies during World War II, how many know that Japan's leaders would have no part of Hitler's anti-Semitic racism?  And when one of its public servants, named Chiune Sugihara, was sent to Lithuania in 1939, as the Japanese Consul-General, although he had little prior contact with any Jews or Christians, he was such an extraordinary human being that he felt enough shared humanity with the persecuted Jews that he was moved put himself and his family at great risk to save as many of them as he could.  By issuing them visas, in defiance of the instructions of his superiors in Japan, he may have enabled as many as 6000 Jews to escape the Shoah.  See the story of "Lithuania's Japanese Oskar Schindler" at JewishVirtualLibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/sugihara.html.
  • If the Catholic Church wanted to give its members an example of real holiness to follow and imitate, then - instead of pushing for the canonization of Pius XII, whom scholars have nicknamed "Hitler's Pope" – it should canonize people like these "Good Samaritans".  But to do so would highlight the stark contrast between what the Catholic Church actually did and what it should have done.
  • Sadly, one of those whom the Church did see fit to canonize was a priest named Maximilian Kolbe, who volunteered to be executed in the place of another in a concentration camp.  It should be noted, however, that he took the place of a gentile, not a Jew, and that far from being imprisoned for opposing the Nazis, he had served as editor of an antisemitic Catholic journal and was persecuted simply because he was a member of the Polish intellectual class, which the Nazis wanted to exterminate in its entirety.
  • Another "saint" to come out of the holocaust was St. Edith Stein, which displeased many Jews as it appeared that her principal claim to sainthood was the fact that she had abandonned her Jewish faith in order to become a Catholic nun.  The church conveniently omits to mention in her hagiography that this nun wrote a letter to Pius XI, begging him to "deplore the hatred, persecution, and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews, at any time and from any source" but that her letter drew no response.
  • If any German Catholic of this period deserves to be canoized in my humble opinion, it is the Austrian farmer who chose death by the guillotine rather than "service to his country" in Hitler's armed services. As of late 2010, he has only been beatified to date (i.e. by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007), but read about the life and writings of this remarkable martyr at Franz Jagerstatter, Conscience of Nazi Germany.

E ) Church Opposition to and Support of the Nazi Party :

In late 1930, when Hitler's NAZI party was still struggling to get hold of the reins of Germany's government, a lowly parish priest in Kirshhausen did respond appropriately to Hitler's true views of Christianity (that no one could be both a Christian and a NAZI) and laid down three guidelines for his flock:

  1. "No Catholic may be a card-carrying member of the Hitler Party.
  2. No member of the Hitler Party may participate in funerals or any other [parish] gatherings.
  3. So long as a Catholic is a card-carrying member of the Hitler Party, he may not be admitted to the sacraments.
  4. "
        The next year several bishops of Germany expressed similar views: "As guardians of the true teaching of faith and morals, the bishops must warn against National Socialism, so long and so far as it proclaims cultural and political opinions that are incompatible with Catholic teaching."(Hitler's Pope, pp 105-109)

How is it then, that most German Catholics came to support Hitler so fervently that over the course of World War II the chance of any of them resisting service in Hitler's cause was no more than 1 in a million (literally)?  Only seven individual Catholics are known to have come to the conclusion that they could not reconcile their faith with their nation's policies.  All the evidence is that the official instructions by their clergy consistently taught that Catholics must follow their civilian leaders, (notwithstanding the fact that these leaders were in the process of conducting an unjust persecution of millions of human beings – whether they knew or not that this barbaric mass-persecution included mass-murder).

When Cardinal Adolf Bertram addressed some 30,000 German Catholics of his diocese of Breslau in 1938, he invoked "the Word of God" itself on behalf of Hitler's regime :

" There is no need to urge you to give respect and obedience to the new authorities of the German state.  You all know the words of the apostle:  Let every man be subject to the powers placed over him."  ( quoted in both English and German, by Gordon Zahn in "German Catholics and Hitler's Wars" p. 69.)

        For those who don't know those words, you will find them in one of the books of the bible best known to Germans, namely Paul's
Epistle to the Romans { 13: 1-7 } :   

"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.  Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.  Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; for it is God's servant for your good.  But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain!  It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer.  Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience.  For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, busy with this very thing.  Pay to all what is due them – taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due."

