U.S. Catholics and the Holocaust

| 2/26/2008 1:24:16 PM

The United States and the Catholic church have both been criticized for their cautious responses to the early years of the holocaust. Focusing on the ultimate shortcomings, however, paints an incomplete picture. Historical documentation recently emerged of a full-throated opposition to Hitler existing in the U.S. Catholic church.

A recording of a radio broadcast from November 16, 1938—a week after Kristallnacht—was discovered in the Catholic University of America archives. In the broadcast, several prominent U.S. clergy, along with former New York governor and presidential candidate Al Smith, condemned the Nazis’ actions and expressed support for Germany’s Jews. The university’s magazine describes how the broadcast featured the archbishop of San Francisco declaring unequivocal solidarity with the Jewish people—a rare interfaith gesture in the world of the church prior to the Vatican II reforms of the 1960s. A transcript and audio clip of the broadcast are available on CUA’s website.

Obviously, this sort of documentary evidence doesn’t overturn the overall historical verdict—the church could have done more. It does, however, shed light on the complexity of a tense and tragic period of history.

(Thanks, dotCommonweal.)

Steve Thorngate

Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter

click me