Chris Manus, "Roman Catholicism and the Nazis: A Review of the Attitude of the Church during the Persecutions of the Jews in Hitler's Europe," in Yehuda Bauer, ed., Remembering for the Future: Working Papers and Addenda, Oxford, England: Pergamon Press, vol. 1, 1989, pp. 93-108

Abstract by Jerry Darring


Manus writes first about the emergence of National Socialism. He discusses the actions of the hierarchy during this period, and focuses on the signing of the concordat in 1933. He concludes that the bishops "were rather concerned with the defense of their own institutions, rights, social and professional interests than the plight of the Jews in their midst" (98).

He then writes about the discord among the German bishops and the paralyzing effect it had on their actions. His conclusion is that "most bishops in both Germany and Austria, even Rome, by their procrastination and silence were culpable in the emergence of a climate of hatred and injustice that made the tragedy of the Holocaust possible" (100).

After discussing Hitler's total war in the years 1938 to 1941, and Kristallnacht and its consequences, Manus turns his attention to Pope Pius XII. Manus is very hard on the pope, dismissing the most common justifications given for the pope's silence, and even referring to the 1942 Christmas broadcast as "cowardly written" (105).

Manus's overall conclusion is that "the Catholic Church shared co-responsibility not only in the rise but also in the crimes of totalitarian Nazism," its very silence being a form of consent (106).