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Pope: Pius XII Spared no Effort to Save Jews
Catholic Online ^ | 9/19/08

Posted on 09/18/2008 4:09:34 PM PDT by tcg

When one approaches the figure of Pius XII "free from ideological prejudices", one must recognize his "courageous and paternal dedication" to saving, wherever possible, the greatest possible number of Jews, which included working "secretly and silently". A congress organized by the Pave the Way Foundation 50 years after the death of Pope Pacelli gave Benedict XVI the opportunity to recall the "historical truth" about Pius XII's efforts to save Jews, which were recognized after the war by many Jewish figures, including 80 delegates of concentration camp survivors.

"So much has been written and said" about Pius XII, the pope noted, over the past five decades, "and not all of the genuine facets of his diverse pastoral activity have been examined in a just light". "When one draws close to this noble Pope, free from ideological prejudices", he continued, "in addition to being struck by his lofty spiritual and human character one is also captivated by the example of his life and the extraordinary richness of his teaching. One can also come to appreciate the human wisdom and pastoral intensity which guided him in his long years of ministry, especially in providing organized assistance to the Jewish people".

"Thanks to the vast quantity of documented material which you have gathered", Benedict XVI told those present, "supported by many authoritative testimonies, your symposium offers to the public forum the possibility of knowing more fully what Pius XII achieved for the Jews persecuted by the Nazi and fascist regimes.

(Excerpt) Read more at catholic.org ...


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; History; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: 860000; catholic; catholics; jews; nazi; piusxii; popepius
"When one draws close to this noble Pope,one must recognize the "courageous dedication" of Pope Pacelli to saving as many Jews as possible.
1 posted on 09/18/2008 4:09:35 PM PDT by tcg
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To: tcg
Thank you for posting this. I have been defending this good man's reputation from ignorant slanders on FR for years. It is astonishing that, as Mark Twain said, a lie can run around the world while the truth is still tying its shoes.
2 posted on 09/18/2008 4:53:42 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("It is our choices, far more than our abilities, that show us what we truly are. " -- J.K.Rowling)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I forget if it was PBS (would that surprise anyone??) that did a documentary some years ago suggesting Pope Pius did not act to save Jews or condemn Hitler. Others have joined in with these accusations. But most of the evidence says the opposite. It is hard to imagine a modern era pope not standing against tyranny and evil.


3 posted on 09/18/2008 5:06:15 PM PDT by TNCMAXQ
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I don’t know if it is just “ignorant” slander or deliberate slander. I just know that Pope Pius the XII has been unjustly and wrongfully vilified on this forum.


4 posted on 09/18/2008 10:56:57 PM PDT by Running On Empty ((The three sorriest words:"It's too late"))
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To: tcg
HITLER'S POPE

5 posted on 09/19/2008 12:25:35 AM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

I’m not surprised that you would weigh in on this issue by citing a libelous and decidedly unscholarly work like “Hitler’s Pope.”

I wrote a paper in graduate school on this issue. After researching primary sources and genuinely scholarly sources, I found that Pius XII saved the lives of tens of thousands of Jews in Italy and Rome.

No one criticized Pius XII during the war or right after it for his supposed “failure” to speak out against the Holocaust. In fact, he was widely praised for his effective efforts to save the Jews. It wasn’t until the communist, Rudolph Hochhuth (sp.?) wrote a play in 1964 that suggested that Pius XII had somehow collaborated with Hitler—a play which was a complete work of fiction and one that sought to smear the Pope—that anyone began to question what the pope did. It’s truly shameful that so many people have thoughtlessly and gullibly accepted what this anti-Catholic communist wrote. But then, just like Christ, the Church has many enemies.


6 posted on 09/19/2008 5:05:08 AM PDT by steadfastconservative
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To: steadfastconservative

Thank you, steadfast. You are not alone in defending Pope Pius XII; in fact, you are in good company.

There must be a special place waiting for people who write falsehood and even make money from doing so.

And to what purpose? The initial endeavor, the motivation impulse is itself suspect.

“.. a sword shall pierce your heart so that the thoughts of many hearts will be laid bare”.


7 posted on 09/19/2008 8:11:24 AM PDT by Running On Empty ((The three sorriest words:"It's too late"))
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placemarker


8 posted on 09/19/2008 8:42:57 AM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: Running On Empty

Some just want to believe the lie and so they promulgate it.

I read that the Jews in America sent money to the Vatican during the war because they knew that it would be used properly to help Jews.


9 posted on 09/19/2008 8:48:13 AM PDT by tiki (True Christians will not deliberately slander or misrepresent others or their beliefs)
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To: steadfastconservative

A defense of Pope Pius...by a rabbi.

The Myth of Hitler’s Pope:
Pope Pius XII and His Secret War Against Nazi Germany
by David G. Dalin
http://www.amazon.com/Myth-Hitlers-Pope-Against-Germany/dp/0895260344/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221839785&sr=1-2


10 posted on 09/19/2008 9:01:50 AM PDT by VOA
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Why am I not surprised you drank that poisonous Flavor-Aid?


11 posted on 09/19/2008 10:22:48 AM PDT by Pyro7480 ("If the angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion." -M. Kolbe)
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To: steadfastconservative
Well, as the author of a "paper in graduate school on this issue," you're obviously an authority. In your homework, did you come across the words, "Enabling Act?"

POPE PIOUS?

By Eliahu Salpeter

Efforts to canonize Pope Pius XII as a saint of the Catholic Church are in high gear. The pope who reigned during the Holocaust, whose detractors have called him "Hitler's Pope" and defenders say used his moral and political influence to save thousands of Jews, is once again dominating conversations in the Vatican.

In recent weeks, both supporters and critics have increased their activities relating to the plan to declare the former pope a saint. While Jewish organizations and figures have called on Pope Benedictus XVI to stop the move, conservative circles in the Vatican have been spreading information intended to revive the canonization process. It is possible that this renewed activity is connected to Benedictus XVI's election to the Holy See. The pope had once been viewed as a representative of conservative streams in the church and the assumption is that he would be open to Pius XII's sanctification. At the same time, Jewish circles hope that Benedictus XVI, as a person of German origin, will be sensitive to a Holocaust-related issue and be careful not to offend the Jewish community.

