It’s been a long, long, long time since I identified as a Catholic. Still they embarass me. Having been a part of that community, I do know that some of them are better than others. So, just to offset Ratzinger’s embrace of the holocaust denying Bishop Richard Williamson, I offer this book review by Patricia A. Kossman and James Martin:
Not a book for the faint hearted, this is nonetheless a noteworthy and needed addition to Holocaust literature. Desbois is secretary to the French Conference of Bishops for relations with Judaism; in 2004 he founded an organization called Yahad-in Unum that investigates the mass killings of Eastern European Jews by the Nazis from 1941 to 1945. Traveling with a team to Ukraine in 2007, he visited numerous locations and interviewed surviving witnesses (many of whom had been conscripted by the Germans to “dig”) to the humiliation and calculated murder of more than a million unsuspecting Jews. With the assistance of an interpreter, a ballistics expert, a photographer and an archival researcher, the author recounts in vivid, unflinching detail the methodical torture, shooting and burial of Jews (some still alive) in huge open pits throughout various small towns and villages. These were not isolated sites, but in full view of local villagers of all ages, the victims’ non-Jewish neighbors and even friends. A chilling refrain underlying all the testimony presented is that “the earth moved for three days.” History is indebted to Father Desbois and his team for uncovering the truth and bringing to light a dark, almost forgotten chapter in the story of Nazi atrocities.
Doesn’t excuse Ratzinger who, at the very least, needed to explain what he did and why he did it.