Society That Thinks Pope Pius XII Rules

Friday, April 28, 2006

Santo Subito

Sense of urgency: Pope Pius XII supporters await progress on cause

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- With the 50th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII coming up in two years, supporters of his sainthood cause are growing a little impatient.

They're also growing older. The generation of church people who lived and worked with Pope Pius is quietly passing from the scene.

That may have accounted, in part, for the sense of urgency among those who gathered recently at Rome's Pontifical Lateran University to hear new evidence of Pope Pius' virtues and denounce the "continuous attacks" from those who fault him for not doing enough to help Jews during World War II.

The feisty tone was set by Italian Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini, 89, a personal friend of the late pontiff. After listening to a Vatican envoy read a message from Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, in praise of Pope Pius, Cardinal Angelini asked the monsignor to take a message back to his superiors.

"Pius XII must be declared a saint! Admiration isn't enough -- people need to get moving!" he said to applause from the packed auditorium.

"Too much time has already passed," he said.

The Vatican message only hinted at Pope Benedict XVI's views, saying he was happy to see attention given to the great efforts of Pope Pius to "prevent the war, ease its pain and hasten its end."

The suspicion among many in the room was that Vatican officials long ago placed Pope Pius on the slow track because he is a controversial figure whose beatification could cause problems.

But on that score, the audience received some good news. Jesuit Father Peter Gumpel, who has assembled evidence in support of the cause, said the Vatican's saint-making machinery may be grinding toward a conclusion of this cause.

In late 2004, he said, experts handed in documentation totaling more than 3,000 pages in six volumes. Earlier this year, two preliminary meetings of historians and theologians were held to review the documentation.

Father Gumpel said that, despite some "errors and misguided suggestions" from one of the four historians and some scrupulous queries from some of the nine theologians, the overall assessment was very positive.

Father Gumpel is preparing written answers to their questions, and before the summer he expects a definitive meeting on the cause. If the historians and theologians approve it, it goes to the full Congregation for Saints' Causes for similar approval, then to Pope Benedict for an ultimate decision.

Once Pope Pius' heroic virtues are declared, the church must recognize two miracles attributed to his intercession, one before his beatification and another before his canonization.

So when can the church expect his beatification?

"I'm not a seer, but the cause is advanced, and there are serious reasons to think it will come in the not-too-distant future," Father Gumpel said.

Criticism of Pope Pius has grown more shrill in recent years, according to Father Gumpel, who blames "communists, Masons and other fringe groups that are hostile to the church."

One of the volumes consigned to the Vatican was an appendix listing representative criticisms, along with analysis and rebuttal, he said.

Like many church people in Rome, Father Gumpel is convinced that Pope Pius worked quietly to help save many Jews during the war and that strong public statements by the pope would only have worsened the Nazi persecution.

The Rome conference heard from two people who agree -- a rabbi and a nun.

U.S. Rabbi David G. Dalin -- whose book, "The Myth of Hitler's Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews From the Nazis," takes aim at what he says is the smearing of Pope Pius -- said he has documented dozens of instances where the pope spoke against Nazism and helped save Jews from deportation.

"Pius XII was not Hitler's pope, but a protector and friend of the Jewish people at a moment in history when it mattered most," he said.

He said this was a commonly accepted fact among Jews after the war and for many years afterward. In 1955, for example, on the 10th anniversary of the liberation of Rome, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra came to play a concert in tribute to Pope Pius, he said.

"Israeli public opinion would never have accepted the Israeli Philharmonic traveling to play a concert for 'Hitler's pope,'" he said.

Sister Margherita Marchione, a member of the Religious Teachers Filippini order in Morristown, N.J., unveiled the latest in a series of books she has written defending Pope Pius.

Titled "Crusade of Charity," it includes a sampling of the 10 million letters from families -- Christian and Jewish -- who sought the pope's help in finding missing loved ones in the war. The Vatican Secret Archives made the letters available to scholars two years ago; many of the letters express deep gratitude to the pope for his efforts.

