A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair (Paperback)
With his first book, Hitler’s Willing Executioners, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen dramatically revised our understanding of the role ordinary Germans played in the Holocaust. Now he brings his formidable powers of research and argument to bear on the Catholic Church and its complicity in the destruction of European Jewry. What emerges is a work that goes far beyond the familiar inquiries—most of which focus solely on Pope Pius XII—to address an entire history of hatred and persecution that culminated, in some cases, in an active participation in mass-murder.
More than a chronicle, A Moral Reckoning is also an assessment of culpability and a bold attempt at defining what actions the Church must take to repair the harm it did to Jews—and to repair itself. Impressive in its scholarship, rigorous in its ethical focus, the result is a book of lasting importance.
About the Author
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, born 1959, grew up in the Boston area. He attended Harvard University where he received a BA in social studies and a masters and doctorate in political science. He subsequently was a political science professor at Harvard for many years, teaching courses on a range of subjects, including European politics, democracy, and genocide. In 1996 he published "Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust," which led to more prolonged and heated discussion around the world than just about any book in memory. It was an international bestseller that instantly turned Goldhagen into an international public figure, whose views are eagerly sought on both sides of the Atlantic. It won him many accolades, including Germany's Democracy Prize, given only every three years, for his singular contribution to German democracy. The "laudatio" at the prize ceremony was delivered by perhaps Europe's most esteemed and influential intellectual and philosopher, Jurgen Habermas.
Shortly afterwards, he decided to devote himself full-time to writing, and was in the midst of composing a book on genocide in our age (forthcoming with Knopf), when he produced an essay on the Catholic Church and the Holocaust for the "New Republic," entitled, "What Would Jesus Have Done?" In writing it, he realized that some of the most crucial questions concerning the Holocaust and our public life more generally had been barely addressed, and certainly not answered properly, so he decided to temporarily put aside the book on genocide and write "A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and its unfulfilled Duty of Repair," Hugely anticipated here and in Europe (the"Los Angeles Times" wrote last spring, "Those inclined to handicap this fall's publishing season already are giving long odds that the year's most contoversial nonfiction book will be historian Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's "A Moral Reckoning,""), it is a book that the Church and the public will not be able to ignore. It has already induced the leading Cardinal of the German Catholic Church and the Archbishop of Vienna to respond in interviews in their country's major magazines.
"From the Hardcover edition."
“[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