The Defamation of Pius XIIby Ralph McInerny
Eugenio Pacelli, Pius XII, was one of the few unalloyed heroes of World War II. At great personal risk, he saved some 800,000 Jews from extermination by the Nazis. Jewish refugees were given asylum in the Vatican, swelling the number of Swiss Guards. No Allied leader can match his glorious record. Golda Meir lauded Pius XII after the war, and the chief rabbi of Rome became a Roman Catholic, taking the name of Eugenio in tribute to Eugenio Pacelli.
Why then has such a man been vilified and all but accused of being responsible for the Holocaust? Rolf Hochhuth's infamous play, The Deputy, marked the turning point. The outrageous distortions of this play turned the greatest friend the Jewish people had during World War II into an anti- Semite. This book restores Pius XII to the rank of hero, demolishes the ludicrous charges against him, and identifies the true target of this infamous calumny : the Church, the papacy, and the Christian moral teaching which confronts and condemns the Culture of Death.
Despite a rash of vilifications of Pius XII, McInerny's The Defamation of Pius XII proves that the Pontiff actually saved the lives of a million Jews during the holocaust. Pius XII was anything but silent about the murders committed by Hitler as shown in numerous Vatican radio transcripts and speeches given by Pius XII. The Holy Father knew that a complete repudiation of Hitler or the Germans would result in the deaths of many more Jews and Catholics as well as the ultimate failure of any shepherd, the abandonment of his flock.
McInerny critically rights these false attacks with historical fact, dispelling the myth that Vatican correspondence with Hitler meant Nazi sympathy. Pius XII knew that his only hope of influencing Hitler would be through careful correspondence, imploring him to act peaceably. He was at war with Hitler, and his strategy was to keep his friends close and his enemies closer. McInerny shows how Pius saved the lives of nearly one million Jews armed only with faith, and the courage of the world's moral leader. The leader of Christ's church, in fact, did more than any other.
The very people who condemn Hitler's hideous anti-Semitism are ironically the people who propagate the same brand of national hatred, only this time for Catholics. It is this hatred that proved to be the first step leading to such a mass murder.
McInerny draws a startling but accurate conclusion: that many of the very people who condemn Hitler's atrocities, make up what Pope John Paul II calls The Culture of Death. "We have adopted the worst practices of the Nazis, and others they have never dreamt of... The Pope and the Catholic Church have continued to condemn the notion that there is `worthless human life' [including the lives of the unborn] of which the state can dispose."
Although many of her critics have not, the Church has remained consistent in her moral teachings, and continues the fight to save the lives of all of the innocent, just as Pope Pius XII did. (February)
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Finally someone has the courage to write the truth about the Church and WWII. The times were difficult at best and many noteworthy people, especially Pius XII, came from their comfortable offices in the Vatican and did what they could to rescue Rome and those being persecuted by the Nazis. Don't forget, previous review writer, the Catholics were also persecuted and sent to concentration camps by Hitler and his goons. Jews first, Catholics second, gypsies and imperfect people last. If you live in the United States and think you know world history, you are sooooooo wrong.
Uncritical repetition of the praises of Pius XII's alleged courage during WW2 made by various interested parties (including Golda Meir, who sought, unsuccessfully,, to curry the Pope's favor for Israel) in the early aftermath, ignoring more recent research which puts Pius in a less praiseworthy light. The author even repeats the ridiculous calculation of Pinchas Lapide which counts the number of Jews who survived the Holocaust and the (apparently imaginary) number of non-Catholic rescuers and thus takes the difference as the number of Jews rescued by Catholics. Of interest to Catholics promoting the canonization of Pius. There are better sources for those interested in the truth.