Many Jewish leaders see this as an internal Christian affair in which Jews have neither the authority nor the duty of intervening. All the same, since the debate over Pius XII primarily revolves around his attitude toward the Holocaust, the Jews have the right, and perhaps even the duty, to voice their opinion, particularly given the Catholic Church's historical role in persecuting the Jews.

The Pius XII and Holocaust affair first made headlines in 1963 when Rolf Hochhuth's play, "The Deputy," was performed in Europe. In the play, a young clergyman implores the pope to intervene on behalf of the Jews during the Holocaust, but he is dismissed coldly. Dozens of research projects, articles and books, written by Jews and non-Jews, were published on the heels of the play. All the works - from Saul Friedlander's book, "Pius XII and the Third Reich" to John Cornwell's "Hitler's Pope" - ostensibly prove that the pope had supported the Nazis. Pius XII's decision to shelve an edict issued by his predecessor, Pius XI, which supposedly condemns Fascism and Nazism, is likewise proof of his attitude. But books and articles have also been published in defense of Pius XII, most of them written by Catholic clergymen, but some by rabbis and Jewish authors.

Under his very windows

One of the most lethal attacks on the silence of the pontiff during the Holocaust came from Susan Zuccotti, whose book "Under His Very Windows" was published in 2002. In her book, Zuccotti examines the pope's silence even as the Italians began arresting the Jews of Rome. The Vatican intervened only in cases where a Jewish man was married to a Christian woman and had himself converted to Christianity. Additional studies reveal that Pius XII also did not protest when the Nazis banished 1,000 Italian Jews to the extermination camps. However, he did take real steps before the start of World War II to help some 3,000 Jews who converted to Christianity from different parts of Europe obtain immigration visas to Brazil.

Pius XII was born Eugenio Pacelli. He was suspected of being pro-German even before the outbreak of World War II. Before his election to the papacy, he served as cardinal secretary of state in the Vatican and in this capacity, signed an agreement with Hitler in 1933 according to which the Nazis would not intervene in the church's internal affairs in Germany. In return, the church would refrain from intervening in the Nazi regime.

The defense of Pius XII comes from members of the Catholic Church, but a few Jews have also chimed in, most notably Rabbi David Dalin, whose book "The Myth of Hitler's Pope" refutes the attacks on the pontiff.

The defenders' main contention is that the pope carried out all his actions secretly because he feared that openly criticizing the Nazis would only worsen the situation of the Jews and Catholics in occupied Europe. Other historians confirm that the pontiff did act secretly, but that he did so only after 1942, when the Americans warned that those who had participated in the persecution of the Jews would face punishment, and when it became clear to the Vatican that the Allies would win the war.

A virulent attack on Pius' detractors was published a few weeks ago by Peter Gumpel, a Jesuit priest who is in charge of the canonization process. In an interview with the Polish Catholic weekly, Niedziela, the priest explains that at the special committee meetings that ended in Rome in May 2007, all those in attendance "expressed a favorable opinion" about the 6,000-page report on the "saintly acts" of Pius XII. If incumbent pope Benedictus XVI gives his approval, they will begin to analyze the miracles attributed to Pius XII. At least three miracles are required for the pontiff to be canonized. Until now, none has been made public.

The reporter who interviewed Gumpel asked: "What interest do Jewish groups with influence and authorities in the State of Israel have in disseminating slander about Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church?" Gumpel's response: "Certain Jewish circles feel hostility toward the Catholic Church and toward Christianity in general. Ultra-Orthodox Jews share our fears. I recently met an ultra-Orthodox leader who represents some 8,000 rabbis in the United states and Canada, and he gave me an extremely important declaration in writing. It states that ultra-Orthodox Jews are not of the same opinion as their brethren of the same religion who interfere in the internal affairs of the church. We have done out utmost to improve relations with the Jews, but the other side also must make such efforts."

Later in the interview, thick with anti-Semitic overtones, Gumpel was asked how it was possible to explain that the world media shows such a critical attitude toward Pius XII. He responded: "A large part of the world media is in the hands of people who are hostile to the church. Let us not distract ourselves with illusions. Everyone is afraid of being described as being anti-Semitic."

He knew about the extermination

From what is known today about Pius XII, it is difficult to describe him as a supporter of the Jews. Despite repeated demands by historians and Jewish organizations, the Vatican has published only a small portion of its archival materials from the World War II period. Therefore, on both sides of the scale, there are only partial testimonies to the acts and the omissions of the pontiff.

There is no doubt that from the reports of church representatives in occupied Europe, the pope knew full well what was happening to the Jews at the hands of the Germans and their various puppet governments. Some of these governments defined themselves as Catholic, such as those in Croatia and Slovakia, which were headed by Catholic priests. It is also clear that most of the acts of intervention mentioned in the pontiff's defense were made on behalf of Jews who had converted to Christianity.

The pope's problematic attitude continued even after the victory of the Allies. A monastery where two Jewish brothers had been hidden and baptized during the war refused to return the boys to their family on the grounds that they were now Christians. A letter sent by the Vatican in the name of the pope to the heads of Catholic churches in Europe was published in the wake of this story. The letter instructed the churches not to return children who had been hidden and baptized to their Jewish parents. It is also known that the Vatican assisted many Nazi war criminals in escaping from Europe to South America after the war.

On the other hand, it is also well-documented that Catholic monasteries all over occupied Europe hid thousands of Jews, mainly children, and it is difficult to assume that many would have done so had the pope expressed his opposition. There also has been discussion that Pius XII tried to conscript several dozen Jewish youths to the Vatican guards ("the Swiss Guard") to save their lives but that the Germans prevented this.

In the last year of the war, when the Russians were already advancing in the direction of Hungary, Pius XII was among the world leaders who tried to pressure Admiral Miklos Horthy to stop the expulsion of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz. (The expulsions stopped on July 9, 1944 after more than 400,000 Jews had already been expelled). It is also known that as early as 1942, Pius XII had advised the German and Hungarian cardinals to condemn the murder of the Jews. In the long run, it will be to their political advantage if this is recorded in their favor, the messages stated.

