Friday, April 13, 2007

Vatican boycotts Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day

The Jerusalem Post is reporting a most interesting development in the Vatican’s relations with the Holy Land. It appears that the Vatican’s ambassador to Israel, Monsignor Antonio Franco, has refused to attend the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem because of a caption at the Holocaust Museum that referred to the role of Pope Pius XII during World War Two as ‘controversial’.

That is the single word to cause the Vatican offence. It does not say that Pope Pius was ‘responsible’; it does not say he ‘turned a blind eye’; it does not say his non-intervention was ‘cowardly’: simply that his decision to maintain silence while millions were being incinerated, which is a matter of historical fact, was ‘controversial’. This seems to Cranmer to be the least offensive way of putting it, but the ambassador responded: ‘I will attend any ceremony on the victims of World War Two, but I do not feel at ease at Yad Vashem when the Pope is presented in this way.’

The Yad Vashem presentation says of Pius XII: ‘In 1933, when he was Secretary of the Vatican State, he was active in obtaining a Concordat with the German regime to preserve the Church's rights in Germany, even if this meant recognizing the Nazi racist regime.’ Again, this is historical fact, but the Vatican has been making a concerted effort to have this changed, effectively using diplomatic pressures to have history re-written.

Until it is changed, the ambassador does not ‘feel comfortable’ attending the Holocaust Memorial Day, but insists that his decision to boycott this official state ceremony is a ‘personal’ one. This is nonsense. In no sense can such a high-profile boycott by a serving ambassador be ‘personal’. He is his office; he represents the government of the Vatican; he is the vice-pope of the Holy Land. Cranmer is certain that the endorsement of such a contentious decision would have gone straight to the top. So the German Pope, who was once a member of the Hitler Youth because he could not avoid the compulsion of the regime, is defending the conduct and reputation of Hitler’s Pope, who most certainly was under no compulsion to sign his concordat with the Third Reich.

And yes, Cranmer is perfectly aware that refusal to do so would almost certainly have brought persecution upon the Roman Catholic Church, but that is precisely what Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor has said just this week that the Church needs. Such levity is a little irritating to Cranmer, knowing truly what persecution is like. The Cardinal ought to try living in China, Burma, Iran or Iraq, instead of just pontificating from the comfort of his armchair about how a little persecution works wonders.

If Pope Pius XII collaborated with the Nazis, the truth should be told. If he made a sound judgement, let us hear the evidence. If history is to judge him fairly, the Vatican archives should be opened up. Obfuscation and secrecy simply breed confusion and conspiracy.

But then, maybe the Vatican has something quite unpalatable to hide…


Anonymous bob said...

Just a number of observations:
1) An interesting article appeared in The Times in February. To quote a section - Former Lieutenant-General Ion Mihai Pacepa, who headed the Romanian secret service before defecting in 1978, has broken a silence of nearly half a century to reveal that he was involved in the operation code-named Seat12, a Kremlin scheme launched in 1960 to portray Pius XII “as a cold-hearted Nazi sympathiser”.

The result, according to Pacepa, was the 1963 play The Deputy, by Rolf Hochhuth, which argued that Pius XII had supported Hitler and encouraged him to launch the Holocaust. It ignited a furious debate over Pius XII’s attitude towards Hitler.

2) The so called controversy surrounding Pius XII's role in World War II began with this play. Prior to this he had been hailed by Jewish leaders, including the Chief Rabbi of Rome during the war, Israele Zoller, who, according to a piece from Time magazine in 1944, the Vatican had worked indefatigably to mitigate the suffering of Rome's Jews during the Nazi occupation. The Rabbi said that the Pope himself had sometimes interceded with the Nazis. In some cases he saved Jewish lives, in others he was able to soften Nazi penalties. It would be interesting to know if this was reflected at Yad Vashem. I suspect not.

3) Rabbi David Dalin has conducted extensive research on this matter and concluded that "The Jewish people had no greater friend in the 20th century." He has published a book on his research, as The Recusant recently pointed out.