Paul didn't allow for the slightest bit of "interpretation".  He made the same point over and over again, that we should treat any and all rulers as God's very own appointees to whatever office they hold, be it governor, king, emperor, president, prime minister, secretary general, or Führer.  The sad truth is that, despite a few notable exceptions, most of the Catholic and Protestant clergy who seemed to have forgotten all of powerful teaching of Jesus Christ and of the other great Jewish prophets, which we highlight on our CatholicArrogance.Org/Catholic/RC_scandal-3.html page, and only seemed to have been interested in promulgating this strange passage from Paul's Epistle to the Romans.

Excerpts from "The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany", by Guenter Lewy :

Although many in positions of power in the Catholic Church in Germany at the time were quite conservative and chafed at the pronounced liberalism of the Weimar Republic, Lewy points out that :

"The Catholic Church had prospered under the republic. . .   The Catholic Church by the end of the twenties numbered over 20,000 priests for 20 million Catholics, as against 16,000 pastors for 40 million Protestants.  Soon one spoke of a 'monastic spring': new monasteries were built and the religious orders founded new houses and established new schools.  Catholic organizations of every kind multiplied.. .  The 'Catholic Youth of Germany' by 1933 reached a membership of over 1,500,000 and embraced 33 subsidiary societies. . .   In 1931 Karl Bachem, the historian of the (very important Catholic political) 'Center Party', noted with pride, 'Never yet has a Catholic country possessed such a developed system of all conceivable Catholic associations as today's Catholic Germany.'

In time, the Center party became one of the mainstays of the Weimar republic.  Consistently polling 12 to 13 per cent of the national vote, the Center became an ally of the Socialists, and Catholic leaders at various times assumed important government positions.  Members of the Center party held the chancellorship in eight of the fourteen cabinets between 1918 and 1933." (Guenter Lewy, p. 4-5 )

At the time that Hitler was trying to take over Germany, the Roman Catholic third of the nation was governed by 25 bishops who met annually for three days at centrally located Fulda to hammer out national policies.  Lewy points out that the Church had established a very sensible policy in 1921 (and reiterated it in 1931), which informed the Catholic faithful that joining a party like the Nazis was immoral and therefore forbidden.  Tragically, at the very moment when it was most urgent to apply that teaching to one of the most immoral political parties imaginable, the bishops went from opposing the Nazis during the period when they spouting their mad ideas, to accomodating them after they had come to power and were able to act on those ideas:

"The Fulda Conference of August 1931 took up the challenge posed by the growing Nazi movement.  It had before it a proposal to amend the guidelines for the clergy in their dealings with organizations hostile to the faith, adopted in 1921.  According to the earlier statement Catholics were strictly forbidden to belong to or support organizations which pursued policies hostile to Christianity and to the Catholic Church whether operating under a Socialist, Freemason or any other name.  Membership in such organizations was forbidden also in the case of parties which "in addition to objectionable aims pursue others of fully acceptable character," for "membership cannot be limited to certain specifically permissible endeavors." Those who persisted in belonging to these organizations even after warning were to be denied admission to the sacraments.  Now in 1931 it had been suggested to make these rules applicable to the Nazi party, for which purpose the conference had before it the following draft of an amendment:

Obviously the foregoing principles are to be applied to the National Socialist party, which pretends to be no more than a political party with justified national goals, but which in fact stands in clearest conflict with fundamental truths of Christianity and with the organization of the Catholic Church of Christ's founding. . .   The issue is not one of blunders by individuals but rather the over-all effect of pronouncements and events which determine the character of the party.  In the face of these, occasional denials are of no significance?" [ Lewy, pp.12-13 ]

Sadly, instead of offering the faithful the moral direction that they desperately needed at this crucial juncture of history, only a small minority of the bishops supported this great resolution and the conference ended with a whimper.  Lewy explains that the faithful got little help from their bishops, the next year as well (1932) :

"The number of voices calling on the bishops to retract their opposition had been growing.  Hundreds of thousands of deeply religious Catholics, one writer had argued, were members of the National Socialist movement and were caught in a most serious conflict of conscience, a crisis many resolved by leaving the Church.  The hierarchy ought to re-examine its position.  'Why should it be impossible to achieve in Germany, what in Italy (under Mussolini) has proven so beneficial for country, people and Church?'

The Bishops' Conference seems not to have remained uninfluenced by considerations of this nature.  To be sure, the episcopate took notice of the fact that by now all dioceses had declared membership in the Nazi party to be inadmissible.  The resolution adopted expressed fears that the seizure of power by the National Socialists would seriously jeopardize the interests of the Church and declared it 'inexcusable that many join the party pretending to want to support only the economic and other secular political aims of the party.'