It is doubtful whether it is possible to decide one way or the other on this matter as long as the Vatican denies access to all the documents in its archives from the period of the war.

The fate of these archives will also serve as a sign of how Benedictus XVI will act during his tenure as pope, and not merely on the issue of the Jews and Pius XII.


12 posted on 09/19/2008 12:16:47 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Thank you for posting this. I have been defending this good man's reputation from ignorant slanders on FR for years.

BUMP to that. One of the ignorant slanderers is on this thread.

13 posted on 09/19/2008 8:45:40 PM PDT by Hacksaw
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
On the other hand, it is also well-documented that Catholic monasteries all over occupied Europe hid thousands of Jews, mainly children, and it is difficult to assume that many would have done so had the pope expressed his opposition.

It is also known that as early as 1942, Pius XII had advised the German and Hungarian cardinals to condemn the murder of the Jews.

This can't be. I thought Pius XII was in Hitler's right vest pocket. What gives?

It is doubtful whether it is possible to decide one way or the other on this matter as long as the Vatican denies access to all the documents in its archives from the period of the war.

"Doubtful"? Last time I checked, we followed the "innocent until proven guilty" model in this country, so I guess doubtful evidence means that Pius XII is currently to be accounted innocent.

Incidentally, the archives are opened this year (the 50th anniversary of Pius XII's death), and the documents will be available to scholars as soon as they've been catalogued, which may take a year or two, so the "archives are closed" talking point will have to be retired soon.

It remains the Vatican's position that everything of interest to Holocaust scholars has already been made public.

14 posted on 09/19/2008 9:37:52 PM PDT by Campion
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: Campion

"THE POPES AGAINST THE JEWS:
THE VATICAN'S ROLE IN THE RISE OF MODERN ANTI-SEMITISM"
by David I. Kertzer


16 posted on 09/20/2008 10:55:45 AM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: tcg
Pope Pius XII was wrongfully smeared. He was a hero!

THE MYTH IN THE LIGHT OF THE ARCHIVES
The recurring accusations against Pope Pius XII
Pierre Blet, S.J.

When he died on 9 October 1958, Pius XII was the object of unanimous tributes of admiration and gratitude: “The world”, declared President Eisenhower, “is now poorer since the death of Pius XII”. Golda Meir, the Foreign Minister of the State of Israel: “The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out about great moral truths above the tumult of daily conflict. We mourn a great servant of peace”1. A few years later however, beginning in 1963, he had become the subject of a black legend: during the War, it was claimed, due to political calculation or faintheartedness, he remained impassive and silent in the face of crimes against humanity, which would have been prevented had he intervened.
When accusations are based on documents, it is possible to discuss the interpretation of texts, verify whether they have been misunderstood, received in a non-critical way, misrepresented or chosen selectively. But when a legend is created from unrelated elements and with the aid of imagination, discussion is meaningless. The only thing possible is to counter the myth with the historical reality proved by incontestable documentation. For this reason, Pope Paul VI, who as Substitute of the Secretariat of State had been one of the closest collaborators of Pius XII, as early as 1964 authorized the publication of the documents of the Holy See relating to the Second World War.

The lay-out of Actes et Document

The Archives of the Secretariat of State preserve the files in which it is often possible to follow day by day, sometimes hour by hour, the activity of the Pope and his offices. Here are found the messages and addresses of Pius XII, the letters exchanged between the Pope and civil and ecclesiastical authorities, notes of the Secretariat of State, service notes from junior officials to their superiors to communicate information and suggestions and, in addition, private notes (in particular, those of Monsignor Domenico Tardini, who had the habit, most fortunate for historians, of thinking with pen in hand), the correspondence of the Secretariat of State with the Holy See's representatives abroad (Apostolic Nuncios, Internuncios and Delegates) and the Diplomatic Notes exchanged between the Secretariat of State and Ambassadors or Ministers accredited to the Holy See. These documents are for the most part sent with the name and signature of the Secretary of State or the Secretary of the First Section of the Secretariat of State: this does not detract from their expressing the intentions of the Pope.

On the basis of these documents it would have been possible to write a work describing the attitude and policy of the Pope during the Second World War. Or an official report could have been produced to demonstrate the groundlessness of the accusations against Pius XII Since the main charge was that of silence, it would have been particularly easy to use the documents to illustrate the Holy See's activity on behalf of war victims and particularly on behalf of the victims of racist persecutions. It was considered more suitable to undertake a complete publication of the documents relating to the War. Various collections of diplomatic documents already existed, many volumes of which dealt with the Second World War: Documenti; diplomatici italiani; Documents on British Foreign Policy: 1919-1939; Foreign Relations of the United States, Diplomatic Papers; Akten zur deutschen auswartigen Politik 1918-1945. Given the existence of these collections and on the lines of such models, it seemed useful to allow historians to study from the documents the role and activity of the Holy See during the War. With this perspective the publication of the collection entitled Actes et documents du Saint-Seige relatifs a la seconde guerre mondiale was begun 2.

The difficulty lay in the fact that for this period the archives—both of the Vatican and of other States—were closed to the public and also to historians. The particular interest in the events of the Second World War, the desire to write its history on the basis of the documents, and not only from more or less direct accounts or testimonies, had led the States involved in the conflict to publish the documents still inaccessible to the public. Trustworthy persons charged with such a task are subject to certain rules: not to publish documents which would call into question people still living or which, if revealed, would hamper current negotiations. On the basis of these criteria the volumes of the Foreign Relations of the United States relating to the Forties were published, and the same criteria were followed in the publications of the documents of the Holy See.

The task of publishing the documents of the Holy See relating to the War was entrusted to three Jesuit priests: Angelo Martini, editor of La Civilta Cattolica, who had already access to the secret archives of the Vatican, Burkhart Schneider and the author of the present article, both professors in the Church History Faculty of the Pontifical Gregorian University. The work began in the first days of January 1965, in an office near the storeroom containing the archives of the then Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs and First Section of the Secretariat of State; documents relating to the War were normally kept there.

