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June 06, 2006

Comments

Fr Raymond

Full of insight Amy, good piece.
Yes God is God, we cannot understand him, we cannot build a tower to heaven and demand answers, if we dare it will only condemn us to more confusion. It is only because he reaches down to us that we can enter the mystery, but God is always, for us, ultimately unknowable.

Another Steve

St Paul's answer in 1 Cor is the only antidote. "We preach Jesus Christ crucified: to the Jews a scandal, to the Greeks foolishness." So where was God on that first Good Friday? Why was God silent then? Where was God when Herod had the Holy Innocents slaughtered? Where is God when a small child is sexually abused or an innocent young woman beaten and raped? We could go on and on and on and still the mystery endures but Cohen's rhetorical questions cry out for revenge and so the cycle keeps turning.

"My God, my God. Why have you forsaken me."

Patrick Rothwell

Cohen's reaction is his own, but Benedict's reaction reminded me of a story I read somewhere about a group of rabbis either during or shortly after the Holocaust placed Yahweh himself on trial, found him guilty (of what I can't remember) and then afterwards continued following the terms of the Old Covenant saying their Sabbath prayers as Yahweh commanded them to do.

Now, Benedict didn't declare God to be guilty of anything, but I think that the sentiment is similar. Contra Cohen, the German Catholic Church could not have stopped the Holocaust, and neither could have the Polish Church or Pope Pius stopped it either. Presumably, God could have but chose not to, for reasons that we cannot know or understand why and does not comport with natural understandings of human justice. The Holocaust, of course, is not the only moral outrage that a supposedly just God permits. I can understand why Cohen cannot believe in God as a result, or at least a God in a certain sense. I wish, however, he would refrain from implying that by doing so, Benedict is deliberately deflecting from the supposed responsibility of various scapegoats for the Holocaust.

Lynn

I believe that God was there, in the person of St Maximilliam Kolbe, Bonhoeffer, Corrie Ten Booms' family, and all individuals, families, and towns who had the courage to hide and protect the Jews, at the risk of their lives.

ann r

While We all acknowledge God to be all powerfull, it being His universe and all, I got the impression that in the cosmic order of things Satan is the lord of this world. When Satan tempted Jesus he offered Jesus the nations of the world, which would not be a meaningful offer if Satan couldn't have delivered. Jesus predicted great suffering because His messiahship was not acknowledged at the appointed time. The Holocaust speaks to me not of the absence of God, but rather the presence of Satan and the contagion of evil. Jesus won the final victory, but the war is still on, and we are still in the middle of it.

Kevin

People who try to write about God always think of Him having a human perspective.

Amy, is there proof of Cohen's assertion about 'anti-Semitic' content in St. Kolbe's monthly?

Marion (Mael Muire)

Where was God in the 19th century while millions starved to death in Ireland, and their English neighbors stood by and did nothing?

Fr. Brian Stanley

I see at the end of his column, Mr. Cohen admits an error concerning a previous column, and corrects a mistake. Let us pray that Mr. Cohen will correct his errors concerning the lie that Pope Pius XII remained silent and that St. Maximilian Kolbe was a bigot. It is one thing to struggle from a lack of faith, which can be extremely difficult to overcome; it is quite another to repeat well-worn lies without doing even a minimal amount of research which would disprove the canards, especially about the Church's alleged silence. For starters, Mr. Cohen could read Lapide's "Three Popes and the Jews."

Donald R. McClarey

I recall reading about a group of Hassidim on their way to the gas chambers at one of the concentration camps. They had managed to get their hands on some brandy and danced into the chambers because they were certain they were about to meet the Messiah. Some of the guards observing this laughed, other of the guards were completely unnerved by this because they feared the Hassidim were absolutely correct.

In this world of sin and woe God is always near for those who look for Him.

Charles B.

I think in cases of terrible events in the past at which we were not present, we only have to look to those in which we were contemporaries of to convict ourselves. What did I do when I heard of the genocide in the former Yugoslavia? What did I do when I heard about Rwanda? What did I do when I heard about Darfur?

"Christ has no body now but yours

No hands, no feet on earth but yours

Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world

Christ has no body now on earth but yours."

In John Michael Talbot's book on St. Francis, whenever we ask God, "Where were you, Lord, when this happened?" A small voice responds, "Where were you?"

Maureen

Where was God in the Great Famine?

Starving in a ditch and dying of cholera, right along with us.

Where was God in Auschwitz?

In Auschwitz, suffering with his people.

We do not know the divine plan. But we do know that God does not spare Himself the pain of it.

inhocsig

And sometimes, when Cohen writes this way, I want to scream "Normandy!" at him. Normandy! Mr. Columnist, have you ever heard of D-day?

Dan Crawford

Why does God get blamed for human failures? The horrors Cohen accuses God of ignoring men ignored first and allowed all sorts of evil. Apparently, in the eyes of people like Cohen, human beings are incapable of any moral act since they bear no moral responsibility.

Terentia

It has apparently become obligatory, no matter what the topic, to take a swipe a George Bush.

Henry Dieterich

Many years ago, I went to see the film of Sophie's Choice. As I walked home, I asked, "How could God permit such a thing as Auschwitz?" I felt the reply, "In the same way He permits the little Auschwitz in your heart." If men can turn their backs on God, and little sins are possible, then great sins are possible. And the answer to all of them is the same Cross of Christ.

alias clio

Original sin.

KH

Hey, yeah, God let that happen to all those people. Now, if it were God's own son, I betcha He'd be real quick to intervene and never let torture and murder happen to...oh, wait...

nevermind

Lee Anne Millinger

I agree with you, Henry, beautiful comment. We can rail at why God allows these great evils. But do we ever wonder why he allows our own little evils? Why didn't God strike down Hitler? Why doesn't God strike me down when I tell a lie, or say an unkind thing to my husband or daughter, or when I have an impure thought? God's justice and mercy toward me are just as much a mystery as His justice and mercy toward other evildoers.

Marion (Mael Muire)

Well, the results of the Holocaust were a little different from those of me telling a fib or having an impure thought.

Cohen is onto something, and the Catholic Church does speak of The Sins that Cry Out to Heaven for Vengeance, one of which is willful murder. And the Holocaust was willful murder on an enormous scale.

Virtually an entire people were systematically exterminated. Men, women, children, little old ladies - shot, gassed, butchered. Entire towns depopulated. Entire families wiped out.

