Saturday, August 16, 2014
Pope Pius XII saved Jews
It's amazing how the propaganda against Pope Pius XII and his alleged lack of efforts to save Jews continues to survive despite increasing amount of documentation proving how much he actually did do. By the estimate from the Pave the Way Foundation, his efforts helped to save more than 800,000 Jews.
I was at a presentation today at the St. Padre Pio Chapel at which the head of the Foundation, Gary Krupp, discussed the thousands of pages of documents his organization has uncovered showing how much Pope Pius did, and how much he was recognized for his efforts. He was joined in his presentation by Dr. Frank Oliveri, who earned his doctorate in Holocaust studies. Krupp also brought and gave out free copies of his report, Pope Pius XII and World War: The Documented Truth, a compilation of documents - letters, newspaper articles, diary entries, testimonials, government communications, and so on.
Krupp explained that Pope Pius's efforts included asking convents and monasteries across Europe to hide Jews, assisting Jews trying to escape Europe, hiding Jews at the Vatican, speaking out, working through diplomatic channels, using Church funds to help support Jewish people and communities, and more. He was such a problem for the Nazis that at one point they discussed kidnapping him - Pope Pius had a letter of resignation ready if that did happen so that a new pontiff could be elected.
Krupp alleges - and he is not alone - that one of the major sources of efforts to discredit Pope Pius was the work of Communists to undermine the Catholic Church. The play, The Deputy, was part of those efforts, and it helped to spread the lie that Pius did nothing, and really was sympathetic to the Nazis. Later, the lie was spread by books like John Cornwell's Hitler's Pope - a book full of errors that Cornwell himself later admitted was unbalanced and contained statements that he subsequently recanted.
Krupp said he was supposed to do a debate with Rochester's Deacon Anthony Sciolino, who has self-published a book criticizing the actions of the Catholic Church and Pope Pius XII when it came to the Jews and the Holocaust, a book partly based on Cornwell's flawed scholarship. When challenged to support his claims with documentation, Deacon Sciolino, Krupp reported, said he had no documentation, and then backed out of the debate. I don't know Deacon Sciolino's side of the story about why he decided not to debate, but Krupp's allegations seem plausible. I've also read the deacon's book. It's poorly written and poorly documented.
Hopefully, as Krupp contended, the tide is turning and Pope Pius will receive the credit he is due.
Pax et bonum