Crimes against humanityThe Roman Catholic Church conceived anti-semitism for its own theologically confused purposes some eighteen hundred years ago and has fostered this concept ever since.  The...

Crimes against humanity

The Roman Catholic Church conceived anti-semitism for its own theologically confused purposes some eighteen hundred years ago and has fostered this concept ever since.  The consequence has been the inestimable suffering, misery, social ostracism, prejudice and death of Jews throughout the world, culminating in the Holocaust (Shoah), in which the Church was complicit in the planning and execution thereof.

The level of suffering and death perpetrated upon the Jews of the world over nearly two millenia as a direct consequence of the preachings and dictums of the Roman Catholic Church is unparalleled in the history of mankind.

Why, therefore, has the Vatican State never been taken before the International Court of Justice to answer charges of crimes against humanity over the prolonged period of nearly two thousand years?


(h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, culturalreligiousgender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;


Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is very difficult to claim that the Holocaust, for example, came from harms caused by the Catholic Church.  It is difficult to go back and try to parse out exactly how much of the harm done to Jews over the years has been done because of the Catholic Church.  How would you differentiate between the harm done by Catholicism and that done by Protestant sects, which were around in Germany for nearly 400 years up to the time of the Holocaust?

The idea that the Catholic Church is somehow responsible for all the harm done to Jews is excessively simplistic.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Catholic Church is not the only group responsible for anti-Jewish movements.  Although the Catholic Church should not be excused for the crimes against Jews that it has committed, there are other factors involved in creating the Holocaust.

graemebnz | Student

Also see My Post 5.

Certainly Martin Luther was a rampant anti-Semite who learned his craft from Rome.  Certainly anti-Semitism spread, by osmosis, to the rest of the Christian world, even beyond the Western World.

It cannot be ignored hoever, that Cardinal Pacelli negotiated for about a decade on the supportive liaison between the Vatican and the Nazis in their plans for the Holocust, culminating in the 1933 concordat.

The fly-leaf summary of James Carroll's authoritative treatise on the Church and anti-Semitism reads "More than a chronicle of religion (Roman Catholic), this dark history is the central tragedy of Western civilisation, its fault lines reaching deep into our culture."

graemebnz | Student

Anti-Semitic statements were included in Roman Catholic liturgical works since the birth of Christianity and Melito, Bishop of Sardis, in 167AD brought the first recorded charges of deicide against the Jewish people.

In 1555 various earlier papal bulls were consolidated and extended into theCum Nimis Absurdum which, inter-alia, established the Roman ghetto, barred Jews from owning property, excluded Jews from Christian universities, forbade Jews from hiring Christian servants, limited occupations open to Jews and enforced earlier requirements that Jews wear distinctive clothing and badges including conical yellow hats, and veils.

On the question of German Protestanism, Martin Luther was a vehement anti-Semite and the anti-Semitism of the Nazis is directly tracked to the teachings of Martin Luther.  The Nazis were brought to justice.  Not so, the Vatican

The Vatican's direct role in the Holocaust is well documented, importantly, the leading role of Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII) in the initiation and signing, in 1933, of the concordat with Hitler.  Cardinal Pacelli had been negotiating this 'treaty' with Nazi leaders since the early 1920s. Vatican 1 in 1869 proclaiming Pastor Aeternun, papal infallibility, certainly paved the way for the excesses of Cardinal Pacelli.


graemebnz | Student

In the case of the Vatican the question of agency would not apply as the Church is the State, the Pope is it's Head of State.