While the media may view Pope Pius strictly in the context of World War II, Cardinal Angelini reminded the audience that he was much more than a wartime pope.

"He was a man of God and a man of prayer, an ascetic and a great pastor," the cardinal said. He said the late pope was prophetic in his comments about materialism and communism and helped set in motion the events leading to the Second Vatican Council.

Often overlooked, Cardinal Angelini said, were Pope Pius' groundbreaking statements about modern medicine. For example, the pope's acceptance of pain relievers -- even if they may unintentionally shorten human life -- was revolutionary, he said.

Cardinal Angelini closed with another applause line: "The holiness of Pius XII doesn't need to be defended. It needs to be better known."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Unprecedented Slander

I just read this article from It seems as though Fr. Pizzaballa does not know his history very well. The author, Amiram Barkat, has also loaded the article with anti-Pius lies. Nowhere does he mention all of the Jewish leaders who are calling for him to be recognized as a "Righteous Gentile."

If you have read the previous posts on this sight, you will clearly see that the attacks on Pius XII are unwarranted and slanderous.

Gov't: Criticism of papal silence on Holocaust 'unprecedented'

By Amiram Barkat, Haaretz Correspondent

Government sources have called statements made by a senior Vatican official condemning the silence of the Holy See during the Holocaust "unprecedented."

What's unprecedented is the slander by Fr. Pizzabala.

Sources in Jerusalem said it is still too early to tell whether the statements made Tuesday by Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, reflect a change in Vatican policy about the silence of Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust.

They in fact do not reflect a change. The beatification process is still continuing. What it does reflect is that Fr. Pizzaballa has been reading too many of John Cornwell's books (who later recanted the title of "Hitler's Pope.") and other conspiracy theories.

Speaking in Hebrew at a conference at Tel Aviv University on the actions of the Church during the Holocaust, Pizzaballa criticized "church leaders, including those of the highest level, who did not adopt a courageous stand in the evangelical spirit in the face of the Nazi regime."

Dr. Simcha Epstein of the Hebrew University's Vidal Sassoon Center for the Study of Antisemitism, said the phrase "high-level leaders" was a veiled reference to Pope Pius XII.

Hmm...I guess the anti-Nazi speaches Cardinal Pacelli made, the thousands of Jews saved by Pius XII, and the fact that Hitler wanted Pius XII assassinated means that they were in league with Hitler.

Jewish organizations and historians for years have been at the forefront of a struggle against the Vatican initiative to beatify Pius due to his inaction during the Holocaust.

Oh really? Is that why Jewish leaders want him to be named "Righteous Gentile" and when he died there were tributes from virtually every Jewish group around the world?

Here's a quote from a Rabbi:
"He probably rescued more Jews than any single individual. From that vantage point, Pius XII deserves recognition," said Mr. Dalin, professor of history and political science at Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Naples, Fla.

Jerusalem was expecting that with the ascendance of the new pope, Benedictus XVI, the process of beatification would be stopped. However, sources in Jerusalem told Haaretz it is ongoing, albeit at a slower pace.

Really? All of Jerusalem wished for it to be stopped? That's news to me. Did you interview all of Jerusalem, Mr. Amiram Barkat, or just Fr. Pizzaballa who is in Jerusalem?

Pizzaballa said that after the Holocaust, the Church struggled with "the question of how it failed at the task of molding the conscience of the faithful so they would refuse to cooperate with the Nazi machine of destruction. How so many of the faithful cooperated and even more stood and did nothing." Pizzaballa added that the 1965 Vatican declaration absolving the Jews from killing Jesus was a "response to the deep crisis created after World War II."