4) On a somewhat pedantic point, if a nuncio of the Holy See is a "vice-pope," does this mean that British ambassadors are vice-queens?

13 April 2007 at 11:31  
Anonymous Colin said...

Appart from the question whether Pope Pius XI had a controversial role in the holocaust, antisemitism was the result of centuries of Christian teaching that the Jews were guilty of killing Jesus.

And why does Cranmer only criticize Catholicism? The protestant leader Martin Luther was fervently antisemitic.

"In his treatise Von den Juden und ihren Lügen (On the Jews and their Lies), published in 1543, he wrote that Jews' synagogues should be set on fire, prayerbooks destroyed, rabbis forbidden to preach, homes "smashed and destroyed," property seized, money confiscated, and that these "poisonous envenomed worms" be drafted into forced labor or expelled "for all time."

That sounds like Hamas, doesn't it.

"He also appeared to sanction their murder: [4] "Jerusalem was destroyed over 1400 years ago, and at that time we Christians were harassed and persecuted by the Jews throughout the world ... So we are even at fault for not avenging all this innocent blood of our Lord and of the Christians which they shed for 300 years after the destruction of Jerusalem ... We are at fault in not slaying them."

British historian Paul Johnson has called On the Jews and their Lies the "first work of modern anti-Semitism, and a giant step forward on the road to the Holocaust." [6] Four centuries after it was written, the Nazis cited Luther's treatise to justify the Final Solution."

13 April 2007 at 11:43  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Colin,

Your observations are narrow and inaccurate.

His Grace is fully aware of the Luther's treatise against the Jews. If the leader of the Lutheran Church of Germany had boycotted an official state Holocaust remembrance service, he would doubtless have drawn attention to them.

13 April 2007 at 12:27  
Anonymous Colin said...

His Grace,

I do not doubt His Grace's profound knowledge and willingness to draw attention to a similar event if it would occur in a Protestant Church.

However, since Catholicism is not rarely attacked and since some readers might not be aware of the barbaric diatribes of Martin Luther, considered a hero of protestantism by many, I wanted to draw the attention to equally profound antisemitism in Protestantism.

In regard to the CoE, Melanie Phillips and Jewish authors complain about the contemporary form of antisemitism:

"Also, as an active member of the Council of Christians and Jews, I feel betrayed by the Anglican Church. All those receptions at St James’s Palace and earnest tributes from church leaders regretting their millennia-long persecution of the Jews don’t mean anything any more. When Jews need real recognition of the danger they are in, where is the Church? Aligning themselves with those who want to wipe Israel from the face of the earth, after it was they who were responsible for the Holocaust. Forgive them, Lord, for they probably do know exactly what they do. How dare the Church lecture Jews on morality."

Many people mention the Church’s apparent silence in the face of the growing attacks on the British Jewish community. For one seasoned American journalist and Episcopalian cleric: "In Britain, there is a degree of open anti-Semitism that would be unthinkable in the USA. The C of E has been complicit in this, both by keeping silent, and by not cracking down on its members who cross the line in their advocacy of the Palestinian cause, and fall into Jew-baiting."

Canon Andrew White, CEO of the Foundation for Reconciliation in the Middle East, agrees. "Is there a new anti-Semitism?" he asks. "For Jews, disinvestment [in Israel] is not just anti-Zionism, but anti-Semitism. Christians defend their position by saying they are against Israel, not the Jews. Yet there is no call by the Christians to disinvest from countries where Christians are persecuted, or banned. Israel is viewed as the evil nation, that evil democratic nation — that just happens to be the only homeland for the Jewish people in the world.

"Now that there is an acute awareness of the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism, the Christian world needs to wake up to the fact that more Jews have been killed by Christians than by Muslims. It is no longer sufficient for the Church to blame Israel for its own anti-Semitism. The replacement theology that laid the ground for nearly two millennia of anti-Judaic polemic is on its way back. This time, it is dressed up as concern for the Palestinians."