This was huge.

And as one radio pundit put it, if the Nazis hadn't been stopped, the German army would have caught and murdered every Jew on the planet. Even if the last remaining Jew escaped to Antarctica, and Hitler found out about it, he would have dispatched men to go to Antarctica, find that Jew, and kill him.

This was mind-boggling murderous destruction.


Tom Harmon

This comment seems exactly right to me: "Where was God in the Great Famine?

Starving in a ditch and dying of cholera, right along with us.

Where was God in Auschwitz?

In Auschwitz, suffering with his people."

God was present in Auschwitz in His Body - the members of His Church, suffering with and through them mysteriously and intimately.

Mattias Caro

I'd like Cohen to apologize for his libel on Maximilian Kolbe, plain and simple . . .

DF

Mr. Cohen says, "I cannot believe in such a God," a God who would will not force humans to be good. This desire for a God who would override human freedom is the reason that totalitarianism is such a seductive temptation.

TSO

From the blogger at Sancta Sanctis comparing the pagan gods to Christ:

"How can we still not blame God for all the evil in the world, when all He has to do to dispel it is to will it gone?

The only advantage we have over Homer and the ancients is that there is one answer which we at least know; there is one secret which has been revealed to us, even if we barely understand it. To us has been disclosed the mystery of the motivation of God....All we can truly be sure of is that He is not a fickle deity who plays favourites, but a God Who loves equally, yet very differently. When was the last time one of the Olympians disguised himself as a mortal just to hang around with some cool people? When was the last time one of the Olympians thought that even people who didn't make regular offerings and weren't descended from gods were cool?

You can't really shake your fist at Jesus in rage, though you may shake your head in befuddlement."
___

Also, here's an unattributed quote I came across about six or seven ago on the Internet:

"I do not understand suffering - but I know it is real. But a God who is in any way responsible for this terror of our lives, such a God must be terrible, a Molech consuming the children we love in contempt for any individual's striving and selfhood. But that is not the God revealed in the history of Israel and in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, a man whose life is written to echo the history of his people. Our God shows that he is with us - Emmanuel - in the slime of life, in the pain of life, in the joys of life, and in our death. I still do not know why people should die meaningless deaths, but because God is with us, he can look me in the face and I will not turn away in disgust... Perhaps it is a dream, although I think not, but the story of Christmas is that life has meaning, humanity is worthwhile, and ultimately 'all will be well, and all will be well, and all things will be well'."

Tony A

Terentia,

Pray tell, what is wrong with taking a good swipe at George W. Bush whenever one can? :)

mrp

Mr. Cohen sees only what he wants to see; he hears only what he wants to hear.

Jeff Jacoby, a columnist for the Boston Globe, approached the subject from a different perspective.

An excerpt from his 6/5 column archived at townhall.com:

The answer, though the pope didn't say so clearly, is that a world in which God always intervened to prevent cruelty and violence would be a world without freedom -- and life without freedom would be meaningless. God endows human beings with the power to choose between good and evil. Some choose to help their neighbor; others choose to hurt him. There were those in Nazi Europe who herded Jews into gas chambers. And there were those who risked their lives to hide Jews from the Gestapo.

James Englert

Benedict's speech gives no easy to the question, Where was God at Auschwitz, but says simply, we cannot know God's plan. He goes on to quote the words of the Psalmist crying to God to rouse himself and not to forget his creature. Benedict says that making this cry to God must also move us to action by awakening God's hidden presence within ourselves. Tellingly, Benedict says that God's power can be buried or choked by "selfishness, pusillanimity, indifference or opportunism."

Cohen wishes that there had been a deus ex machina interveing at Auschwitz; one could believe in such a God. Benedict is more practical: God works through men when they do not choke his presence out of cowardice or getting along or selfishness. I found the "band of criminals" theme regrettable. Yet isn't Benedict also saying that the mass of Germans were overcome by cowardice or other failings: God's presence remained hidden and evil prevailed.

I do not see how one can read this speech and fail to see an assumption of responsibility for the evil that occurs in the world. This is rather the opposite of the inference that Cohen imputes to Benedict, that if God is silent, the Church may be as well.

Tom

Cohen wishes that there had been a deus ex machina interveing at Auschwitz; one could believe in such a God.

Well, one could agree with such a God, on that point, at least.

Mike Melendez

I don't think I could believe in a God Who I could fully understand, let alone One who did things the way I thought they should be done. I know only too well that I don't make much of a god. I do ask God the "Why?" question a lot. I pray someday, He'll give me more of the answers I can understand, but I think that will depend more on what I am willing to hear.

Blind Squirrel

It's true that claims about Maximilian Kolbe being a Jew-hater are off the mark. (For the genuine article among the clergy of that era, check out the deeply creepy Irishman, Denis Fahey CSSP.) Ron Modras says it best: "If antisemitism is defined as hostility against Jews as Jews, Maximilian Kolbe was not antisemitic....His attitude toward Jews was very much like that of Pope Pius XI and the Catholic Orthodoxy of his day: antiracist but conversionary, anti-Nazi but persuaded by several of the stereotypes that Nazis, among others, were touting about supposed Jewish economic and cultural influence." (Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 548 (Nov. 1996): 182. (The "stereotypes" to which Modras refers include belief in the international Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy, acceptance of the idea that there was some truth in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, etc.)

Where he can undoubtedly be criticised is for failing to exercise greater editorial control over the daily newspaper he published, Maly dziennik, in which unvarnished (and unreproved) anti-Semitic articles did too often appear. Interwar Poland was a deeply anti-Semitic culture, and the sober fact is that the great majority of gentile Poles--including those in the clergy and religious life--were affected by that to one degree or another.

Mila

The problem is with the question Why? We recently buried a young cousin; his funeral was conducted by a priest from Rwanda and that was one of the things he said. After telling a story from his own experience, he said "We always ask Why?, but that is the wrong question because it has no answer. Rather we should go before the Lord and say 'Lord, I don't understand you and I am angry at you'. And perhaps, some day God will answer."

Granted the Holocaust is evil in a massive scale; but considering that this was coming from someone who experienced something similar in his own life, I think it's a valid point.

Chris R.

Do you suppose that History will judge American Catholics as complicit in the murder of 40 million plus of our fellow citizens? Even those involved in the prolife movement haven't managed to stop it. Where is God in America (and the rest of the abortion-on-demenad world)? Where are we?

