Skip to comments.US government interested in Pius XIIís wartime role, WikiLeaks cables show
Posted on 12/23/2010 2:15:21 PM PST by NYer
.- The controversy over Pius XIIs role in protecting Jews from the Nazis is not merely an academic dispute but involves U.S. State Department interests, new WikiLeaks documents show.
The British newspaper The Guardian released four U.S. government cables related to research into the papacy of Pope Pius XII.
The first cable from the U.S. Vatican Embassy, dated Aug. 13, 2001, recounts a meeting with Fr. Peter Gumpel, S.J., who is involved in opening the Vatican archives. The document alluded to a previous cable which explained U.S. government interests in promoting a positive productive dialogue quickly because of the passing of the Holocaust generation.
Fr. Gumpel explained to the U.S. officials the procedures for accessing the Vatican archives and also reported inadequate staffing for his task. According to the cable, he recounted the perceived inadequacies of the Jewish-Vatican commission studying Pius XIIs role in the Second World War, such as most members inability to read the relevant documents in the original Italian.
The priest told the U.S. officials that Pope John Paul II was aware of the situation regarding the research.
He also objected to media descriptions of him as the German Jesuit. He recounted that his family had been victims of the Nazis and he himself fled Nazi Germany as a refugee. He also noted that at one point a reporter had planned to print an assertion that he was himself a Nazi, which Fr. Gumpel said was libelous.
Another confidential cable from the Vatican Embassy, dated Dec. 31, 2001, discussed the Jewish-Vatican commission in its report on a conversation between U.S. Ambassador Jim Nicholson and Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
Nicholson said the commission had dissolved amid some acrimony, according to the cable, and there was interest in the U.S. about whether it would be re-formed. The cardinal attributed the commissions failure to personality problems and its lack of a clear mandate, insisting this was not a failure of Catholic-Jewish dialogue.
The cardinal called Fr. Gumpel the Vaticans best-informed living expert on Pius XIIs papacy and he expressed hope that a commission could be re-formed with highly qualified academics not directly associated with either the Catholic Church or with Jewish agencies.
Cardinal Kasper averred that claims Pius XII was pro-Nazi were without foundation and he thought the archives would bear this out, the U.S. cable reported. The cardinal cited Israeli leader Golda Meirs post-war praise for the Pope and he claimed that the Jewish community became obsessed with Pius XIIs wartime actions only after revisionist historians began publishing in the 1960s.
In the cables words, the cardinal thought the Pope communicated opposition to Nazism subtly but clearly.
"The convents all around here were full of Jews, at great risk, even though the SS was in this very building," commented Cardinal Kasper, who was speaking in the Apostolic Palace.
The cables analysis said that the Vatican remains highly sensitive to criticism of Pius XII and characterized the Vatican archive as a hard nut to crack. It also noted the Vaticans insistence that its twelve-volume series culled from the Pius XII archive was a reasonable start.
A Feb. 22, 2002 cable followed up on the issue, noting the announcement of the archives partial opening. The cables author saw the move as an attempt by Pope John Paul II to silence accusations of anti-Semitism leveled against his predecessor Pius XII and also as a possible sign of renewed Vatican interest in beatifying the pontiff.
Pope John Paul IIs decision to sidestep standard release procedures shows that whatever the Pope wants, does in fact happen, concluded the cable, which was apparently signed by Nicholson.
The fourth cable dates from Oct. 16, 2009 and concerns the Holy Sees withdrawal from an agreement to become an international observer on the International Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. The Vatican Embassy cable speculated that the Vaticans relatively inexperienced new deputy foreign minister Mgsr. Ettore Balestrero made the decision, but it also wondered whether the move also signaled concerns about the task forces pressure to release records related to Pius XIIs pontificate.
Task force members, including Austrian Ambassador Ferdinand Trauttsmandorff, U.S. Professor Steve
Katz of the Elie Wiesel Center at Boston University, and Israeli academic advisor Dina Porat, expressed considerable disappointment about the setback. Trauttsmandorff insisted that the task force sought a relationship with the Vatican not only to access the archives but also to work jointly with Catholic leaders in many countries on anti-racism and Holocaust remembrance education.
The cables have their source in the WikiLeaks website, which acquired more than 250,000 of the documents. Its media partners, which include The Guardian and The New York Times, have helped shape the selection and the timing of the released cables and have also redacted information believed to be sensitive.
The insights into U.S. officials views of the investigation of Pius XIIs papacy comes just before the publication of French scholar Joël-Benoît d'Onorios new analysis criticizing a myth of the archives.
In an article excerpted in the Dec. 23 edition of LOsservatore Romano, dOnorio argued that the archives will never produce proof of what doesnt exist proof of the voluntary weakness of Pius XII.
DOnorio, who is president of the federation of Catholic jurists of France, wrote a Dec. 22 response in the French newspaper La Croix to Richard Prasquier, president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions.
Prasquier contended there is no certain historic proof that Pope Pius XII saved numerous lives during World War II. He rebuked the wartime pontiffs alleged silences and fear of speaking out.
To this, dOnorio replied that there are documents that already attest to Pius XIIs acts, such as 1943 records from Romes Augustinianum which show he ordered a monastery to open its doors to thousands. When Nazi occupiers asked Jews for 50 kilograms of gold to ransom 300 Jewish hostages, the Pope quickly ordered 15 kilograms to supply what the Jews lacked.
DOnorio said there is much more evidence in Pius XIIs favor. The valid studies are numerous and come from different sources, but they are deliberately ignored to sustain a black legend, he charged.
The Popes alleged fear of speaking out in fact hid a grand charity in action.
Seems like our government officials are wasting tax dollars if this is the nature of their official business.
Probably digging for more info to smear Catholicism with.
You bet that’s what they are after. The REAL anti-Semitism is in the State Department, and in fact a fair number of socialists of the nazi stripe (the neo socialists New World Order types, in conjunction with the UN).
The fact is that the nazi elite were pagans, and did not want any religion except the nazi state, especially not Jews (thanks to Hitler’s personal animus and self hatred as being 1/4 Jewish himself). Many, many Catholics went to concentration camps to die, and many gave haven to Jews- there is no dispute on this. The assumption in the “research” being spoken about in these cables, is that Pius was tight with Mussolini and thus, Hitler. Mussolini had serious problems with the Vatican, but found it difficult to circumvent them and still have any kind of officer corps or troops for that matter.