It is one of His Grace's innumerable merits to frequently criticise the contemporary form of antisemitism, including related activities of the CoE and of the Catholic Church, on his august blog.

13 April 2007 at 13:27  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"German Pope", "Hitler Youth", "Hitler's Pope" - emotive, tabloid stuff, Your Grace. You seem to suggest that the Church is guilty - or perhaps merely "controversial" - by association. To take part in the Holocaust Remembrance might be interpreted as some kind of apology, of the kind that is continually being demanded of us so that people can "grieve" and get "closure" and "move on". It exhibits a vapid Dianified morality.

13 April 2007 at 13:42  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Colin you do jumble up so many things as if by aligning facts like iron filings you discern a pattern without looking at the polarity

Melanie Phillips is aggrieved at a) Disinvestment policies of ECUSA and C of E and b) Replacement Theology

Not all Christians subscribe to Replacement Theology which is a bit of an odd doctrine anyway since it nstitutionalises a role for the Church that does not exist in the Gospels.

You are wrong to ascribe Jewish-Christian conflicts to the Crucifixion; it was events long after. You forget that the Christian Sabbath was Saturday, and that Christians attended synagogue for at least 70 years after the death of Jesus Christ; and that it was Jewish authorities which evicted Christians from Synagogues.

The first 15 pastors of the original Christian congregation in Jerusalem up to the Bar Kochba Revolt were Jewish

In fact it is not until Rome became the centre of Christianity that the links to Judaism were weakened considerably and the Sabbath moved to Sunday.

Unfortunately Colin you paint with too broad a brush and fail to look at how the the disciples of Jesus, who were Jewish in the main became less dominant as Christianity became a religion of Constantine and of Rome.

You fail to distinguish between Chaldean Christians and Orthodox and Roman Catholic, and have an almost cartoonish appreciation of major events over thousands of years.

Christianity is a branch of Judaism; Jesus was a Jew versed in Torah; that is why those who say Jesus did not mention X, fail to comprehend that he knew The Torah and assumed those who would follow him did also - at the very least Christians are bound by the Noachide Laws.

Of course there are ignorant people describing themselves as Christian with only a superficial comprehension of their professed Faith; just as there are ignorant outsiders who take issue predicated upon their facile and incoherent understandings of Christianity as a Faith, and as a branch of Judaism

13 April 2007 at 15:24  
Anonymous The recusant said...

You Grace, as a knowledgeable academic and as you ask the questions please enlighten your communicants

“Did Pope Pius XII collaborate with the Nazis?” - A very important question, what conclusions does Your Grace come to, perhaps you would site your references.

“If he made a sound judgement, let us hear the evidence.” - From whom would you accept credible evidence, would a Jewish Rabbi suffice, read the book Bob identifies. The subject is really too long to bullet point every claim and counter claim.

“If history is to judge him fairly, the Vatican archives should be opened up.” - They are open; any credible researcher can view them by prior arrangement, You Grace with his academic background would surely be granted access. Recently more and more documents have come to light vindicating Pope Pius XII. At least you did not trot out the myth of the “Secret Archives” which the red tops just love to feast on

“Obfuscation and secrecy simply breed confusion and conspiracy. But then, maybe the Vatican has something quite unpalatable to hide” – This is just a side swipe, I expected a little more from Your Grace.

However Your Grace is in good company, on a recent visit to the Imperial War Museum which included a tour of the Holocaust exhibit I was surprised to read similar selected accusations against the RCC. Sadly no mention was made of pogroms and persecutions by other major world religions, only the Roman Catholic Church and its history of anti-Semitic Popes was offered to the public. The nasty underlying implication being, in associating it with the Holocaust exhibit, is that the RCC was co-responsible for the death camps along with the Nazis.

Your Grace read the book, you will not be disappointed and then I would be delighted with your observations on this topic.

