Thursday, May 12, 2016

Well Said: A Forgotten Fact About the Holocaust

That the Holocaust was initiated by a mostly Protestant nation is sometimes forgotten; that the Catholic Church, by virtue of its stronger institutional identity, did much more than the Protestants did to resist Hitler was revealed to the White House in many secret reports to Roosevelt.
Mark Riebling (Church of Spies author),
interview with Sam Harris, Rethinking Hitler's Pope
This never occurred to me, actually. It was surprising. I've begun Church of Spies, which read like a great spy novel at times, and had gone looking around to see if Riebling is Catholic. Turns out he was raised Catholic, left the Church, and doesn't actually seem like a fan of religion in general. Or perhaps it is fairer to say he seems wary of religion. That, at least is what I gleaned from a quick take on his interview.

It's refreshing to read the book which seems to be doing much to redeem Pius XXII's reputation during WWII and know there seems to be no authorial bias other than a desire to find the truth.


  1. Interesting. I'm glad the Pope Pius XXII is getting redeemed. But I wouldn't blame Protestantism in any way for the Nazis, though I have to say I'm not schooled in the details. I would argue it was an atheistic element in Germany that led to the Nazis.

    1. Well, that's not entirely true, I'm afraid. The strong nationalistic streak and the antisemitic Lutherian tradition within German Protestantism, combined with an arrogant sense of spiritual and educational superiority towards anybody else, made Protestants on the whole more willing to support Hitler's politics.

      However, not all European Catholics were above suspicion, either. Thus the depressing history of the so-called 'Ratlines'. I guess it is fair to say that being a devout Catholic (or, mind you, a Communist or, too a lesser degree, a Liberal) gave you a headstart in immunity against National Socialism.It helped tremendously, but, alas, it all too often was not enough to make it count.