The 1965 Vatican declaration was not a "response to the deep crisis created after World War II." It was because we ALL are guilty of Jesus's crucifixion.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"597 The historical complexity of Jesus' trial is apparent in the Gospel accounts. the personal sin of the participants (Judas, the Sanhedrin, Pilate) is known to God alone. Hence we cannot lay responsibility for the trial on the Jews in Jerusalem as a whole, despite the outcry of a manipulated crowd and the global reproaches contained in the apostles' calls to conversion after Pentecost. Jesus himself, in forgiving them on the cross, and Peter in following suit, both accept "the ignorance" of the Jews of Jerusalem and even of their leaders. Still less can we extend responsibility to other Jews of different times and places, based merely on the crowd's cry: "His blood be on us and on our children!", a formula for ratifying a judicial sentence. As the Church declared at the Second Vatican Council: . . .

Neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his Passion. . . the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture.

All sinners were the authors of Christ's Passion"

He said the Church subsequently had made a number of far-reaching changes, among them emphasizing the Jewish identity of Jesus and recognition of the Hebrew Scriptures as an inseparable part of Christian tradition, and that "preachers and the greatest of teachers" had presented Jews in a distorted way, which laid the groundwork for modern anti-Semitism.

That's because Jesus IS Jewish! And the Hebrew Scriptures ARE an inseparable part of Christian Tradition!

"I cannot avoid the horrific thought that if Jesus were alive in the Holocaust, he would have been condemned to the same fate as the Jewish people, as would his mother, his family and his disciples." Pizzaballa said.

They would have been condemned by Hitler, not Pius XII and the Catholic Church!

Rabbi David Rosen, the international director of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee and a member of the Permanent Bilateral Commission of the State of Israel and the Holy See, said he has heard similar declarations in the past from American cardinals. However, such a statement is rare from a clergyman of Italian origin like Pizzaballa.

"The attitude is that of a man who is aware of Jewish and Israeli sensitivities, and it is therefore more nuanced than the official position, however, it does not reflect a change in the official stance," Rosen told Haaretz.

Fr. Pizzabala is not aware, although, of how stupid he sounds when he says things that are based on lies!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Hitler's foe

An article in the Washington Times, via Don Jim.

Hitler's foe
By Shelley Widhalm
April 26, 2006

A man publicly labeled as "Hitler's pope" instead deserves to have his historical reputation cleared, according to a spate of recent scholarship on World War II and Pope Pius XII.

Indeed, the wartime pope should be recognized as a "righteous gentile" at Israel's most important Holocaust memorial, said scholar Ronald J. Rychlak, who made his case last year in his book "Righteous Gentiles: How Pius XII and the Catholic Church Saved Half a Million Jews from the Nazis."

"He deserves that designation," said Mr. Rychlak, a law professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Mississippi in Oxford and an adviser to the Vatican's delegation to the United Nations. "When you ... look at all of the people who were sheltered and clothed by the Catholic Church under the inspiration and direction of Pius XII, he did tremendous work saving victims of the Nazis."

Rabbi David G. Dalin made a similar estimate and recommendation in his book "The Myth of Hitler's Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis," citing Jewish historian and diplomat Pinchas Lapide's estimate that Pius and the Catholic Church rescued more than 700,000 Jews during the Holocaust.

Since 1962, Israel's Holocaust Memorial and Museum at Yad Vashem has honored as "righteous gentiles" about 11,000 non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, and the rabbi said Pius should be honored among them.

"He probably rescued more Jews than any single individual. From that vantage point, Pius XII deserves recognition," said Mr. Dalin, professor of history and political science at Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Naples, Fla.

Pius, born in 1876 as Eugenio Pacelli, reigned as head of the Catholic Church from 1939 until his death in 1958. During the war, the Vatican remained neutral, as required by the treaty with German ally Benito Mussolini that guaranteed church sovereignty over a small sliver of the city of Rome. But the Vatican sympathized with the Allied powers, said William Doino Jr., a Catholic researcher and writer living in western Connecticut and a contributing editor to Inside the Vatican, an international monthly Roman Catholic publication.

"He was on the right side of the struggle and an enemy of Hitler," Mr. Doino said.

After the war, Italian leftists responded to Vatican condemnation of communism with propaganda saying Pius was in league with the Nazis, but their attempts to blacken his reputation failed, Mr. Rychlak said.

