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Weissman writes: "Will the new pope listen to the more liberal scholars still pleading for patience? Or will he follow the more authoritarian hardliners who want to sanctify 'loyalty to the Holy Father' while celebrating Pius XII as 'the veritable savior of Europe's Jews?'"

Pope Pius XII. (photo: Vatican)
Pope Pius XII. (photo: Vatican)


Pius XII, the Nazis, and the KGB: How Saintly Was He?

By Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News

02 April 13

 

rom taming the Vatican bank and bureaucracy to dodging his role in Argentina's Dirty War, the new Pope Francis faces a host of thorny challenges. But the most telling could be what he does about impending efforts to beatify Pius XII, the controversial leader of the Catholic Church during and after the Second World War. Beatification would be the last step before naming Pius a saint, and the rhetoric will only grow more deafening. Was the wartime pontiff "Hitler's Pope," as the British writer John Cornwell called him? Or was he, as his defenders claim, the saint who saved the Jews.

The evidence so far supports neither of these clichéd portrayals. As the Vatican diplomat Eugenio Pacelli and then as pope, Pius pursued a complicated strategy to defend his Church against the Nazis – and against Soviet Communism, which he saw as an even more dangerous threat to "Christian Europe." To seriously probe his strategy and its impact, historians still need greater access to Vatican archives and time to put what they find into the larger context. What did Pius do and not do to affect the outcome of the war and Hitler's attempt to eradicate European Jewry? Did Pius do as much as he could have, not just to save Jews, but also to protect German and Eastern European Catholics? In what measure did his public silence stem from necessity, or choice, or a skewed perspective? And, not to be forgotten, what was his role in promoting the Cold War and helping Nazi war criminals flee to Latin America?

From its beginning in 1965, the Vatican's effort to canonize Pius have encouraged strident and sweeping polemics filled with faith, ideology, and tantalizing scraps of fact and fiction. But existing narratives, no matter how sincerely and convincingly argued, remain woefully incomplete, as a group of Catholic historians and theologians protested in what was supposed to be a secret letter to Pope Benedict in February 2010.

"The movement to press forward at this time the process of beatification of Pius XII greatly troubles us," they wrote. "Currently, existing research leads us to the view that Pope Pius XII did not issue a clearly worded statement, unconditionally condemning the wholesale slaughter and murder of European Jews. At the same time, some evidence also compels us to see that Pius XII's diplomatic background encouraged him as head of a neutral state, the Vatican, to assist Jews by means that were not made public during the war. It is essential that further research be conducted to resolve both these questions."

Led by the Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski of the Catholic Theological Union, the scholars feared that beatifying Pius before they and others could do the necessary digging might seriously harm Jewish-Catholic relations. "Throughout the course of the war, Pius named almost every victim group except one – Jews," wrote one of the signers of the letter, Paul O'Shea, in his trailblazing "A Cross Too Heavy: Pius XII and the Jews of Europe." O'Shea sees the reason in Pacelli's earlier history in the Church. "Centuries of Christian Judeophobia and anti-Semitism found their culmination, not in papal protest, but in sad papal neglect."

For Catholics themselves, the pro-Pius polemics also reflect "a battle over authority and how it is exercised in contemporary Catholicism," writes O'Shea. "If it is admitted that the pope failed to speak and act clearly when he had undeniable proof of the murder of European Jews, would this seriously damage papal authority today?" It certainly could. But where liberal Catholics see this as a reason to rethink the whole question of papal authority, conservative traditionalists take it as a goad to deny the possible problems and fast-track Pius into sainthood. That's just how authoritarian minds work.

Will the new pope listen to the more liberal scholars still pleading for patience? Or will he follow the more authoritarian hardliners who want to sanctify "loyalty to the Holy Father" while celebrating Pius XII as "the veritable savior of Europe's Jews?" Without a lot more solid evidence, this premature approbation would be a hard sell to most Jews, and could come back to haunt the Church and further disillusion the faithful. But Pope Francis may well run the risk. Though he enjoys warm relations with Argentina's large and influential Jewish community, he has almost always sided with the traditionalists in promoting greater discipline within the Church. Indeed, keeping his Jesuit troops in line was one of the big issues for him when he turned against the liberation theologians during Argentina's Dirty War.

While waiting to see how Pope Francis handles his predecessor's beatification, the rest of us can help reduce the rhetorical heat by better understanding three of the sillier claims that the pro-Pius polemicists never stop repeating. Without question, courageous Catholic priests, nuns, prelates, and lay believers all over Europe saved huge numbers of Jewish lives during the Holocaust. Many Jews, including Albert Einstein, understood that early on and emotionally expressed their gratitude to Pius as the world's leading Catholic. But not even an Einstein could have discerned how much Pius even knew of the rescue efforts, especially those outside of Italy. Closely related, the polemicists keep insisting that Pius saved 860,000 Jews. The number comes from a well-meaning Israeli named Pinchas Lapide, who never substantiated his claim. Neither has any serious historian. And, turning the argument on its head, the polemicists pose the rehabilitation of Pius almost as payback to the Soviet KGB for what his most vocal Jewish defender, Gary Krupp, calls "the greatest character assassination of the 20th Century." On his very anti-polemical blog, historian Paul O'Shea, looks closely at this and other of Krupp's assertions.