All this seemed to represent a toughened attitude.  But the bishops, in laying down guidelines for the handling of individual cases, considerably softened their stand and made their ban of Nazi party membership as flexible as conditions might warrant it.  'It is left to the determination of the clergy,' the same resolution went on to say, 'whether in a particular case the act of formally belonging to the party, without specifically promoting its cultural aims and without participating in its propaganda activity, could be excusable.  This might be so in the case of membership because of an innocently mistaken interpretation, because of the influence of a kind of mass psychosis, because of terroristic compulsion or because of the intention to prevent disastrous consequences.' "  [Lewy, pp. 20-21]

( Just how crucial it was for Hitler that the bishops withdraw their objections is illustrated) "by the pointed absence of Hitler and Goebbels from the official Catholic services held in Potsdam on March 21, 1932, to celebrate the opening of the new Reichstag.  An official communique explained that these two high ranking Catholic ministers 'had felt obliged to absent themselves because the bishops in a number of recent declarations had called the leader and members of the NSDAP renegades of the Church who should not be admitted to the sacraments.  'To this day, these declarations have not been retracted and the Catholic clergy continues to act according to them.' "  p. 34 ]

        No one today views Hitler as "a good Catholic", and he himself wasn't interested in being one at the time.  But Adolf Hitler felt that it was very important politically for him personally, for his Nazi party, and for the many other high-ranking Nazis who were Catholics to be on good terms with their church authorities at both the national and the international level.  (This is such an important matter that we devote an entire web page to it at http://CatholicArrogance.Org/Catholic/Hitlersfaith.html and we devote still another page to the many other leading Nazis who were Roman Catholics at http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/NaziLeadership.html. That is why it was so important for him to get the "negative" policies of the Catholic hierarchy toward the Nazi Party prior to 1933 repealed.

It must be said that there were some Catholic clergy who did oppose the Nazis,

   but they were clearly the rare exceptions to the rule.  James Carroll writes:

"Soon enough, Hitler's pressure on Catholic youth groups, his assault on confessional schools, and his curtailment of Church prerogatives theoretically protected by the Concordat would prompt criticism from a minority of bishops, including Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich, who delivered a series of Advent sermons rebutting Nazi assaults on "Jewish Scriptures."  (The Cardinal made no effort to defend the Jewish people, however.  His only purpose was to defend the Jewish scriptures, insofar as these were an integral part of the Christian Bible.)

A number of heroic priests, like Alfred Delp and Bernhard Lichtenberg, would boldly challenge Nazi policies: Delp was hanged in Berlin, and Lichtenberg "died en route to Dachau:'  But in the end, a very small percentage – 1.5 percent – of German priests were imprisoned during the war.  About a thousand priests died in Dachau, but of those, nearly nine hundred were Poles, almost certainly interned not for protests but as part of the Nazi campaign against the Polish intelligentsia.  Where nine of twelve bishops of Prussia alone had been exiled in the Kulturkampf, the total number of Catholic bishops driven from their seats during the twelve years of the Nazi onslaught was three. . . [Constantine's Sword,  p. 507]

        James Carroll argues in his monumental book on the subject, Constantine's Sword, that the anti-semitism in the Catholic Church was not an exception, but the rule:

"When 'the Church as such,' as opposed to its 'sinful members,' is absolved of any guilt in relation to Nazism, and when the Christian failures are reduced to sins of omission, as if the only crime were silence, then the real meaning of this history is being deflected.  However modern Nazism was, it planted its roots in the soil of age-old Church attitudes and a nearly unbroken chain of Church-sponsored acts of Jew hatred.  However pagan Nazism was, it drew its sustenance from groundwater poisoned by the Church's most solemnly held ideology – its theology.

In this narrative, we have watched as the ambivalence that followed Augustine was transformed into a murderous paranoia, a fear of Jewish blood invisibly corrupting a host society.  That society's attempt to purge itself of 'foreign' but parasitic elements, as happened with the conversos, involves a different – and far more lethal – kind of hatred than hatred of the mere other, which is how Christian anti-Judaism is more often discussed.  That this diabolical hatred of Jews ran mostly below the surface of 'normal' hatred does not change the fact that it was essential to what Nazism inherited from the Church.  That is why attempts to exonerate 'the Church as such,' or even to reduce the Church's failure to what it did not do between 1933 and 1945, are so evasive and, finally, immoral."   [Constantine's Sword,  p. 476]