Lily

"It has apparently become obligatory, no matter what the topic, to take a swipe a George Bush."

I thought the same thing Terentia.

TSO

Cohen probably suffers from Bush made me insane syndrome. It's a common ailment. Pity is the correct response.

John Henry

It all happens so easily. Like how the majority of our contemporary US population turns its back to the slaughter of innocent babies... Sure, we're against it. But what do we do? Yeah, God is silent, but if he were to speak, it would be to rebuke ours.

Another Steve

For TSO, that unatributed quote, the last part is another quote "all will be well..." comes from Julian of Norwich.

Claude Muncey

As far as the quote from Julian of Norwich goes, I have always loved Dorothy Day's misquote/paraphrase:

The worst has already happened, and has been repaired.

PF

Does anyone out there know what the evidence is that Saint Maximilian Kolbe printed or wrote anti-Semetic things? This is not the first time I have heard this charge; I have heard it before, and even from Catholics (not that that means anything). It's true that there was a good deal of anti-Semitism, of various kinds and degrees, in Poland before and during WWII. So that prompts another question: just what kind of anti-Semitism are we talking about? Clearly not the progrom sort. Are we talking about simply criticism of Jews as a group? There is not necessarily any ethnic or religious hatred in that, any more than criticisms of say, Democrats and Republicans in general terms is vicious, libelous, or unjust. If anyone can quote material or suggest writings, I would be interested.

A second point: I wonder what Cohen means by "silence"? (I think I understand what the Pope means by it.) And what sort of speech would Cohen consider satisfactory? What is this silence being compared to? Does God speak to us when everything is going well? Why demand that God justify himself when there is gross evil? Last time I checked, Jews and Christians alike recognize God as having spoken--and intervened in human affairs--in marvelous ways. And it's worth noting that when Pope Benedict speaks the words that Cohen so admires, he puts them in quotation marks. I.e., it is supposed to be a report of what goes on in the human psyche upon confronting the mystery of evil. Pope Benedict does not address God in the second person and demand answers of him. Most of what he says in that passage, I believe, is meant to express the universal human reaction to such monstrous iniquities as Auschwitz. This is my own reading, perhaps, but I think the Pope's words and the way they are put forth are best understood as an invitation to both the Church and the world to pray and reflect theologically on the nature of evil. In no way is this meant to give comfort to those who, like Cohen, find religion after the Holocaust unbelievable or who despair of a good God. His words are predicated on faith, presuming that God is good--the question for us is, How can a God who we already know to be good permit such horrors? Some may choose to read this as the Pope's rhetorically indulging in a bit of fist-shaking toward Heaven. I don't see it that way.

Blind Squirrel

SMK's own published writings and his surviving letters (more than 1,000) have been published (in Italian): see Gli scritti di Massimiliano Kolbe (3 vols.) (Rome: ENMI, 1997). From these, it's clear that he (i) held that Jews of his own time who rejected Christianity shared in the guilt of Christ's crucifixion; (ii) believed in the reality of a sinister Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy to achieve world domination [incidentally, he was much more fixated upon the threat he perceived from Freemasons than that from Jews]; and (iii) was prepared to defend boycotts of Jewish businesses in Poland. There's no evidence that he ever considered physical violence against Jews justified, far less extermination (admittedly, if I were Jewish, I might consider this slightly lukewarm comfort): and once the war began he provided assistance to Jews and Gentiles without discrimination. But both of the journals he edited and/or published, the monthly Rycerz niepokalanej and the daily Maly dziennek, did quite regularly publish stuff that was virulently anti-Semitic by anybody's definition.

The best book in English on this and the context in which it appeared is R.E. Modras' The Catholic Church and Antisemitism: Poland, 1933-1939 (Hebrew University of Jerusalem/Harwood Academic Publishers, 1994). It has to be said that the extracts from the Catholic press contained therein makes uncomfortable reading.

Bottom line: he was as prejudiced with regard to Jews as were most Catholic Poles at the time--which even by contemporary Western European or American standards meant "pretty damn prejudiced." That doesn't make him responsible for the Holocaust (if there's one thing that serious historians are agreed upon, it's "no Hitler, no Holocaust") or negate his extraordinary heroism and self-sacrifice once the war started. But it's fair to say that until 1939, he was more a part of the problem than of the solution.

Dudley

The whole ceremony was based on the 22nd Psalm -which was sung in its entirety - and which begins with the question "Why did you forsake me?" But it doesn't end that way. Cohen should have read the Psalm before thinking Benedict thought God wasn't there.
Jesus referenced the 22nd Psalm on the Cross. It ends with the triumph of trust and belief.
The whole Psalm and the whole ceremony were about belief in the face of the extremes of pain. Cohen says "I cannot believe in such a God." Shadrach and the others who were in tyrant's furnace (also referenced by Benedict) said "we trust Him to save us from this but even if He doesn't, we won't stop believing".

Marion (Mael Muire)

How about Lutheran antisemitism in Germany?

If you go to the Florida Holocaust Museum website and read excerpts from Martin Luther's The Jews and Their Lies, it will make your hair stand on end. (I would typically copy and paste samples of such documents, but this I find too objectionable.)

http://www.flholocaustmuseum.org/history_wing/antisemitism/reformation.cfm

And Germany was a majority Lutheran country from the time of the Reformation on.

But in examinations of the Holocaust, where Luther and Lutheranism are mentioned in any way, their roles are always very much downplayed compared to those of Catholics and the Catholic Church.

Which, demographically speaking, doesn't make any sense to me.

The role of Catholicism had to have been minor and background noise, compared to what that of Lutheranism must have been.

This has always puzzled me - something doesn't add up.

julie b

It is my sense that Benedict, in asking "Why the silence", is expressing his awe and amazement to a God who made us so truly free that he will even remain silent during mankind's great atrocities. They did not end or begin with the Holocaust.....as many have pointed out. As someone also already said, He even remained silent while His son was crucified. Mercy.

george  j. nick

Here is a quote from Albert Einstein: "Only the Catholic Church protested against the Hitler onslaught on liberty. Up till then, I had not been interested in the Church, which alone has had the courage to struggle for spiritual truths and moral liberty."
The terrible dictators of the last century were atheists and not religious. God gave us a free will and does not stop us from committing sin. What He does,is provide His teaching to guide us. That is found in His Church, the Catholic Church. I'd be very careful about blaming God for the sins of humans.