"When Pius XII died in 1958, there were tributes from virtually every Jewish group around the world," he said.

In 1963, German playwright Rolf Hochhuth drew on the communist propaganda to write "The Deputy," which accused the pope of silence and inaction toward helping the Jews and began the decline in Pius' reputation.

"The play and a number of books that followed that are basically fiction, very poor history and very inaccurate history," said Drew L. Kershen, professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law in Norman.

In 1999, journalist John Cornwell attacked the pope and the Catholic Church in "Hitler's Pope," a moniker Mr. Cornwell has since recanted, Mr. Rychlak said.

At the time, Mr. Rychlak had submitted the manuscript for "Hitler, the War, and the Pope," published in 2000. After hearing of Mr. Cornwell's work, he added an epilogue to respond to the charges. Other writers took up the issue of Pius and the Catholic Church during World War II with attacks or defenses of the church's actions.

Not long after "The Deputy" was released in 1965, Pope Paul VI began the lengthy process of declaring Pius a saint.

"It's quite impossible for Pius to be Hitler's pope, a vindictive, small-minded church bureaucrat and Jew hater, with the opposite view, which is he is very likely to be declared a saint of the church for his stand against Hitler. He can't be both things," said J. Fraser Field, executive officer of the Catholic Educator's Resource Center in British Columbia.

For his second book, Mr. Rychlak took a lawyerly approach as he examined each of the charges against the pope, researched church archives, including a confidential Vatican report on Pius, and documented what he did to help the Jews.

Some of the charges against Pius, Mr. Rychlak said, had more to do with efforts to influence the selection of Pope John Paul II's successor and with dislike for the Catholic Church and its teachings on matters related to sex and sexuality such as priestly celibacy, contraception and the all-male priesthood.

"John Cornwell was right in one respect. Hitler has a favorite cleric, but he was wrong who it was," Mr. Dalin said, giving that title to Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the anti-Semitic grand mufti of Jerusalem, whom Mr. Dalin calls "Hitler's mufti."

"He established several anti-Jewish riots. He led these riots, which resulted in the killing of many Jews," the rabbi said.

A Jewish historian coming to the defense of Pius is significant, said Joseph Bottum, editor of First Things magazine, and Mr. Dalin's co-editor of "The Pius War, Responses to the Critics of Pius XII," which was published in 2004.

"The stereotype is it is only right-wing Catholics who would defend this indefensible man, and here we have a Jewish rabbi and a serious historian doing it," Mr. Bottum said, claiming that the "Pius war" is now mostly over.

"It was a long and arduous struggle, vituperative and cruel, but, in the end, the defenders of Pius XII won every major battle. Along the way, they also lost the war," he said in the introduction.

The war is lost, he said, because Pius' reputation remains poor despite the scholarly defenses, because what the public remembers are only the charges.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Pius Quote Of The Day

"The great benefit that mankind will draw from this definition [that of the Assumption] lies in the fact that it will turn men toward the glory of the Most Holy Trinity."

-From Munificentissimus Deus

Sunday, April 16, 2006

"He has been Raised"

The Society That Thinks Pope Pius XII Rules wishes everyone a Happy Easter!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Willing to Quit if need be

Pius XII considered resigning to thwart Nazis

Apr. 13 ( - Pope Pius XII was aware of Hitler's plan to kidnap him, and prepared a letter of resignation to take effect if he was captured by the Nazis, according to the author of a new German book on the wartime Pontiff.

The authors of the new book, Werner Kaltefleiter and Hans Peter Oschwald, say that Pope Pius had signed the resignation letter, stipulating that he would revert to the status of a cardinal if he was taken hostage, the Italian ANSA news agency reports. Excerpts from their forthcoming book have appeared in the German daily Bild.

Father Peter Gumpel, a Jesuit historian who is working on the cause for beatification of Pope Pius XII, confirms that the Pontiff had tentative plans to resign in case he was captured. While skeptical about the existence of a signed resignation letter, Father Gumpel believes that a "verbal agreement" had been reached to allow for a change in leadership at the Vatican in his absence.

