Hitler's pope, Pius XII, should finally be canceled -opinion

Published date20 September 2022
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
For every giant like John XXIII or John Paul II, the greatest of modern-day popes, there has been a Rodrigo Borgia, whose name is synonymous with papal murder and corruption, or Pope Leo X, the Medici pope, whose sale of indulgences to finance his extravagant tastes infuriated Martin Luther and helped drive the Protestant Reformation

But only one pope ever bore actual witness to a genocide and did absolutely nothing about it, and that was Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII, who reigned throughout all six years of the Second World War and the Holocaust.

Hitler's pope

Over the past decade, there has been a concerted effort on the part of many in the Catholic Church and some in the Jewish community to rehabilitate the reputation of the man infamously known as "Hitler's pope." They told us that Pius secretly saved untold numbers of Jews; that the reason the pontiff never once condemned Hitler or the Holocaust was in order to protect Jews. Had he spoken out, Hitler would have been even worse to the Jews (an argument that would be comical, if it were not so tragic. How do you do worse than gassing 10,000 Jews a day?). They told us that Pius, as cardinal secretary of state under his predecessor Pius XI, had no choice but to negotiate the first-ever treaty between Hitler and any foreign state because Pacelli had to protect the Catholic Church.

On and on it's gone, with the Catholic Church trying its darndest to resurrect Pius's reputation in order to do to him what is normally done to every other pontiff – beatify and canonize him, like Pope John Paul II, who is already a saint.

I participated in two papal visits, to Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, organized by my friend Gary Krupp of the Pave the Way Foundation, designed in part to address the controversy surrounding Pacelli. I consider Gary a friend and a Jew dedicated to Israel's survival and protection. He has served as an important bridge between the Jewish community and the Vatican, and I respect and like him.

But on the subject of Pius XII he is simply and completely wrong, as are other advocates for Hitler's pope. Gary and I even had a public debate in New York City on Pius, where he was joined by a Catholic historian on his side and which is available on YouTube.

What we in the Jewish community have always been told is that no definitive conclusions can be drawn about Pius's alleged collaboration with the Nazis, because the Vatican files had never been opened or examined. If they would be, then Pius...

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