23 FEBRUARY 2002, Page 35

Wimpish Catholics

From Mr Robert O'Brien

Sir: Paul Gottfried is right (`The Church and the Holocaust', 16 February). It is not the Ozicks and Dershowitzs who most effectively peddle this absurd reading of history, but James Carroll and Gam, Wills, whose antipathy to Catholicism is fanatical — Carroll repeatedly compares Catholicism to Nazism, asserting, for example, that Hitler died a Catholic and suggesting that the Beatific Vision is tantamount to the sadistic ministrations of a Nazi torturer. The fact that Catholics have not voiced outrage over these portrayals is mystifying. The fact that Professor Gottfried has voiced possibly the strongest criticism of Goldhagen's books to date speaks volumes for the lack of vitality to be found in American Catholicism, which, frankly, appears moribund.

Robert O'Brien

rohrien@ mtabt.org