13 April 2007 at 19:16  
Anonymous Colin said...

"Colin you do jumble up so many things as if by aligning facts like iron filings you discern a pattern without looking at the polarity"

Voyager you do jumble up so many things as if by aligning your opinions, sideshows and ad hominem attacks like iron filings would make a convincing case. I am disappointed that an undoubtedly erudite native speaker of English is able to write a prose lacking any style and structure. Using your paradigm of providing reading lists instead of direct answers to the debate, I would like to suggest to you to read and to employ if possible:

William Strunk, Jr.: The Elements of Style.

Robert B. Donald et al.: Writing Clear Paragraphs.

Theodore A. Rees Cheney: Writing Creative Nonfiction.

Alternatively, learn from His Grace to write clearly and with style. Or look at Croydonian's creative and clear style of writing.

In my humble view, English is one of the most beautiful languages in the world because of its unsurpassed clarity of expression. Reading your jumbled prose, one starts to wonder ... Please don't torture this beautiful language any longer.


13 April 2007 at 19:57  
Anonymous Colin said...

I would appreciate if His Grace could let us know his views about Pope Benedict's new book Jesus of Nazareth which will be released tomorrow according to "The Pope has called Jesus of Nazareth, 'solely an expression of my personal search "for the face of the Lord". Everyone is free, then, to contradict me."

An excerpt from the book: "“the great question that will be with us throughout this entire book: But what has Jesus really brought, then, if he has not brought world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world? What has he brought? The answer is very simple: God. He has brought God! He has brought the God who once gradually unveiled his countenance first to Abraham, then to Moses and the prophets, and then in the wisdom literature—the God who showed his face only in Israel, even though he was also honored among the pagans in various shadowy guises. It is this God, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, the true God, whom he has brought to the peoples of the earth. He has brought God, and now we know his face, now we can call upon him. Now we know the path that we human beings have to take in this world. Jesus has brought God and with God the truth about where we are going and where we come from: faith, hope, and love.”

13 April 2007 at 21:32  
Anonymous bob said...

The English translation of the book will not be released until 15th May. Only the Italian and German translations are being released this week I believe.

13 April 2007 at 21:42  
Anonymous Voyager said...

English Book

It is a book written over several years as Ratzinger not as The Pope with the intention of inviting discussion

13 April 2007 at 22:00  
Anonymous Voyager said...

So Colin, you are American.

13 April 2007 at 22:03  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Recusant,

If you had bothered to read the report in the Jerusalem Post before pointing the finger of accusation at His Grace, you would have discovered that Yad Vashem informed the Vatican representative that it would readily re-examine Pius XII's conduct during the Holocaust if the Vatican opened its World War II-era archives to the museum's research staff - which the Vatican never did.

They further state: "The Holocaust museum presents the historical truth on Pope Pius XII as is known to scholars today."

You will be further interested to note that the Ambassador himself said: 'the issue of the archives was not one that could be discussed at this moment, and that the issue involved Vatican rules'.

His Grace is only as ill-informed as the Ambassador himself, who manifestly refutes your own assertion that these are archives are open to impartial academic scrutiny.

13 April 2007 at 23:46  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

The whole holocaust issue,is by no means "fact"as is evidenced by various governments enthusiasm to incarcerate ordinary citizens for meerely questioning the details,while forbiding any exaustive scientific investigation,it is accepted that many persons died as a result of thier captivity,but the manner of thier deaths have yet to be substantiated,as your grace remarked ,do they have something to hide?

14 April 2007 at 15:34  
Anonymous billy said...

The whole holocaust issue,is by no means "fact"as is evidenced by various governments enthusiasm to incarcerate ordinary citizens for meerely questioning the details,while forbiding any exaustive scientific investigation,it is accepted that many persons died as a result of thier captivity,but the manner of thier deaths have yet to be substantiated,as your grace remarked ,do they have something to hide?

3:34 PM

How does the manner of death affect whether it was a holocaust, or not?
My father in law was at the liberation of Belsen but presumably saw no shootings, gassings or cremations. He did, however, see thousands of people dying from disease and starvation.

