Friday, January 26, 2007

A mindset freed from bothering with reality

Rabbi David Gil Dalin is a Conservative rabbi, and author and co-author of several books on Jewish history. He is currently a professor of history and political science at Ave Maria University, and was previously associate professor of American Jewish history at the University of Hartford.

Dalin received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, a master's and doctorate from Brandeis University, and his Rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

He has recently published The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis.

I grew up with the picture Rolf Hochhut's (gentile, religious affiliation unknown to me) play "Der Stellvertreter" (The Deputy/Representative, 1963) painted, namely that of a cold cynic and a conniving politician who thinks that Communism is a far bigger threat to the Catholic Church than the Nazis. I would say that this picture is still the prevailing one in Germany, a country, which has never gotten over the Kulturkampf, the bitter struggle on the part of the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck to submit the Roman Catholic church to state control, which spanned much of the 1870's and 1880's. This "hot family feud" within German society dominated the formative period of the German party system and had a long-term impact on Germany's political culture well into the twentieth century and, as far as I can see, it is still very much alive and kicking.

Hochhuth's next play, "Soldiers, Necrology on Geneva" (1967) showed the Allied bombing campaigns as war crimes and Winston Churchill as a war criminal. The play was largely based on the work of the young historian David Irving. Since that time, Irving and Hochhuth have been close friends and in 2005 Hochhuth hit the headlines by defending his friend against being a holocaust denier, calling the allegation "simply idiotic" and Irving "an honourable man" in an interview with the mouthpiece of the youth organisation of the NPD, the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands "Junge Freiheit" (issue 08/05, February 18, 2005). He later expressed a lukewarm apology, saying that he didn't know that his friend of many decades was just that.

So much for the antisemitic statement that only Jews are adverse to Pius XII, whereas the rest of the world would gladly embrace his sainthood. ("Jews Veto Sainthood for Pius XII"). Or even ALL Jews. Or even a majority of Jews.

One of Pius' shrillest critics, John Cornwell (Roman Catholic) informed us in his self-explainingly titled book "Hitler's Pope" that Pius XII was a willing collaborator with the Nazi policy. To do him justice, Cornwell has recently renounced (in his recent book "The Pontiff in Winter", a critical evaluation of the papacy of John Paul II) his hypothesis, a significant event of which, even more significantly, the media, have taken little note.

Significant is, too, that Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's shattering condemnation of Pius XII, "A Moral Reckoning: The Catholic Church during the Holocaust and Today", received widespread and altogether favourable attention, different from his controversial book "Hitler's Willing Executioners", which was, sometimes fairly but generally unfairly, torn to shreds by the media and his colleagues.

Go figure!

(Please note that Goldhagen's scholarship in his criticism of Pius XII was severely criticised by, among others, such a renowned historian of Germany as Columbia University’s Fritz Stern, a Jew.)

At the EWTN – Global Catholic Network website an interview with David Dalin appeared.

Go on reading HERE.

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