In such conditions, the work was both easy and difficult. The difficulty was that since the archives were not open to the public there were no systematic inventories geared to research, documents were not classified, either in chronological or strictly geographical order. Those of a political nature, and hence relating to the War, were sometimes stored with documents of a religious, canonical or even personal nature, placed in fairly manageable boxes but sometimes with widely differing contents. Information relating to Great Britain could be found in files on France, if the information had been sent through the Nuncio in France, and naturally interventions on behalf of Belgian hostages were in the boxes of the Nuncio in Berlin. It was therefore necessary to examine every box and go through the entire contents in order to identify the documents relating to the War. The research was simplified, however, thanks to an old rule of the Secretariat of State in force since the time of Urban VIII: Nuncios were to deal with only one subject in each letter.

Despite such difficulties, certain circumstances made our task easier. Since we were working in an office of the Secretariat of State and as members of the Commission, we were not bound by the conditions placed on researchers given access to the public storerooms in the consultation areas; one of us would take the boxes of documentation directly from the storeroom shelves. Our task was also made considerably easier by the fact that the documentation was for the most part typewritten and had been stored as separate letters (except for manuscripts to be typed for the printing office). Thus when a particular document was recognized as pertaining to the War it could simply be removed and photocopied, and the photocopy together with explanatory—notes as scholarly work requires—given to the printing office.

Although in the winter of 1965 the work was proceeding quickly enough, we decided to ask the help of Father Robert Leiber, who had retired to the German College after serving for more than thirty years as private secretary of Pacelli, first when the latter was Nuncio, then Secretary of State and finally Pope Pius XII. Leiber had followed the situation in Germany very closely, and it was he who had told us of the existence of drafts of Pius XII’s letters to the German Bishops. These became the material of the second volume of the series and are the documents which best reveal the thoughts of the Pope.

The Individual Volumes

The first volume, which covers the first seventeen months of the Pontificate (March 1939 - July 1940) and which reveal Pius XII’s efforts to stave off war, was published in December 1965 and was given a generally positive reception. In 1966, while Father Schneider was busy preparing the volume of the letters to the German Bishops, Father Robert A. Graham, an American Jesuit of the magazine America who had already published a work on the diplomacy of the Holy See (Vatican Diplomacy), asked for information covering the period on which we were working. In reply to his request, he was invited to join our group, especially as we had learned of the ever more frequent contacts of Pius XII with Roosevelt and since we were coming across documents in English fairly frequently. He worked directly on the preparation of the third volume, which was devoted to Poland and modelled on the second volume, concerning the relationships of the Holy See with the Bishops. But the direct exchange of letters with other Bishops proved much less intense, with the result that volumes two and three (in two parts) remained the only ones of their kind. Thus we decided to divide the documents into two sections: one was to be a continuation of the first volume, for questions primarily diplomatic in nature, as indicated by their title Le Saint-Siege et la guerre en Europe, Le Saint-Siege et la guerre mondiale. These were volumes 4, 5, 7 and 11 Volumes 6, 8, 9 and 10, entitled Le Saint-Siege et les victimes de la guerre, present in chronological order documents pertaining to the efforts of the Holy See to help all suffering in body or spirit because of the War, prisoners separated from their families and exiled far from their loved ones, peoples subjected to the devastation of the War, and victims of racial persecution.

The work lasted more than fifteen years; the group divided the workload according to the planned volumes and the time that each member could give. Father Leiber, whose help had been so valuable to us, was taken from us by death on 18 February 1967. Father Schneider, after the publication of the letters to the German Bishops and while continuing to teach Modern History at the Gregorian University, had devoted himself to the section on the victims of the War. With the help of Father Graham he prepared volumes 6, 8 and 9, which were completed at Christmas 1975. But in the summer of that same year he had been stricken by the illness from which he would die the following May. Father Martini, who had devoted himself full-time to this work and had in some way worked on every volume, did not have the satisfaction of seeing the work completed in its entirety: he was only able to see the proofs of the last volume, at the beginning of the summer of 1981, before he himself passed away. Volume 11 (the last of the series) came out towards the end of 1981 under the auspices of Father Graham and myself. Thus Father Graham, although the oldest among us, was able to work until the project was brought to completion. During those fifteen years he was also able to work on related research and publications, which mainly came out as articles in La Civilita Cattolica, and which themselves also constitute a source of information which historians of the Second World War can profitably consult. He left Rome on 24 July 1996 to return to his native California, where he ended his days on 11 February 1997.

Since the beginning of 1982, I had resumed my own researches on seventeenth century France and papal diplomacy. But seeing that after fifteen years our volumes remained unknown even to many historians, I devoted the years 1996-97 to putting the essence and conclusions of that work into a single volume of modest size, but as complete as possible3. A dispassionate reading of this documentation clearly brings to light in its concrete reality the attitude and conduct of Pius XII during the World War and, consequently, the unfoundedness of the accusations made against him. The documentation clearly shows that he did everything he possibly could in the area of diplomacy to avoid the War, to dissuade Germany from attacking Poland, to convince Mussolini's Italy to dissociate itself from Hitler. There is no trace of the alleged pro-German partiality that he is purported to have developed while he was at the Nunciature in Germany. His efforts, joined with those of Roosevelt, to keep Italy out of the conflict, the solidarity telegrams of 10 May 1940 to the Sovereigns of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg after the invasion of the Wehrmacht, his courageous admonition to Mussolini and to King Victor Emanuel calling for a separate peace certainly do not point in that direction. It would be unrealistic to think that with the halberds of the Swiss Guard, or even with the threat of excommunication, he would have been able to stop the tanks of the Wehrmacht.

But the accusation which is often repeated is that he remained silent about the racial persecution aimed at the Jews, even when this was carried to its ultimate consequences, and that he thus left the way open for the Nazi atrocities. The documentation, however, shows the Pope's unfailing and constant efforts to oppose the deportations, the outcome of which was the subject of ever increasing suspicion. The apparent silence hid a clandestine activity on the part of the Nunciatures and Bishops to circumvent, or at least limit, the deportations, the violence, the persecutions. The rationale behind this caution is clearly explained by the Pope himself in different speeches, in the letters to the German Bishops, and in consultations within the Secretariat of State. Public declarations would have been of no use: they would have only served to make the fate of the victims worse and to increase their actual number.

