PIUS XII AND THE HOLOCAUST, Myth and Reality

By Jesus J. Chao

4 of 11

 

WAS PIUS XII THE "HITLERíS POPE"?

The facts negate this vile and often-made baseless allegation by those who are blinded by ignorance and/or anti-Catholic bigotry. Unfortunately, many people of good will, lacking reliable information, had fall victims to this campaign of character assassination against Pius XII and the Catholic Church.

There was never any ambiguity on the Vatican Secretary of Stateís feelings about Hitlerís regime, and the Nazis knew it. When Cardinal Pacelli was elected Pope on March 2, 1939, the next day the Berlin Morgenpost (the Nazi partyís newspaper) wrote: "The election of Cardinal Pacelli is not accepted with favor in Germany because he was always opposed to Nazism and practically determined the policies of the Vatican under his predecessor." (2)

According to Mother Pasqualina Lehner, his close collaborator, Nuncio Pacelli said of Hitler: "This man is completely carried away; everything he says and writes has the mark of his egocentrism; this man is capable of trampling on corpses and eliminating anything that is an obstacle. I cannot understand how there are so many people in Germany who do not understand him, and cannot draw conclusions from what he says or writes. Has any of them even read his horrifying ĎMein Kampfí?" (3)

During Pacelliís twelve years as Apostolic Nuncio in Germany (1917-29), he made 44 public speeches and in 40 of these attacked the fundamental tenets of the Communism and National Socialism. Already in April, 1933, as Secretary of State of Pope Pius XI, he sent an urgent request to the new Nazi government "not to let itself be influenced by anti-Semitic aims."

On April 28, 1935, at Lourdes, where he went as the Pope Legate, Pacelli said: "They (the Nazis) are in reality only miserable plagiarists who dress up old errors with new tinsel. It does not make any difference whether they flock to the banners of social revolution, whether they are guided by a false conception of the world of life, or whether they are possessed by the superstition of a race and blood cult." (4) Certainly, these were very strong words coming from such a consummated diplomat.

Hitlerís discussions with his closest collaborators, as well as the diaries and decrees by Goebbles, Bormann, Rosenberg and Himmler, denote that from the beginning Hitler and his followers were motivated by a pathological hatred toward the Catholic Church. All those who did not adhere unconditionally to their way of thinking and acting were considered and treated as enemies, who had to be annihilated, said Fr.Gumpel.

As Jewish historian Dr. Joseph L. Litchen wrote in the Anti-Defamation Bulletin for October, in 1958, commenting on Pius XII, "the new Vicar of Christ" said Litchen, "showed no softening after his election toward Hitlerís brutal policies; Pius the Pope was the same as Pacelli the priest." (5)

WAS PIUS XII OR THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ANTI-SEMITE?

Pius XII had a deep knowledge of Germany where he served for 13 years as Papal Nuncio during Pope Benedictus XV and Pius XI. No other world leader at that time was more aware than him of the evil nature of Nazism and Communism, the two ideologies that were to bring rivers of blood to mankind. A consummated and experienced diplomat, Pacelli was well groomed by Pius XI to be his successor. There was an extraordinary spiritual and ideological communion between these two great Popes; they both were of one mind. Pacelli dedicated his life to the service of God, The Church, and mankind, through five decades of indefatigable struggle for world peace.

In 1928 the Holy Office had already condemned anti-Semitism. On September 6, 1938, Pius XI told a group of Belgian pilgrims: "Through Christ and in Christ, we are spiritual descendants of Abraham." Incontrovertible facts prove the extraordinary efforts that Pius XI, Pius XII, and the Catholic Church made in saving the Jews during the Holocaust.

ō     In 1937, Pius XI published the Encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge, stating that Catholics must never be anti-Semite.