Having spent a good part of my journalistic career chasing down covert operations of the CIA and KGB, I love this story and should probably devote an entire column to it. But, in short, a defector from the highest ranks of Romanian and Soviet bloc intelligence, Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, claims that the KGB set out to "frame" the staunchly anti-Communist Pius as a pro-Nazi anti-Semite. They called their campaign "Operation Seat 12," says Pacepa, and it included Rolf Hockhuth's play "The Deputy," which he first presented in 1963 and which is widely credited with stirring up much of the polemic against Pius. I have no problem believing that the KGB would – and could – have done all this, but did they? Pacepa offers no corroborating evidence. Neither does any credible historian, not even with all the recent access to Soviet intelligence files. And I find it passing strange that Pacepa defected in 1978, worked closely with American intelligence, and waited until 2007 to make his explosive "revelation," which some observers call "the Black Legend." Pro-Pius publications then ran with the story, while the journal of former spies and Cold Warriors, "Whistleblower," devoted its entire September 2012 issue to Pacepa and what sophisticates used to call in counterfeit Russian, "Disinformatzya." This June, he will release a new book called "Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategy for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism." He co-wrote the book with Ronald J. Rychlack, one of the most industrious polemicists pushing the cause of Pius XII. How very convenient – and so 1950s.

Will this concerted campaign speed up his beatification? We'll see. But whatever Pope Francis decides, the true picture of Pius XII will emerge soon enough in the evidence that historians dig up and digest.



A veteran of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the New Left monthly Ramparts, Steve Weissman lived for many years in London, working as a magazine writer and television producer. He now lives and works in France, where he is researching a new book, “Big Money: How Global Banks, Corporations, and Speculators Rule and How To Break Their Hold.”

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

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-31 # Activista 2013-04-02 14:48
Seems that the author (Weissman) is other extreme of Judeophobia and anti-Semitism - i.e Catholicphobia and Zionism.
Compare to the positive message of Pope Francis to help poor AND "appealed for peace in the Middle East, saying that the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians had "lasted all too long" and called for an end to violence in Iraq and "dear Syria", the birthplace of Gregory III, the last pope from a non-European country. Francis also urged peace in Africa, specifically citing Mali, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Nigeria. He also made a special call for an end to the standoff on the Korean peninsula".
The exploitation (Money Culture)of USA and "friends" and militaristic hegemony is the 90% of today World.
To write if Pope Francis did enough in US supported/made TOTALITARIAN regime in Argentina is anti Vatican propaganda.
I escaped totalitarian - communist - system and it is sad to read the same here - " Secret Strategy for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism."
 
 
+13 # Activista 2013-04-03 03:06
Still waiting for the criticism of dear war criminal Henry Kissinger - architect of Argentine junta -
Kissinger backed dirty war against left in Argentina | World news ...
www.guardian.co.uk › World newsAug 28, 2004 – Transcripts show former secretary of state urged violent crackdown on opposition.
Kissinger approved Argentinian 'dirty war' | World news | The Guardian
www.guardian.co.uk › World newsDec 6, 2003 – Declassified US files expose 1970s backing for junta.
The Dirty War in Argentina
www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB104/Dec 4, 2003 – U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger meets with Argentine foreign minister, Admiral Cesar ... KISSINGER TO ARGENTINES ON DIRTY WAR: ...
KISSINGER TO THE ARGENTINE GENERALS IN 1976: "IF THERE ...
www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB133/Aug 27, 2004 – U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger meets with Argentine ... Kissinger to Argentines on Dirty War: "The quicker you succeed the better" ...
 
 
+16 # stannadel 2013-04-03 06:32
There is nothing anti-Catholic about Weissman's article. Given her usual take on things I'm just surprised Activista didn't condemn Weissman for furthering an international Zionist conspiracy.
 
 
-9 # Activista 2013-04-03 14:14
Pius XII, the Nazis, and the KGB: How Saintly Was He? ... Given her usual?
Steve Weissman lived for many years in London, working as a magazine writer and television producer. HE now lives and works in France, where he writes on international affairs....
nothing anti-Catholic? very phobic ???
 
 
+15 # bmiluski 2013-04-03 12:07
[quote name="Activista "]Seems that the author (Weissman) is other extreme of Judeophobia and anti-Semitism - i.e Catholicphobia and Zionism.
My mother, while in a German labor camp, was shown news-reels of Pius XII blessing the Nazi troops as they were preparing to invade Poland. And NO, my mother was NOT jewish.
 
 
-9 # Activista 2013-04-03 14:07
"My mother, while in a German labor camp.." looks like another US-Israeli propaganda ... I searched and found that Pius XII blessed AMERICAN troops when they liberated Rome ...
Military Newsreels 1944 Issue 51 - Buyout Footage
www.buyoutfootage.com/pages/titles/pd_mnr_146.htmlShareMilitary Newsreels 1944 Issue 51 ; World War II Combat At The Frontlines As ... Footage taken by the underground shows German (Nazi) troops as they ... Pope Pius XII bless U.S. troops in the Vatican as he meets the men that liberated Rome.
 