"Only in hindsight is it possible to grasp the truly demonic character of Hitler's ambition, and it is possible to see early Church support for him as an attempt, however naive, to influence the course of his movement.  But it is important to acknowledge that the real nature of Hitler's purpose in one regard was evident at the start –- his purpose with regard to Jews.  His declaration of war on "non-Aryans" was blatant.  Not only was the rhetoric of his earliest writings and speeches built around attacks on Jews, but the very first organized action of the National Socialist government, on April 1, 1933 – less than a month after the election and little more than a week before the Enabling Act exempted it from all constitutional restraints – was an open assault on Jews everywhere in Germany.  An apparently random Nazi brutality had been demonstrated before, especially by the party's private armies, the SA and the SS, but now the so-called boycott of Jewish businesses was launched across the nation.  Jewish establishments and individual Jews were subjected to cruel and often violent pressures.  The Nazis, that is, celebrated the final unification of the party and the state by going after Jews.  Shops were not just boycotted but burned.  Jews were not just shunned but attacked.  It was a "dress rehearsal," to use Arendt's phrase, for the awful assault of Kristallnacht five years later.

The Catholic Church's response to this display of government-sanctioned Nazi brutality consisted of a foreboding silence and of an effort to protect Catholics, particularly Catholic converts from Judaism, at the expense of Jews.  One cardinal, defending his refusal to condemn the April 1 boycott, declared that it was "a matter of economics, of measures directed against an interest group which has no very close bond with the Church :'  Nor was there any recorded Church protest against the next large spectacle of anti-Jewish violence, which took place a month later, while the concordat negotiations were in their final stage.  As the regime moved to control every aspect of life in Germany – the policy of "coordination," Gleichschaltung– the works of non-Aryan writers, however loosely defined, were quickly targeted.  Jewish authors – Brecht, Kafka, Heine, Hesse, and dozens of others – were declared "degenerate."  In early May, books were burned by the cartload, as copies of the Talmud had been over the centuries, in city squares across Germany The burning in Cologne occurred on May 5, in Berlin on May 12.  Huge rallies accompanied the orgiastic destruction, with professors joining brownshirts to denounce the authors.  Some ordinary Germans protested these actions.  They were arrested.  Within weeks of the end of that summer of the concordat, more than twenty-six thousand "police prisoners" were being held in cellars, pens, and the first rudimentary concentration camps, which were hovels surrounded by stretches of mud and barbed wire."

The cardinal whom I cited earlier as declining to protest the April 1 boycott of Jewish businesses was Adolf Bertram, archbishop of Breslau, a city east of Berlin, now Wroclaw, Poland.  Bertram's position as head of one of the six archdioceses in Germany, as one of only three cardinals, and as the chief of the Fulda Episcopal Conference made him the leading Catholic prelate in Germany.  After the concordat was initialed by Pacelli and Papen in early July, Bertram worried that it had not included sufficient protection for "non-Aryan Catholics;" who were often targeted by Nazi thugs as if baptism had not removed them from the company of Jews.  Though the Church of the Inquisition had flirted with the racial definition of Jewishness, and though some Catholic institutions like the Jesuits were still applying blood purity restrictions into the twentieth century, the ancient Catholic insistence on the religious note of difference as decisive had been reasserted.  Otherwise the Church would have had to yield its hope that the Jews as a group would be converted, for if baptism did not wash a person clean of Jewishness, why would he submit to it?  If conversion was not ontologically as well as religiously respected, then the End Time conversion of Jews would not signal the Messiah's return.  Something central to eschatological hope would be lost.  So Church figures like Bertram and others saw the biological racism of Nazi antisemitism as a lethal threat less to Judaism than to Christianity.  This insistence on religion, not race, as the defining note of Jewishness would permanently separate the Catholic Church from Nazism.  A baptized Jew was no longer a Jew (in the eyes of the church) , but try telling that to a member of the Hitler Youth.