Recurring accusations

In an effort to obscure this evidence, the detractors of Pius XII have cast doubts upon the seriousness of our publication. Quite remarkable in this regard is an article published in a Paris evening newspaper on 3 December 1997: “Those four Jesuits have produced [!] in the Actes et documents texts which have absolved Pius XII of the omissions with which he is charged [ ... ]. But those Actes et documents are far from being complete”. It is insinuated that we had omitted documents which might prejudice the memory of Pius XII and the Holy See.

First, it is not clear how the omission of certain documents would help to clear Pius XII of the failures of which he has been accused. On the other hand, to state peremptorily that our publication is not complete is to state something impossible to prove: to do so, one would have to compare our publication with the archival material and indicate documents present in the archives but missing in our publication. Even though the pertinent archival material is still closed to the public, some people have gone so far as to furnish alleged proofs of such gaps in the Actes et Documents. In doing so they have shown their scanty knowledge of research into archival collections, the opening of some of which they are demanding.

Repeating an identical statement in a Roman daily newspaper on 11 September 1997, the 3 December article states that the correspondence between Pius XII and Hitler is missing from our publication. Let us first note that the letter in which the Pope informed the Head of State of the Reich of his election is the last document published in the second volume of the Actes et documents. As for the rest, if we did not publish any correspondence between Pius XII and Hitler it is because such correspondence exists solely in the imagination of the journalist. The latter mentions contacts between Pacelli, then Nuncio in Germany, and Hitler, but, he should have checked his dates: Hitler came to power in 1933 and thus would only have been able to meet the Apostolic Nuncio after that,, date. But Archbishop Pacelli had returned to Rome in December, 1929; Pius XI had created him a Cardinal on 16 December 1929 and Secretary of State on 16 January 1930. Most importantly, had such correspondence ever existed, the Pope's letters would have been preserved in the German archives and it would be natural for some trace of them to be found in the archives of the Foreign Ministry of the Reich. Hitler's letters would have ended up in the Vatican, but some mention of them would be found in the instructions given to the German Ambassadors, Bergen and then Weitzsacker, who were charged with delivering them, and in the reports filed by these diplomats confirming that they had in fact transmitted them to the Pope or the Secretary of State. There is no trace of any of this. In the absence of such references, it must be said that the seriousness of our publication has been impugned without a shred of evidence.

These observations about the alleged correspondence between the Pope and the Fuhrer are also applicable to other documents, ones which actually existed. Very frequently documents from the Vatican, e.g. notes exchanged with ambassadors, are attested to by other archives. One can presume that many telegrams from the Vatican were intercepted and deciphered by the information services of the warring powers, and that copies can be found in their archives. Consequently, had we in fact attempted to hide certain documents it would be possible to establish their existence and thus have a basis for casting doubt on the seriousness of our work.

The same article in the Paris newspaper, after imagining relations between Hitler and the Nuncio Pacelli, refers to an article in the Sunday, Telegraph in July 1997, which accuses the Holy See of having used Nazi gold to help war criminals flee to Latin America, and in particular the Croat Ante Pavelic: “Some studies support this thesis”. One is amazed at the casualness with which journalists can content themselves with documenting statements. Historians, who often labour for hours in order to verify their references, will envy them. One can understand that a journalist will trust a colleague, especially when the English name of the paper gives him an air of respectability. But there are two other statements which deserve to be studied separately, namely the arrival in the Vatican coffers of Nazi gold, or more exactly the gold belonging to Jews and stolen by the Nazis, and its use to facilitate the flight of Nazi war criminals to Latin America.

Some American dailies had in fact produced a document from the U.S. Treasury Department in which the Department was informed that the Vatican had received, through Croatia, Nazi gold of Jewish origin. The fact that the document was “from the Treasury Department” might appear impressive, but one has to read what is printed beneath the headline and one discovers that it is a note based on the “report of a trustworthy Roman informant”. Those who take such statements for gospel truth should read Father Graham's article on the exploits of the informant V. Scattolini, who made a living out of “information” concocted in his own imagination which he then passed on to all the Embassies, including the American Embassy, which dutifully forwarded it to the State Department 4. In our search of the archives of the Secratariat of State, we found no mention of the alleged entrance into Vatican coffers of gold stolen from Jews. Obviously those who make such statements have a responsibility to furnish documented proof, for example a receipt, not kept in the Vatican archives, as in the case of the alleged letters of Pius XII to Hitler. In the archives themselves, one finds only the prompt response of Pius XII when the Jewish communities of Rome were subjected to extortion by the SS, which demanded that they hand over fifty kilograms of gold. At that time the Chief Rabbi turned to the Pope to ask him for the fifteen kilograms needed to make up the amount, and Pius XII immediately ordered his offices to make the necessary arrangments5. Recent checks of the archives have discovered nothing further.

Nor is the report about Nazi criminals fleeing to Latin America with the alleged help of the Vatican something new. Obviously we cannot exclude the naivete of some Roman cleric who may have used his position to facilitate the escape of a Nazi. The sympathies of Bishop Hudal, Rector of the German national church in Rome, for the Great Reich are well-known; but on these grounds to imagine that the Vatican organized a large-scale escape of Nazis to Latin America would be to attribute heroic charity to the Roman clergy, as the Nazi plans for the Church and the Holy See were well-known in Rome. Pius XII referred to them in his Consistorial Address of 2 June 1945, recalling that the persecution by the regime of the Church had been intensified by the War, “when its adherents still entertained the illusion that, following a military victory, they would eliminate the Church once and for all”6. The authors referred to by our journalist have a rather lofty idea of the forgiveness of wrongs practised in papal circles, if they imagine that a number of Nazis were sheltered in the Vatican and thence taken to Argentina, under the protection of the Peron dictatorship, and then on to Brazil, Chile and Paraguay, as a way of salvaging whatever could be salvaged of the Third Reich: thus a “Fourth Reich” would have been created in the pampas.

