Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Popes and Politics: Reform, Resentment, and the Holocaust

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Popes and Politics: Reform, Resentment, and the Holocaust

Article excerpt

Popes and Politics: Reform, Resentment, and the Holocaust. By Justus George Lawler. (New York: Continuum Publishing Group. 2002. Pp. 252. $24.95.)

This is a disappointing book. With all of the controversy over Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust, one would have hoped for a more critical and readable work. Instead, it is off-putting in tone and smugly self-deprecating ("A Little Book"). If it was intended for scholars, it lacks the documentation and citations necessary for the author to make his point. If it was intended for the general reader, it is so labyrinthine in its arguments, so filled with classical allusions and French and German phrases, along with nineteenth-century poetic wanderings, that it must leave that reader wondering just exactly what Lawler is saying. A good-even a fair-copy editor would have done wonders for this book.

The first part of the book is an attack on both the "consecrators" and "denigrators" of Pius. He dismisses (and rightly so) Ralph McInerny (The Defamation of Pius XII) and Margherita Marchione (Pope Pius XII: Architect for Peace), both consecrators, for their unhistorical and apologetic stance. He takes on two denigrators, Michael Phayer (The Catholic Church and the Holocaust) and Susan Zuccotti (Under His Very Windows), both reputable historians; he scores some valid points against them, but again, the lack of specific citations weakens his arguments. …

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