Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Catholic in America" video - viewer beware!

I came across this video in one of the news services I subscribe to.  It's headline title catches the attention - The Church vs The Nazis.  However, that's about it. 

The organisation Catholic Tube defines itself thus:


Catholic Answers is an apostolate dedicated to serving Christ by bringing the fullness of Catholic truth to the world. We help good Catholics become better Catholics, bring former Catholics "home," and lead non-Catholics into the fullness of the faith.





As I watched I found myself growing more and more unhappy with the "stuff" being pedalled.  The two speakers and priest host (all unnamed, so no idea of qualifications etc) make so many half-baked assertions, use mismatched images and quotes and seem to be blissfully unaware of the decades of solid historical work done by historians and researchers over the years, that it is truly worth watching if only to see how history is not done.

The first speaker talks of a written order from Pius XII to the bishops (of Italy?) ordering them to open the convents - where is this text and why has it not been published?


The image that follows has a cover with a quote from Cardinal Pacelli but the photo is of the nuncio to Germany, Cesare Orsenigo meeting Hitler at a reception (no date given). As doyen of the Diplomatic Corps it was Orsenigo's duty to greet the head of state in the name of the all the diplomats. His address was vetted by Pacelli and Pius XI well in advance. Nonetheless, the image could be misleading - it is not Pacelli.

Next - the Swiss Guard story - evidence please. I have read numerous primary and secondary sources and this is news to me.


Next: Image of Pius XII over "wrote 1937 encyclical" - he co-edited it with the German cardinals - Faulhaber of Munich, Bertram of Breslau and Schulte of Cologne. The pope had the final word. Of course, Pacelli was not elected pope until 3 March 1939, so the problem with a misunderstanding over the image and quote could arise again.

Forging documents: the illustration used is the Vatican passport for Enrico Galeazzi who was sent on a personal mission by Pius XII to FDR to plead for the City of Rome. The great irony is, if the pope could send a representative during war time across German-occupied Europe to plead for Rome, could he have not done the same for the Jews of Europe who were dying in their hundreds of thousands? Galeazzi's trip is published in Actes et Documents Volume 7 - http://paulonpius.blogspot.com/2010/10/story-of-enrico-galeazzi-1943.html

Again - evidence of the forgeries please.

The use of Einstein's 1940 quote is fine, except it must be placed in context. It was made before the mass killing of Europe's Jews had started and made by a man who spoke of what he had witnessed in Germany up until his departure in 1933. Using Rabbi Zolli is something of a "red herring" because his abandonment of the Jewish community in Rome still leaves a host of unanswered questions. To suggest that he would not have become a Catholic if he had seen "moral flaws" in the Church is a nonsense. Clearly the priest commentator does not know his history either.

In summary - no evidence, no references, no context, disjointed timelines and images ... Not a very helpful video on the subject of the role of the Church during the Holocaust.






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