In their book, Spione im Vatikan, Kaltefleiter and Oschwald explore espionage efforts against the Vatican from the beginning of World War II to the present day. The book gives special attention to the efforts by Hitler's Nazis and by later Communist regimes to undermine the power of the Church. The authors say that Hitler enthusiastically authorized a raid on the Vatican, to take place in 1943, with the objective of kidnapping the Pope.

Hitler's implacable hostility toward the wartime Pontiff, and the determination of Pope Pius to thwart the kidnapping plans, contrast sharply with the charges made by critics who say that the Pope was too willing to tolerate the Nazi regime.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pius Quote Of The Day

"To describe this Church of Christ-which is the holy, catholic, apostolic, Roman Church-there is no name more noble, none more excellent, none more divine, than 'the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ'!"

-From the encyclical Mystici corporis Christi

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Amen! Preach it brotha!

Listen to Pope Pius XII recite the Pater Noster

Long, but worth reading

Pius' Children
By Dimitri Cavalli

In recent years, the often-repeated allegations that Pope Pius XII was “silent” during the Holocaust, actively “collaborated” with the Nazis, and “didn’t lift a finger” to help the millions of Jews who were deported to the death camps have been gradually discredited.

Scholars of different nationalities and faiths, including the Rev. Pierre Blet, a Jesuit; historian Ronald J. Rychlak; Rabbi David Dalin, and Winston Churchill biographer Martin Gilbert, have persuasively made the case for Pius XII. Even John Cornwell, the author of the best-selling “Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII,” has withdrawn some of his more extreme charges against Pius XII and now admits that Vatican-led efforts saved many Jews. Decades of negative publicity, emotional attacks, and wild charges have failed to impress the Vatican, which is moving forward with plans to beatify the wartime pope.

In December 2004, the pope’s detractors, both inside and outside the Catholic Church, thought they had finally found a “smoking gun” that could permanently derail beatification efforts. They accused the pontiff of refusing to return baptized Jewish children, who were sheltered and protected by Catholics during the Holocaust, to their surviving relatives. These latest allegations were swiftly dismissed.

But few paid attention.

The latest controversy began on Dec. 28, 2005 when Alberto Melloni, an Italian scholar and the co-director of the John XXIII Center in Bologna, published an article in Corriere della Sera reporting the existence of a 1946 document in which the pope told Monsignor Angelo Roncalli, the papal nuncio in France and future Pope John XXIII, that the Church should keep custody of baptized Jewish children. News agencies immediately picked up the story, giving it global reach.

A copy of the document that Melloni discovered was leaked to The New York Times and published in translation on its web site on Jan. 9. It states that baptized Jewish children should not be turned over to Jewish agencies that would not be able to guarantee their Christian upbringing, and that such children should also be withheld, even if their parents ask for them. A notation at the bottom of the document reads that this decision “has been approved by the Holy Father.”

Some of Pius XII’s critics reacted quickly.

Abe Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), publicly called on the Vatican to stop its plans to beatify Pius XII, open its wartime archives and release all baptismal records from the war. Although he had no evidence, Foxman wrote a piece in The Palm Beach Post suggesting that the Vatican must have sent similar instructions to other countries. Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, the author of the notoriously anti-Catholic book, “A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair,” published articles in The New Republic magazine, London Sunday Times newspaper, and the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz attacking the Vatican. He also called for an international commission to investigate how many Jewish children were “kidnapped” by the Catholic Church in Europe.

From the outset, however, the story looked suspicious. Evidence in the public record for decades seemed to undermine the controversy. Pius XII himself was on record as pledging that the Church would return Jewish children, baptized or not. In September 1945, Dr. A. Leon Kubowitzky (later Kubovy), the secretary-general of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), personally discussed the issue with the pope. According to the book, “Unity in Dispersion: A History of the World Jewish Congress,” a collection of the organization’s reports published in 1948, Kubowitzky was “given assurance [by the pope] that a most humane policy would be followed in this delicate matter.”