Jim

Marion:
"where Luther and Lutheranism are mentioned in any way, their roles are always very much downplayed compared to those of Catholics and the Catholic Church...something doesn't add up"

That's because it had more to do with Darwinism and Bolshevism than Luther or any churchman.

Nance

"Such charges against Maximilian began around 1982, originating predominately in the United States, when Pope John Paul II was preparing to canonize Kolbe as a martyr and a saint (which happened on October 10, 1982). One of the more prominent voices was Richard Cohen, a reporter for the Washington Post.

In a Post article (December 14, 1982), Cohen wrote that Kolbe's memory is haunted by the rumor that he was an anti-Semite." Note: rumor.
Go here for the reaction and demolishing defenses made on his behalf:
http://www.consecration.com/antisemite.html

Blind Squirrel

Um. The consecration.com thing is a lawyer's brief, rather than a genuinely even-handed analysis (hardly surprising inasmuch as it was produced by the organisation SMK himself founded). It's true that Profs. Green & Schlafly defended SMK against the charge of being a "rabid racist," which he clearly wasn't. But the author chooses not to mention that in that same letter, the two conceded that he said some rather unfortunate things. As for the supposed "supportive relationship that existed for centuries between Poles and Jews," this is fantasy so far as interwar Poland is concerned. The historical literature on the subject is both extensive and conclusive: Polish anti-Semitism in the 1920s and 1930s varied from "pronounced" to "extreme." There wasn't much to choose between the attitude of, say, the Polish National Democratic Party to Jews at that time and that of the German National Socialists. (They both favoured confiscation followed by expulsion.) That said, there were Poles even then, admittedly a small minority, who were not anti-Jewish in any sense: clearly it was possible to be so even in that culture and climate. Lastly, I'm troubled by the author's minimising of anti-Semitism and by her contention that "in controversial matters [SMK's publications] quite naturally...took the Polish rather than the Jewish side....many Jews were members of the new atheist Communist movements or were anti-Christian Masons..." In the first place, it's nonsense. For reasons that should be obvious to anybody but a historical moron, both the Communist and Masonic movements in pre-1939 Poland were microscopic and insignificant. In the second, the author has no factual basis whatever for implying that Jews were disproportionately represented in either. (It was a common anti-Semitic trope at the time to claim that most Communists--and capitalists...you wouldn't want to look for logic from these people--were Jews, and hence it was perfectly all right to attack them for what they supposedly "did" rather than what they "were." Latter-day Jew-haters do precisely the same thing, substituting "Zionism" for "Communism.") In the third, the suggestion that in interwar Poland there was a "Polish" side on the one hand and a "Jewish" side on the other is one upon which the author might have reflected for a little longer before trying to show us that anti-Semitism wasn't a factor here.

To clarify the situation, consider it in reverse: If a given publication were to maintain that Catholics were involved in a secret plot to bring the world under papal domination, assert that present-day Catholics had the blood of those who died in the Albigensian Crusades and the Inquisition on their hands, and call upon patriotic citizens not to patronise Catholic shops, businesses or professional services, we would have no difficulty in declaring that publication to be anti-Catholic.

I understand the motivation behind such defences. We all of us want our heroes to be admirable all the way through. But that's not usually the way it is in real life, and as Catholics, we're supposed to have a higher loyalty: to that face of God that is truth--the whole truth--in its embarrassing or disturbing aspects as well as its attractive and inspiring ones.

Marion (Mael Muire)

Maximilian Kolbe was a saint, far closer to God than Richard Cohen or most of any of us will ever be.

He was not an anti-anyone. He loved all men, and said "Indeed we must do it (assist Jews who are in difficulty) because every man is our brother.'"

And he did assist them.

How much more obvious does it need to get than that?

Let's not allow anyone to distract from who the primary perpetrators of the Holocaust were. The primary perpetrators of the Holocaust were not the Catholic saints, Catholic popes, or Catholic anybody.

The perpetrators of the Holocaust were secular, anti-religious, anti-Christian and anti-Semitic materialist Nazis - who burned Bibles, and imprisoned and murdered Christian clergymen and sisters. The anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic Nazis were evidently not contented with whatever degree of "anti-Semitism" may have touched Saint Maximilian Kolbe's personality - the anti-Semitic anti-Catholic Nazis arrested Father Kolbe and put him in a concentration camp and killed him there.

I guess SML and the Nazis weren't on the same page, after all, Mr. Cohen.

Not even close.

(How stupid does he think we would you have to be to buy that?)

Saint Maximilian was a good and holy man, and His Holiness Pope John Paul the Great was right to raise him to the altars of the Church as a holy and praiseworthy example of what a Christian life should be.

Maybe Richard Cohen doesn't like the Catholic Church, whatever she does. I wouldn't know. I don't try to read men's hearts. I listen to their arguments. And when their arguments are as full of holes as his are, I figure there is some degree of intellectual dishonesty happening here.

And listening to the intellectually dishonest arguments of someone who attempts to smear the name of a good and holy man is not a particularly fruitful exercise.

Dunleary

blind: By "lawyer's brief", I guess you mean it isn't truthful. I disagree but look elsewhere if you wish. You didn't mention the Jewish historian's support for Kolbe at the same site.
The fact is that neither Cohen nor you nor anyone else can point to a specific thing that that specific man did or said that would justify the innuendo and smears.
Shame on you.

Marion (Mael Muire)

Let's zero in on the perpetrators of the Holocaust here. Let's not focus on those who "paved the way" for the Holocaust, or those who "might have done more to prevent" the Holocaust, or who "sat on the sidelines" during the Holocaust, or who "said something that might have given the impression that they . . ."

No.

Let's look at the actual PERPETRATORS OF THE HOLOCAUST.

THE NAZIS.

The Nazis were the enemies of Christianity. They were the quintessential post-Christians.

The Nazis wiped out European Jewry. And while they did so, they confiscated and burned Christian Bibles, and imprisoned, tortured and murdered clergy and religious of different Christian denominations.

Although the Nazis reluctantly tolerated some Christian practices in the personal lives of members of the German military, they were determined that future citizens of the Thousand Year Reich would be thoroughly post-Christian. Hitler Youth were systematically trained and taught to reject the Christian values of charity and mercy toward the weak and the unfortunate. "Charity and mercy are for the weak to practice - weaklings and cowards. The members of the Master Race must be strong, and rightfully and manfully sweep away the inferior species on the planet. The weak and the inferior must be exterminated by the strong."

