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    Was Pope Pius XII a Saint?- Commentary

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    Arik
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    Was Pope Pius XII a Saint?- Commentary

    Post  Arik on Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:36 am


    Was Pope Pius XII a Saint?
    By Gabriel Wilensky

    The German-born pope, Benedict XVI, is moving full steam ahead in the process of canonization of the germanophile war-time pope, Pius XII. Having declared Pius XII “venerable”, the Church is now moving forward with the process of recognizing Pius XII’s “heroic virtues”.

    I suppose one way to look at this is that this is simply an internal Catholic Church matter and it’s no one else’s business who the Church calls a “saint”. But I beg to disagree. At a time in which the Vatican continues to delay the opening of the files of the Vatican Secret Archives containing the documents covering Pius XII’s pontificate, it’s impossible for scholars to assess with any level of accuracy what the Pope’s role really was during the war. The Pope’s apologists claim he was a man devoted to saving all the people oppressed and persecuted by the Germans, including Jews, while many more claim the Pope was aloof, more preoccupied with avoiding a bombardment of Rome during the war and preserving the concordat with Germany, rather than with protecting the lives of six million Jews. I subscribe to the latter view. Maybe the documentation in the Secret Archives will show otherwise, but of the eleven volumes of documents of the war period the Vatican published a few decades ago precisely to counter claims that Pius XII did not do enough, scantly any really show him doing so.

    During the war, the closest the Pope could get to utter a statement in defense of the Jews was his 1942 Christmas message. Papal apologists often present this radio broadcast as the Pope’s strongest condemnation of the persecution of the Jews and as a clear example of how he spoke out in their defense. In this radio address he spoke of “the hundreds of thousands who, without personal guilt, are doomed to death or to a progressive deterioration of their condition, sometimes for no other reason than their nationality or descent.” This vague, pusillanimous and ineffectual complaint about the greatest crime in history, uttered at the end of a very long speech on other matters and without even mentioning the victims or the perpetrators by name, seemed to be the best the infallible Vicar of Christ on Earth could say to defend the Jews. There is a vast chasm between the enormity of the extermination then taking place and this form of evasive language in which the Pope scaled down “millions” to “hundreds of thousands” and reduced human rights abuses like discrimination, physical assault and ill-treatment, segregation, deportation, widespread property plunder, ghettoization, forced starvation and systematic mass murder to “a progressive deterioration of their condition.”

    The Church claims that propelling Pius XII into the sainthood is a reflection of his religious actions, and that may be so. However, Pius XII was not just a religious figure: he was the pope, the leader of an international organization responsible for the care of hundreds of millions of souls, and he was the leader of a state with a fully operational government with influence on a global scale. So his actions—or inactions—cannot be measured solely based on what his contributions to the advancement of faith were. Certainly not for someone who ruled over the Catholic Church at a time when almost half the German population and the vast majority of Austrian, French, Polish, Lithuanian, Ukrainian, Latvian, Hungarian and other populations that collaborated with the Germans in executing the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” were Catholic.



    Gabriel Wilensky
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    Yehudah

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    Re: Was Pope Pius XII a Saint?- Commentary

    Post  Yehudah on Sun Dec 26, 2010 3:08 pm

    They'll make anyeone a saint (valentine).

    How many Jews did he save of the 6+ million lost?

    Whatever.


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    Re: Was Pope Pius XII a Saint?- Commentary

    Post  Schabesbert on Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:52 pm

    Yehudah wrote:They'll make anyeone a saint (valentine).

    How many Jews did he save of the 6+ million lost?
    From Wikipedia:


    Post-war praise

    Pinchas Lapide, a Jewish theologian and Israeli diplomat to Milan in the 1960s, claimed in Three Popes and the Jews that Catholics were "instrumental in saving at least 700,000 but probably as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands."[70] Some historians have questioned this oft-cited[71] number, which Lapide reached by "deducting all reasonable claims of rescue" by non-Catholics from the number of Jews he claims succeeded in escaping to the free world from Nazi-controlled areas during the Holocaust.[72]

    The Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Isaac Herzog, sent the Pope a personal message of thanks on February 28, 1944, in which he said: "The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion which form the very foundations of true civilization, are doing for us unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living proof of divine Providence in this world."[73]

    Other Jewish leaders chimed in also. Rabbi Safran of Bucharest, Romania, sent a note of thanks to the papal nuncio on April 7, 1944: "It is not easy for us to find the right words to express the warmth and consolation we experienced because of the concern of the supreme pontiff, who offered a large sum to relieve the sufferings of deported Jews. . . . The Jews of Romania will never forget these facts of historic importance." [73][74]

    The Chief Rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, also made not a statement of thanks: "What the Vatican did will be indelibly and eternally engraved in our hearts. ... Priests and even high prelates did things that will forever be an honor to Catholicism."[75]

    Catholic scholar Kevin Madigan interprets such praise from prominent Jewish leaders, including Golda Meir, as less than sincere; an attempt to secure Vatican recognition of the State of Israel.[76]

    On September 21, 1945, the general secretary of the World Jewish Council, Dr. Leon Kubowitzky, presented an amount of money to the pope, "in recognition of the work of the Holy See in rescuing Jews from Fascist and Nazi persecutions."[77] After the war, in the autumn of 1945, Harry Greenstein from Baltimore, a close friend of Chief Rabbi Herzog of Jerusalem, told Pius how grateful Jews were for all he had done for them. "My only regret," the pope replied, "is not to have been able to save a greater number of Jews."

    See http://popepiusxiiandthejews.blogspot.com/ for more information.
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    Arik
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    Re: Was Pope Pius XII a Saint?- Commentary

    Post  Arik on Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:33 pm

    Interesting info Bert. It's good to get both sides points of view on the issue

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