Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Vatican suspends beatification of Pope Pius XII

Jews and non-Jews alike - this should be emphasised - are critical of Pope Pius XII's silence during and after the war and opposed to his beatification.

Dirk Verhofstadt, a scholar and brother of former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, has just published a well researched and strongly argued book about the Pope's sad conduct during the war : Pius XII and the extermination of the Jews (Pius XII en de vernietiging van de Joden).

Source: Arutz Sheva

"A spokesman for Pope Benedict XVI announced over the weekend that the Catholic leader had stopped the beatification of Pope Pius XII, an issue that has heightened tensions between the Vatican and Israel.

Pope Pius, who served during World War II, has been criticized by Jews the world over for his silence in the face of the Nazi genocide during the Holocaust.

Numerous Jewish groups as well as a leading Israeli rabbi expressed their opposition to recent steps toward beatification, which means making him a saint. Pope Benedict's spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi reacted and stated that the pope had decided to study the matter further.

The central umbrella organization for Jewish groups in France, the Conseil Representatif des Institutions Juives de France, warned in a statement, "Pope Pius XII, worried about burning bridges with Germany, never made a clear statement denouncing the singular monstrosity of the extermination of millions of Jews. Moreover, he did not do so after the war either, which is profoundly shocking. If carried out, the plan to beatify Pius XII, who was pope between 1939 and 1958, would deal a severe blow to relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish world."

Jewish groups in Italy and elsewhere have also urged the Vatican to reconsider the move. Amos Luzzatto, president emeritus of Italy's Jewish communities, noted in an interview published in the newspaper La Repubblica that numerous European leaders had spoken out against the deportation of Jews during the war. "I ask myself why Pius didn't do the same thing to call European Catholics to action. These are questions that haunt us Jews," he was quoted as saying. "The Vatican should know that for the Jewish world this would open up a wound that will be difficult to heal."

The charges were refuted by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who wrote in a pre-emptive full-page tribute to Pius XII published in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, "It was precisely by means of a prudent approach that Pius XII protected Jews and refugees. If he had made a public intervention, he would have endangered the lives of thousands of Jews who, upon his directive, were hidden, in 155 convents and monasteries in Rome alone.""


Anonymous said...

The best defence of Pius XII has been written by a Jew, a Reform Rabbi, Dr David Dalin. In his book "The Myth of Hitler's Pope" he outlines the extensive rescue work undertaken by the Pope and on his orders by religious communities. He accepts the argument that with Hitler pronouncements would have been counter-productive as in the Netherlands. He points out the great friendliness that existed between the Jews of Rome and the State of Israel towards the Pope in the 1950's. This could scarcely have been the case if what is alleged now were true, as the participants in the events were alive and vocal.

His work is perhaps to be preferred to those who have private agendas.

Anonymous said...

There were however clergymen who commented on the mass murder of the Jews, indeed the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem chided Hitler for not dealing more harshly with Jewish children.

Pedro Fontela said...

And what's the excuse for remaining silent after the war? Talk about an agenda...

Anonymous said...

Was there any need to comment after the war? Presumably the many thousands of Jews saved by the Pope regarded an utterance as superfluous and preferred to be content with his actions. The Chief Rabbi of Rome who became a catholic seemed quite content.