By Peter Manseau

When Pope Benedict XVI visited Auschwitz in 2006, the prayer service he led began with the words “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Words from the Psalms, they no doubt had been uttered within the prison gates before, by Jews praying as Jews in their final days.

But that’s not why they were spoken during the pope’s visit. They were invoked then because Christians remember the same verse as words cried out by Jesus from the Cross.

Who becomes the victim in this kind of remembrance? The pope himself provided a hint: “By destroying Israel,” he said of the Nazis, “they ultimately wanted to tear up the taproot of the Christian faith.”

While different in kind and degree from the recent controversy concerning the Catholic Church’s Holocaust-denying bishop, the pope’s words at Auschwitz suggest the possibility that religious revisionism presents a bigger problem than what to do with one crackpot cleric. If the first frame of reference for the murder of 6 million Jews is the death of a Christian savior, one can see how the dark spots of history might be forgotten beside the light of faith.

Revealer alum Peter Manseau makes the case in the latest issue of Commonweal.Continue reading…