Nothing could have been more unChristian than Nazi ideology.

Nothing could have been more opposed to Christianity than Nazi ideology.

Nothing could have been more post-Christian than Nazi ideology.

The real lesson of the Holocaust is that it is post-Christian ideologies that give rise to the most terrible crimes against humanity the world has ever seen.

Nazism and Communism. Both anti-Christian. Both Cultures of Death.

Dale Price

Well, two things:

(1) Pre-WW2 Polish anti-Semitism was real and virulent. A 1936 letter from Cardinal Hlond, primate of Poland, is nothing short of horrific, referring to Jews as "pimps," and advocating boycotts of Jewish businesses, among other things.

http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:TRglTKfi6z4J:www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/pope/etc/bio.html+hlond+anti-semitic+letter&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=5

OTOH, the letter also abjures violence against the Jews and makes an oblique condemnation of Nazism (more detailed excerpt here):

http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~sarmatia/498/wyschogrod.html

In short, anti-Semitism was a grim part of the Polish environment, and PJPII's rising above it is all the more remarkable.

(2) Cohen is off here, but he is generally a fair-minded man. This is a scream from the heart, not a measured treatise, and should be analyzed accordingly.

bruce cole

Polish anti-Semitism before the war was very real, also inextricably combined with anti-Lithuanian,anti-Ukranian, anti-Belorussian feelings in pursuit of a mythical pure Polishness. John Paul came from an older, healthier tradition, that of the old pre-partition Respublica. John Paul had Kolbe canonized for his martyrdom, not his pre-war career as a publicist. After all, the Pope grew up with that stuff and rejected it. This garbage is still around. Two examples: the radio station the Redemptorists run in Poland that is spewing this crap; and what happened when Czeslaw Milosz died in 2004. The reptiles crept out from under the rocks whining that Milosz hadn't been a real, pure Pole (i.e., Lithuanian) and didn't deserve the honors heaped upons him, plus he hadn't been on the Right politically. The Pope send a special message to the funeral defending him.

Marion (Mael Muire)

Pre-WW2 Polish anti-Semitism was real and virulent

Granted! Right and there was probably anti-Semitism in Italy and in Palestine, as well.

Anti-Semitism is deplorable anywhere it may be found.

And in what way does any of that alter the fact that it was the German Post-Christian and anti-Christian Nazis who were the ones rounding up the victims and firing up the ovens?

German Post-Christian Nazis perptetrated the Holocaust.

A 1936 letter from Cardinal Hlond, primate of Poland, is nothing short of horrific, referring to Jews as "pimps," and advocating boycotts of Jewish businesses, among other things.

Can we please talk about the Holocaust here?

Why are we discussing "primates" who advocated "boycotts" when we are still confronted with the overwhelming evil of concentration camps and gas chambers and ovens?

It was post-Christian German Nazis who ran and directed the Holocaust.

Post-Christian. Germans.

The lesson of the Holocaust is that it is post-Christian ideologies that give rise to mass murder. Communism and Nazism have led to more dead bodies than any other system of government, including all the theocracies that ever existed on the planet combined.

Not prelates. Not boycotts. Not the Catholic Church.

Post-Christian Culture of Death ideologies lead to mass graves.

That's our problem. That's what we need to stay focussed on.

Cohen is off here, but he is generally a fair-minded man

OK, maybe he is. In most other respects.

And maybe the prelate who unfairly advocated boycotts of Jewish businesses was a fair-minded man in most other respects, too.

Dale Price

Marion:

So the Holocaust spontaneously generated in Germany in soil otherwise untainted by anti-semitism?

So Polish Catholics frequently turned over their Jewish fellow citizens to the Nazis as a result of some magical mesmerism of the black-clad SS and their wholly new and alien ideology? "Mein Kampf gives us power over weak minds."

Interesting.

But if Nazi ideology about the Jews was entirely sui generis, so manifestly anti-Christian, then why was Christian resistance on the ground so uncoordinated and sporadic? Why can we count so many otherwise decent churchgoing Catholics among the supporters? [And no, don't count me as a "Pius XII was silent" type.]

No, the sad fact is that the Nazis were able to till soil that was already broken by the likes of mindsets like August Cardinal Hlond.

The genocidal program of the Nazis was unique and new. But, tragically, not its anti-semitism.

The reaction of the average Christian was simply to sing a little louder.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/913452/posts

Blind Squirrel

Dunleary (or Dún Laoghaire?):-

By "lawyer's brief" I mean something that, like the brief of a courtroom counsel who is engaged to plead only one side of a case, confines itself to the positive (or the negative, as the case may be) rather than looking at all the relevant evidence. So yes, it's less than truthful, albeit by suppressio veri rather than suggestio falsi.

As for "the specific thing[s] that that man [SMK] did or said that would justify the innuendo and smears" (to what or whom are you referring, by the way?), go and read the primary-source materials for yourself. You'll find the necessary citations in my posts above. Then get back to me. Until then, I'll wear my shame lightly...


Maol Muire:-

Yes, the Nazis and no one else were the perpetrators of the Holocaust. Nobody's arguing anything different. But it's neither morally right nor historically accurate to allow the unimaginable brutality of the Holocaust to render invisible, or somehow more acceptable by comparison, "ordinary" prejudice against, lies about, or hostility toward Jews. That's precisely why JP the Great, who knew from first-hand experience what he was talking about, declared in 1995 that "the Church should become more fully conscious of the sinfulness of her children, recalling all those times in history when they departed from the spirit of Christ and his Gospel and, instead of offering to the world the witness of a life inspired by the values of faith, indulged in ways of thinking and acting which were truly forms of counter-witness and scandal." The reason we are "discussing 'primates' who advocated 'boycotts,'" etc., is the same reason that the Vatican asked in March 1998 (in We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah: "Did anti-Jewish sentiment among Christians make them less sensitive, or even indifferent, to the persecutions launched against the Jews by National Socialism?"

Marion

Dear Dale:

You wrote "So the Holocaust spontaneously generated in Germany in soil otherwise untainted by anti-Semitism?"

Er, no.

"So Polish Catholics frequently turned over their Jewish fellow citizens to the Nazis as a result of some magical mesmerism of the black-clad SS and their wholly new and alien ideology?"

