Jesuits, Jews, and Holocaust Remembrance
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Hardcover | 9780268107017 | March 2020
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268107048 | March 2020
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268107031 | March 2020
While much has been written about the Catholic Church and the Holocaust, little has been published about the hostile role of priests, in particular Jesuits, toward Jews and Judaism. Jesuit Kaddish is a long overdue study that examines Jesuit hostility toward Judaism before the Shoah and the development of a new understanding of the Catholic Church’s relation to Judaism that culminated with Vatican II’s landmark decree Nostra aetate. James Bernauer undertakes a self-examination as a member of the Jesuit order and writes this story in the hopes that it will contribute to interreligious reconciliation. Jesuit Kaddish demonstrates the way Jesuit hostility operated, examining Jesuit moral theology’s dualistic approach to sexuality and, in the case of Nazi Germany, the articulation of an unholy alliance between a sexualizing and a Judaizing of German culture. Bernauer then identifies an influential group of Jesuits whose thought and action contributed to the developments in Catholic teaching about Judaism that eventually led to the watershed moment of Nostra aetate. This book concludes with a proposed statement of repentance from the Jesuits and an appendix presenting the fifteen Jesuits who have been honored as “Righteous Among the Nations” by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Center. Jesuit Kaddish offers a crucial contribution to the fields of Catholicism and Nazism, Catholic-Jewish relations, Jesuit history, and the history of anti-Semitism in Europe.
James Bernauer, SJ, is the Kraft Family Professor of Philosophy and director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College. He is the author, editor, and co-editor of a number of books, including "The Tragic Couple": Encounters Between Jews and Jesuits.
"A thorough, honest, and thought-provoking endeavor to come to terms with the Jesuit Order’s centuries-long hostility toward Jews. This is an important addition to the fields of Catholic-Jewish history, Catholicism and Nazism, and anti-Semitism in Europe." —Lauren Faulkner Rossi, author of Wehrmacht Priests
"This book is a uniquely forceful attempt by a scholar belonging to the Jesuit order to reflect upon the anti-Jewish past of his own institution. It is a must-read for everyone interested in the relations between the Roman Catholic Church and Judaism." —David Lebovitch Dahl, University of Copenhagen
“[This] is a powerful book that brings together a number of significant themes—some in novel ways—and reflects the state of the field as well as an enviable scholarly career that has deepened our understanding of Jesuit history, anti-Semitism, and Jewish-Christian relations in modern history.” —Journal of Jesuit Studies
“Jesuit Kaddish is an incisive and lucid work of ‘memory activism’ examining the Holocaust and the Jesuits. . . . This is not simply a book about Jesuits and Jews. Rather, it is permeated with Jesuit sensibilities and spirituality—and a summons to the Society of Jesus to formulate a statement of repentance.” —Theological Studies