A Reflection on the Shoah
Such a bold statement made by the Catholic Church in ‘We Remember: A Reflection of the Shoah’. Though late, it is a step in the right direction. Any existing wound will be healed by such statements that deal with previous atrocities in human history.
By deciding to release such a statement with a magnitude, the church showed its courage as well as humility. Moreover, the Catholic Church showed its commitment, publicly, to engage in self-criticism; this shows a call for reforms in the church. It did not portray its weaknesses, but renewed strength in wanting to start a new life altogether and forget its past misgivings. In my own opinion, the message that comes out clearly from the document is that all Catholics are obliged to repent of their past misgivings, as a church, and as an individual. The statement is important in that it is a learning moment for the church as well as its members. All Catholics are supposed to identify with the document.
This should be a confession, whether sincere or not. I feel like the Vatican Statement, We Remember: Reflections on the Shoah, has invited all Catholics all over the world to rise and dedicate themselves to making a future with no pain or sorrows, a future with justice and mercies. The holocaust should never be forgotten; it is the only time that a state wanted to wipe out an entire generation from the face of the earth. Moreover, those who did this did no have any political or material gain. It is undoubtedly, the worst ever crime to be committed by humanity on itself.
However, over time, the events leading to the holocaust have remained inconceivable. This is another reason as to why it should never be forgotten. This would avert any future events of the same nature. The document has also urged all the Catholics to repent of their past errors or misgivings, and also refurbish their faith in existence of Hebrew roots in their faith. The document was also categorical to distinguish its pat anti-Judaism as forms of religious teachings, in addition to describing the Holocaust as associated with roots outside Christianity. This shows a positive step towards peace and reconciliation.
I hope, with sincerity from the Catholic’s church, that the document would go a long way in helping to heal any wounds that arose from misunderstandings and injustices of the past. I also hope that in the future, the inequity experienced as described in the shore, never happens again. The pope had described that he had deep sorrow about the sufferings that the Jews experienced during the Second World War. The Shoah would indeed remain to be a stain in human history. The document did break the barrier that had existed, where the Catholic Church refuse to reckon past events honestly.
It created new theological as well as political ground for new relations between the two religions involved. It was a great idea in denouncing the holocaust, anti-Semitism ideas as well as a call for repentance. I also wish that the Vatican could have also condemned previous silence by previous popes like Pope Pius XII. However, I feel that the Catholic Church could have done more at the time to prevent the holocaust. It seemed unfair that they just stood by or did nothing and then come out later to condemn the incident. It is important that the church’s leaders try to mend relations with the Jews after a very long time.
The document was very important in describing the Holocaust as a unique occurrence and insisting that it never be forgotten.However, the Catholic Church has a history of teachings that are anti-Jewish; this might have probably created a good environment for extreme ant-Semitism to take root. They should have also acknowledged that it was a mistake also in their part. In conclusion, in my own view, the document has failed to acknowledge the extent to which anti-Judaism teachings has existed in the Catholic Church. The statement tries to distinguish between Christian anti-Judaism and Nazi anti-Semitism. The lesson learned from the event is that, the world is a global village; there should be togetherness, peace, so that events like the holocaust do not happen again in mankind history.
If someone had intervened, probably nothing of the sort would have happened.