Wednesday 15 March 2017
“Mystici corporis Christi” the Catholic Church and other ‘resistors’ of the Nazi “Euthanasia” program
In 1943, Pope Pius XII issued an Encyclical “Mystici corporis Christi” in which he declared “to our profound grief, we see at times the deformed, the insane, and those suffering from hereditary disease deprived of their lives, as though they were a useless burden to Society”. This, combined with the historical legacy of Clemens von Galen, Catholic Archbishop of Munster, conveys a narrative of the Catholic church as the primary resistance to the Nazi persecution of the disabled (Krankenmorde). This presentation will seek to unpack this assumption and also identify other acts of “resistance” to this component of the Holocaust.
Michael Robertson is an Associate Professor of Mental Health Ethics at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM) at the University of Sydney and a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Sydney Jewish Museum. He is conducting empirical ethics research examining the German psychiatric profession under National Socialism and his book “Elvira and the Iron Door” is planned for publication in 2017.