ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Catholic Church and the Jews

Updated on February 11, 2018
holliesandhealth profile image

Hollies and Health is an author who enjoys writing about life, love, and books. She enjoys watching anime and munching on burgers.

Source

Introduction

With the dark horrors of the Holocaust, there's no doubt that people have been trying to bring justice where it's due. Even so, antisemitism has had more of an impact on the world than any tragedy.

Whether that be at the hands of organized religion, or from gangs, or even from the public itself, it's clear that the Jewish people have had a long, complex history with the rest of the world. Even now, right here in America, the Jews have a hard time dealing with violence and bigotry. In fact, according to recent statistics from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in during the first few months of 2017, there has been an 86 percent spike in the harassment of American Jews.

Source

The History

Despite this, none have had a more difficult relationship with the Jews than that of the Catholic Church. From accusing the Jewish people of deicide, to painting the Jews as nothing more than barbarians ready to kill innocent Christians, many of these stereotypes that have perpetuated from these beliefs have often resulted in the loss of many lives.

This struggle arguable began with the founding of the Christian religion itself. Many Jews were harassed because they were accused of killing Christ. This has culminated to various pogroms across Europe, with one of the most infamous being the First Crusades, a political war that involved the deaths of many innocents. Despite the Jews endeavoring to try and curb these attacks, either by fighting, martyrdom, or bribing officials, many have not been able to convince those who were wholly convinced of their mission. While the Church later realized the importance of protecting the Jews, many Jewish communities were destroyed. Some even consider the Crusade to be the start of many fatalistic antisemitism acts, all of which would culminate into the Holocaust.

During the middle ages, Jews were accused of many morbid lies, and were often forced converted or even killed. The infamous blood libel consisted of a variety of false allegations regarding ritualist murder. Starting with a dead boy named William, a monk named Thomas of Monmouth had accused the local Jews of torturing and murdering the boy, all for the sake of imitating the murder of Jesus. This has often given way to Jews being associated with the Devil, as well as the kidnapping innocent of Christian children. What's more, during the Black Death, many Jews were accused of poisoning the wells, and thus cemented the hatred between them and the Catholic Church. While Pope Clement VI did try to protect them, many Jews ended up burning alive.

The Church has also fed the stereotypes that many people have often characterized Jews today. They were often treated as greedy, and as such, the Church forbade Christians from dealing with money from the Jews. The Jews were illustrated as enemies of Christianity in general, and were treated as incarnations of the devil. Many of the churches have used beautiful glass stained windows to portray Jews as such.


Source

The Holocaust

However, this hatred had culminated into one of the most devastating massacres of human history.

The relationship between the Catholic Church and Nazi Germany is difficult to grasp. During Hitler's reign, many children were pressured into joining the Hitler Youth movement and had often limited many interactions between the outside world, whether it be religion or otherwise. While many individual priests have criticized Hitler's government, they ended up being arrested. Authorities such as Franz Roedel, director of the Catholic Judaica Institute have even tried to push for an understanding of Judaism.

However, Hitler has utilized the Church's past with the Jews in order to fuel the deep grumblings and antisemetic values within Germany. He echoed the belief that Jews killed Christ, and has painted his own antisemetic plans in a positive light, so much so that it was almost a calling to take up arms for another Crusade." With Germany slowly beginning to side with Hitler, many important figures refused to speak out against this. Pope Pius XII has said little about Hitler's policies, nor did he condemn Kristallnacht, a violent night where many pogroms took place against the Jews. And while he did endeavor to intervene on behalf of the Jews who had converted to Catholicism by bringing them visas, they were later revoked.

Groups supporting Hitler in the United States, as well as in other territories, have also forcefully pushed their antisemetic views onto others. For example, many prominent universities such as Harvard, Yale, and even Columbia University during the advent of Hitler's rise to power, have disregarded antisemitism as such, and have often tried limiting enrollment of Jews. What's more, they openly welcomed Nazis into the folds, and have more often than not disregarded public opinion concerning Nazi Germany.


Source

Antisemitism After The Holocaust

The Catholic Church has since then tried to reconcile their differences between them and the Jews. Even so, their pervading antisemetic views have promoted the dark, horrific stereotypes many people label Jews. The Institute for Historical Review was an organization dedicated to Holocaust Denial. Former President Richard Nixon has often been noted for his antisemetic views, alongside a famous radical Catholic priest, Charles Coughlin, who inspired the group, Christian Front.

These lies, in turn, has led to the repeated prejudice against the Jews. With the advent of the Enlightenment, while Jews were slowly gaining power in Western Europe, in Eastern Europe, Jews were oppressed, and were forbidden from owning land, and serving in the military. Many stereotypes, such as the Jews being greedy, and that they were cowards, had barred them from many positions, and were thus, not associated with other high professions. In America, Harvard University president James Bryant Conant had worked tirelessly to get Nazi war criminals hired and paroled.

Antisemitism in Poland was especially strong after World War II. While the Poles saw themselves as victims of oppression, they ended continued to assault the Jews there. This tension is clearly shown when in July 1946, an eight-year old boy had decided to visit his friends without telling his family. By the time the young boy returned, his father had already called the police, saying that his son had been kidnapped by Jews. Protesters had gathered around a Jewish community in Kielce, and as such, attacked the Jews inside. While police offers and soldiers were present, none had intervened to stop the violence.

Source

Conclusion

There's no doubt that antisemitism is pervasive in our society. Whether it be through shows, the media, or even jokes everyone tosses around in a closed room, our society is affected by antisemitism. After all, it is the world's oldest hatred, and while it's clear that everyone took part, the Catholic Church had been the one to foster this hatred, one that had costed the lives of many.

Despite this, there have been numerous efforts to try and reconcile this hatred. Academic programs concerning Jewish studies have sprung up throughout various universities. Organizations such as the World Jewish Congress have endeavored to combat against antisemitism by education, the media, and bringing justice of those who engage in violent antisemetic acts. By protecting human rights, Jews, as well as other marginalized peoples, have been able to live peacefully. The Catholic Church has also taken steps to try to soothe the turbulent relationships between Jews and Christians alike.

Even so, there's still more work to be done. People must be able to put aside their prejudices in order to build a world of peace and harmony. After all, we shouldn't be addressing human rights violations after a tragedy has happened.

Over the last 20th century, has the relationship between the Jews and the Catholic Church getting better?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      7 months ago

      Thank you.

    • holliesandhealth profile imageAUTHOR

      Robin Goodfellow 

      7 months ago from United States

      Within the last century.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      7 months ago

      In your poll question do you mean getting better relative to a decade ago or a century ago?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)