International Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission

International Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission

The International Catholic-Jewish Historical Commission was a body appointed by the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews in 1999. With three Jewish and three Catholic historians, the goal of the group was to study the way the Church reacted to the Holocaust. In October 2000, the group issued a preliminary report raising a number of questions about existing data, in their introduction to their report, they stated:

Many scholars, from the 1960s to the present, have taken seriously the mandate for historical objectivity and have written balanced accounts (albeit in many cases still critical of the Holy See). Others appear to have simply assumed that a particular allegation, if deemed to be damaging to Pius XII's reputation, must therefore be true. Still others, reacting to the charges against the Pope, have developed apologetical defenses, some of which are highly polemical. As a result, there have developed over the years increasingly contentious portraits, both condemnatory and adulatory, of a man whose office, the papacy, is revered by many as a sacred institution.

In 2001, after failing to gain access to the Vatican archives after 1923, the group disbanded amid controversy.

The Commission discovered documents making it clear that Pius was aware of widespread anti-Jewish persecution in 1941 and 1942, and they suspected that the Church may have been influenced in not helping Jewish immigration by the nuncio of Chile and the Papal representative to Bolivia, who complained about the "invasion of the Jews" to their countries, where they engaged in "dishonest dealings, violence, immorality, and even disrespect for religion."

The ICJHC raised a list of 47 questions about the way the Church dealt with the Holocaust, requested documents that had not been publicly released in order to continue their work, and, not receiving permission, they disbanded in July 2001, having never issued a final report. Unsatisfied with the findings, Dr. Michael Marrus, one of the three Jewish members of the Commission, said the commission "ran up against a brick wall.... It would have been really helpful to have had support from the Holy See on this issue."

External links

* [ October 2000 report]
* [ Notice of Council suspending work]

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