In March 1946, Pius XII granted an audience to Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog of Jerusalem, who was seeking the return of an estimated 8,000 Jewish children living in Catholic institutions in France, Poland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. An article in Jerusalem’s Palestine Post published after the meeting reported that Herzog “had the Vatican’s promise of help to bring those children back into the Jewish fold.”

Did the Catholic Church return the children, as the pope promised?

In his 1967 book, “Three Popes and the Jews.” the Jewish scholar Pinchas Lapide quotes Kubovy, in 1964, as saying, “I can state now that I hardly know of a single case where Catholic institutions refused to return Jewish children.” In an interview published last year in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Serge Klarsfeld, the French Holocaust survivor, Nazi hunter, and author, disputed the allegation that the French Church kept Jewish children. (As for Melloni, he admitted that he had no figures on the number of children prevented from rejoining their families.)

There is evidence that Pius XII himself intervened in several cases.

Author Peter Hellman, in his 1980 book “Avenue of the Righteous,” tells the story of Leokadia Jaromirska, a Polish Catholic woman who saved the life of a Jewish girl and was subsequently honored as a “Righteous Gentile” by the state of Israel. After the war, Jaromirska was unwilling to return the girl to her Jewish father. Jaromirska wrote to the pope, asking his permission to keep custody of the child whom she was raising as Catholic. “She was instructed by the pope to return the child to its father,” Hellman writes. In fact, the pope told Jaromirska that it was her duty as a Catholic to return the girl and to do so in goodwill and friendship.

Is the papal note to Roncalli a hoax? Was Melloni deceived, as Der Stern was over the fraudulent Hitler diaries? The Rev. Peter Gumpel, a Jesuit, the Vatican official who is serving as the independent judge for the cause of Pius XII’s beatification, told the press that no copy of the document, which is a 28-line memorandum, exists in the Vatican archives. He added that the memorandum is unsigned, typewritten in French instead of the Vatican’s customary Italian, and not produced on Vatican stationery.

Two Italian scholars, Matteo Luigi Napolitano and Andrea Tornielli, did some detective work and discovered the memorandum is genuine. Melloni’s reporting, however, was misleading. The document did not come from the Vatican as reported, but from the archives of the French Catholic Church — Melloni omitted this fact. The memorandum was actually written by someone who worked under Roncalli in the apostolic nunciature in Paris and was circulated to the French Catholic hierarchy.

According to Tornielli and Napolitano, the memo was drafted in response to an official dispatch dated Sept. 28, 1946, that Monsignor Domenico Tardini, the Vatican’s Secretary of the Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, sent to Roncalli. (When Roncalli was elected pope in 1958, he appointed Tardini the Vatican Secretary of State.)

An English translation of the complete text of Tardini’s letter was published by John Allen in his column for the National Catholic Reporter in mid-January. A comparison of the two texts shows notable differences in tone, language, and content. Tardini does state that Jewish orphans who lacked means of support and were being cared for by the Church should not be returned to parties that had no legal right to them. Here, he was referring to Jewish relief organizations that would take custody of the orphans and resettle them in what was still Palestine. Nowhere in his letter does Tardini write that Catholic institutions should withhold baptized Jewish children from their surviving relatives. After explaining the Vatican’s guidelines, Tardini affirms, “It would be something else if the children were requested by their relatives.”

For reasons that remain unclear, the individual who wrote the memorandum went far beyond what the Vatican had specified. The allegation that Pope Pius XII orchestrated the “kidnapping” of Jewish children is false.

Two Catholic historians, Rev. John Jay Hughes of St. Louis and Rev. Vincent Lapomarda of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., pointed out that baptismal records are typically kept in individual parishes. If a parish closes, its baptismal records are sent on to the local diocese. It is unlikely that baptismal records from any nation ended up at the Vatican during and after World War II.

These facts do not mollify Vatican detractors. Since Rolf Hochhuth turned Pius XII into a villain with his 1964 play, “The Deputy,” the Vatican finds itself on the defensive in all matters concerning Pius. By contrast, charges leveled by critics are not submitted to similar scrutiny.