 
0 # ericlipps 2014-02-23 20:03
Quoting Activista:
"My mother, while in a German labor camp.." looks like another US-Israeli propaganda ... I searched and found that Pius XII blessed AMERICAN troops when they liberated Rome ...
Military Newsreels 1944 Issue 51 - Buyout Footage
www.buyoutfootage.com/pages/titles/pd_mnr_146.htmlShareMilitary Newsreels 1944 Issue 51 ; World War II Combat At The Frontlines As ... Footage taken by the underground shows German (Nazi) troops as they ... Pope Pius XII bless U.S. troops in the Vatican as he meets the men that liberated Rome.

Who's to say both can't be true? In other words, that when the Nazis were riding high Pius gave them his blessing, but when the tide turned he did as well?

None of which would have any direct bearing on the *present* pope.
 
 
-22 # grandone@charter.net 2013-04-02 22:11
What the fuck do you know about the Catholic Church? Writers dredge up this shit like perennial weeds. Give it a rest and let the new guy have a honeymoon. So far he has broken with tradition and put the people first over ceremony. Why would you try to abort this man so early into his papacy if you were not malevolent?
 
 
+19 # bmiluski 2013-04-03 12:18
Because the Catholic Church is a misogynistic, piece of hypocrisy that uses religion as a cover for its greed. And I should know. I was baptized Roman Catholic and spent 14 years in a Catholic school.
 
 
+16 # Dumbledorf 2013-04-02 22:12
See Hitler's Pope.... http://www.madchat.fr/esprit/textes/conspiration/Cornwell.-.HITLER%27S.POPE.-.The.Secret.History.of.Pius.XII.pdf

From his own writings, he was an avowed racist and hater of Jews whose underlying racism allowed millions to perish without a single protest from his high office and he apparently held the deepest respect and admiration for Adolf Hitler and Mussolini.
 
 
-9 # Activista 2013-04-03 03:01
The anti-catholic propaganda (pope mind in 1930 - is safe. Try PRESENT USA war crimes ... would like to hear from the same "expert" something about apartheid Israel as it is today - NOW, genocide of people in Gaza.
Seems that the main issue is anti-war, anti Money culture of the new pope. Help masses of poor.
Anybody (and it is safe) can use 1930 Germany - dare to analyze PRESENT war crimes/terroris m (Obama, Netanyaho) war crimes.
 
 
+10 # bmiluski 2013-04-03 12:20
Sorry but that doesn't exonerate the deaths of millions of women during the Spanish Inquisition.
 
 
-7 # Activista 2013-04-03 14:25
Quoting bmiluski:
Sorry but that doesn't exonerate the deaths of millions of women during the Spanish Inquisition.

so Pius XII, the Nazis, and the KGB, and now "seaths of millions of women during the Spanish Inquisition??: How Saintly Was He?
Any perspective on history - were any women left in Europe ... how many millions? I thought that Biblical fanatics were crazy .. but ...
 
 
+11 # FDRva 2013-04-03 03:55
You misstate the historical record.

I am not a Catholic but I am a student of the intelligence community.

Many lives were saved by Vatican agencies operating under the direction of Monsignor Montini--the future Pope Paul VI.

Politically correct pronouncements of the sort you appear to demand with 20-20 hindsight would have resulted in far more deaths.
 
 
+6 # FDRva 2013-04-03 04:14
Don't believe everything you read--especiall y about intelligence operations in wartime.

The Church was integral to the anti-Nazi resistance in Europe and anti-fascist resistance in the Americas.

Should they have issued a press release to that effect--for the benefit of modern-day 'political correctness?'

Hitler wished they had.
 
 
+2 # bmiluski 2013-04-03 12:22
[

The Church was integral to the anti-Nazi resistance in Europe and anti-fascist resistance in the Americas.

They should have stood up to them and declawred against them. That is what true Christians do. Ask the martyred.
 
 
0 # FDRva 2013-05-02 00:01
If Church agencies--in time of world war--had taken your politically correct 21st century advice--many thousands more would surely have been martyred in the 1940s--which you apparently--don 't care much about.

Unlike you, the parish priests & Vatican Intelligence officials of the 1940s could not fall back on the 20-20 hindsight of today's historians.
 
 
-12 # frankscott 2013-04-02 22:43
there is entirely too much interest among non-catholics about the matter of pius and his alleged pro-nazi anti-jewish stance during the second world war...why is there such concern for matters that are totally unimportant to millions of catholics, former catholics and probably billions of other human beings with much bigger problems than who did or did not offer enough opposition to a german government that was widely supported in the united states until it became a problem for its future empire building? get off it already...
 
 
+16 # humanmancalvin 2013-04-03 02:41
"why is there such concern for matters that are totally unimportant to millions of catholics (sic)?"
Perhaps a silly little notion labeled Justice, I know, trite & old Fashioned.
 
 
+16 # stannadel 2013-04-03 06:29
"why is there such concern for matters that are totally unimportant to millions of catholics,..." Because if the RC Church cannonizes a Pope who turned a blind eye to the persecution of the Jews out of Antisemitism it has significant implications for relations between the Church and Jews. The Church was a major sponsor of Jew hatred for centuries before it reversed course in the 1960s and a cannonization of Pius XII before the historical record is opened and clarified would suggest a repeatable backsliding. Scott may not care but those of us on the receiving end of Antisemitism do and find his "get off it already" attitude offensive.
 
