The Vatican Statement on the Shoah and Pius XII

  • Richard L. Rubenstein


On 16 March 1998 the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews issued the Holy See’s long awaited statement on the Shoah, We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah with a prefatory letter by Pope John Paul II. The document contains five sections. The first is entitled ‘The tragedy of the Shoah and the duty of remembrance’. Citing Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter of 10 November 1994, Tertio Milennio Adveniente, the Commission declares that

the Church should become more fully conscious of the sinfulness of her children recalling … when they departed from the spirit of Christ and of his Gospel and … indulged in ways of thinking and acting which were truly forms of counter-witness and scandal.

In this statement, the Commission appears to make the highly debatable claim that insofar as the Church’s ‘children’ were perpetrators they conducted themselves in a thoroughly un-Christian manner. The reflection then continues:

Before this horrible genocide, which the leaders of nations and Jewish communities themselves found hard to believe at the very moment when it was mercilessly put into effect, no one can remain indifferent, least of all the Church, by reason of her very close bonds of spiritual kinship with the Jewish people and her remembrance of the injustices of the past.


Jewish People National Socialist State Vatican Statement Nazi Party Ritual Murder 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard L. Rubenstein

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