That a number of Polish Catholics allied themselves with anti-Christian, anti-Semitic Culture-of-Death Nazis is certainly extraordinarily wicked and tragic.

But sadly, not surprising.

Today we have a number of American Catholics allying themselves with anti-Christian Culture of Death pro-abortion politicians and advocacy groups.

Which is also a betrayal of their Catholic faith and all that it stands for.

"Interesting"

Not to me. I think it's heart-breaking and it's deplorable. Back then as well as today.

"But if Nazi ideology about the Jews was entirely sui generis . . ."

Answering things that I didn't say is boring. Next!

". . . so manifestly anti-Christian, then why was Christian resistance on the ground so uncoordinated and sporadic? Why can we count so many otherwise decent churchgoing Catholics among the supporters?"

Please scroll up to the part about modern day Catholics and abortion, and re-read.

"No, the sad fact is that the Nazis were able to till soil that was already broken by the likes of mindsets like August Cardinal Hlond."

OK. A perfectly valid opinion.

"The genocidal program of the Nazis was unique and new. But, tragically, not its anti-semitism."

It's the death and destruction piece of the Holocaust that really stands out in my mind.

And the masters of death and destruction during the twentieth century have been post-Christian ideologues, those who reject Christianity. People like the Nazis. And the Communists.

Tens of millions dead. Western Europe. The former Soviet Union. Vietnam. China. Cambodia. In one century. All over the globe.

By regimes that reject Christianity and want to establish utopia on Earth by getting rid of the sick, the weak, the unwanted, the "less than", and all who dare to oppose them.

And they believe killing is the way to accomplish their objectives.

How much more anti-Christian can you get than that?

The reaction of the average Christian was simply to sing a little louder.

Yep. Still true, in many cases, today.

Which is why the Church has her work cut out for her.

Dale Price

Marion:

It looks like we might be closer than originally thought. My whole point was to argue that this--

Let's zero in on the perpetrators of the Holocaust here. Let's not focus on those who "paved the way" for the Holocaust, or those who "might have done more to prevent" the Holocaust, or who "sat on the sidelines" during the Holocaust, or who "said something that might have given the impression that they . . ."

--is not possible. The Nazi Holocaust cannot be looked at in a vacuum. I don't disagree that Nazism was post-Christian (I tend to think of it as neopagan at its core, but post-Christian is a good descriptor). To reuse the farming analogy, you can't analyze the crop without considering the soil. You can't grow potatoes in Death Valley. Likewise, the Nazis couldn't have perpetrated their atrocities without a good deal of extent anti-Jewish background noise.

Marion (Mael Muire)

Blind Squirrel wrote:

". . . it's neither morally right nor historically accurate to allow the unimaginable brutality of the Holocaust to render invisible, or somehow more acceptable by comparison, "ordinary" prejudice against, lies about, or hostility toward Jews.

No, of course, it isn't Blind Sqirrel.

Lies about and hatred toward any person or group is a very serious sin.

But if we may stay with the Holocaust itself for a moment here.

After all, is it not right and proper that all men and women of good will should join with the Jewish people in saying, "Never Again!"?

And the way to do that is to address the primary cause of the Holocaust.

And the primary cause of the Holocaust was a tyrannical group, who rejected all notions of Christian decency and morality, decided that they wanted to take over the world and make it safe for their "Master Race" to rule everywhere.

And, post-Christians that they were, they had no moral problems with murdering millions to make that happen.

It is tyrannical, post-Christian groups such as these, such as the Nazis and various Communist regimes, who have shown us time and time again that when they gain power, millions of innocent men, women, and children are slaughtered and butchered.

I join my voice with those who say "Never Again!"

As His Holiness Pope John Paul the Great showed us, a strong Christian faith is our best weapon against the perpetrators of these hideous crimes.

Marion (Mael Muire)

"Likewise, the Nazis couldn't have perpetrated their atrocities without a good deal of extent anti-Jewish background noise.

Right. But what's the point of focussing your attention primarily on background noise when the real problem is staring you in the face?

How does focussing on background noise accomplish the goal of ensuring that the world and its people are safe from the rise of murderous, post-Christian regimes that want to extend their tyrannical rule over all they survey, and are willing to kill anyone and anything that tries to stop them?

Dave

Hi Amy (and all),

This thread was mentioned somewhere else (Three Hierarchies blog) and I posted the following in response to Cohen:

-----------------

I would say the whole abominable mess of WWII and Hitler would and could have very easily been prevented if folks had listened to one man: Winston Churchill. But such is the folly of men that they want to believe that everything is fine (the Neville Chamberlain appeasement mentality).

Churchill warned all through the 30s of the German military build-up, but no one wanted to listen to him. At the same time, Malcolm Muggeridge was exposing Stalin's starving of ten million Ukrainians but no one wanted to listen to him, either.

It's as simple as that. Germany was disarmed after WWI; what happened a mere 15 years later when they started building tanks and fighter planes again? Nothing, of course.

C.S. Lewis estimated that four-fifths of evil is done by man to man. If something as terrible as WWII and the death camps and genocide (and the US's wiping out of 100,000 at a time in Hiroshima, and the dreadful bombings of Dresden and Tokyo, so that we aren't innocent either) could have been prevented by the simplest common sense, and listening to one clear-minded man, then where do we get off blaming God for this idiotic folly of mankind?

Can't Richard Cohen figure that out? Meanwhile, most Jews today completely buy into feminism and the accompanying abortion holocaust, and see no irony or pathetic tragedy in that at all.

God is no more responsible for abortion than He was for Auschwitz et al. It is the unchecked evil of men in circumstances which bring it out, and the good men who do nothing (Edmund Burke) which brings all this about. God wants US to do our duty of promoting justice and brotherhood in the world, not to miraculously intervene every time we screw things up yet again.

THAT part of the problem of evil is very simple to figure out, I think. The hard part is ascertaining why God, knowing how men would act, would allow free will anyway. In that sense, one might try to accuse God of cruelty, but that is where faith and acceptance of what God has revealed comes in, and acknowledgement of our own limitations in grasping these very deep mysteries.

Christians see God suffering on the cross, so we know that He is willing to go through what most of us have to endure: pain, suffering, humiliation, betrayal, etc.

