Gregory Baum, "Catholic Dogma after Auschwitz," in Alan T. Davies, ed., Anti-Semitism and the Foundations of Christianity, Ramsey, NJ: Paulist Press, 1979, pp. 137-150


Abstract by Jerry Darring


The Holocaust represents in a sense a moment of revelation summoning the Church to free itself of its anti-Jewish ideological teaching. It is a special sign of the times empowering the Church to correct even its central dogma "to the extent that it distorts God's action in Christ and promotes human destruction" (p. 142). It acted out the Christian fantasy that the Jews, a non-people with no place before God, should have disappeared long ago by accepting Christ.

It is no wonder, therefore, that in the post-Holocaust period, the Church in the Second Vatican Council established a new teaching in Catholic history: that the Jews are still God's chosen people, that they receive God's grace through their religion, and that Christians should converse and cooperate with Jews. But the Church has to do more than change its pastoral policies, for the basis for the Church's anti-Jewish ideology is its central dogma regarding Jesus Christ. The Jews are foolish in waiting for their messiah if Jesus fulfilled all the promises made to Israel and incarnates all of God's love and truth.

A new Christology is needed, therefore, one that does not present Jesus as the all-fulfilling messiah of Israel, the completion of the order of redemption, and the only provider of access to divinity, and yet at the same time presents Jesus as holding a pivotal place in the history of salvation.