 
0 # Cassandra2012 2013-04-08 11:09
Yes, and preaching (especially at Easter time) against the Jews as the 'murderers' of Christ from the pulpit apparently inspired many pogroms (especially in Poland where my grandmother was born.) She often described the pure malevolence of the local peasants towards the Jews, once herself being the object -- along with several of her small cousins (they ranged in age from 4 to 9 or so) -- of an attempted hit and run by a peasant in a cart with horses trying to run them down.
The fact is that part of this campaign to malign, forcibly convert and harass Jews was really based on the ROMAN Catholic attempt to downplay the ROMAN culpability in Christ's probable murder.
 
 
+9 # bmiluski 2013-04-03 12:23
NO!!! We will not get off it. The Roman Catholic Church is a very powerful and rich organization that can affect the outcome of many elections which DOES in fact impact catholics and non-catholics.
 
 
+3 # Activista 2013-04-03 14:28
The USA under CATHOLIC president Kennedy was not in such bad shape ... compare to the NEOCON totality and bankruptcy/mili tarism last two decades ...
 
 
+4 # X Dane 2013-04-05 20:33
Activista.

Kennedy was not the CATHOLIC president.
He was the AMERICAN president, who happened to be catholic.

His religion had nothing to do with the conditions in the country
 
 
+1 # X Dane 2013-04-05 20:35
I have not commented at all today.
My comment to Activista is the first
 
 
+1 # flippancy 2013-04-06 04:07
Quoting Activista:
The USA under CATHOLIC president Kennedy was not in such bad shape ... compare to the NEOCON totality and bankruptcy/militarism last two decades ...

Quoting Activista:
The USA under CATHOLIC president Kennedy was not in such bad shape ... compare to the NEOCON totality and bankruptcy/militarism last two decades ...


So? Kennedy always put the country ahead of his religion.
 
 
0 # FDRva 2013-05-08 23:25
Goldman Sachs--the principle corporate sponsor of the candidacy of Pres. Obama--is a much more rich, powerful and corrupt organization--t han the Vatican--in today's world.

After all, if the Vatican had its way, John Kerry would have been a two-term president by now.
 
 
+7 # davehart 2013-04-03 14:51
Quoting frankscott:
there is entirely too much interest among non-catholics about the matter of pius and his alleged pro-nazi anti-jewish stance during the second world war...


Sentiments like yours totally dishonor the sacrifices made by all those who fought the Nazi terror inside and outside of Germany. People who risked and lost their lives. What did Pope Pius XII lose in his riding the fence (the best possible interpretation of his role) during that time? Justice is all we have to honor those immense sacrifices.
 
 
+3 # Nominae 2013-04-03 20:56
Quoting frankscott:
there is entirely too much interest among non-catholics about the matter of pius and his alleged pro-nazi anti-jewish stance ...get off it already...


Part I

Yeah ..... get off it already. Code of Omerta.

We want to hear MUCH MORE from Catholics regarding their decision to follow CHILD RAPISTS as "Spiritual Guides". As
"God's Representatives ON Earth".

Or is that ALSO something everyone needs to "get off of already........ " ?

I went to catholic grade school, and served mass as an altar boy back when the the mass was still conducted in Latin. And the answer to the unspoken question is "no". The Priesthood was not recruiting, accepting, and protecting known pedophiles back then.

Since the Church does not run the U.S. quite the way it ran Europe for all those centuries (such as when the Medici family BOUGHT the Papacy for not ONE, but TWO of their sons)

The commission of FELONY CRIMES in the U.S. is not something that the Church can simply sweep under rich rugs, and then just re-shuffle, and re-focus the pedophiles on yet some OTHER unsuspecting congregation, and expect to "hush it up" forever,
as you recommend: "get off it already...." I'll bet a lot of children wished *they* could have issued that order to Priests whom the children were raised to see as "God's spokesperson on Earth":
"get off it already" .......

Cont'd
 
 
-5 # The Voice of Reason 2013-04-04 14:11
The Muslim leadership legalized pedophilia against girls 9 years and older. That's how they get around it.
 
 
0 # flippancy 2013-04-06 04:10
Condemning lay Catholics for the sins of the men who were forced into an unnatural way of life (celibacy and the Priesthood) is just stupid.
 
 
+7 # Nominae 2013-04-03 20:59
@frankscott

Part II

The freakin' Mafia learned it's tactics at the feet of Medieval Popes.

And the Catholic Church was killing and persecuting Jews LONG BEFORE the Nazis were ever born. Just ask your "Office Of The Inquisition", a.k.a. Office of land, property, and life grab from Jews, Pogrom after pogrom. Chasing, burning, and killing Jews all over Europe. Thomas Torquemada comes to mind. Look him up. Yet another Catholic priest to be idolized.

It is no problem seeing why there is NO period of history since the founding of the Church 2K years ago, in which Catholics do NOT want everyone else in the world to "just get off it already.....", because there isn't a *DECADE* that can be successfully defended from it's crime and corruption.

Yeah..... shut up indeed. It worked for 2K years, but now it may be time to pay the piper.
 
 
-3 # FDRva 2013-04-03 03:42
Anybody who knows anything about wartime intell ops is on the Church's side on this matter.

The Vatican saved far more lives with diplomatic circumspection- -and aggressive rescue ops--than they ever could have saved with the self-righteous pronouncements demanded by modern-day 'political correctness.'
 
