Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"A Few Questions ..."

There are aspects of this article from the Jewish Press I came across that might well be "tongue in cheek" and there is some substance to some of the questions. What I found most intriguing about the article is the persistence of myths and ahistorical argument that is now entering its seventh or eighth decade.  There is sufficient reliable and solid historical material available for the interested reader and researcher to make a fundamentally sound assessment of Pius XII.  My comments are in red.

Why did the Pope excommunicate every single Communist in the world, but never excommunicate a single Nazi?

By: DovBear Published: October 1st, 2013

Thanks to Twitter, I am in correspondence with an Italian historian who is trying mightily to convince me that Pius 12 was an all around good guy and lover of the Jewish people. By way of evidence he has supplied the fact that a few famous Jews, who were not historians, said some nice words about the Pope back in the 50s and a report compiled by some Yad Vashem historians that I have not read because it costs $50.

Meanwhile, I keep asking the following questions. Should he answer them (holding breath) I will report back.

 #1: Why did the Pope excommunicate every single Communist in the world, but never excommunicate a single Nazi? This question is not a new one and demands and commands serious attention.  Pius' clear condemnation of communism in post-war Europe was loud and constant.

#2 Why did he cancel and suppress his predecessors’ anti Nazi encyclical? This is not accurate.  Pius XII took sections of the 1938 text written for Pius XI by John La Farge and incorporated it into his first encyclical - Summi Pontificatus (October 1939)

#3 Why did he protest the Nazi euthanasia program but not Final Solution? (The Nazis backed down) A fair question.

#4 Why did he protest Nazi round ups of converted Jews, but not round ups of non converted Jews? There are levels of complexity here, but in essence the question does ask for clarification of a very uncomfortable reality in parts of German-occupied Europe as well as in Axis allies and in Vichy France.

#5 Why did he protest invasion of Scandinavia (full page headline on the front page of the Vatican newspaper!) but not the Final Solution? This is unknown to me.  Perhaps a reader could help here.

#6 Why didn’t he protest or quit  when Civiltà Cattolica ran a series of editorials accusing Jews of ritual murder, notably in 1915 following the Bellis case? His direct superior, the monster Cardinal Rafael Merry Del Val personally approved those editorials. Why didn’t he complain? Something of a long-bow here and indicative of a lack of understanding as to the inner-workings of the Vatican's various departments.

#7: Why did he permit the German Churches to hold a Requiem Mass upon Hitler’s death? Meanwhile, there there was no papal prayer or Mass celebrated in solidarity with the Jews. The best known requiem Mass was that ordered by the Archbishop of Breslau, Cardinal Bertram, for all parishes in the diocese.  In April 1945 Breslau was under siege by the Red Army, making the request for parish requiems all the more odd.  The "best spin" was that Bertram was asking Catholics to pray for the dead head of state.  I admit, it was probably not the most successful pastoral strategy.

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