The Vatican and the Jewish Question:
The Record of the Hitler Period—and After
IT IS an indisputable fact that during the difficult years of the Nazi occupation, the Catholic faith in Europe gained new vigor. Today, after vying with Communism during the years of occupation as the focus of mass resistance against the invader, and sacrificing martyrs by the thousands, Catholicism is regarded by many as the strongest nucleus of resistance against the influence of the Communist myth.
One of the most important manifestations of the Catholic resistance against the Nazis was the effort to give assistance to the Jews, since persecution of Jews involved for the Church a question of principle-the inviolability of human life. (The matter presented itself differently for the Communists, who, mobilizing all their energies for the total struggle against the immediate enemy, were only moderately interested in the question of principle. Taken individually, they did many wonderful things: but human life in se remained for them a secondary issue.) Behind this question of principle, however, lay the whole complex problem of the attitude of the Catholic Church towards Judaism. Leaving out the Soviet Union, nearly 80 per cent of the European territory invaded by Germany was under the jurisdiction of the Church of Rome. And thus during the years of occupation the “Jewish question” in all its aspects was placed before the Catholic Church more sharply than it has been since the Middle Ages.
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