 
+14 # Oscar 2013-04-03 11:54
Quoting FDRva:
[...] The Vatican saved far more lives with diplomatic circumspection--and aggressive rescue ops--than they ever could have saved with the self-righteous pronouncements demanded by modern-day 'political correctness.'

Perhaps I can offer a similar situation that, as it happen, also involves the home country of Pope Francis. In Argentina the Church had a policy similar to that of Pus XII: during the military dictatorship the church was silent and, allegedly, help quietly some of the persecuted. The result is that there were more that 30,000 killed, plus other countless human rights abuses.
Contrast the above with the situation in Chile at about the same time: the Cardinal declared that the church was going to be the voice of those that could not speak, openly created the Vicariate of Solidarity; an organization that defended Chilean of the human right abuses of the military government; this help included advocacy, material help, legal representation, etc without looking at the religion (or lack of it) of the persons involved. In Chile there were less than one tenth of the assassinations committed by the Argentinian military. Also, the fact that an organization as important as the Catholic church openly speak for you has an undeniable effect in alleviating your hurt. It is important to notice that there is a marked difference in the relations between the democratic government after the dictatorship and the church, in Chile and Argentina.
 
 
-3 # Activista 2013-04-03 14:37
It is hard to compare Argentina - 40 million and Chile over 10 million population.
Kissinger approved Argentinian 'dirty war' | World news | The Guardian
www.guardian.co.uk › World newsDec 6, 2003 – Declassified US files expose 1970s backing for junta.
The Dirty War in Argentina
www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB104/Dec 4, 2003 – U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger meets with Argentine foreign minister, Admiral Cesar ... KISSINGER TO ARGENTINES ON DIRTY WAR: ...
KISSINGER TO THE ARGENTINE GENERALS IN 1976: "IF THERE ...
www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB133/Aug 27, 2004 – U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger meets with Argentine ... Kissinger to Argentines on Dirty War: "The quicker you succeed the better" .
... Kissinger accused. Journalist Christopher Hitchens reminds us once again of the horrors that Henry wrought in Chile, Cambodia, Vietnam
spend energy where justice matters .. Nancy Kissinger, Henry Kissinger. National Defense University ...
washingtonlife.smugmug.com › 2013 photosMar 13, 2013 – Nancy Kissinger, Henry Kissinger. National Defense University Foundation Awards. Photo by Alfredo Flores. Ritz-Carlton Hotel. March 13 ...
 
 
+2 # flippancy 2013-04-06 04:12
Kissinger may be scum, but he's not germane to this thread.
 
 
0 # FDRva 2013-07-08 15:05
Agreed, but Pres. Obama's actions on this matter--are scummy--and Kissinger-like.

And given the recent record--open to question.
 
 
0 # FDRva 2013-07-08 14:48
My apologies, but the poster's limited English and my limited Spanish complicate my response.

But I think we basically agree.

Unless the poster is defending Pinochet--and his British and American financial & intell community friends.
 
 
+8 # Mrcead 2013-04-03 03:47
Character assassination was huge at the time - as was actual assassination but speculation is just speculation. If the author believes Pius should not be made a Saint, that is his opinion. The Catholic Church will do what they have always done, their own thing in their own way. WWII seems to be the darkest era of modern times with all of these stories of shocking horrors and atrocities - plus the fact America created the middle class with the proceeds from that war which doesn't sit well with me (just my opinion, it seems America can only make strides when millions are disenfranchised and or die, it's water under the bridge now).

One can somewhat extrapolate the mindest of people of the times and surmise that it took great courage and conviction to make any stance public that was contrary to the public consciousness. There isn't much data on life in Italy and Rome during WWII - in English anyway. In a war torn hotbed, one would guess one would have to do whatever one could to help those without endangering others - a very, VERY difficult job to do without any sort of scrutiny. I could not judge a person who had to make such a decision. I am not even qualified to render an opinion on the matter. It is far bigger than I am. I doubt anyone living today is qualified either.
 
 
-7 # FDRva 2013-04-03 04:29
How very ironic and revisionist.

Without the intelligence reach of the Church--the allies might well have lost WWII.

As an historian, I find Pope Pius' diplomatic lies of the 1940s easier to forgive than Pres.Obama's modern day economic lies.
 
 
+4 # bmiluski 2013-04-03 12:25
That's because you have horse blinkers on.
 
 
+13 # dkonstruction 2013-04-03 14:03
Quoting FDRva:
How very ironic and revisionist.

Without the intelligence reach of the Church--the allies might well have lost WWII.

As an historian, I find Pope Pius' diplomatic lies of the 1940s easier to forgive than Pres.Obama's modern day economic lies.


Sorry, but it hadn't been for 20 million Russians who died fighting the Nazi's the allies would have lost the war and somehow I doubt the Catholic Church shared their "intelligence" with the Soviets (and to be clear I am not in any way defending Stalin or his actions...it was the heroism of the Russian people).

Not to mention, that if FDR and the rest of the allies had stood up to instead of cozying up to the fascists in Spain there might never have been a WWII.
 
 
0 # FDRva 2013-05-01 22:50
I agree--the Russian people and the American people opposed fascism while the British Establishment-- and their US junior partners on Wall Street--FDR's enemies--prefer red Hitlerism.

