Catholic League president William Donohue has called Senator Dianne Feinstein’s remarks at the Sept. 12 hearings of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts “obscene” and has requested that the senator apologize to Catholics for her remark.
Feinstein said she was going to question Roberts on “the constitutional provision of providing for the separation of church and state.” As an example of religious persecution, she cited Jews who lost their lives in Budapest during the Holocaust. She said the tragedy “occurred in the name of religion.”
“At the time of the Holocaust, 67 percent of Hungary was Catholic, so we know who Senator Feinstein was blaming,” Donohue said in a written statement.
Donohue cited Rabbi David Dalin, author of the new book “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis.”
In his book, Dalin writes about Jeno Levai, a great Hungarian-Jewish historian. Dalin says Levai “was so angered by accusations of papal ‘silence’” that he wrote “Hungarian Jewry and the Papacy: Pius XII Did Not Remain Silent” (1968). Robert M.W. Kempner, the deputy chief U.S. prosecutor at Nuremburg, wrote the introduction and epilogue of Levai’s book.
According to Dalin, Levai demonstrated how Catholic Church officials “intervened again and again on the instructions of the Pope,” so that “in the autumn and winter of 1944 there was practically no Catholic Church institution in Budapest where persecuted Jews did not find refuge.”
Donohue claimed that Feinstein’s remarks show “an appalling ignorance of the Holocaust.” In addition, Donohue continued, “she blames Catholics—the very ones who came to the rescue of Jews in Budapest—not Nazis.”
Finally, Donohue said, Feinstein “fails to understand that had the First Amendment provision on religious liberty been operative in Nazi Germany, Hitler would not have been able to use the power of the state to club Christianity.”