Sunday, November 13, 2011

Keeping up to date on Pius XII news

Over the last week or so there have been more than a few news stories related to Pius XII.  Some are serious, many are apologetics masquerading as history and some are just plain irrelevant.

I've classified my email inbox collection under three headings:  Worth the read; Worth a look; Don't bother.  This is only a taste of what appears most days via google alerts.  I have not made reference to some of the material, there is simply too much.  Some posts are so offensive I would not want to give them any publicity, and that includes references to Holocaust deniers and other assorted fringe-dwellers, religious or otherwise.

Worth the read

1.  Greek Catholic Monastery Recalls Saving Jews in War  A good news story of an Eastern Rite Catholic monastery near Lviv where a significant number of Jewish boys were hidden and saved.  The Abbot of the monastery was Klement Sheptysky, (1869-1951), brother of Andrei (1865-1944) the Metropolitan (Archbishop) of Lviv. Their coworker was the priest Omelyan Kovch, (1884-1944) who was later arrested and sent to KL Majdanek were he died.  Both Klement Sheptysky and Omelyan Kovch were beatified by John Paul II in 2001.
(The link gives a redirect to the original source, the Kyiv Post.)

2.  Cardinal says Jews want Sainthood for Nazi-era Pope  This ranks as one of the most amazing "foot in mouth" articles I have seen in a long while.  Successor to the highly sensitive and diplomatic Walter Kasper, Kurt Koch appears to have not understood the debate surrounding Pius XII.  Koch's claim that many Jews are supportive of the eventual canonisation of Pius is an extraordinary claim to make.  Rabbi Eric Greenberg, director of Inter-faith relations with the ADL summed up the consensus of the gathering at Seton Hall, when he expressed his dismay that Koch seems to have learned his history from non-historical sources.

3.  New Dialogue Leader off to bad start Steve Lipman from The Jewish Week continues the Cardinal Koch story.  Eric Greenberg's comments are very apt.  The New Jersey Jewish News report on the Cardinal's comments was placed within the context of the three day Inter-Faith conference where Koch was one of the principal speakers.

4.  Challenges facing the Vatican's Jewish Point Man  Rabbi Noam Marans, one of the participants at Seton Hall gives his side of the story.  It is a well-written and thoughtful article that places Christian-Jewish relations within its bigger context.

Worth a look

1. The Fighting Nun in Rome and the Pope Pius XII Museum  Worth a look for the document quoted in its entirety.  A W Klieforth, US Consul General wrote an appraisal of the newly elected Pius XII addressed to Jay Pierrepont Moffat, Chief of the Division of European Affairs at the Department of State.  Klieforth noted Pacelli's anti-communist position as well as his strong condemnation of Nazism. 

2. It didn't take long for some groups to respond to Cardinal Koch's statements at Seton Hall.  Joseph Bottum's comments on Catholic Vote suggest that the Cardinal's words were taken out of context.

Don't bother
1.  Don't have the energy to write your own apologia on Pius XII?  Well, you can use one that has been written online!  Gregory Luther or Gelinde Cobbs, (I'm not sure which one is the author) on Essaypedia does the work for you.  True to the non-historians format, Lapide gets a front row seat in the bibliography.

2.  The claim made by Pave The Way that Pius XII went undercover to get a Jewish family out of the Rome ghetto is one thing.  The comments by readers of the California Catholic Daily are quite another.  It is part of the availability of the Internet - we can all have a voice, rational or otherwise.

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