Monsignor Montini--later Pope Paul VI--was the Vatican diplomat--who made that civilization-sa ving relationship work.
 
 
0 # ericlipps 2014-02-23 20:08
Quoting FDRva:
How very ironic and revisionist.

Without the intelligence reach of the Church--the allies might well have lost WWII.

As an historian, I find Pope Pius' diplomatic lies of the 1940s easier to forgive than Pres.Obama's modern day economic lies.

And how, then, would you explain the Church's eagerness to help Nazi war criminals escape Europe after the war?

I suspect Pius could have accepted either side winning, as long as Catholics weren't persecuted.
 
 
-1 # John Mortl 2013-04-03 05:28
Steve Weissman carries on the cynical vendetta against Pope Pius XII for his refusal to sign on to the exaggerated allegations against the defeated Germans. Pope Pius XII was quite aware of the situation during the war and had criticized the persecution and ethnic cleansing of the Jews and knew that the professed claims by the Allies went far beyond the reality of the situation.Had the victors not been so extreme in their allegations he probably would have agreed.
 
 
+5 # dkonstruction 2013-04-03 14:05
Quoting John Mortl:
Steve Weissman carries on the cynical vendetta against Pope Pius XII for his refusal to sign on to the exaggerated allegations against the defeated Germans. Pope Pius XII was quite aware of the situation during the war and had criticized the persecution and ethnic cleansing of the Jews and knew that the professed claims by the Allies went far beyond the reality of the situation.Had the victors not been so extreme in their allegations he probably would have agreed.


And, exactly what "exaggerated allegations" against the Nazi's are you referring to?
 
 
-6 # Activista 2013-04-03 14:40
buyoutfootage.c om/pages/titles /pd_mnr_146.htm lMilitary Newsreels 1944 Issue 51 ; World War II Combat At The Frontlines As ... Footage taken by the underground shows German (Nazi) troops as they ... Pope Pius XII bless U.S. troops in the Vatican as he meets the men that liberated Rome.
 
 
+10 # Hacienda View 2013-04-03 06:06
Being an EX Catholic I wouldn't go anything like as far as the article goes. There will never be a 'Good' Pope, nor a 'Good' religious leader for any of the major churches (Quakers Amish and other peace loving religions exempt) The Catholic church has far too much to answer for, as do ALL the other "true" religions. No matter what the title of the religion there is ONE sin common to all "THOU SHALT NOT KILL"
 
 
+4 # tuandon 2013-04-03 06:33
I am not a big "fan" of Pius XII, but I think a lot of this stuff is fomented by people outside the Roman Catholic Church, who are anti-Catholic and use it as an excuse to be so. Many questions about WWII might never be answered definitively, and this appears to be one of them. I am not sure Pius XII should be canonised or not. But there are far more immediate problems facing the world and the Church than the action or inaction of a Pope some 70 years ago. Let Pope Francis set the tone for today's Church. For those of you who are totally anti-Catholic, I suppose NOTHING will satisfy you...So...Noth ing is probably what you will get. Sorry. On with life.
 
 
+4 # bmiluski 2013-04-03 12:29
Wrong, I was raised a Roman Catholic and even while I was growing up, both my parents spat at the mention of Pius XII name because of his blessing of the German invasion troops before they marched into Poland. Not to mention his total passive response to the other atrocities that Hitler committed.
 
 
-2 # Activista 2013-04-03 14:46
World War II Combat At The Frontlines As ... Footage taken by the underground shows German (Nazi) troops as they ... Pope Pius XII bless U.S. troops in the Vatican as he meets the men that liberated Rome....
Please document Pius XII blessing German/Nazi invasion of Poland?
.. Catholic priests in the Dachau concentration camp. Dachau became the camp where 2,720 clergymen were sent, including 2,579 Catholic Priests. The priests at ...
...www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum...In 1939, 80 percent of the Catholic clergy and five of the bishops of the Warthegau region had been deported to concentration camps. In Wroclaw, 49.2 percent ...
Catholic Heroes of the Holocaust
www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/heroes.htmFeb 10, 1998 – 9 She was sent to Ravensbrueck concentration camp, where she survived until the ..... Forty-nine Catholic priests were killed for assisting Jews...
 
 
+8 # davehart 2013-04-03 15:04
Quoting tuandon:
I am not sure Pius XII should be canonised or not. But there are far more immediate problems facing the world and the Church than the action or inaction of a Pope some 70 years ago.


Fair enough as far as it goes, but then why go the extra mile to support canonization? Compared to the sacrifices of those during the war, Germans who openly defied the Nazis and were executed for it, maybe Pius XII's sacrifice is he doesn't get canonized. The proper stance is just "drop it". And the reason non-Catholics have a right to weigh in is that the Vatican has observer status in the United Nations and has diplomatic relations with many countries including the U.S. That puts the church in a unique political situation and puts unique political responsibilitie s on the Church. Sever all "official" ties and be like every other religion and I don't care what they do with Pius XII.
 
 
+8 # Guy 2013-04-03 06:43
The holocaust was not especially about Jewish people being exterminated although many were.I do not claim to know whether he helped save people or not during the WWII but to canonize a person,don't they have to have done some miracle or some such event?Helping to save people from death by a ruthless dictator if indeed were his actions, does not qualify for sainthood.It is just
the human thing to do.
 
