Pope Pius XII-Is his Villification by the Jews warranted and why wont it Stop

[font=Courier New]From the Catholic League Archives, the question asks, why is the subject of Pope Pius XII still an issue with Jews? What do they want from the Church that they did not already receive with Vatican II and all of this Ecumenism? Is this headed for compensation as a recent report in Zenit and Newday claims they want all Jewish children baptised during WWII, done so to protect them from the Nazi’s, turned over back to Judiasm. [/font]

[font=Goudy]By Rabbi David Dalin, Ph.D. [/font]

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***[font=Arial]About The Author **** *[/font]

*[font=Arial] Rabbi David G. Dalin, a widely-published scholar of American Judaism and the history of Christian-Jewish Relations, is the author or co-author of five books, including Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience, published by the University of Notre Dame Press in 1997 and, most recently, The President of the United States and the Jews. His article, “Pius XII and the Jews,” was published in the February 26, 2001 issue of the Weekly Standard, and was reprinted in the August-September issue of Inside the Vatican, published in Rome. Rabbi Dalin is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal First Things, and a member of the Board of Governors of Sacred Heart University’s Center for Christian Jewish understanding. He is now writing a new book, tentatively entitled: Two Popes and the Jews: Pius XII and John Paul II. *[/font]

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[font=Goudy]In recent years, Eugenio Pacelli, who became Pope Pius XII in 1939, has been the subject of considerable public criticism, and even vilification, for his alleged failure to speak out against Hitler during the Holocaust. Pope Pius’ alleged “silence,” in the face of the worst Nazi atrocities, has led some of his harshest critics to accuse him of being a Nazi sympathizer or an anti-Semite. In 1999, the British journalist John Cornwell created an international sensation with the publication of his best-selling attack on Pius XII, vilifying Eugenio Pacelli as “Hitler’s Pope.” [/font]
[font=Goudy]The past couple of years have seen the publication of eight more new books dealing with Pius XII and the Holocaust. [/font]
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[font=Goudy]For Jewish leaders of a previous generation, this harsh portrayal of Pope Pius XII, and the campaign of vilification against him, would have been a source of profound shock and sadness. From the end of World War II until at least five years after his death, Pope Pius enjoyed an enviable reputation amongst Christians and Jews alike. At the end of the war, Pius XII was hailed as “the inspired moral prophet of victory,” and “enjoyed near-universal acclaim for aiding European Jews.” Numerous Jewish leaders, including Albert Einstein, Israeli Prime Ministers Golda Meir and Moshe Sharett, and Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog, expressed their public gratitude to Pius XII, praising him as a “righteous gentile,” who had saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. In his meticulously researched and comprehensive 1967 book, Three Popes and the Jews, the Israeli historian and diplomat Pinchas Lapide, who had served as the Israeli Counsel General in Milan, and had spoken with many Italian Jewish Holocaust survivors who owed their life to Pius, provided the empirical basis for their gratitude, concluding that Pius XII “was instrumental in saving at least 700,000, but probably as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands.” To this day, the Lapide volume remains the definitive work, by a Jewish scholar, on the subject. [/font]

The campaign of vilification against Pope Pius can be traced to the debut in Berlin in February 1963 of a play, by a young, Protestant, left-wing West German writer and playwright, Rolf Hochhuth. The Deputy, in which Hochhuth depicts Pacelli as a Nazi collaborator, guilty of moral cowardice and “silence” in the face of the Nazi onslaught, is a scathing indictment of Pope Pius XII’s alleged indiffe

Yes, when the years separate the man (Pius XII) from a second-rate author, who is trying to make a dollar, the present day readers do not know the truth and believe the man who was not alive during the events he describes. I do not believe it.