On March 14, 1937, before it was fashionable to denounce the German FŁhrer as a villain and long before the creation of the concentration camps and the gas chambers, Pius XI, ably seconded by his Secretary of State, wrote the Encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge meaning "with burning anxiety". It dealt with the nazi threat to racial minorities and specifically the Jews addressing the Encyclical directly to the German people. The Encyclical exhorted that Catholics must never be anti-Semitic because "we are all Semites spiritually" and ought to hold the Jewish people in high regard accordingly. The Encyclical exposed to the world the III Reichís persecution of the Catholic Church as well as the incompatibility between the principles of the National Socialism and those of the Catholic faith. The German government prohibited the entrance of the Encyclical to the country and it became necessary to smuggle it into Germany under the nose of the ruthless Gestapo. On Sunday March 21, The Encyclical was read from 12,000 Catholic pulpits across Germany. As a result, the Naziís campaign of innuendoes against The Church as well as the persecution of Catholics worsened.

The German Catholic hierarchy thanked Pope Pius XI for the letter, which strongly condemned both, racism and anti-Semitism. The Pope pointed to Cardinal Pacelli saying that it was he who had been responsible for the Encyclical. It was the Secretary of State, who asked the German Cardinal Faulhaber to submit a draft text, which he amended carefully. Pacelli also bore the burden of its defense when the Encyclical was the subject of strong German diplomatic protests; he did so personally, not by delegation.

ō     The Vatican condemns Communism with the Encyclical Divini Redemptori in 1937

Pius XI and his Secretary of State were following the Magisterium of the Church when they published on March 19, 1937, the Encyclical Divini Redemptori. It was a most comprehensive and devastating condemnation of Communism as "intrinsically perverse." Already Pius IX, as early as 1846, pronounced in the Encyclical Qui pluribus, a solemn condemnation of Communism "that infamous doctrine which is absolutely contrary to natural law itself, and if once adopted would utterly destroy the rights, the property and possessions of all men, and even society itself." Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical Quod apostolici muneris, defined communism as "the fatal plague that insinuates itself into the very marrow of human society only to bring about its ruin." Pius XI and Pius XII were highly active, energetic and zealous opponents of totalitarianism and oppression in every form-for them, National Socialism and Communism were both intrinsically evil.

ō     As early as 1935, Pope Pius XII describes Nazism as diabolical

Before becoming Pope, and as early as 1935, Pius XII had described as "diabolical" the new German

Regime in conversations with the French Ambassador to the Holy See, Charles-Roux, while the rest of the world were willingly accepting Hitlerís power grasp upon the German government. The Duke of Windsor visited Hitler and Lloyd George even went so far as to call him the "greatest living German"! In the U.S. there were also people in high positions who were openly sympathizers of Hitler, such as Henry Ford I, who was also a strong anti-Semitic.

ō     Pope Pius XIIís first Encyclical, Summi Pontificatus, in 1939, attacks Nazism and Communism

Pius XIIís first encyclical in October 27, 1939, Summi Pontificatus reiterated the attack on the German regime and the Gestapo was ordered to prevent its distribution. In it, the Pope declared his position "against exacerbated nationalism, the idolatry of the state, totalitarianism, racism, the cult of brutal force, contempt of international agreements", against all the characteristics of Hitlerís political system; he laid the responsibility for the scourge of the war on these aberrations. The Allies airdropped 88,000 copies of the Encyclical over Germany.

 

1. Pius XII and the Holocaust, Myth and Reality

2. Pius XII & the Holocaust - Historical Frame

3. Pius XII and the Holocaust - 1933

4. Was Pius XII "Hitler's Pope"

5. Were Pius XII and the Church really silent during the Holocaust?

6. The Allies were slow in responding to the Pleas of the Jews

7. Pius XII - The forgotten victims of the Holocaust

8. The Rescue of the Jews: The Holy See made every possible effort to help the Jews

9. Pius XII and the Resistance

10. Pius XII- Allies slow in responding to the pleas of the Jews

11. Pius XII - Conclusion

 

Copyright © 2000 Jesus J. Chao

Printed on June 13, 2001 by Leap of Faith- www.faithleap.org  with Permission from Mr. Jesus J. Chao.

 

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