 
+2 # charsjcca 2013-04-03 07:11
This generation of world thinker have to make their won decision. The social context of pre-WWII and Post-WWII will not be reconstructed. We contemporaries can rip the pages from any book of history, rightly point out the flawed nature of the journey of leaders of that time.

What I am interested in is the present journey and our willingness to embrace the difficulties that previous leaders faced. Who, rightfully, should be credited with the end of the Cold war is a dicey exercise. Probably some low ranking contemporary, like the story of the little Dutch boy and his finger in the dike, might have saved Western Europe and the United States from catastrophe. I was in Western Germany in the United States Army from 11/55-4/58. Who know who made the right call.

For me, Pope Francis 1 has a larger calling, to be all that Saint Francis of Assisi sought in his Prayer, to give service to all of humanity. As a non-Catholic, I say leave the other to historians to settle three generations from now.
 
 
+8 # MJnevetS 2013-04-03 07:25
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" However, those from whom the past is hidden, should question 'Why?'! The Holy See, as is their ordinary course of conduct, has withheld the documents and correspondence of Eugenio Pacelli which would support or discredit his detractors. It would be interesting to be able to read his correspondence with Mussolini and Hitler, or their representatives leading the the accords reached with Fascist Italy and Germany. Any person on this site arguing a position one way or another is like so much wind, as their position is not rooted in fact, but instead supposition. It would be nice if the Vatican released the FACTS.
 
 
+6 # Nominae 2013-04-03 21:25
Quoting MJnevetS:
.....The Holy See, as is their ordinary course of conduct, has withheld the documents and correspondence of Eugenio Pacelli which would support or discredit his detractors....... Any person on this site arguing a position one way or another is like so much wind, as their position is not rooted in fact, but instead supposition. It would be nice if the Vatican released the FACTS.


Are you kidding ? The Vatican will not even open their archives regarding the Spanish Inquisition, which took place LONG before WWII. SECRECY, especially secrecy regarding it's OWN History, has *always* been one of the Church's MAJOR weapons.

And, to fast forward a bit, neither will the Church release documents pertinent to all of the modern pedophile Priest investigations. Even the Catholic Church cannot afford to PAY FOR their complicity and LIABILITY in THAT little shenanigan !

And, for a writer to point out the fact that Nazis did "XYZ" is not ANTI-Nazi, it's simply following the evidence to wherever it leads.

LIKEWISE, pointing out the FACTS that the Catholic Church did "ABC" is not "ANTI-Catholic" , it is also nothing more than following the evidence to wherever it leads.

So, apologists, give up the lame effort to hide behind charges of "Anti-Catholici sm". Being Anti-pedophile Priests is really NOT the same as "Anti-Catholic" yet .. Or IS it ? You tell us !

Lay Catholics have been uncomfortably mum on the subject of Pedophile Priests.
 
 
+6 # fredboy 2013-04-03 08:13
The Vatican would be wise to leave this can of worms unopened until all alive at the time have passed and church defensive tendencies are surpassed by objective research. Then the real, complete story can be unearthed and studied before any decision is made. Beatification at this stage could and would likely backfire and harm the church in the future.
 
 
-1 # Johnny 2013-04-03 19:00
In Germany, France, and other European countries, you will serve time in prison if you conduct objective research.
 
 
+2 # Manacha 2013-04-03 09:38
Part of the problem is the identification of the totality of the Catholic Church with the Pope who heads it. The church is very big, it has a huge clergy which in most cases will have members on both sides of any political/socia l issue. In the relationship between Church and fascism, well, in Spain, in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 most of the Church (clergy)activel y supported Franco. Yet, in some regions of Spain, especially in the Basque country, most clergy was against Franco and fascism. The same could be said during the Argentine dirty war. Who saved whom in any case? those in the majority or those in the minority? Nothing can be proved that way. What it's important is the official stance and this simple question: could a persecuted person (Jew or other) find sanctuary in most churches or not? Was he likely to be helped or turned in to their enemy? I think we have to deal with averages.
 
 
-1 # Johnny 2013-04-03 18:59
The Nazis cannot be defended. They, however, did not firebomb Tokyo or Dresden or Koln. They did not drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Nobody has any reason to be proud of what their rulers did during WW2, except the Russians.
 
 
-3 # Activista 2013-04-03 22:34
Nobody has any reason to be proud of what their rulers did during WW2, except the Russians???
You mean STALIN? Poland -
US 'covered up' Soviet massacre - BBC
www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19552745Sep 11, 2012 – More than 22,000 Poles were killed by the Soviets on Stalin's orders. ... the massacre was suppressed at the highest levels in Washington....
 
 
+5 # dkonstruction 2013-04-04 08:35
The Russian people and their heroic fighting of the Nazis and for which 20 million of them died is not Stalin. So, I too would credit the Russian people (and not Stalin) with winning the war and defeating the Nazis.

And, to say that the pope blessed American troops after they liberated Rome reminds me of one of Claude Rains lines in Casablanca when he responds to Major Strasser's question as to whether he is "entirely sure which side you are on" by saying that "I have no conviction if that's what you mean. I blow with the wind, and the prevailing wind happens to be from Vichy." so, that the fact that the Pope blessed American troops after Rome was liberated proves nothing.