But Pius detractors are facing an uphill task. In February 2003, the Vatican began the process of opening its archives from 1933-1945. In his book, “Hitler, la Santa Sede e gli Ebrei” (“Hitler, the Holy See, and the Jews”), Jesuit priest Giovanni Sale writes that many of the documents that have been gradually emerging from the archives establish the Vatican’s opposition to both Nazism and anti-Semitism. If evidence that establishes Pius XII’s guilt isn’t found, perhaps critics will turn to alleging that the Vatican destroyed incriminating documents against the pope and fabricated all the ones that exonerate him.


The Society that Thinks Pope Pius XII Rules thanks Thomas the American Papist for the heads up.

Pius Quote Of The Day

"The distinction between the juridical Church and the Church of charity is an erroneous one. Things are not thus; rather, this juridically founded Church, whose head is the Sovereign Pontiff, is also the Church of Christ, the Church of charity and the universal family of Christians."

Friday, April 07, 2006

A Lonely Voice Crying Out Of The Silence

From A Catholic Response

In recent years, the media have accused the Catholic Church of either helping the Nazis or being silent during the Holocaust. As an example, the January 26, 1998 issue of Time magazine on page 20 claims that the Catholic Church apologized for "collaborating with the Nazis during World War II." Even the new Holocaust Museum in New York unjustly criticized Pope Pius XII for being silent during World War II. The Church has recently spoken on this topic.

The Israeli consul, Pinchas E. Lapide, in his book, Three Popes and the Jews (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1967) critically examines Pope Pius XII. According to his research, the Catholic Church under Pius XII was instrumental in saving 860,000 Jews from Nazi death camps (p. 214). Could Pius have saved more lives by speaking out more forcefully? According to Lapide, the concentration camp prisoners did not want Pius to speak out openly (p. 247). As one jurist from the Nuremberg Trials said on WNBC in New York (Feb. 28, 1964), "Any words of Pius XII, directed against a madman like Hitler, would have brought on an even worse catastrophe... [and] accelerated the massacre of Jews and priests." (Ibid.) Yet Pius was not totally silent either. Lapide notes a book by the Jewish historian, Jenoe Levai, entitled, The Church Did Not Keep Silent (p. 256). He admits that everyone, including himself, could have done more. If we condemn Pius, then justice would demand condemning everyone else. He concludes by quoting from the Talmud that "whosoever preserves one life, it is accounted to him by Scripture as if he had preserved a whole world." With this he claims that Pius XII deserves a memorial forest of 860,000 trees in the Judean hills (pp. 268-9). It should be noted that six million Jews and three million Catholics were killed in the Holocaust.

We must remember that the Holocaust was also anti-Christian. After Hitler revealed his true intentions, the Catholic Church opposed him. Even the famous Albert Einstein testified to that. According to the December 23, 1940 issue of Time magazine on page 38, Einstein said:

Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks...

Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.

In another, similar statement, Einstein referred explicitly to the Catholic Church (Lapide, p. 251). This is an extraordinary testimony by an agnostic German scientist of Jewish heritage. Even though there were traitors in her ranks, the Church still opposed the Nazi movement.

The December 23, 1940 issue of Time magazine contains an interesting article about Christians living in Germany, both Catholic and Protestant, who opposed and suffered under the Nazis. On page 38, it claims that by late 1940 over 200,000 Christians were prisoners in Nazi concentration camps, with some estimates as high as 800,000. On page 40, it reports on the Archbishop of Munich, Michael Cardinal von Faulhaber, who led the Catholic opposition in Germany against the Nazis. In an Advent 1933 sermon, he preached: "Let us not forget that we were saved not by German blood but by the blood of Christ!" in response to Nazi racism. In 1934 the Cardinal "narrowly missed a Nazi bullet", while in 1938 a Nazi mob broke the windows in his residence. Even though he was over seventy and in poor health, he still led the Catholic German resistance against Hitler.

