The feature on Jim Carroll's new book, "Constantine's Sword, the Church and the Jews" ["A Faithful Catholic Indicts His Own Religion," Jan. 21] claims that it is neither "mean or accusing." Yet, the book charges that Catholicism was central to the Holocaust. Carroll virtually ignores two centuries of racialism, nationalism, secularism and socialism that had displaced Catholicism in European thought and politics. It was this stew of 19th century philosophies that created the Holocaust, not the church that was virtually a lone voice in speaking out against these pillars of so-called enlightened minds.
The writer downplayed the radical "reform" Carroll envisions in his call for a "Vatican III." Carroll is not limited to the usual jabs at papal infallibility. He proposes to dismiss the basic Christian concept that Christ died to atone for the sins of humankind, that salvation had any role in the life and death of Christ and that the teachings of Christ reflect central and universal truth. Because his thesis requires rejection of the New Testament, it also requires rejection of the essentials of Christianity. As Carroll writes: "Any Christian proclamation that says that salvation, redemption, grace, perfection, whatever you call it, has already come is unbelievable on its face." This isn't a call to reform Christianity, but to reject it.