In these reports it is hard to differentiate fact and fiction. For those who like to read fiction we can recommend Ladislas Farago’s Aftermatb: Martin Bormann and the Fourth Reich. The phrase “the Fourth Reich” says it all. The author takes us from Rome and the Vatican to Argentina, Paraguay and Chile on the trail of the Reichsleiter and other fleeing Nazi leaders. With the attention to detail of an Agatha Christie, he describes the exact position of each character at the moment of the crime, indicates the numbers of the hotel rooms occupied by the fleeing Nazis and the Nazi hunters hot on their trail, and paints a picture of the green Volkswagen which transported them. One is struck by the modesty of the author, who presents his book as “a typically French investigative report, a study which is serious yet without pretensions to pure scholarship(!)”.

Conclusion

The reader will understand that the Vatican archives may contain nothing of all that, even if it actually happened. If Bishop Hudal did help some prominent Nazis to escape, he certainly would not have gone seeking the Pope's permission. And if he had later confided to him what had happened, we would know nothing of it now. Among the things which the archives will never reveal we must mention the conversations between the Pope and his visitors, with the exception of the ambassadors who reported on them to their governments, or de Gaulle who speaks of them in his Memoirs.

This does not mean that when serious historians wish personally to check the archives from which published documents have been drawn their desire is not legitimate and praiseworthy. Even after a publication carried out as accurately as possible, consultation of the archives and direct contact with the documents makes for historical understanding. It is one thing to cast doubt on the seriousness of our research, and another altogether to wonder if something perhaps escaped us. We have not deliberately ignored any significant document on the grounds that it seemed to us to damage the image of the Pope and the reputation of the Holy See. But in an undertaking such as this the person doing the work is the first to wonder whether he has forgotten something. Without Father Leiber, the existence of the drafts of Pius XII’s letters to the German Bishops would have gone unnoticed, and the collection would have been deprived of the texte which are perhaps the most valuable of all for an understanding of the Pope's thinking7. Yet those letters do not contradict in any way what we had learnt from the notes and diplomatic correspondence. In them, we see more of Pius XII’s concern to depend upon the teaching of the Bishops in order to put German Catholics on their guard against the perverse seductions of National Socialism, more dangerous than ever in time of war. This correspondence, published in the second volume of the Actes et Documents, therefore confirms the tenacious opposition of the Church to National Socialism, though we knew already of the first warnings of German Bishops like Faulhaber and von Galen, of many religious and priests, and finally the Encyclical Letter Mit brennender Sorge, read in all the churches of Germany on Palm Sunday 1937, despite the Gestapo.

We can therefore only consider as a pure and simple he the claim that the Church supported Nazism, as a Milan newspaper wrote on 6 January 1998. Moreover, the texts published in the fifth volume of the Actes et Documents deny outright the idea that the Holy See supported the Third Reich because it was afraid of Soviet Russia. When Roosevelt sought the Vatican's help to overcome the opposition of American Catholics to his plan to extend to Russia at war against the Reich the support already granted to Great Britain, he was listened to. The Secretariat of State charged the Apostolic Delegate in Washington to entrust to American Bishops the task of explaining that the Encyclical Divini Redemptoris—which enjoined Catholics to refuse the hand held out by the Communist parties—did not apply to the current situation and did not forbid the USA to help Soviet Russia's war effort against the Third Reich. These are unassailable conclusions.

Therefore, without wishing to discourage future researchers, I very much doubt whether the opening of the Vatican archives of the War years will change our understanding of the period. In the archives, as we have explained earlier, the diplomatic and administrative documents are mixed with documents of a strictly personal character; and this demands a longer closure than in the archives of the Foreign Ministries of the various States. Those who do not want to wait but wish to study in depth the history of that convulsed period can work fruitfully in the archives of the Foreign Office, the Quai d’Orsay, the State Department, and in the archives of the other States which had representatives accredited to the Holy See. Better than the notes of the Vatican's Secretariat of State, the dispatches of the British Minister Osborne evoke the situation of the Holy See, surrounded by Fascist Rome which then fell under the control of the German army and police8. It is by devoting themselves to such research, without asking for a premature opening of the Vatican archives, that they will show that are really seeking the truth

http://www.ewtn.com/library/issues/bletp12.htm

17 posted on 09/20/2008 11:45:25 AM PDT by stfassisi ( ("Above all gifts that Christ gives his beloved is that of overcoming self"-St Francis Assisi))
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To: Campion

The elephant in the room is moslem anti-semitism. During WWII they made common cause with Nazis against the Jews, and continue yet today with rabid anti-semitism, including threats of open warfare for religious reasons.

Interesting to see that protestants totally ignore the role of moslem states, before, during and following the creation of Israel after the war.

Long before WWII, antisemitism, of a deadly kind, existed in the US, Europe, the middle east, and in the USSR. Blaming the plight of the Jews on one Pope is inaccurate, short-sighted, and seems to be useful primarily for propaganda purposes of the reformed against Catholics.


18 posted on 09/20/2008 11:54:46 AM PDT by Judith Anne
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To: Judith Anne

“...inaccurate, short-sighted, and seems to be useful..”

All of the above.


19 posted on 09/20/2008 12:15:22 PM PDT by Running On Empty ((The three sorriest words:"It's too late"))
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To: stfassisi

Fr. Blet is correct, of course. The only problem is that Church-bashers aren’t really interested in carefully examining historical documents to ascertain the truth about Pius XII. There has never been a shred of evidence that shows that the Pope was in any way complicit in the Holocaust, that he collaborated in any way with Hitler. This whole claim was based on a lying, libelous, and completely fictitious play that was written by an East German communist.

It is almost as if, years from now, journalists and other writers, watched the movie “Farenheit 911” and concluded that President Bush was guilty of everything that Michael Moore alleges in the movie even though the movie is sheer fabrication and slander.

It doesn’t matter how much historical evidence there is that shows that Pius XII worked behind the scenes to help the Jews, his detractors don’t care because they aren’t interested in facts. In truth, it is up to them to provide solid, verifiable historical evidence for the claims that they are making, evidence that they have yet to provide. They are such hypocrites and bigots. I don’t know why anyone on this forum listens to them.