        "Holy See" ?
    Isn't it amusing how English-speaking Catholic churchmen insist on translating the Latin "Sancta Sedes" into the meaningless "Holy See", instead of the correct, but silly–sounding "Holy Seat"?


a papal throne

Cardinal Bertram wanted it told to Hitler, and he wanted the principle set down in the concordat.  On September 2,1933 Bertram wrote to Pacelli,  "Will it be possible for the Holy See to put in a warm-hearted word for those who have been converted from Judaism to the Christian religion, since either they themselves, or their children or grandchildren, are now facing a wretched fate because of their lack of Aryan descent?"  The cardinal's urgency in this plea indicates his firm grasp of the jeopardy the new situation of Gleichschaltung represented for Jews.  Pacelli agreed with Bertram's concern and raised the issue with Berlin.  His note in defense of "non-Aryan Catholics" was careful to acknowledge that the Vatican's concern was not with the fate of other "non-Aryans."  The note began, "The Holy See [has] no intention of interfering in Germany's internal affairs."  That is to say, the Holy See recognizes that the fate of non-Aryans is a matter outside the circle of Vatican concern, with one exception.  "The Holy See takes this occasion,"  Pacelli wrote, "to add a word in behalf of those German Catholics who themselves have gone over from Judaism to the Christian religion, or who are descended in the first generation, or more remotely from Jews who adopted the Catholic faith, and who, for reasons known to the Reich government, are likewise suffering from social and economic difficulties.

Thus, right at the outset of the Nazi regime, and after its savage anti-Jewish intentions were indicated, the Catholic Church at its highest level sent a signal both to Hitler and to the German Catholic Church that the Jews "facing a wretched fate" ( i.e.  who didn't renounce their faith and become Catholics) were on their own.  The Church laid a tentative claim to authority regarding baptized Jews, which would be reflected in its occasional objections to Nazi "racism," as opposed to "antisemitism," but otherwise, it would have nothing to say.  As, indeed, it did not.  Obviously, Hitler was not waiting for this signal before resolving to eliminate the Jews one way or another, but it surely helped him realize that the way ahead of him in this campaign was clear (i.e.  unobstructed).  The Church, for its part, had come to a decision it would stick with, almost without exception – that the "wretched fate" of the Jews was unconnected to its own fate, or that of anyone else.  This decision was the result of an inability and a refusal to see Jews except through the clouded lens of the religious hatred that is the subject of this book."

"Catholicism appeared, on the face of it, to have links with the very right-wing nationalism, corporatism, and Fascism that sustained anti-Semitism or complicity in anti-Semitism on racial grounds.  There were isolated, but significant, examples of Catholic bishops expressing anti-Semitic views even as the persecution of Jews gathered pace in Germany in the mid-1930s.  In 1936, for example, Cardinal Hlond, primate of Poland, opined:  'There will be the Jewish problem as long as the Jews remain."  (which some people at least understood to mean "unless and until the Jews are eliminated".)  Hitler's Pope, [p. 280]

F) 1933 : the year Germany was turned upside down :

The importance of the year 1933 cannot be over-emphasized, not just for Germany, but for the whole world.

When the year began, Catholics were forbidden membership in the Nazi Party.
That began with Adolf Hitler being made Chancellor in January
In February seven Catholic feast days are promulgated as legal holidays (the 27th).
On that same day a huge fire destroyed the Reichstag, the German parliament.
The very next day, the "Emergency Decree for the Protection of the People and the State," suspends the civil liberties that had been recognized by the previous liberal Weimar administration.  Free speech, free press, sanctity of the home, security of mail and telephone, freedom to assemble or form organizations and the inviolability of private property are all abolished.  It also allows the Nazis to put their political opponents in prison and establish concentration camps.
In March, the first concentration camps were opened, Brandenburg near Berlin (on the 15th),  and Dachau, nine miles north of Munich (on the 20th).

In late March, in order to become law, the "Enabling Act" needed a 2/3 parliamentary vote. Before the vote, Hitler addressed the Reichstag (parliament) saying:

"While the Government is determined to carry through the political and moral purging of our public life, it is creating and insuring prerequisites for a truly religious life. The Government sees in both [Catholic and Protestant] Christian confessions the most important factors for the maintenance of our folkdom. It will respect agreements concluded between them and the States. However, it respects that its work will meet with a similar appreciation. The Government will treat all other denominations with equal objective justice. It can never condone, though, that belonging to a certain denomination or to a certain race might be regarded as a license to commit or tolerate crimes. The Government will devote its care to the sincere living together of Church and State." –- http://tinyurl.com/g8gh3

        "The more liberal Social Democrats fiercely opposed the Enabling act. Hitler needed a 2/3 majority, so the balance lay with Zentrum, the Catholic Center Party. Zentrum leader Monsignor Ludwig Kaas, a close friend and advisor to Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, addressed the Reichstag. Far from attacking the Enabling act, or disputing Hitler's claim that Nazism was based on Christianity, Kaas called for a 'yes' vote. The Zentrum faction did vote 'yes,' and the act became law. According to National Catholic Reporter correspondent John Allen, a liberal Catholic and student of Vatican history (he has written a biography of Joseph Ratzinger):" [Excerpt from John Allen's Telegraph article starts here]

"Kaas acted in co-ordination with the German bishops. Four days later, on March 28, the German bishops rescinded their ban on Nazi party membership. On April 1, Cardinal Adolf Bertram of Breslau addressed German Catholics in a letter, warning them "to reject as a matter of principle all illegal or subversive activities". To most Catholics, it looked as if the church wanted a modus vivendi with Hitler."