14 April 2007 at 18:44  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The whole holocaust issue,is by no means "fact"as is evidenced by various governments enthusiasm to incarcerate ordinary citizens for meerely questioning the details,while forbiding any exaustive scientific investigation,it is accepted that many persons died as a result of thier captivity,but the manner of thier deaths have yet to be substantiated,as your grace remarked ,do they have something to hide?.

Perhaps you should spend some time investigating the T4 Programm....and google names like Hadamar for edification.

The only countries that punish those who wilfully deny the Holocaust are those where the NSDAP ran the political system, and it is directed against the adherents of this particular political organisation.

Removing that particular regime weas very costly to the countries concerned and they are very loathe to have people attempt to repeat the experience

14 April 2007 at 19:40  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Recusant,

Further from the Jerusalem Post:

The New York-based Anti Defamation League on Friday called the decision by the Vatican ambassador "inappropriate and insulting," and repeated its longstanding call for the Vatican to open its wartime archives so that the facts concerning the actions of Pope Pius XII may finally be brought to light.

You appear to be very much alone in your assertion that these archives 'are open', and that 'any credible researcher can view them by prior arrangement'.

Or would you class Yad Vashem and the ADL as researchers that somehow lack credibility?

15 April 2007 at 10:02  
Anonymous bob said...

Yad Vashem cannot claim total credibility as researchers when they issue a statement such as "The Holocaust museum presents the historical truth on Pope Pius XII as is known to scholars today." Other researchers, notably Rabbi Dalin, have reached a different conclusion from Yad Vaschem, so there is obviously a bias at work.

As for the archives, as far as I'm aware the Holy See have a 75 year moratorium on access to documents. This has been its pratice, I believe for quite some time.

The archives for the pontificate of Pius XI are available which deal with the period from 1922-1939, during which period Cardinal Pacelli (who later became Pius XII) was nuncio to Germany, and later Secretary of State to the Holy See. These archives should provide ample material for Yad Vaschem to begin a proper investigation into the life of Pius XII, and should leave them well prepared to investigate the archives of Pius XII's pontificate which should be released in 2033 or so. I fail to see why patience is lost as a virtue, especially among historians.

15 April 2007 at 11:02  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Yad Vashem is not the last word - it has been dilatory in recognising the great efforts of many Gentiles in saving lives at great risks to themselves - Poland was the only occupied country where harbouring Jews could lead to the entire apartment complex being transported to a concentration camp....yet very large numbers of Poles helped Jews escape, gain false papers, and obtain arms.

On the other hand 2033 AD is a long time hence and 75 years after Pacelli's death seems quite a wait to clarify his reputation.

15 April 2007 at 13:04  
Anonymous bob said...

Surely the maxim of innocent until proven guilty applies even to Popes, so his reputation should be considered unsullied until it is proven to be otherwise.

It seems, to me, more a mark of our "I want it all and I want it now" culture which demands that standard processes need not apply if our desire to condemn someone is strong enough.

And what if the archives are opened, and no proof of anything questionable is found against Pius XII - how long before accusations of a cover up and even more elaborate conspiracy theories? To my mind Pius XII is damned in most people's minds regardless of what the Vatican archives say, which, to me at least, is rather sad.

15 April 2007 at 14:14  
Anonymous The recusant said...

You Grace,

Thank you for your response, Your Grace is nether Ill informed or am I aware of pointing any finger (singular or multiples of) at your Grace, indeed I respect and am grateful for your opinions.

However I did read the JP article and read what I expected to see, an article critical of the Vatican and Pius XII in particular. There are no surprises here as I have noticed an increasing tendency by modern Israeli GOs and NGOs in particular to harness the Holocaust for their own purposes when and where needed by imposing a sense of transferable victim hood (we have seen a similar occasion in the recent slavery debate) and moral power control in perusing their agendas. This may sound petulant but I am a supporter of modern Israel and its right to exist free of terrorist attacks, but this does not blind me to the real politic of the situation, an example of which is the current property tax controversy in the Holy Land.