20 posted on 09/21/2008 5:53:08 AM PDT by steadfastconservative
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To: steadfastconservative

“...it is up to them to provide solid, verifiable historical evidence for the claims that they are making...”

Yes, indeed.


21 posted on 09/21/2008 9:12:33 AM PDT by Running On Empty ((The three sorriest words:"It's too late"))
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Cornwell is a known anti-Catholic liar.


22 posted on 09/21/2008 9:15:46 AM PDT by Petronski (Please pray for the success of McCain and Palin. Every day, whenever you pray.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
860,000

23 posted on 09/21/2008 9:16:40 AM PDT by Petronski (Please pray for the success of McCain and Palin. Every day, whenever you pray.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
860,000

24 posted on 09/21/2008 9:18:53 AM PDT by Petronski (Please pray for the success of McCain and Palin. Every day, whenever you pray.)
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To: Running On Empty
But the accusation which is often repeated is that he remained silent about the racial persecution aimed at the Jews, even when this was carried to its ultimate consequences, and that he thus left the way open for the Nazi atrocities. The documentation, however, shows the Pope's unfailing and constant efforts to oppose the deportations, the outcome of which was the subject of ever increasing suspicion. The apparent silence hid a clandestine activity on the part of the Nunciatures and Bishops to circumvent, or at least limit, the deportations, the violence, the persecutions. The rationale behind this caution is clearly explained by the Pope himself in different speeches, in the letters to the German Bishops, and in consultations within the Secretariat of State. Public declarations would have been of no use: they would have only served to make the fate of the victims worse and to increase their actual number.

This, I think, summarizes the whole crux of the matter. Pius XII worked behind the scenes to help as many Jews as possible escape persecution. If had spoken out publicly, he would have undermined these efforts and would have invited even more Nazi reprisals upon the Jews.

Those who criticize Pius XII for supposedly remaining silent or doing "nothing" are ignorant of history and they lack any real perspective on what the circumstances of those times were like. They think that words would have ended the Holocaust but, in reality, it was the Allies' defeat of the Nazis that ended the Holocaust. Unfortunately, the Pope didn't have an army at his disposal but he did what he could do in a very real and practical way to aid the victims of the war, including the Jews.

25 posted on 09/21/2008 10:02:50 AM PDT by steadfastconservative
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To: steadfastconservative

This is correct.-—I know from ones who lived that time in history. I happened to be a “gentile” in a large city high school that was comprised of about 95% Jewish kids, whose parents had been fortunate enough to escape the horrors of the Third Reich, but had been forced to leave relatives behind. Mingling with them and their parents, I learned of many things first-hand. My experience of sharing in their stories has been a great benefit for me. I also know personally of a number of them who converted to the Catholic Church in light of what they endured.

Of course I have given away my age saying that I was in high school at that time!

God bless.

ROE


26 posted on 09/21/2008 11:07:52 AM PDT by Running On Empty ((The three sorriest words:"It's too late"))
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To: Petronski
lol. Your eyesight might be failing, but mine is fine.

Revisionist history is Rome's specialty. Six million Jews died right under that Roman nose.

27 posted on 09/21/2008 2:24:30 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; Petronski

The sick anti-Catholic fetish continues.

28 posted on 09/21/2008 2:29:15 PM PDT by big'ol_freeper (Let's Roll!!)
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To: Petronski
ENABLING ACT

...Hitler proved to be the only chancellor prepared to grant Pacelli the sort of authoritarian concordat he was seeking. But the price was to be catastrophic for Catholic Germany and for Germany as a whole.

After Hitler came to power in January 1933, he made the concordat negotiations with Pacelli a priority. The negotiations proceeded over six months with constant shuttle diplomacy between the Vatican and Berlin. Hitler spent more time on this treaty than on any other item of foreign diplomacy during his dictatorship.

The Reich Concordat granted Pacelli the right to impose the new Code of Canon Law on Catholics in Germany and promised a number of measures favorable to Catholic education, including new schools. In exchange, Pacelli collaborated in the withdrawal of Catholics from political and social activity. The negotiations were conducted in secret by Pacelli, Kaas, and Hitler's deputy chancellor, Franz von Papen, over the heads of German bishops and the faithful. The Catholic Church in Germany had no say in setting the conditions.

In the end, Hitler insisted that his signature on the concordat would depend on the Center Party's voting for the Enabling Act, the legislation that was to give him dictatorial powers. It was Kaas, chairman of the party but completely in thrall to Pacelli, who bullied the delegates into acceptance. Next, Hitler insisted on the "voluntary" disbanding of the Center Party, the last truly parliamentary force in Germany. Again, Pacelli was the prime mover in this tragic Catholic surrender. The fact that the party voluntarily disbanded itself, rather than go down fighting, had a profound psychological effect, depriving Germany of the last democratic focus of potential noncompliance and resistance: In the political vacuum created by its surrender, Catholics in the millions joined the Nazi Party, believing that it had the support of the Pope. The German bishops capitulated to Pacelli's policy of centralization, and German Catholic democrats found themselves politically leaderless.

After the Reich Concordat was signed, Pacelli declared it an unparalleled triumph for the Holy See. In an article in L 'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican-controlled newspaper, he announced that the treaty, indicated the total recognition and acceptance of the church's law by the German state. But Hitler was the true victor and the Jews were the concordat's first victims. On July 14, 1933, after the initialing of the treaty, the Cabinet minutes record Hitler as saying that the concordat hadcreated an atmosphere of confidence that would be "especially significant in the struggle against international Jewry." He was claiming that the Catholic Church had publicly given its blessing, at home and abroad, to the policies of National Socialism, including its anti-Semitic stand. At the same time, under the terms of the concordat, Catholic criticism of acts deemed political by the Nazis, could now be regarded as "foreign interference." The great German Catholic Church, at the insistence of Rome, fell silent. In the future all complaints against the Nazis would be channeled through Pacelli...


29 posted on 09/21/2008 2:32:11 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Petronski; HarleyD
Cornwell is a practicing Roman Catholic whom Rome trusted with unparalleled access to "secret Vatican files."

What Cornwell discovered sickened him. To his credit, he wrote the truth.