"The same impression was created a few weeks later when Hitler held a plebiscite to endorse his decision to pull Germany out of the League of Nations, which received the endorsement of the Catholic press and of several Catholic bishops. When Hitler and the Church came to terms for a concordat, it cemented the impression that Hitler was a man the Church "could do business with". http://tinyurl.com/jj2g4   [Excerpt from John Allen's Telegraph article ends here]

On April 1st, the Nazi Party promoted a vicious boycott by Aryan Germans of Jewish businesses throughout Germany.  In April, the 400th anti-Jewish decree was passed, dismissing all "non-Aryan" medical doctors, pharmacists, dentists and dental technicians from German hospitals, clinics and public health centers.  On April 26, 1933: Hermann Göring established the Gestapo (Secret State Police). 

"The [April 1st] boycott of Jewish businesses was the first major test on a national scale of the attitude of the Christian churches toward the situation of the Jews under the new government.  In historian Klaus Scholder's words, during the decisive days around the first of April, no bishop, no church dignitaries, no synod made any open declaration against the persecution of the Jews in Germany."
       . . . "In a letter addressed . . .   to the Vatican's secretary of state, Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, Faulhaber wrote:  'We bishops are being asked why the Catholic Church, as often in its history, does not intervene on behalf of the Jews.  This is not possible at this time because the struggle against the Jews would then, at the same time, become a struggle against the Catholics, and because the Jews can help themselves, as the sudden end of the boycott shows.' "

 (Friedlaender, S. "Consenting Elites, Threatened Elites", 1997 :  Chapter 2 in Nazi Germany and the Jews, Vol I - The Years of Persecution 1933-1939).

(It didn't long for the world to learn how untrue it was that the Jews could survive on their own.)

On April 26th, 1933 (6 days after his 50th birthday) Adolf Hitler had one of his very rare intimate meetings with the Catholic bishops of Germany who were represented by Bishop Berning and Monsignor Steinmann.  The participants in this meeting made some very historic statements.

"He (Hitler) welcomed the opportunity to explain himself to a Catholic bishop, for he had been reproached with being an enemy of Christianity and this reproach had hurt him deeply.  He was convinced that without Christianity one could neither run a personal life nor a state, and Germany in particular needed the kind of religious and moral foundation only Christianity could provide.  But Hitler also had come to realize that the Christian churches in the last centuries had not mustered enough strength to overcome the enemies of both state and Christianity unaided.  They had falsely believed that liberalism, Socialism and Bolshevism could be defeated by way of intellectual arguments.  Hence he (Hitler) had decided to come to the Church's help and he had undertaken to destroy godlessness (liberalism) and Bolshevism.  Occasional harshness might accompany this fight but that could not be avoided.  After relaying this last sentence, Bishop Berning commented, 'He spoke with warmth and equanimity, here and there temperamentally.  Not a word against the Church, for the bishops nothing but appreciation.'

Hitler then touched upon the Jewish question and, again stressing the fundamental agreement between National Socialism and Catholicism, pointed out that the Church always had regarded the Jews as parasites and had banished them into the ghetto.  He was merely going to do what the Church had done for 1,500 years..  Hitler suggests that his anti-Jewish actions are "doing Christianity a great service." 

Altogether, Hitler affirmed, he was personally convinced of the great power and significance of Christianity and he therefore would not permit the founding of another religion. . .   Being a Catholic himself, he would not tolerate another Kulturkampf and the rights of the Church would be left intact.