There seems to be a problem with the Pope officially following a course of official neutrality during the war, although, with his particular form of neutrality who need enemies. The pope never had armies, tanks artillery planes etc to guard the Vatican or repel invasion (Stalin famously said The Pope? How many divisions has he got?) and he was surrounded by the Italian Fascists and the Nazis. What else would anyone expect hi to do? How did Switzerland or Liechtenstein manage their neutrality, we know how the former managed its gold reserve, the latter just seemed to keep its head down.

Whilst still Papal Secretary of State, Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, (later Pope Pius XII) wrote the famous encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge (With deep anxiety) in 1938, here are two extracts

“Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community—however necessary and honourable be their function in worldly things—whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds"

"This God, this Sovereign Master, has issued commandments whose value is independent of time and space, country and race. As God's sun shines on every human face so His law knows neither privilege nor exception. Rulers and subjects, crowned and uncrowned, rich and poor are equally subject to His word. From the fullness of the Creators' right there naturally arises the fullness of His right to be obeyed by individuals and communities, whoever they are. This obedience permeates all branches of activity in which moral values claim harmony with the law of God, and pervades all integration of the ever-changing laws of man into the immutable laws of God." "None but superficial minds could stumble into concepts of a national God, of a national religion; or attempt to lock within the frontiers of a single people, within the narrow limits of a single race, God, the Creator of the universe, King and Legislator of all nations before whose immensity they are "as a drop of a bucket"

Is this a man who has something to hide?

And let us not forget during WW2 and the rise of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, Vatican Radio served as a source for news for the Allies as well as broadcasting pro-Allied (or simply Neutral) propaganda. In January 1940, for instance, the pope issued instructions for Vatican Radio to reveal "the dreadful cruelties of uncivilized tyranny" the Nazis were inflicting on Jewish and Catholic Poles. Reporting the broadcast the following week, the Jewish Advocate of Boston praised it for what it was: an "outspoken denunciation of German atrocities in Nazi Poland, declaring they affronted the moral conscience of mankind." The New York Times editorialized: "Now the Vatican has spoken, with authority that cannot be questioned, and has confirmed the worst intimations of terror which have come out of the Polish darkness." In England, the Manchester Guardian hailed Vatican Radio as "tortured Poland's most powerful advocate."

As for the ‘archives are open to impartial academic scrutiny’, I believe I am correct,
Please see

The Archives


1. The Archives are open to qualified Researchers from institutions of Higher Education pursuing scientific researches and who have an adequate knowledge of archival research.
2. Applications requesting access to the Archives must be submitted to the Prefect along with a letter of introduction by either a recognized institute of research or by a suitably qualified person in the field of historical research.

10. Documents can be consulted until the end of the papacy of Pius XI (10th February 1939), as well as the Fond «Ufficio Informazioni Vaticano (Prigionieri di guerra 1939-1947)».

22. ...

The Ambassador may be misinformed (after all he is not infallible!) or just referring to the restriction still in place as identified by Bob (I knew of a limit but did not know how long it was). I do know that recently many more documents have been made available to the public. Again I say as an academic His Grace will be able to view them if he wishes.

For a more detailed, erudite and informed discussion on this topic I include a few links for His Grace and fellow communicants:

The Truth About Pope Pius XII

A Righteous Gentile: Pope Pius XII and the Jews

A cartoon of Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII and the Jews

Pius XII and Hitler

Here’s another by the JP which was overlooked.


Golda Meir, Israel’s representative to the United Nations, was the first of the delegates to react to the news of Pope Pius XII’s death. She sent an eloquent message: "We share in the grief of humanity at the passing away of His Holiness, Pope Pius XII. In a generation afflicted by wars and discords he upheld the highest ideals of peace and compassion. When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the Pope was raised for its victims. The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out about great moral truths above the tumult of daily conflict. We mourn a great servant of peace."

