Society That Thinks Pope Pius XII Rules

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Vatican urged to halt beatification

By Richard Owen

Israel has urged the Vatican to halt procedures putting Pius XII, the controversial wartime Pope, on the path to sainthood.

Oded Ben-Hur, the Israeli Ambassador to the Holy See, said: “I am asking the Vatican to block the beatification process for Pius XII.” He added that the process should be halted until archives relating to the Second World War were opened to scholars.

Pius XII, formerly the papal nuncio to Germany and later Pius XI’s Secretary of State as Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, is accused of turning a blind eye to the Holocaust and remaining silent about Nazi anti-Semitism. Mr Ben-Hur was speaking at the launch of The Holy See and the Jewish Question, a study by the Italian historian Alessandro Duce. He said that even those close to Pius XII were critical of his failure to condemn Nazi atrocities.

Vatican officials said that the Pope had sought to save Jews in Rome through quiet diplomacy, fearing that public attacks on Hitler would make matters worse. Scholars said Vatican archives from the period of Pius XI showed that as a diplomat the future Pius XII was often indecisive.