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Uproar Over Holocaust Pope’s Road to Sainthood

But at least Benedict’s been to Yad Vashem!

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Over the weekend, the German-born Pope Benedict XVI moved Pope Pius XII one step closer to sainthood, prompting immediate outrage from Jewish groups who contend that Pius, who was Eugenio Pacelli before being elected pontiff in 1939, didn’t do enough to prevent the Nazi slaughter of Jews (let alone its persecution of Catholic priests). Rabbi David Rosen, a member of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, scoffed at the church’s repeated assertions that Pius’s silence in the face of the Holocaust can be explained by his desire to protect thousands of Jews who were in hiding.

Benedict, who is already booked for a visit to Rome’s synagogue in January, responded earlier today with a mollifying speech about, yes, the Holocaust: specifically, about his visit earlier this year to the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel. “The visit to the Yad Vashem has meant an upsetting encounter with the cruelty of human fault, with the hatred of a blind ideology that, with no justification, sent millions of people to their deaths,” he said. Human fault: another way of saying that not everyone’s a saint.

Pope Says Visit to Holocaust Memorial ‘Upsetting’ [AP]

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Lorna says:

Before any opposition to Pope Pius XII’s cause for sainthood, please read the book about Pius XII by Gordon Thomas called “The Pope’s Jews”. The author discovered the source materials when he was researching a totally different book about WWII Vatican secret codes, as his usual subbject is WWII intelligence. The author is not Catholic, as far as I know, so he has no hidden agenda.

In the book you learn the astonishing truth about Pope Pius XII and the Jewish people. His closest friend, Guido Mendes, was Jewish and he regularly attended the Mendes family’s Shabbat meal. Eugenio (Pius’s name before become Pope) actually spoke basic Hebrew. By the time he became a priest, he had a circle of friends that included many Jews. These friends were invited to all the most important moments of his life, including his ordination and the ceremony at which he formally became Pope. He also had leading members of Rome’s Jewish community invited, something that was a strong statement at the time. As the racial laws increased, even before Eugenio became Pope, he arranged visas for those friends and their families and for jobs in countries including the US and what was then Palestine. The last conversation he ever had with the dying Pope Pius XI was about the Mendes family.

Pius successfully hid over 90% of Rome’s Jewish community in various hospitals, convents and Vatican buildings. One of only four historians allowed to read the US WWII intelligence files said that they prove that Hitler distrusted the Vatican because he knew that they were hiding Jews.

When he was still Cardinal Pacelli and Secretary of State (basically the Pope’s second-in-command), he negotiated the Concordat with Nazi Germany. He was already moving Jews to the UK, the US and even the Holy Land. Those who couldn’t leave were given jobs in the Vatican, which protected them and their families. In the Concordat with Germany, Pacelli had a clause that exempted Jews who converted to Catholicism from the racial laws. He fully intented, with the support of Pope Pius XI, to use that clause to protect Jews who were not converts. False baptism certificates were given out. Immediately after Kristallnacht, he sent a coded message to all the bishops to apply for as many travel visas as they could get for “Non-Aryan Catholics”. This was a code for Jews, most of whom weren’t Catholic, just as Pacelli had arranged. In the weeks following Kristallnacht, Pacelli got over 200,000 Jews out, most of whom would never know who was behind their rescue. Hitler even ordered newspapers to describe Pacelli as “the Jew-lover in the Vatican”.

There isn’t room in a comments section to refute all the claims made against Pope Pius XII, suffice to say that they are totally false. In the years following WWII he received many tributes from survivors of the Holocaust. Many Jewish associations made donations to Vatican charities in gratitude for the Holy See’s help, including a donation of $20,000 from the Jewish World Congress.

The idea of Pope Pius XII as an anti-Semite comes mainly from Stalin and partly from anti Catholic Protestant Christians. Stalin wanted him slandered because his status as the man who protected the Jewish people added weight to his stance against Communism and his denunciation of Stalin’s purges and the wholesale arrests and imprisonment of Catholic priests, nuns and Cardinals that went on behind the Iron Curtain. What better way to discredit Pope Pius XII than to make him an anti-Semite who loved Hitler? Pravda had a series of articles that stated that Pius had agreed with Hitler on everything and secretly worked for Mussolini. A Protestant anti-Catholic wrote a play called The Deputy (a better translation would be “The Vicar” as the Pope is the Vicar of Christ) which depicted him as money grabbing and silent about the Holocaust.

When you actually read the book and find out about what Pope Pius XII really did for the Jewish people, it is appalling that such a man has been depicted as an anti-Semite, when he was in reality one of the foremost helpers of the Jewish people.

The following quotes might help people understand the truth:

“When the fearful time came to our people, during the decade of Nazi terror, the words of Pope Pius XII were raised for the victims” – Golda Meir

“the Holy See is lending its powerful help, wherever it can, to mitigate the fate of my persecuted coreligionists” Chaim Weizmann in a 1943 letter

The Jewish author of “Three Popes and the Jews”, says – refering to Jews – that the Catholic Church under Pius XII “was instrumental in saving at least 700,000, but probably as many as 860,000 from certain death at Nazi hands” – Pinchas Lapide (former Israeli diplomat)

Anyone else who had done so much would have been given the title of Righteous Among the Nations. At the very least, the opposition to his cause for Sainthood could be withdrawn.

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Uproar Over Holocaust Pope’s Road to Sainthood

But at least Benedict’s been to Yad Vashem!

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