As the Germans began deporting Jews from other parts of northern Italy, the Pope opened his summer estate at Castel Gandolfo to take in several thousand (thirty six babies were born in the apartments of the pope in that period.) and authorized monasteries throughout the German-occupied areas of Italy to do likewise. As a result, while the Germans managed to seize and deport a further 7,000 Italian Jews to their deaths, 35,000 survived the war -- one of the highest ratios of those rescued of any country.

Not only did this pope defend human rights of the Jews in his writings, but also he put his own life on the line to aid the Jews of Rome. During the entire Nazi occupation, Pius XII housed 3,000 Jews in his summer residence, Castle Gandolfo. At no other site in Nazi-occupied Europe were so many Jews provided: food, clothing, shelter, freedom of worship and medical care in this personal residence of Pius XII, even to the point of allowing his personal apartments to be used as an obstetrics ward for the Jewish babies born throughout the Nazi occupation.

The Pope’s consistent antagonism towards the Nazi regime was demonstrated in his communication in January 1940 to the British Minister that a plot was afoot to overthrow Hitler, led by certain Generals – unfortunately the British assumed that the Pope was being deliberately misled and did nothing to assist. A month later the Pope provided the Minister with the details, including the names of the Generals and the plan to arrest Hitler and try him, but again the British did nothing and did not follow up the Pope’s request to make contact and encourage the attempted coup.

I said it was too big to bullet point; however it is easy to sling mud:

“Churchill knew about the dangers the Jewish people faced, and even gave speeches about it, well before WWII officially started. However, once the war started, rescuing Jews was not a priority of his, and he did hardly or nothing to help. His five volume history of the war barely mentions the Holocaust and does not record any effort by England to help the Jews.”

Does this mean Churchill aided Hitler in the Holocaust, of course not, in summary I reject Yad Vashems description of the Pope and support Monsignor Antonio Francos’ refusal to attend the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem. Just as I reject he description in the British Museum I highlighter earlier.

15 April 2007 at 21:07  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Re Link
Pope Pius XII and the Jews

15 April 2007 at 21:21  
Anonymous Colin said...

Did really the Catholic Church play a more important role in the holocaust than the Protestant Church?

Martin Luther, the founding father of the Protestant Church on the continent, demanded in 1542 concerning Jews:

"burn their synagogues, forbid everything what I have told above, force them to work and treat them without merci like Mose did in the desert and beat to death 3000.."

In 1903, the Christian-Social Party of Germany, founded by the Protestant preacher Adolf Stocker, demanded the displacement of the Jewish influence in all areas of public life and the ban of the immigration of Jews.

In 1910, the young Adolf Hitler is still no anti-Semite. He speaks appreciatively of the "Jewish tradition", estimates the Jewish family doctor of his family, is professionally promoted as a painter mainly by Jews and even prefers the contact with his Jewish friends who support him often and help him in case of emergencies. Adolf Hitler also appreciates the achievement of Jewish composers and defends the Jewish author Heinrich Heine against attacks by anti-Semites." (From: Brigitte Hamann, Hitlers Wien, Lehrjahre eines Diktators, Munich, Paperback 1998, p. 265, 496-500.)

"According to Hanisch H. [Hitler] said that Protestantism is the true German religion. He admired Luther as the greatest German genius." (From: Brigitte Hamann, ibid, p. 358)

In 1918, at the end of WW-I, Hitler was an anti-Semite. In his book "Mein Kampf" he wrote: "At that time our first attempts to show the true enemy to the general public almost seemed to be hopeless, and only quite slowly the things started to turn to the better..

In 1923, Hitler declared: "Luther was a great man, a giant. Suddenly, he breached the darkness and saw the Jew how we start to see him only today."

The church historian Carsten Nicolaisen wrote about the Protestant press: "The Protestant Sunday newspapers after the First World War are a rich source for the anti-semitic orientation of German Protestantism."

In 1921, the Protestant priest Friedrich Wilhelm Auer from the Bavarian church published an anti-semitic study "The Jewish problem". The priest calls on the general public to boycott Jewish shops. On 31.7.1921, the Hanoverian Sunday newspaper published by the Protestant Church (editor: Pastor Wilhelm Lueder) calls on the people to not accept the Jewish "rule" and demands a ban of the activity of Jews in the press.