Blind Squirrel

Maol Muire:-

If you or I had a dollar for every scholarly book or article that attempted to discern "the primary cause of the Holocaust"! But as an academic historian who has spent my working life teaching and writing about European fascism, I can say that the connection you're trying to make between utopian "political religions" like National Socialism and Communism and genocide is difficult to square with the facts. Agreed, both ideologies--especially the latter--managed to pile up corpses to a historically unprecedented degree (though modern technology had a lot to do with that: the genocidal impulse long predated the C20). But as the work of Christopher Browning and others has shown, a huge proportion of the killings were perpetrated by "ordinary men"--often conventionally religious--not deep-dyed devotees of the Nazis' turgid ideologies. Very often they were assigned the job because they were regarded as too old, too unhealthy or too unreliable to do anything else. Many of those who enthusiastically participated in (indeed, volunteered for) mass killings of Jews, once the Germans gave them the green light, were from highly Christianised societies like Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Croatia, whose prewar exposure to National Socialist or other totalitarian doctrines was minimal. If we are truly to understand the Holocaust and other such atrocities, therefore, we need to maintain a constant awareness of the ease with which, given the right circumstances, "we" can become "them"--and indeed, at various times in history, did.

"A strong Christian faith"? No argument here. But a deep and reverent attention to what history tells us as well--all of it--including (perhaps especially) the uncomfortable bits we're often tempted to ignore or relativise.

Blind Squirrel

Dave:-

I often assign a scenario like this, as part of an exercise in counterfactual history: What if France (and, maybe, Britain) had taken the last chance to stop Hitler without major bloodshed--the Rhineland occupation of 1936--and toppled him as a result? (At this stage, remember, by the gruesome calculus of the era he could be considered a comparative humanitarian among European leaders--far fewer killings to his credit than Mussolini, probably fewer again than Dollfuss, not even to be mentioned in the same breath with Stalin.) What would have replaced him? Probably a KPD government. And how would the history books read today? That the Allies, acting out of a paranoid fear of Germany, recklessly overturned a government that, its worrisome rhetoric aside, was less murderous than most; in so doing destroyed the last realistic hope of preventing the westward march of Communism; and delivered Western Europe over to the tender mercies of the Soviet colossus in the mid-1930s?

That's the dreadful thing about pre-emption. If it's successful, you'll never know whether the evil to be prevented would actually have happened and hence whether the cure was not worse than the disease.

Marion (Mael Muire)

"as an academic historian who has spent my working life teaching and writing about European fascism, I can say that the connection you're trying to make between utopian "political religions" like National Socialism and Communism and genocide is difficult to square with the facts. Agreed, both ideologies--especially the latter--managed to pile up corpses to a historically unprecedented degree . . . "

I'd say that's a good start right there, Blind Squirrel.

(though modern technology had a lot to do with that

Let's not confuse motive with means.

Every modern industrialized country since 1918 has had the means to perpetrate murder on a mass scale.

Most have not.

A few have.

The ones that have, have all, I repeat, all been post-Christian and anti-Christian utopian ideologies such as National Socialism and Communism.

In other words, if you want a lot of people dead, modern weapons help, but if you want staggering, unimaginable numbers dead, modern weapons in the hands of National Socialists or Communists can't be beat.

But as the work of Christopher Browning and others has shown, a huge proportion of the killings were perpetrated by "ordinary men"--often conventionally religious--not deep-dyed devotees of the Nazis' turgid ideologies.

Right.

But the orders came from Adolf Hitler. A post-Christian National Socialist. Who feared neither God nor man.

Just as there are unfortunately Catholics today who find it in their interest to accept and to embrace our modern-day Culture of Death, especially abortion.

"If we are truly to understand the Holocaust and other such atrocities, therefore, we need to maintain a constant awareness of the ease with which, given the right circumstances, "we" can become "them"--and indeed, at various times in history, did.

I'm not an historian or a scholar. I'm a practical sort. I'm interested only in finding answers to the problem of preventing secular, post-Christian and anti-Christian totalitarian regimes coming to power, so that mass murders like the Holocaust, and so many of the exterminations that have taken place during the last century, may be avoided in the future.

Dale Price

How does focussing on background noise accomplish the goal of ensuring that the world and its people are safe from the rise of murderous, post-Christian regimes that want to extend their tyrannical rule over all they survey, and are willing to kill anyone and anything that tries to stop them?

Easy. Because you can find the weaknesses in Christianity that those ideologies are able to exploit and attempt to remedy them.

That honest and necessary process makes it much harder for the ideologues to co-opt Christians, and makes Christian resistance all the stronger for it. Not to mention making the Christian voice more credible to other men of good will and natural waverers.

In other words, it goes a long way toward ensuring "never again." Or perhaps more accurately, "not this time."

Blind Squirrel

Well, MM, even from the oxygen-deprived heights of my Ivy-clad ivory tower ;) I too will do my microscopic part (so far as the "problem of preventing secular, post-Christian and anti-Christian totalitarian régimes coming to power" is concerned--a formula, by the way, that certainly doesn't apply to Catholic Croatia, where Franciscan priests in particular were responsible for some of the worst atrocities in the 1940s). But, bearing in mind that the victims of "lesser" genocides (a few hundred thousand here, a few hundred thousand there ) are just as dead as the others, I'd suggest that they merit our ongoing concern as well.

My last contribution on the subject! 'Night, all.

Marion (Mael Muire)

Can we say "both / and"?

Sure, Christians need to be more authentically Christian in their outlook, and we need to improve on that all the time. I think we should start here in the United States with embracing the Culture of Life instead of the Culture of Death.

But how many will listen?

As many as were willing to listen during the 1930s and Hitler's rise to power?

Probably.

In the meantime, over the years and in the many places I have come across discourse about the Holocaust, I have heard many voices raised in condemnation of Christians in general, and the Catholic Church, in particular, for its sins of omission and commission.

I have heard little about the need for an end to post-Christian totalitarian regimes, the kind of regime that actually put in place and carried out "the Final Solution" against the Jewish people of Europe.

So, in the interest of working both sides of the problem, I hope to provide one more voice in the conversation.

End murderous utopian regimes. Hitler. Stalin. Pol Pot. Mao.

End the problem.

Dave Armstrong

Blind Squirrel,

Very interesting (and your historical tidbits of sad compliance are fascinating, albeit immensely disturbing). Of course, in retrospect, it would have been the right thing to do, whatever the naysayers say. And that is often the problem of people not doing what they should do, in the final analysis, isn't it? "What will others think?"