Concerning the school question, Hitler declared that he would never accept an entirely secular school system.  Character could be built only on the basis of religion.  We must have believers, Bishop Berning reports him saying.  "We need soldiers, devout soldiers.  Devout soldiers are the most valuable, for they risk all.  Therefore we shall keep the parochial schools in order to bring up believers," and in this task Church and State must co-operate closely.  Hitler also promised to continue the Catholic organizations if they promoted Christian ideas and at the same time maintained a positive relationship to the state and were public-spirited.  But all residues of liberalism and Marxism would have to be eliminated.. .  Hitler ended the talk by stressing the great importance he attributed to working closely with the Catholic Church." [ Lewy p. 51-52 ]

In June, Germany signed a "Four Powers Pact" with France, Great Britain and Italy.  At a time when Catholic organizations which the Nazis are being harassed and/or shut down, an organization of Catholic intellectuals and leaders who want to "work with" the Nazis is founded.  At the first public meeting of the Kreuz and Adler (Cross and Eagle) in Berlin, the Catholic leader and Vice Chancellor of Germany Von Papen, the official "protector" calls for the overcoming of liberalism and characterized the Third Reich as a "Christian counter–revolution to the French (liberal) revolution of 1789.  (Lewy)

On July 1, the German government stated that "Reich Chancellor Hitler still belongs to the Catholic Church and has no intention of leaving it."   On the 5th the Catholic Church acceded to one of Hitler's most urgent concerns by disbanding its powerful "Center Party", the last obstacle to his assumption of dictatorial powers, 

Three and a half months later, on 6 July 1933, the Catholic Church's Center Party, Zentrum, dissolved itself. Two weeks after that, the Vatican and the Nazi government signed the Concordat, confirming the alliance between the Catholic Church and the Nazi state. Article 16 of the Concordat, published below, required that Catholic bishops swear to honor the Nazi government, to make their subordinates honor it, and to shun acts that would endanger it. (Notice that the Church was not promising to avoid just illegal acts, but any acts that might endanger the Nazi state, even if such acts were not yet outlawed.)

"Article 16

"Before bishops take possession of their dioceses they are to take an oath of fealty either to the Reich Representative of the State concerned, or to the President of the Reich, according to the following formula: "Before God and on the Holy Gospels I swear and promise as becomes a bishop, loyalty to the German Reich and to the [regional - EC] State of . . . I swear and promise to honor the legally constituted Government and to cause the clergy of my diocese to honor it. In the performance of my spiritual office and in my solicitude for the welfare and the interests of the German Reich, I will endeavor to avoid all detrimental acts which might endanger it."   http://www.newadvent.org/library/docs_ss33co.htm

"Notice that the Vatican committed German bishops to "honor the legally constituted Government." The Vatican was publicly asserting that the Enabling act, which could not have passed absent Catholic Church-controlled votes, made the Nazi dictatorship "legally constituted." So first the Catholic hierarchy fights to get the Center party to vote for the Enabling act (because there was an internal fight over this that Monsignor Kaas, who was very close to the Vatican, won) thus giving the dictatorship a pseudo legality and then the Vatican orders the German Church from bishops on down to honor the Nazi Reich because... it was legally constituted!"

On July 7th, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, already recognized worldwide as a antisemitic forgery, becomes an official textbook in the Berlin school system. 

On the 14th all political opposition to Nazism is outlawed and it becomes the one and only political party in Germany. Then the Vatican initialed the momentous "Reich Concordat" with Hitler (on the 20th).  The ramifications of this pact are so tragic and the intrigues that led up to is so involved that we devote an entire web page to it at CatholicArrogance.Org/Catholic/1933Concordat.html.

In the summer of 1933 there was a plot by leading industrialists to seize the U.S. government and remove President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
On October 21, Germany withdrew from the League of Nations.
On November 7, the German-Christian movement publicly announced its total acceptance of National Socialist totalitarian dogma at a large rally in the Berlin Sportspalast.
On November 13th, the Storm Troopers for Jesus Christ led a Nazi-style mass demonstration in the Berlin Sportspalast.

On November 24th the German government passed a law designed to prevent cruelty and indifference towards animals and to awaken and develop sympathy and understanding for animals, as one of the highest moral values of a people.  'The soul of the German people should abhor the principle of mere utility without consideration of the moral aspects. . .   National Socialism', the law says,'  regards it as a sacred duty of German science to keep the number of painful animal experiments to a minimum.'

December 1, a legal decree issued by Hitler declared Germany and the Nazi Party one. 
On December 15th, Austrians were asked by their Catholic leaders to do their Christmas shopping in non-Jewish stores.  On December 23 Pope Pius XI condemned the Nazi sterilization program.  (Edelheit)

Of the 38 Germans who had won Nobel Prizes prior to 1933, even though
they represented no more than 1% of the population, eleven ( i.e. 35%) were Jews.

