Did the Pope Apologize for WWII Indifference?


I had a discussion recently with a friend that tried to tell me that the Vatican was a Nazi sympathizer during WWII. He also pointed out that the current Pope made an apology for this in recent years, proving that the Church was indeed deserving of blame.

I read this to clear up the question:


But I do remember hearing about that apology. I can’t remember the details of it or find any reference to it however.

So my question - what was that apology about?


This friend sorry to say is qiute misinformed. The Vatican actually oppossed the Nazis. The encyclical letter Mit Brenender Sorge by Pius XI condemned the immorality of the regime. Pius XII through his ambassadors helped shelter many jews during the second world war. He did what he could, direct condemnation of the Nazis would intensified the persecutions. Keep in mind here that Pius was dealing with an army not just a political regime. Pius IMHO did a good job. John Paul apologized for the fact that many Catholics remained silent during World War II, not for the Vatican being a Nazi sympathizer.

Go to this site, it explains what I just said


the document is called reflectin on the Shoah.

Padre Pio “The Rosary is the weapon.”


I don’t know much about the apology you’re talking about, but I do know this:

Edith Stein, a brilliant philosopher, student of Husserl, and a deeply spiritual Carmelite nun who converted to Catholicism from her Judaic roots, was forcibly taken from her convent in Holland and killed at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942 in retaliation for Dutch bishops issuing a pastoral letter condemning the Nazis.


posted by Dave

I had a discussion recently with a friend that tried to tell me that the Vatican was a Nazi sympathizer during WWII. He also pointed out that the current Pope made an apology for this in recent years, proving that the Church was indeed deserving of blame.

The others gave you the info you need to refute this. But as you probably already realized, the real agenda here seems to be the authority of the Church and infallibility.

By believeing the Church was a Nazi sympathizer, it “proves” the Church is not infallible. Of course there are many errors in that line of thinking, but in my opinion, this is where you should direct future conversations after clearing up this misconception.

God Bless,


I had this conversion with someone about this time last year. I just couldn’t find my sources. Off the top of my head this is what I remember:

  1. Something like 80 000 Jews were hidden and or given safe passage by the Catholic Church during WWII.

  2. Something like 4000 Jews were hidden in Vatican houses alone.

  3. Priests and religious were instructed by the Vatican to help Jews and many many Catholics lost their lives for their obedience.

  4. The Popes at the time, kept everything under wraps so as not to bring the wrath of the Nazis down on the Church and even more Jews than they did.

  5. Pope Paul VI was requested to reveal what had happened and he did.

  6. The Chief Rabbi of Rome, watching all this go down, converted to Catholicism.

  7. It is a defamation against the Church to claim that the Church was a Nazi sympathizer. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  8. There have been apologies for attitudes derived (wrongly) from Church teaching over the 2 millenia of Christianity. I believe Pope Paul VI started the ball rolling and Pope John Paul II spoke in much greater depth about it.

  9. As it stands now, Catholics must not blame the Jews for the crucifixion.

That’s it for now. Shalom, Ani.


**Here are a few links setting out the risks which Pope Pius XII took to help the Jews.The articles are about a book called T**he Righteous written by Sir Martin Gilbert. In it, he claims that hundreds of thousands (not 80 000 as I formerly said) of Jews were rescued as a result of pronouncements by Pope Pius XII. Also, printing presses were operated inside the Vatican to duplicate identification papers and travel documents for Jews seeking to escape the Nazis. Pope Pius XII ordered the records to be hidden as a precaution should the Nazis win the war. These records were released years later sometime in the 1960’s by Pope Paul VI.




I believe JPII did apologize, but I don’t think he should have. Pius XII was not indifferent at all to the Jews.


Pope John Paul II was a member of the Polish Resistance during the war. He was a mamber of a group that broke concentration camp inmates out and rescued them.

One girl could not keep up, and he carried her on his back. She was interviewed on TV some time back and asked, “What did you think when you saw him?”

