Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (bio - news) offered an extended defense of Pope Pius XII on Tuesday evening, June 5, at a conference announcing the publication of a new book on the life of the World War II Pontiff.
The Vatican Secretary of State charged that Pius XII has become the victim of a "black legend," which has "become so firmly established that even to scratch it is an arduous task."
Pope Pius XII has been "falsely portrayed as indulgent toward Nazism and insensitive to the fate of victims" of the Hitler regime, Cardinal Bertone said. That portrait endures, he added, in spite of "documentation and witnesses that have abundantly proven it is nonsense." In light of that evidence, he said, the continuing criticism of the wartime Pope has become "an attack on good sense and on rationality."
The "intense polemics" surrounding the Pope's attitude toward the Holocaust threaten to "reduce his entire pontificate to the question of his supposed silence," Cardinal Bertone said. He pointed out that Pius XII left an impressive record of accomplishments in other fields, including the dramatic progress in Biblical scholarship and in the status of women during the years of his pontificate, from 1939 to 1958.
The Secretary of State acknowledged that Pius XII had been "cautious" in his public statements denouncing the Nazi regime. But he argued that if the Pope had been more outspoken, the Nazi response might have entailed a stepped-up campaign of genocide. In practice, the cardinal observed, Pope Pius worked quietly to save thousands of Jews from the Holocaust.
Source: Catholic World News
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Posted by Matthew
I am pleased to see this news coming from the Vatican. Truthfully, most of Rome's 8,000 Jews hid in the Vatican during World War II. Pope Pius XII saved thousands Jewish lives, and he used the assets of the Vatican to ransom Jews from the Nazis. The Chief Rabbi of Rome even converted to Catholicism after the war! According to Pinchas E. Lapide in his book, Three Popes and the Jews, Pope Pius XII saved 860,000 Jews from Nazi death camps (214). For more information, see my post The Church & the Holocaust.
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