Were the Popes Against the Jews? Tracking the Myths, Confronting the Ideologues by Justus George Lawler - review by William Doino

William Doino

Pontiffs & Prejudice

Were the Popes Against the Jews? Tracking the Myths, Confronting the Ideologues

By

Wm B Eerdmans 387pp £23.99 order from our bookshop
 

In 1997 Pope John Paul II spoke to a Vatican symposium in Rome on the legacy of anti-Judaism in the Catholic Church. ‘In the Christian world,’ he said, ‘erroneous and unjust interpretations of the New Testament regarding the Jewish people and their alleged culpability have circulated for too long.’ Such prejudice deformed the souls of Christians and ‘contributed to the lulling of consciences, so that when the wave of persecutions swept across Europe … the spiritual resistance of many was not what humanity rightfully expected from the disciples of Christ.’ 

The following year, the pope issued the Vatican’s response to the Holocaust, We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, in which he expressed the Church’s ‘deep sorrow for the failures of her sons and daughters in every age’, particularly during the Holocaust. Both the symposium and Shoah document were widely

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