Friday, February 13, 2009

Was Pius XII Hitler's Pope

Q: My teacher told me that Pope Pius XII signed a document endorsing Nazi Germany, giving the Church’s stamp of approval to Hitler. Is that true?

A: No, Popes Pius XI and Pius XII always had an anti-Nazi policy, though some people have made outrageous statements that Pope Pius XII had “embraced Nazism,” or at the very least acted like a coward and did nothing to stop the Nazis. This is not true. Before and during the war Pope Pius XII did everything in his power to save as many Jews from the Nazis as possible.

From 1917 to 1929 Pope Pius XII (who was then Cardinal Pacelli) gave at least forty speeches in Germany assaulting Hitler’s doctrines and/or Nazism. During the war Pope Pius XII hid, bedded, clothed, and fed, 4,000 to 7,000 Jews in the Vatican City itself.

Rabbi Lapide recorded: “No less than 3,000 Jews found refuge at one time at the Pope’s summer residence at Castel Gandolfo; sixty lived for nine months at the Jesuit Gregorian University, and half a dozen slept in the cellar of the Pontifical Bible Institute.”

All total the Catholic Church helped save 700,000 to 860,000 people. This is by far more than any other organization. (How Pius XII Protected Jews by Jimmy Akin)

Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Isaac Herzog, sent Pope Pius XII a letter of gratitude on February 28, 1944. In it he said: “The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion which form the very foundations of true civilization, are doing for us unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living proof of divine Providence in this world.”

On April 7, 1944, Rabbi Safran of Bucharest, Romania sent a note of thanks to the pope: “It is not easy for us to find the right words to express the warmth and consolation we experienced because of the concern of the supreme pontiff, who offered a large sum to relieve the sufferings of deported Jews . . . The Jews of Romania will never forget these facts of historic importance.”

“What the Vatican did will be indelibly and eternally engraved in our hearts. . . . Priests and even high prelates did things that will forever be an honor to Catholicism,” said Chief Rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, who later converted to Catholicism.


Additional Resource: Hitler, the War and the Pope by Ronald J. Rychlak [Our Sunday Visitor]