Friday, January 21, 2011

Just a taste of what the historians are up against.

I have several "google alerts" on topics of interest to me.  They include "Pius XI", "Pius XII" and "Catholic Holocaust".  On average I get about five or six alerts every 24 hours.  Most are of minor relevance, but every now and again there will be an article, link or news report of serious news.  Among the hundreds of web sites that refer to Pius XII and what he did, or did not do, during the war are dozens of apologetic treatises written by people determined "to set the record straight".  Part of my research involves monitoring the alerts so I don't miss the important material.  Today I decided to take a look at the other kind and came across this link to "Pope Pius XII Greatest Friend of the Jews during the Holocaust" by Fr Bill McCarthy.

Bill McCarthy is a Catholic priest who belongs to the Missionaries of the Holy Apostles, a Canadian religious congregation founded in 1951.  Working the diocese of Hartford, Connecticut, he was written in the area of spirituality.  I can only hope that Fr McCarthy's religious endeavors are conducted with more rigour than this apologetic.  I also hope that the level of education offered at the Missionaries seminary is of a higher standard than this.

What follows is so inaccurate on every level that I can't even begin to correct it.  Had this been submitted by a university undergraduate I would have failed it.  I have copied it just as I found it on the web.  Point 9 is one of the most bald statements I have read.  Somehow I doubt Yad Vashem or the Chief Rabbi of Israel (there is no head Rabbi of Jerusalem) will be impressed.

Important Facts to be Remembered

1. Pope Pius XII did more than any other person to save Jewish lives during the
Holocaust, saving more that one million of them, 200,000 in Hungary, 50,000 in
Poland, 360,000 in Bulgaria, 250,000 in Rumania, 22, 000 in Slovakia and 120,000
in Italy.

2. At the risk of losing his neutrality and the risk of his own life, he ordered all
Catholic convents, seminaries, monasteries, orphanages, and hospitals to be open
to hide our Jewish brothers and sisters.

3. In Rome occupied by Nazi troops, he harbored Jews within the Vatican itself
to the extent that the Nazi’s did in fact have a plan to invade and kill the Pope and

4. While secretary to Pope Pius XI, the future Pope Pius XII wrote an encyclical
letter warning the German people of the dangers of Hitler and Nazism. This letter
written in German was smuggled into Germany by Francis Spellman the future
Cardinal of New York.

5. Between 1936 and 1943 Pope Pius XII protested against Hitler and Nazism
over 60 times. After the Dutch hierarchy officially protested the arrest and murder
of Jews, Hitler retaliated so forcefully with the deaths of added Catholics and Jews,
that along with the Red Cross the Vatican realized that any future protests would
bring down fierce measures of Nazi retaliation. From that point on all help for the
Jews was carried out by the various underground organizations that were saving
the Jews by the tens of thousands.

6. When the head Rabbi of Rome had arranged significant funds as a ransom of
Italian Jews, it was Pope Pius XII who raised most of the ransom. The head Rabbi,
in fact, became a Catholic right after the war, taking the Pope’s own name.

7. Right after the war, the B’nai Brith Society named Pope Pius XII, Man of the
Year, and he was praised by every prominent Jewish leader from Golda Meir to the
head Rabbi of the United States.

8. When Adolf Eichmann’s diaries were released by the Israeli government on
March 1, 2000. Eichmann, unwittingly, exonerated Pope Pius XII for as Eichmann
wrote, Pope Pius XII “vigorously protested the arrest of Jews, calling for the
interruption of such action, otherwise the Pope would denounce it publicly.”

Further on he stated in his diary: “At that time, my office received the copy of the
letter, that I immediately gave to my direct superiors, sent by the Catholic Church
in Rome, in the person of Bishop Hudal, to the commander of the German forces in
Rome, General Stahel. The Church was vigorously protesting the arrest of Jews of
Italian citizenship, requesting that such actions be interrupted throughout Rome
and its surroundings. To the contrary, the Pope would denounce it publicly. The
Curia was especially angry because these incidents were taking place practically
under Vatican windows. But, precisely at that time, without paying any attention
to the Church’s position, the Italian fascist government passed a law ordering the
deportation of all Italian Jews to concentration camps.”

“The objective given and the excessive delay in the steps necessary to
complete the implementation of the operation, resulted in a great part of
Italian Jews being able to hide and escape capture,” Eichmann wrote. A good
number of them hid in convents or were helped by men and women of the

9. Since Pope Pius XII did so much more for his Jewish brothers and sisters than
any other person on the face of the earth at that time the largest monument for non
Jews should be erected at Yad Va Shem to Pope Pius XII. It would also be
wonderful if the head Rabbi of Jerusalem followed the leading of Pope John Paul
II should make a public apology of behalf of the Jewish people for any Jewish
negativity toward Pope Pius XII whom history will prove to be their greatest

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