Not trusting the new regime, the Vatican signed a Concordat with the Reich on July 20, 1933 in an attempt to protect the Church's rights in Germany. But the Nazis quickly violated its articles. In Lent 1937 Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical "Mit brennender Sorge" (With burning sorrow) with the help of German bishops and Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII). It was smuggled into Germany and read in all German Catholic churches at the same hour on Palm Sunday 1937. It did not explicitly mention Hitler or Nazism, but it firmly condemned the Nazi doctrines. On September 20, 1938, Pius XI told German pilgrims that no Christian can take part in anti-Semitism, since spiritually all Christians are Semites.

The recent slander against the Church and Pope Pius XII can be traced back to 1963 with Rolf Hochhuth's play, "The Deputy." In this play Hochhuth criticized Pius for being silent and portrayed his silence as cold indifference. Even though fiction, people took it as fact.

Pope Pius XII was a diplomat and not a radical preacher. He knew that he first needed to preserve Vatican neutrality so that Vatican City could be a refuge for war victims. The International Red Cross also remained neutral. Secondly, he knew how powerless he was against Hitler. Mussolini could quickly shut off electrical power to Vatican Radio during his broadcast (Lapide, p. 256). Finally the Nazis did not tolerate any protest and responded severely. As an example, the Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht in July 1942 protested in a pastoral letter against the Jewish persecutions in Holland. Immediately the Nazis rounded up as many Jews and Catholic non-Aryans as possible and deported them to death camps, including Blessed Edith Stein (Lapide, p. 246). Pius knew that every time he spoke out against Hitler, the Nazis could retaliate against the prisoners. His best attack against the Nazis was quiet diplomacy and behind-the-scenes action. According to The 1996 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia (V8.01) under Pius XII, "Wishing to preserve Vatican neutrality, fearing reprisals, and realizing his impotence to stop the Holocaust, Pius nonetheless acted on an individual basis to save many Jews and others with church ransoms, documents, and asylum."

The charity and work of Pope Pius XII during World War II so impressed the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, that in 1944 he was open to the grace of God which led him into the Catholic faith. As his baptismal name, he took the same one Pius had, Eugenio, as his own. Later Israel Eugenio Zolli wrote a book entitled, Why I Became a Catholic.

But Pope Pius XII was not completely silent either, especially in his Christmas messages. His 1941 and 1942 Christmas messages were both translated and published in The New York Times (Dec. 25, 1941, p. 20 & Dec. 25, 1942, p. 10). To prevent retaliation, he did not refer to Nazism by name, but people of that era still understood him, including the Nazis. According to The New York Times editorial on December 25, 1941 (Late Day edition, p. 24):

The voice of Pius XII is a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas... he is about the only ruler left on the Continent of Europe who dares to raise his voice at all... the Pope put himself squarely against Hitlerism... he left no doubt that the Nazi aims are also irreconcilable with his own conception of a Christian peace.

Also The New York Times editorial on December 25, 1942 (Late Day edition, p. 16) states:

This Christmas more than ever he is a lonely voice crying out of the silence of a continent... Pope Pius expresses as passionately as any leader on our side the war aims of the struggle for freedom when he says that those who aim at building a new world must fight for free choice of government and religious order. They must refuse that the state should make of individuals a herd of whom the state disposes as if they were lifeless things.

Both editorials recognize and highly praise Pius' words against Hitler and totalitarianism.

Now there were traitors in the Church who were Nazis or helped Hitler. There were Catholics who committed sins of bigotry. There were also Catholics, who, out of fear or indifference, sinned through silence. The Church is full of sinners for whom Christ died. We killed Jesus with our sins (Is. 53: 5-6). But Pope Pius XII and many Catholics did not remain "silent." Could 860,000 Jewish lives be saved by "silent" indifference? In our own day, there are people who claim to be Catholic but promote and participate in abortion, assisted-suicide and artificial birth control. In the next century, will the world also falsely accuse the Church and the Pope for being silent during the "culture of death" holocaust?