U of Minn-Duluth hosts Holocaust event including aggressively anti-Catholic elements

From the Catholic League about a matter of spectacularly crass anti-Catholicism at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The U of M is a land-grant institution funded by taxes. Therefore, public money is being spent on this anti-Catholic display. Furthermore, an institution which is on the face of it to be dedicated to exploring the truth of things is helping to perpetuate a story that the least of scholars ought to know is a bald lie.

Shame on them.  May their hockey team never again have another win.


Dr. William A. Donohue
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
April 10, 2012

It has come to my attention that the University of Minnesota Duluth is hosting a series of events on the Holocaust; they are scheduled to run between April 12 and April 19. Because many of the events address the religious response to the Holocaust, it is of great interest to the Catholic League. For example, we have a wealth of information on our website about the Catholic response to Hitler. Moreover, we have raised funds for books and articles on the subject, and we even have a reader on Pope Pius XII that covers the Jewish reaction to his noble efforts.

It is our hope that these events will foster an intellectual dialogue that is both educational and productive of good interreligious relations. But I am less than confident that this will happen. Unfortunately, some of what I have learned is very disturbing. There appears to be an effort to cast the Catholic Church in the role of an enabler, if not worse, of Nazi efforts. This is not only historically inaccurate, it is scurrilous.

The first sign that the Catholic Church will be treated in a villainous role is the postcard that was mailed to the public flagging the events: on the front there is an invidious drawing featuring a Nazi soldier and a Catholic prelate standing on a Jewish man. The drawing is nothing new: it was created to demonstrate the Catholic Church’s alleged support for Hitler that the 1933 Concordat supposedly represented.

The second disturbing sign is the April 15 performance of “The Deputy,” a play based on the work of Rolf Hochhuth. It is described in the promotional material as a play “which indicts Pope Pius XII for his failure to take action or speak out against the Holocaust.”

The third disturbing sign is the April 19 event, “Religious Institutions Responses to the Holocaust.” One of the panelists will address what is called “the role of the Confessing Church and the Holocaust.[This may be more about the state-sponsored Lutheran Church, involving such figures as Dietrich Bonhoeffer.]

My response to these issues is taken from my own book, Why Catholicism Matters, which will be published on May 29 by Image, an imprint of Random House; one part of my new book deals with the role of the Catholic Church and the Holocaust, citing the primary research on this subject that has been done by other scholars.

First Complaint


Read the rest there.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Biased Media Coverage, New Evangelization, Our Catholic Identity, Religious Liberty, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. lhuizenga says:

    I’d presume that the presentation on the Confessing Church will be just fine; the Nazis hanged Bonhoeffer, after all, and exiled Barth back to Switzerland. It does make me wonder what Donohue’s point is.

  2. Mike says:

    About four summers ago, I was a participant in a seminar for Catholic high school teachers, the ADL’s “Bearing Witness” program, sponsored by the ADL and the Archdiocese of DC.

    I first-hand witnessed egregious mis-representations of Church teaching and history and public mockery of Benedict XVI (by a Catholic priest no less). When I objected, politely, during the “seminar”, I was politely asked to “save my questions to the breaks” since “I know more about this than the other participants”.

    This headline doesn’t surprise me in the least. For the record, I despise all anti-Semitism.

  3. disco says:

    Let us pray also for the Jews, that almighty God may remove the veil from their hearts, so that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ our Lord.

  4. Sixupman says:

    I recall a much publicised picture of a cleric marching at the head of a Nazi procession.

    Much anti-Catholic comment upon same, however the said cleric was a Lutheran and such clearly evident from his ruff collar.

  5. digdigby says:

    The next time I hear Pius XII bashed, I can make a helluva more damning case against ‘sainted’ Reform Chief Rabbi of Berlin Leo Baeck who survived the holocaust, got better food and accommodations for himself and his relatives at Theresienstadt and as head of the Jewish Council of Elders helped the Nazis smooth the wheels of mass extermination. The ‘highly respected’ Leo Baeck Institute in London….is offering Quran classes if anyone is interested…

  6. Maggie says:

    Pray for all those who work at the Newman Center up at Duluth- Father Mike Schmitz and his staff, especially the team of FOCUS missionaries. They are working hard to help people know the truth of this situation.

  7. Charles E Flynn says:

    Wikipedia article on the Confessing Church. Note references to state interference in church matters.

