It’s an issue that I have studied for a long time out of familial and emotional necessity. I am a Catholic whose father was Jewish. Not only Jewish but from a Polish family. The role of Pope Pius and the Church during the Second World War is to me at the epicenter of identity, loyalty and truth. There are Jewish leaders who claim that Pope Pius said little and did less as Europe’s Jews were rounded up and slaughtered. There are non-Jewish activists – often liberal Catholics fighting modern battles vicariously through the tragedy of the Holocaust – who want to discredit Papal history and thus the contemporary Papacy by arguing that the Pope abandoned his moral authority and that his successors have to delegate power because of this. Was Pius silent, was the Church complicit in its indifference, is Catholic orthodoxy opposed to social justice? The latter, by the way, is the genuine issue at play here. The new orthodoxy of the Church is terrifying to the older generation of liberals and they will use history as a battering ram if they can.
The truth is somewhat different. Before he became Pope Pius, Cardinal Pacelli drafted the papal encyclical condemning Nazi racism and had it read from every pulpit. The Vatican used its assets to ransom Jews from the Nazis, ran an elaborate escape route and hid Jewish families in Castel Gondolfo. All this is confirmed by Jewish experts such as the B’rith’s Joseph Lichten.
The World Jewish Congress donated a great deal of money to the Vatican in gratitude and in 1945 Rabbi Herzog of Jerusalem thanked Pope Pius, “for his lifesaving efforts on behalf of the Jews during the occupation of Italy.” When the Pope died in 1958 Golda Meir, then Israeli Foreign Minister, delivered a eulogy at the United Nations praising the man for his work on behalf of her people..More>>
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Pius XII, the Holocaust, and BXVI
It is an old issue, filled with acrimony, slander, and lies. Michael Coren, a Catholic and former Jew, writes at Mercatornet: