Katharine T. Hargrove, "Holocaust Theology," SIDIC 7:2 (1974) 18-21

Abstract by Jerry Darring


Sr. Katharine traces outlines the thoughts of leading Jewish thinkers responding to the Holocaust, including Jacob Neusner, Emil Fackenheim, Eugene Borowitz, Richard Rubenstein, and Michael Wyschgorod. Some are pessimistic, but most have maintained their faith in Israel and its God.

When it comes to Christians, Hargrove quotes the recent book by Claire Bishop, How Catholics Look at Jews, which showed that in Italian, Spanish and French teaching materials, there was no mention of the Holocaust.

On the subject of Christian complicity in the Holocaust, Hargrove quotes unpublished notes taken at the 1974 NCCJ Conference on the Church struggle and the Holocaust, in which Jews made a distinction between demonic and constructive guilt. "Demonic guilt can only feed the flames of anti-Semitism. Any exploitation of Christian demonic guilt is not only senseless but vile. Constructive guilt, on the contrary , can cleanse the Christian conscience if members of the Jewish covenant agree that the anti-Semitism of the years 1933-1945 is not endemic to the Christian faith. For Christians to assume that they alone bear the blame for the Nazi conflagration is to assume that their Church is omnipotent. Such obviously is not the case. For Christians to isolate the death of six million Jews from the death of seven million Christians is to negate the bonds of our shared humanity."