I think it was Harleyd who said last week that because Rome concocted its "infallibility" doctrine, Rome can NEVER admit to a mistake, and thus Rome is destined to pridefully repeat its many errors.

Reformata et semper reformanda. Post tenebras lux.

30 posted on 09/21/2008 2:39:57 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Running On Empty

“I don’t know if it is just “ignorant” slander or deliberate slander. I just know that Pope Pius the XII has been unjustly and wrongfully vilified on this forum.”

As a neutral observer here I just wonder how or what the Pope could have done? From what I understand the holocaust was barely acknowledged by any interested parties. Apparently there was a real lack of information, so why blame a Pope for something that even the Allies were either unaware of not interested in?


31 posted on 09/21/2008 2:41:33 PM PDT by TrevorSnowsrap
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To: TrevorSnowsrap
Read the link in post #5.

As a neutral observer

I doubt this is a subject any of us should be "neutral" about. Certainly not many people in power in the 1930's were "neutral" either.

32 posted on 09/21/2008 3:03:03 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

I’m neutral in terms of being able to judge the actions of the Pope.


33 posted on 09/21/2008 3:05:13 PM PDT by TrevorSnowsrap
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To: TrevorSnowsrap
As a neutral observer here I just wonder how or what the Pope could have done? From what I understand the holocaust was barely acknowledged by any interested parties. Apparently there was a real lack of information, so why blame a Pope for something that even the Allies were either unaware of not interested in?

******************

Indeed. The Pope, after all, has no armies. That being said, it is my understanding that he did a great deal, albeit for the most part behind the scenes.

34 posted on 09/21/2008 3:35:51 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: trisham; steadfastconservative; big'ol_freeper; TrevorSnowsrap

This particlar thread subject has been brought up numerous times. The same arguments against the life and character of Pope Pius XII have been dredged up numerous times. Those who have made an effort to bring accuracy to the story have been brushed off and ignored.

It has always been my understanding that there is a moral obligation for people who claim to belong to Christ Jesus to adhere to truth in all things insofar as they are able to do so—that is is ignoble to participate in character assassination without certain proof and clear necessity.

It’s not only tiresome but distressing to see unsubstantiated accusations being made repeatedly.

Submission is not the answer to such tactics.

In God’s good time, “All that is hidden will be revealed”.


35 posted on 09/21/2008 4:00:48 PM PDT by Running On Empty ((The three sorriest words:"It's too late"))
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To: Running On Empty

I could not agree more.


36 posted on 09/21/2008 4:02:17 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Running On Empty; steadfastconservative; Petronski; TrevorSnowsrap

One who engages in continued outright lying to destroy the name of a holy man, who’s very actions demonstrated the love of Christ in action, has no claim to the name Christian.

This hatred of everything related to Christ’s Church, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, is emblematic of a very sick heart.

It is incumbent upon us all to pray for such as these that their hearts be converted to Christ.


37 posted on 09/21/2008 4:09:55 PM PDT by big'ol_freeper (Let's Roll!!)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg; Petronski
I think it was Harleyd who said last week that because Rome concocted its "infallibility" doctrine,

Indeed. This is a doctrine that was developed late, has no support in early or mid century writings, and even the Orthodox have never supported it. It is also probably one of the biggest mistakes the Church has ever made. Now they cannot admit they need to revisit a particular Church teaching. Just read some of the teachings around the 13th century and you can understand the problems the Catholics have. Any Catholics want to join the Crusades and fight against the Muslims? Most of official Church doctrine are never talked about and certainly never discussed. (Look at what happened to the Pope in Germany.)

If the Church wishes to change a doctrine like the Atonement, they simply have someone write some gooblely-gook, another modify the idea, then another, and then after three or four hundred years-POOF-the Church fathers have been in agreement all the time. Errors upon errors.

38 posted on 09/21/2008 4:26:28 PM PDT by HarleyD
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Cornwell is a practicing Roman Catholic...

So is Nancy Pelosi. It turns out this is not a good measure of Catholic knowledge, especially when ulterior motives are afoot.

...whom Rome trusted with unparalleled access to "secret Vatican files."

It's an outright lie.

This is fitting, since Cornwell is a liar.

39 posted on 09/21/2008 4:48:38 PM PDT by Petronski (Please pray for the success of McCain and Palin. Every day, whenever you pray.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
Perhaps the capital city of Italy concocted an infallibility doctrine, I don't care.

Christ promised to preserve the Catholic Church from error, and the Holy Spirit guides Her to keep this promise.

40 posted on 09/21/2008 4:50:24 PM PDT by Petronski (Please pray for the success of McCain and Palin. Every day, whenever you pray.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg
860,000
Jews saved by Pius XII


41 posted on 09/21/2008 4:53:18 PM PDT by Petronski (Please pray for the success of McCain and Palin. Every day, whenever you pray.)
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To: Dr. Eckleburg

Your denial of the 860,000 Jews saved by Pope Pius XII is sickening.


42 posted on 09/21/2008 4:54:45 PM PDT by Petronski (Please pray for the success of McCain and Palin. Every day, whenever you pray.)
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To: big'ol_freeper
The hatred displayed on this thread is breathtaking. Hitler hated the Jews enough to try to destroy them. In the case of 860,000 of those Jews, the Catholic Church intervened and saved them.

Some folks on this thread hate the Catholic Church so intensely they will deny those people were saved. Wipe their survival out of the history books in the name of anti-Catholic hatred.

43 posted on 09/21/2008 5:01:38 PM PDT by Petronski (Please pray for the success of McCain and Palin. Every day, whenever you pray.)
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To: TrevorSnowsrap
As a neutral observer here I just wonder how or what the Pope could have done?

The private, secret actions of Pope Pius XII saved 860,000 Jews from the Holocaust.

Don't accept the lies of Cornwell and his minions on this thread. The book has been discredited.

Even the cover photo has been discredited.

The anti-Pius slander you see on this thread is the work of the devil himself.

44 posted on 09/21/2008 5:04:06 PM PDT by Petronski (Please pray for the success of McCain and Palin. Every day, whenever you pray.)
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