Half the things I've done in my life (and most of the best, IMO) were in the teeth of some loved-one's objections. I would never have become a Catholic or a writer or apologist, etc. I wouldn't have been in Operation Rescue (a mild form of conscientious protest against an unjust society and mass murder, as it were). I wouldn't have even converted to evangelical Christianity in 1977 (my upbringing was nominal Methodist).

If we're so worried about mere social opinion and what our own circle will think of us, is it any wonder that folks are so easily cowed into doing the will of dictators and abortion providers, no matter how outrageous?

I think what could have been said to those who would have frowned upon an early shut-down of Hitler is that there was no particularly compelling reason to think that the man didn't mean to do exactly as he had stated and had written in Mein Kampf (one might cite analogous behavior of the Communists who set out and did pretty much what Marx and (especially) Lenin predicted, and even more.

Hitler was an extremely serious guy. I just saw a clip a few nights ago of his first speech as Chancellor in 1933. I think anyone could readily see that he meant business. Jews in Germany were certainly well aware of that early on. Why wasn't anyone else? It's the typical latent European anti-Semitism again, I suppose. Combine this with the history of German / Prussian militarism and aggression and the collection of misfits and moral monsters that Hitler was collecting in his government and "it didn't take a rocket scientist" to see what was coming, no?

Blind Squirrel

Dear Dave,

The funny thing is that pretty much nobody saw this coming, at least when it was early enough to do something about it without paying a major price. (My point about what the history books might say, btw, wasn't to suggest that Western leaders of the time were inhibited about the verdict of posterity so much as by their awareness that there were few scenarios involving the destabilisation of the Nazi régime that didn't involve a massive extension of Soviet power in Western Europe). German Jews certainly didn't predict the Holocaust or anything like it: until Reichskristallnacht of November 1938 most thought that Hitler, like his rôle-model Karl Lueger, was shooting off his mouth to rally anti-Semites among his base but didn't seriously intend to follow through on it. Michael Burleigh's 2001 book is good on this. So far as anybody can tell (we're relying on circumstantial evidence here, but quite suggestive evidence nevertheless), Hitler himself didn't move from "expulsion" to "extermination" mode until late summer or early autumn 1941. As for Mein Kampf(which in any event was never translated into English before the war), what Hitler was talking about there, once you wade through the interminable digressions on prostitution, syphilis, women's fashions, etc., was expansion to the east against the Soviet Union. Both in this and his unpublished Second Book he argued that the whole direction of Wilhelmine foreign policy (challenging France and Britain) had been a historic error. This was quite a congenial prospect to many Western democrats (or Democrats). One, a somewhat obscure senator from the Pendergast machine in Missouri, Truman by name, argued before he went on to bigger and better things that Hitler and Stalin ought to be left to fight it out between them.

As for Churchill, he was right about Hitler, of course, but arguably in the sense that a stopped clock is right twice a day. Nobody listened because he had been so wrong about so much else (the Gold Standard, self-government for India, Edward VIII's abdication, the Protocols [he had written newspaper articles accepting them as genuine shortly after the Great War]). He produced immense amounts of pulp journalism on subjects about which he knew nothing, mainly to get money to pay for his stock market losses and the upkeep of his falling-to-bits country house. His contemporaries regarded him, with much justification, as someone who would say or do anything to get his name in the papers. In 1927 he said that if he were born in Italy he would have become a Fascist. While he opposed appeasing Germany (though he wanted to give her the Corridor), he favoured appeasing Italy and Japan--admittedly, despite its cynicism, perhaps a better policy than the one Chamberlain ultimately pursued. He was against the development of radar, which he viewed as a waste of time and money. He believed that Germany could be contained by air power alone. The Winston Churchill/William Manchester school of hagiography that depicts him as the clear-eyed prophet surrounded by pusillanimous little minds in the 1930s has long since collapsed under closer scrutiny. In lots of ways--as in late 1937, when he decried what he called his own previous "alarmism" about Germany and said that no major war was imminent--he was reacting on a short-term basis to rapidly-changing events, like everyone else. Even his decision to fight on in June 1940, which was definitely the right one, was based on misconceptions (he thought that U.S. public opinion would clamour for intervention if Britain were bombed; that Germany's economy had been overstrained by mobilisation and might soon collapse; and that it was possible to defeat Germany by an "annihilating" aerial attack upon her cities.)

Lastly, nobody imagined that the million-strong French army, incomparably the largest in Europe, could be knocked out in a mere six weeks. It nearly wasn't. Hitler's advance in the spring of 1940 was an extremely high-risk strategy--a Hail Mary pass, if you will--that only just came off. Military historians who have looked into this question consider that if the Allies had as few as ten extra mobile divisions to spare they could have cut off Guderian's advance, encircled it, and chopped the German forces to pieces at their leisure. Some figures to think about: in May 1940 the French had 104 divisions in the field, the Belgians 22, and the British a mere 10 (none armoured), just ahead of the Dutch with 8.

Dave Armstrong

The complete truth is again interesting, as always!

I still say, however (getting back to the larger subject of God and evil), that WWII and all of its hideous fruit is squarely the fault of human beings, not God. It's ridiculous for us to make a royal mess of things and then when the chickens come home to roost, we start whining and moaning about "why did God allow THIS?" (and then prepare to make the same stupid mistakes all over again -- learning absolutely nothing from history).

Indeed, it is an extremely serious and troubling philosophical question: why God allows the human free will that He knew would continually fail and cause great suffering and misery. But that's different from directly blaming God for "doing nothing," etc., during the worst times of our butchering each other.

I think the free will defense provides a fairly adequate answer, but there is always a gap left, making it difficult to understand why God allowed a thing which has entailed so much pain and suffering.

We can accept it in faith, humbly acknowledging our limitations and God's goodness, but those without faith will understandably struggle quite a bit with it and feel a perplexity that only faith, I think, is able to overcome.

Hal Westhead

Particular heart-rending events remind us of and bring us alive to the truth of suffering. Freewill appears to put the mess and suffering in the hands of man, but this is to be rather short-sighted. The very conception of pain, of suffering, of abuse, of despair can only exist because they were created and are in conceivable within God's comprehension. All that exists, both desirable and abominable, can only be as part of creation.
The particular instances, such as the Holocaust, simply remind us that all this is part of creation and the mind of the creator.

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