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From the internationally renowned author of the best-selling Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust comes this penetrating moral inquiry into the Catholic Church’s role in the Holocaust that goes beyond anything previously written on the subject.
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen cuts through the historical and moral fog to lay out the full extent of the Catholic Church’s involvement in the Holocaust, transforming a narrow discussion fixated on Pope Pius XII into the long-overdue investigation of the Church throughout Europe. He shows that the Church’s and the Pope’s complicity in the persecution of the Jews goes much deeper than has been previously understood. The Church’s leaders were fully aware of the persecution. They did not speak out and urge resistance. Instead, they supported many aspects of it. Some clergy even took part in the mass murder.
But Goldhagen goes further. He develops a precise way to assess the Church and its clergy’s culpability, which was more extensive and varied than has been supposed. He then devotes the largest part of the book to proposing a new and fuller understanding of restitution, including moral restitution, and shows that the Church has, even according to its own doctrine, an unacknowledged duty of repair. He explores this duty, analyzes the Church’s tactics of evasion, and delineates all that the Church must do to redress the harm it inflicted on Jews and to heal itself.
Brilliantly researched and reasoned, A Moral Reckoning is a pathbreaking book of profound, and far-reaching, importance.
“[A Moral Reckoning] breaks important new ground. . . . Not a word is wasted in a book that can only be read with profit by all” —Spectator
“An impressive bill of indictments. . . . The strength of Mr. Goldhagen’s argument is that it makes strikingly clear the ways in which the Inquisition, the pogroms, and the Holocaust are links in the same dread historical chain.” —The New York Times
“Insisting that it is high time to ‘call a spade a spade,’ [Goldhagen] has written a post-Holocaust moral reckoning with Christianity, and the Roman Catholic Church in particular, that pulls few punches and guarantees a hard-hitting bout over history, ethics and theology. Goldhagen’s book is unlikely to leave its readers indifferent. Its significance, however, depends less on immediate reactions and more on what happens 10, 20 or even 100 years after its appearance. Goldhagen may be helping to create a new Christianity. It will take time to tell.” —Los Angeles Times