I think we should believe the historical personages who had direct contact with Pius XII. “. At the end of the war, Pius XII was hailed as “the inspired moral prophet of victory,” and “enjoyed near-universal acclaim for aiding European Jews.” Numerous Jewish leaders, including Albert Einstein, Israeli Prime Ministers Golda Meir and Moshe Sharett, and Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog, expressed their public gratitude to Pius XII, praising him.”

But we can expect some Jews, some Protestants and yes, some Atheists to try to get a leg up by attacking a dead Pope.

**Vatican not impressed with threat to sue over access to archives

**By John Thavis
[/font]Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – A Jewish group’s recent threat to sue for access to church archives left Vatican officials unimpressed.

“It doesn’t make much sense, if you know how archives function. We certainly aren’t going to be intimidated,” said one church expert.

Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, vice president of the Coalition for Jewish Concerns, said in Washington Jan. 27 that his group would take legal action unless the Vatican Secret Archives were opened within a week. The group believes the material could identify Jewish children baptized as Catholics during World War II.

There are a couple of reasons why such demands for documents are not taken very seriously at the Vatican.

For one thing, delayed opening of archival materials – typically from 50 to 100 years – is a practice adopted by states all over the world, for technical reasons and to protect archives from contemporary political pressures.

Second, the Vatican has made extraordinary efforts to open some document sections in advance in recent years – only to find that very few scholars bother to examine the material.

“It’s strange. It seems that if they can’t find confirmation of their predetermined but undocumented theories, the archives can be forgotten,” said Father Sergio Pagano, prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives.

Father Pagano told the Italian newspaper Avvenire in January that only a trickle of experts is examining the documents regarding Vatican relations with Germany from 1922 to 1939; those documents were made available last fall, ahead of schedule.

The Vatican archives also had seven employees work for three years collating more than 3 million documents on the Holy See’s quiet efforts to help prisoners of war during World War II. The material was opened last May; so far, only 10 European scholars have come to do research, Father Pagano said.

“Sometimes you get the impression that some scholars, whose voices are perhaps amplified too much by the media, demand the opening of the Vatican archives as if they wanted to battle their way into a secret fortress,” Father Pagano said.

“But when the doors open and the documents can be consulted, those who seemed interested don’t show up, or come for what is basically a tourist visit,” he said.

In the Vatican’s view, the recent controversy over a document discovered in France illustrates the dangers of amateur archival research.

The letter, discovered in French church archives, purportedly was approved by Pope Pius XII. It said Jewish children who had been baptized to save them from the Nazis were to be entrusted only to families or institutions that would guarantee their continuing education in the faith.

Jewish groups pounced on the text, saying it proved that the Vatican under Pope Pius XII did not want baptized Jewish children returned to their parents.

But Vatican experts quickly pointed out that the letter was an unsigned summary of church policies, with no clear indication of source. It was written in French and was not found in the archives of the papal nunciature in France.

Then a more complete version of the letter emerged, clarifying that church leaders were speaking of abandoned Jewish children who were in the care of church institutions, not children whose parents wanted them back.

“It would be another thing if the children were requested back by the parents,” said the letter.

At the Vatican, Father Pagano oversees more than 50 miles of shelved archival documents, and the material just keeps growing. For example, he said, over the last six years, more than 5 million pieces of paper have been added to the collection.

The material is opened by pontificate, and next year the Vatican Secret Archives will make available documents from the papacy of Pope Pius XI, 1922-1939.

One reason for the delay is the monumental task of collecting, numbering and organizing the documents for consultation. At the Vatican, each document is double-checked for details like protocol numbers, handwritten notations and envelope information, so that its precise context can be established.

“It’s a long, painstaking and difficult work,” Father Pagano said.

For those who see something sinister in keeping all this information under lock and key, Father Pagano cites the opinions of other professional archivists, who say that letting historical documents sit untouched for several decades reduces the chance of their destruction or exploitation by people who lived too close to the period.

There are a few exceptions to the closed-door rule, however. Postulators working on sainthood causes may gain admission to the unopened archives if they need to research the life of the would-be saint.

END

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