  8. MissOH says:

    And for those who say the pope and church could have done “fill in the blank” , the bishop’s of the Netherlands had a letter read in all parishes regarding the duty of Catholics to oppose the policies of the “Third Reich”. The Nazi response was to round up Catholics of Jewish background from months old infants to adult priests and religious. Among them was St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein).
    Though I know history, I can’t really grasp the depth of the evil and I do pray I never will. Pope Pius XII did much, but obviously, he could not advertise all that was being done because the consequences were literally life and death.

  9. JeffTL says:

    Father, I’m with you on Pius XII; he’s been getting far too unfair a rap on this for years.

    I’ll note, though, that the Confessing Church and Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer were anything but state-sponsored. On the contrary, the Confessing Church was a movement specifically targeted against Nazification of the Church – see the Theological Declaration of Barmen, principally the product of Karl Barth, for a great example of this. For Bonhoeffer’s part, he was involved not only in the Confessing Church but in plots against Hitler’s life.

  10. Yes, shame on Ven. Pius XII for sheltering thousands of Jews, ransoming the Jews of Rome with 100 lbs. of gold, intervening to halt the deportations of Jews out of several countries, opening monasteries, convents and cloisters to Jewish refugees, and, above all, sticking to his post at the Vatican. Shame on that shrinking violet, Bl. Clemens von Galen, the Bishop of Muenster, who forthrightly preached against the regime, the Gestapo, and, above all, the Nazi’s euthanasia program. Shame on Dietrich von Hildebrand, who tried to open people’s eyes to the twin threats of Nazism and Communism, and on Engelbert Dollfuss, the only head of state in Europe to stand up to Hitler. Shame on the many priests and nuns who were carted off to concentration camp, never to return, and on the ordinary Catholics who hid Jews. Yes, the Catholics have a lot to answer for.

  11. Clinton says:

    It’s always been curious to me that the people who shout “J’accuse!” at the Church over Her
    supposed silence and inaction in response to nazi policies are precisely the same people who
    are outraged that the Church would presume to open Her mouth and “interfere” in this
    nation’s pro-abortion policies. She’s blamed for interfering in politics, She’s blamed for not
    interfering in politics– when will they make up their minds what they hate Her for?

    With all of the objective scholarship and evidence exonerating Pius XII for his actions during
    and before the war, there is no excuse for the continued smears and tendentious ‘histories’.
    I used to think that those who bought into that bilge could be merely ignorant, but good-willed.
    I’ve since come to realize that they cling to their exploded narrative out of pure bigotry. No
    historian worth his salt would give a moment’s notice to the ‘scholarship’ of a screed like the
    book Hitler’s Pope. That a university would give any credence to these lies is every bit
    as ridiculous and bigoted as if it hosted an event giving a platform and credibility to those who
    promote “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”. Shame, shame, shame!

  12. digdigby says:

    This is not now, this was the forties. Hundred of convents and monasteries with strict rules simply could not and would not relax those rules without word (unwritten of course) from the highest authority. And they did take extraordinary liberties to hide Jewish refugees. What I cannot fathom and will probably never know is how they lied to the Nazis. And of course they did, often and well. It is simply not allowed to sin for a latter good. You learned that and so did I. Antisemitic sedevacantists even now howl about Pius XII and his complicity in this morally disturbing (if not so much to me!) liberty with the truth.

  13. SKAY says:

    This seems to fit right in with the goals of the Obama administration—to discredit the Church and the Bishops.
    The timing is interesting.

  14. Imrahil says:

    Bill Donohue seems to think that the “Confessing Church position” means that the Confessing Church confessed and the Catholic Church did not. Possibly, this was indeed intended in the event; but of course, the Confessing Church is, in itself, a different matter.

    The Confessing Church was the attempt to do to Protestantism what the Catholic Church achieved as a whole; to keep the Faith as such free from Nazi ideology. This did not prevent some Confessing Church members from taking the classical authority-friendly Protestant position (Pastor Niemöller volunteered out of the concentration camp to serve as a submarine commandant, but was rejected) or even (more than among Catholics, but I guess not prevalently) a National Socialist stand; but the point is, if they were Confessing Church members, they kept their ideology at least separate from the Faith, unlike (!) the official Protestant Church. Of course, that was good in itself.

Comments are closed.