She said, “I thought God, Himself had come to save me.”


Ronald Rychlak’s book ‘Hitler, the War and the Pope’ (published by Our Sunday Visitor) dispels all of the myths which have grown up regarding the action of the Vatican/Pope Pius XII during WWII.

An extract from the back cover;
“With exacting scholarship, Professor Ron Rychlak gives a full exploration of the background facts, including discussions of history, religion, politics, diplomacy and military tactics. Then come ten fundamental questions concerning Pope Pius XII and the Naxis which are answered with legal analysis and authoritative citation. The epilogue provided a critical examination of John Cornwell’s recent book on the same topic.”

This book has been virtually ignored because it demands serious reading and the myth is so much more attractive in the climate of anti Catholicism, both within and outside the Church, than the truth.


Sr. Margaret Marchione is an excellent and prolific author on this subject; she has devoted most of her life to research and publishing on it. She works closely with Fr. Peter Gumpel who is the official Vatican representative providing rearch and materials to scholars who study it.

And no, the pope certainly did not apologize for Pius XII - he calls him a great pope and means to canonize him.


such was the indifference of the Pope and Italian church leaders to the plight of the Jews that in Italy the great majority of Jews were saved and only a few thousand transported to the death camps, in contrast to the rest of western Europe where nearly all Jews ended up in the camps. the books cited above document the heroic actions of the Pope and all churchmen and women who obeyed his direction to succor the Jews. Incidentally, warnings about Nazi plans and actions and pleas to accept Jewish immigration, sent through the Vatican diplomatic corps to the US and to Roosevelt personally were disdained and ignored for years.


[quote=challenger]I believe JPII did apologize, but I don’t think he should have. Pius XII was not indifferent at all to the Jews.

The Pope apologized for mistreatment of Jews from Christians throughout the ages. He should not have had to apologized for how the Pope treated them before or during the war. No one made more of an effort or had more of an impact on saving the Jews that Pope Pius XII. It is for his efforts during the war that there is an effort to make him a saint.

The Pope’s so called indifference saved thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Jews. He ordered Catholic Churches to house thousands of jewish refugees, and he order the Church to forge thousands of fake baptismal certificates for jews so they could escape to other countries or escape being sent to concentration camps.

Prior to the war converts for judaism (in one country) rose from 4 or 5 per year, to a peak of 20,000 per month. Unfortuanately the Nazis also noticed the increase, and ceased to exempt Jewish converts. But that was just one of many attempts, some more successful than others, that Pope Pius ordered on behalf of the Jews.

Many of his proclamations had to be subtle because Hitler reacted violently to any overt accusations, but they condemned the persecution of the Jews long before anyone else said a word. Hitler and the Nazi knew full well the Pope was totally anti-Nazi and supported the jews completely.

It is a tribute to the Pope that both Hitler and Mousallani (sp) hated the Pope more that any other world leader. It is an outrage that anyone would disparage what the Pope did during the war in light of how devoted he was to the task of helping the Jews to survive during that time.



Did you ever notice that in the Catholic-bashing of Pope Pius XII on his “wartime activities”, and the constant iteration that “Hitler was a Catholic” there is a corresponding deafening silence about the cooperation of all the Protestant churches, clergy and laity with the Nazis and wartime activities?

Now, don’t get me wrong. Plenty of fine Protestant people did their best in a very difficult situation. Point is, plenty of fine Catholic people did the same–yet the Catholic CHURCH is vilified and condemned, and other churches which did no more good, and sometimes less, are not condemned.

Just another example, I feel, of the world’s (secular) hatred of the Catholic faith. If Catholics compromised the truth and told the world what it wanted to hear, and CARED about the world’s judgment instead of God’s, they would be praised and not condemned.

I think I’ll wear the world’s condemnation proudly. We Catholics must be doing something right, to be so hated.
As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.


Thanks all!


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