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The Papacy, the Jews, and the Holocaust

Frank J. Coppa

Publication Year: 2011

This work not only examines Rome's reaction during the fascist period but delves into the broader historical development and the impact of theological anti-Judaism

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5


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pp. i-iv

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Introduction: The Papacy and the Jews between History and Polemic

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pp. vii-xviii

THE PAPACY, OR OFFICE OF THE BISHOP OF ROME, has long played a crucial role in Western civilization, exercising a unique role in Catholicism and generating widespread interest.1 Some writers, linking the cross and the swastika, have seen its history and theology as steeped in hostility toward the Jews and as influencing what one writer has called “the longest hatred,” anti-Semitism.2 ...


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pp. xix-xx

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1. Papal Anti-Judaism in Theory and Practice over the Millennia

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pp. 1-40

DEFENDERS AND DENIGRATORS of the papacy have explored its policies and practices toward Jews over the centuries in order to commend or condemn the institution. Since Rome’s position toward the Israelites was dialectical, oscillating between paternal protection and overt persecution, both camps have found evidence for their preconceived conclusions and...

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2. Anti-Judaism in the Church: From the French Revolution to the Mid-Nineteenth Century

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pp. 41-76

THE PAPAL RESPONSE to the ideological transformation initiated by the French and Industrial Revolutions reflected a clash of cultures. The popes from Pius VI (1775–99) to Gregory XVI (1831–46) were pressed to reconcile the traditionalism of the Church and papal transcendent claims with the liberal and nationalist innovations of the age. It proved a difficult and at...

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3. Pio Nono and the Jews: From Reform to Reaction, 1846–1878

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pp. 77-106

GIOVANNI MARIA MASTAI-FERRETTI was elected pope on 16 June 1846, assuming the name Pius IX (Pio Nono), in honor of Pius VII, who had issued the dispensation that allowed the epileptic Giovanni to enter the priesthood.1 Ordained in 1819, he received holy orders not to make a career but to serve as a pastor of souls. His first assignment as a priest was at a Roman orphanage...

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4. Anti-Judaism in an Age of Anti-Semitism, 1878–1922

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pp. 107-141

THE TASK OF THE 1878 CONCLAVE, the first following the papal loss of Rome, and the papacy’s self-imposed “imprisonment” in the Vatican, did not prove easy.1 The pontificate of Pius IX, Pio Nono (1846–78), had witnessed problems with Italy, Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland, among other powers. Serious ideological dissension complicated the picture, with some...

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5. Pius XI and the Jews in an Age of Dictators, 1922–1939

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pp. 142-179

AFTER THE DEATH OF BENEDICT XV IN JANUARY 1922, Achille Ratti, the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, was elected pope and assumed the name Pius in honor of Pius IX, whom he admired. Ordained a priest at the end of 1879, following study at the Gregorian University and the Sapienza in Rome, he received degrees in philosophy, theology, and law. He was summoned to...

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6. The “Silence” of Pius XII and His Crusade against Communism

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pp. 180-218

TOWARD THE END OF PIUS XI’S PONTIFICATE, a dual specter haunted the Vatican. There was the fear that relations between Rome and the fascist dictators would deteriorate to the point that the concordats would collapse, and there was the fear that a new world war would erupt, with disastrous consequences for the Church. Those who sought to avert these plagues counted...

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7. John XXIII, Paul VI, and Vatican II: Aggiornamento and the New Relationship between Catholics and Jews

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pp. 219-254

PIUS XII’S DEATH IN EARLY OCTOBER 1958 led to the conclave of 25 October. Although the full complement of cardinals then numbered seventy, only fifty-three were present, and when two died prior to the conclave their number was reduced to fifty-one. The Italians, who constituted eighteen out of the fifty-one, represented the largest and most important bloc, followed...

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8. Apology and Reconciliation: John Paul II Confronts the Church’s Anti-Judaic Past and the Holocaust

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pp. 225-295

FOLLOWING PAUL VI’S DEATH IN 1978, the Church remained deeply divided over the consequences of the Second Vatican Council. Some warned that Rome confronted its most serious crisis since the French Revolution. Conservatives, led by Marcel Lefebvre, denounced conciliar innovations, regretted the reconciliation with Judaism and the abandonment of the Latin mass...

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Conclusion: The Papacy and the Jews, Past and Present

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pp. 296-312

THE OFTEN TORTURED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CATHOLICS AND JEWS stretching over millennia has undergone dramatic and substantial changes during the latter half of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first. Two events played a key role in this transformation, which some have described as an evolution and others as a revolution: the Holocaust and the Second Vatican Council. The tragedy of the former played a part in ushering...

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pp. 313-346


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pp. 347-353

E-ISBN-13: 9780813215952
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813215471

Page Count: 376
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Catholic Church -- Relations -- Judaism.
  • Judaism -- Relations -- Catholic Church.
  • Christianity and antisemitism -- History.
  • Papacy -- History.
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