"Kristallnacht" - 1938

"On the night of 9 November 1938, the German government organised - a state-wide pogrom, known as Reichskristallnacht, against the Jews. Reinhard Heydrich ( a Catholic Nazi leader whom we feature prominently at NaziLeadership.html) was in charge. Police stations throughout the country were instructed to organise 'spontaneous' riots after the murder; of a German official by a Jewish refugee in Paris. Synagogues were to be burned, as many Jews as possible arrested and the police were not:' to interfere with the rioting. One hundred Jews were killed; thirty' thousand were arrested and taken to concentration camps; two hundred and sixty seven synagogues were set on fire; hundreds of Jewish homes and thousands of Jewish businesses were destroyed. Damage to Jewish '! property was calculated to reach twenty-five million marks. Adding insult to injury, the government 'fined' the Jews for the damage to their own property. German Jews were levied a collective fine of one billion marks for the damage caused by the government's agents. In addition, the government confiscated all the insurance payments made to Jews for the Kristallnacht damages. The Church remained silent, keeping true to her stance that 'the Jews can look after themselves'. Not one cardinal and not one bishop had anything to say about the dead Jews, about the Jews taken to concentration camps or about the burning synagogues. Only the provost of Berlin's St Hedwig Cathedral, Bernhard Lichtenberg stated that the 'burned synagogue is also a house of God' .41 Thousands of Germans who had participated in the pogrom were not instructed by the Church in the immorality of their acts, of the sinfulness of their deeds. So they continued." [from Double Cross, by David Ranan, P.200 ] "

H ) The Support Adolf Hitler received from his Christian countrymen

NY Times
"Hitler Endorsed by 9 to 1
in Poll on his Dictatorship"
Hitler Now World's Supreme Autocrat
Legally Answerable to Nobody for Acts
by Frederick T. Birchall

Berlin, Aug. 20, 1934 – In yesterday's plebiscite, 89.9 % of the German voters endorsed Chancellor Hitler's assumption of greater power than has ever been possessed by any other ruler in modern times.  Nearly 10 per cent indicated their disapproval.  The result was expected.

The German people were asked to vote whether they approved the consolidation of the offices of President and Chancellor in a single Leader–Chancellor personified by Adolf Hitler.  By every appeal known to skillful politicians and with every argument to the contrary suppressed, they were asked to make their approval unanimous.

Although Lutherans and Roman Catholics have been trying to distance themselves from Adolf Hitler ever since his demise and now claim that he was an atheist, neither Hitler, nor the Catholic Church, nor the Lutheran Church pushed for a divorce when Hitler was riding high in Europe and needed a vast army of partners willing to do the actual dirty work of rounding up, incarcerating, torturing, exterminating 10 million victims, and then disposing of their bodies.  There's a book that reports on evidence that Hitler's army even included some Jews!  But Hitler didn't recruit many of his assistants from the communities of Jews, Jehovah Witnesses, homosexuals, liberals, communists or "atheists", not did he recruit them on some other planet, like Mars.  He got the vast majority of what Daniel Goldhagen described as "Hitler's willing executioners" from a German population that was approximately 66% Protestant and 33% Catholic, and from other largely Christian countries. 

This front page of The New York Times, on August 20th, 1934, shows how popular Hitler was in his overwhelmingly Christian country after he had been a Jew-hating Fascist dictator for over a year.

One of the subtitles of the article above was : Reich Bishop at Victory Celebration says Hitler's anti-Semitism Is "Fight for Christianity" (against some imaginary Jewish threat).


The matter of Adolf Hitler's relationship to his church's leadership and membership is so important that we devote a web page of its own to that question at JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/Hitlersfaith.html

Conclusion :

What we have tried to establish in this first section (of RC_scandal) is that the R. C. Church was responsible not just for allowing the Holocaust to happen, but for fueling contempt for the Jews for centuries and then providing a good many of the crucial leaders and many of the millions of "willing executioners" required to actually carry out the holocaust.

In the subsequent sections of this web page, we will cover the collaboration of the Catholic church with the Nazis, first during the holocaust and then after it supposedly ended.

I may be misreading the impression some Roman Catholics give me that they don't care about what happened to the Jews in this far away time and place. But even if there are such Catholics, I've designed a page to show them why they should care about what happened to millions of their fellow Roman Catholics – if not about the non-Catholic Jews – during the Nazi Holocaust, namely JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/RC_victims.html.

Section : Intro[ 1 ]234.

( 5 = Roman Catholic victims )

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