Now, I am not saying that the Pope did or did not do enough against the fascist; to be honest it is not an issue I have studied closely enough to make a judgement one way or the other. But, it is certainly an issue worthy of study so that a judgement can be made as to whether this Pope should or should be be whatever it's called...honest ly, since I don't believe I'm not Catholic and don't believe in Saints or any of that stuff it doesn't make a lot of difference to me...but fascists and fascists sypmathizers should never be celebrated.
 
 
-6 # Activista 2013-04-04 13:12
Please document Pius XII blessing German/Nazi invasion of Poland ... waiting, waiting ....
Hope that EXPERT on Pius XII will help ...
 
 
+2 # flippancy 2013-04-06 04:20
Quoting Johnny:
The Nazis cannot be defended. They, however, did not firebomb Tokyo or Dresden or Koln. They did not drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Nobody has any reason to be proud of what their rulers did during WW2, except the Russians.


Only because they didn't have the ability to do so Think V-1 and V-2 attacks on London. For that matter, think any concentration camp. My high scchool coach had pictures he took when he helped liberate Treblinka and they weren't the ones released for the public to see. They were much worse.
 
 
-4 # Gungadin 2013-04-03 19:42
If Pius XII was so weak when it came to the Nazis, why did the Jewish Rabbi of Rome, who saw the good that Pius did, become a Catholic../
Why did Golda Mier, proclaim Pius XII a righteous person....?
Why did the New York Times, (no lover of Catholics) write columns about Pius XII's support of Jews in WWII?
All this carping about Pius XII has more to do with anti-Catholicis m than it does with truth!
 
 
+4 # Nominae 2013-04-03 22:23
Quoting Gungadin:
.....All this carping about Pius XII has more to do with anti-Catholicism than it does with truth!


Damned straight ! And all of those rude aspersions, innuendo and accusations cast against nice citizens like Al Capone, Frank Nitti, Lucky Luciano, etc. *obviously* had more to do with *ANTI-ITALIAN* sentiment than it did with the TRUTH !

Yessiree ! Mean people were just PICKIN' ON those nice fellas.

The unvarnished history and the present pedophilia-phil ius of the Catholic Church is it's OWN indictment before the world.

No "anti-*anything *" required to help it along !
 
 
+5 # peterjkraus 2013-04-04 07:57
Dr. Saul Friedländer, Professor for Modern History in Geneva, who credits the Catholic Church with saving his life during WWII, wrote "Pius XII. und das Dritte Reich" after extensive studies. Dr. Friedländer found what many older Germans know to be true: Pius XII was extremely Nazi-friendly until 1944, when even he had to concede Germany was losing the war. As Nuncio Pacelli, the man who was to become pope lived and worked in Germany from the 1920´s on, spoke German and dealt with Hitler personally when finalizing a concordate to tax German Catholics in the name of and for use of the Catholic Church -- a tax still in place today, by the way. Pius tried and failed to broker peace between England and Germany, as he feared Bolshevism and felt that only a strong German Reich would keep the commies at bay.

So Pius XII as savior of Jews (or anyone else) would be a joke, were it not so horribly tragic.
 
 
+1 # Mrcead 2013-04-07 05:43
Put down the piñata batons and think for a moment. Not picking sides here, not condoning actions here, not trying to spin things here. WWII was the darkest point in human history with respect to the choices available at the time. Every nation involved chose the low road, I'm sorry but this is the truth. With that said, what is the Pope in the center of the Nazi movement supposed to do? Finger wag until it falls off? What is he on trial here for? Not standing up to the madmen with doves, Holy Water, parchment and white smoke in hand? Since when has ANY church stood against their host nation and survived? Hitler killed millions. Stalin killed more than Hitler. Eisenhower roasted civilians because he could. Hirohito skewered children and commanded people to sacrifice their lives. It is touchy to walk the Churchill line so I'll save that for another time - but today is Pope bashing day apparently because he didn't chastise enough Nazis to the satisfaction of the "winners". If WWII was a war fought for good and freedom, then maybe the argument would have some merit. But look around. Who won? Nazi idealism won out in the end anyway, only the wielders have changed and the blame is put on "the institution" rather than any one person. Superiors control and inferiors serve the superiors - the qualifying criteria is merely social rather than genetic. The entire argument is rather disgusting. Feel free to split hairs.
 
 
-1 # Mannstein 2013-04-24 20:48
Next Steve Weissman will be demanding reparations from the Catholic Church for not saving the Jews in WWII. Should the money not start flowing fast enough the Church will be dragged into US Federal Court on some trumped up charge with Allen Dershowitz acting as head of the dream team.

When Eugenio Pacelli was Vatican Nuncio in Germany during the 1920's he was almost killed in Munich by two Communist assassins. They were members of the Communist conspiracy that had staged a coup of the Bavarian Government. The bullet struck Pacelli in the chest but was stopped by the metal cross he was wearing. Perhaps this first hand experience with Communists influenced his later dealings with the Reds.

Incidentally, Franco saved more Jews during the war than any of the Western Democratic regimes. This according to a Jewish American leader giving testimony to a Congressional committee. Take that all you Franco bashers out there.
 
 
-1 # Mannstein 2013-04-24 20:58
"Holocaust, Holocaust, Holocaust, I'm all holocausted out" as one prominent British historian put it a few years back.
 

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