Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"Righteous Among the Nations"

Pius XII and Yad Vashem by Sr Margherita Marchione.

No one can rightly claim that Pius XII was "silent." Rather, one must speak of his "prudence." Pius XII was concerned that a public condemnation of Nazi persecution of Jews would result in retaliation and the loss of more lives. When Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli became Pope Pius XII on March 2, 1939, he had the advantage of his knowledge of Germany, the German language, and the German people, having previously served as Papal Nuncio to Germany. Necessarily, he was a careful diplomat. Pius XII sent many protests directly to Nazi leadership. Historian Pinchas Lapide tells how Pius XII sent his Papal Nuncio in Berlin to visit Hitler in Berchtesgaden to plead for the Jews. That interview ended when Hitler smashed a glass at the Nuncio's feet. From Hitler's reaction, the Pope was convinced that public pronouncements would have sealed the fate of many more Jews. Albrecht von Kessel, aide-de-camp to Baron von Weizsäcker, the German Ambassador, stated: "A flaming protest on the part of Pius XII against the persecution of the Jews would presumably have put him and with him the Curia into extreme danger but would certainly…not have saved the life of a single Jew. Hitler, the animal of prey at bay, would react all the more cruelly the more resistance he met."


Anonymous said...

It'll probably take time for everyone to realize the Pope and others in the Church did what they could and more to aid Jews. Just more recently, it has been discovered Muslims who did the same.

Kitchen Madonna said...

Pius XII was a white martyer during his lifetime. I'm sure he went straight to Heaven. I love Sister M's work on this much maligned pope.