Kevin J. Madigan is Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs at Harvard Divinity School. (November 2013)

Getting Jews and the Vatican Wrong

The arrest of Mendel Beilis (center), a Ukrainian Jew who was accused of the ritual murder of a thirteen-year-old boy, tried, and acquitted in Kiev in 1913. Pope Pius X said of Beilis, ‘I hope that the trial will end without harm to the poor Jews.’
In responding to questions about its part in the tragedy that befell Europe’s Jews in the twentieth century, the Vatican—most importantly in its 1998 “reflection on the Shoah,” entitled “We Remember”—makes a crucial distinction between anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism. In “We Remember” the Vatican describes anti-Judaism as discrimination rooted in religious …