In 1924, Adolf Hitler deplores in "Mein Kampf" the religious separation between Protestant and Catholic Church as an impairment of the anti-Semitism.

1928 - Adolf Hitler: "We don't tolerate anybody who harms the ideas of Christianity... This our movement is really Christian. We are fulfilled by the wish that Catholics and Protestants will find each other in the times of deep misery for our own people."

Dezember 1928, 36.3% of the members of the NSDStB (the student organization of the Nazis) were students of Protestant theology although among the student body they were only 21.3%.

11.11.1930 - The "Pastor Gazette" published an essay on the relationship between NSDAP and Church. The author, Pastor Friedrich Wienecke, declared that it is the task of theology and pastors to help that the Nazi movement does not disappear but instead that "it will bring health to our people by virtue of devine force".

12.6.1932 - The Swiss newspaper "Neue Zuricher Zeitung" published a report about the Protestant church in Germany: "Many leading representatives of the Protestant church, especially, the younger pastors, sympathise with Hitler and are active in the NSDAP. In nearly all regional churches alliances of national-socialist priests exist. The Protestant church is about to become a "party church" [of the NSDAP]".

31.7.1932 - Election in Germany: The NSDAP obtains 37.4 % of the votes. Among protestant priests the NSDAP obtains about 50-60 % (according to Mensing, in: News of the Protestant-Lutherian Church in Bavaria, 1998, p. 254).

30.1.1933 - Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany.

January 1933 - In the Protestant Sunday newspaper in Bayeria wrote Dr. Hermann Steinlein: " I have in proved in my writing that in the Protestant church, one has pointed for centuries to Luther's anti-Jewish writings (p- 22-27)."

20.3.1933 - Building of the first concentration camp in Dachau.

28.3.1933 - The Catholic bishops revoke their former rejection of national socialism. Different from the Protestant church, the Catholic church had prohibited the membership of priest in the NSDAP. On 28.3.1933, this ban was lifted.

7.4.1933 - Ban of all jews from civil service.

26.4.1933 - Hitler justified the persecution of jews in his talk with the Catholic Bishop Berning von Osnabruck pointing out that Judenverfolgung damit, "that he doesn't do anything against the Jews which hasn't been done by the Churches in 1500 years." And with regard to the Protestant church, Hitler declares that "he knows that he is in agreement with Luther".

April 1933 - The Protestant Sunday newspaper in Bavaria wrote about Hitler: "We see the tool of divine providence in him... May he complete, what he began powerfully, to the blessing of our people and our Protestant church."

September 1933 - The president of the Protestant deaconry declared: "I wish that our young brothers in the deaconry institutions become all SA men."

1.9.1939 - Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

29.9.1939 - The German Protestant church thanks God: "We thank him for giving to our weapons a quick victory"

30.6.1940 - The Protestant Bishop August Marahrens from Hanover sends a telegram to Hitler expressing his hope that "under your guidance a new order will be build in entire Europe".

September 1941 - The Protestant churches in Germany demand with reference to Dr. Martin Luther the strongest actions against Jews.

Oktober 1941 - Beginning of transportation of German Jews to concentration camps and mass gassings.

11.9.1942 - In a letter to the publisher of the Nazi newspaper "Der Vorwarts" the
Protestant-Lutheran priest Friedrich Wilhelm Auer from Larrieden suggests to hang up ten Jews for every German civilian who has died by allied bomb attacks. Another suggestion:

"If the enemy does not accept our peace terms within 24 hours, a St Bartholomew's Day Massacre will be organized and no Jew will be spared."

8.5.1945 - capitulation of Germany

The philosopher Karl Jaspers observes in 1962: Luther's "advice against the Jews has exactly executed by Hitler." (From: The philosophical faith in view of the revelation, Munich in 1962, p. 90)

Extracts from The Protestant Church and the Holocaust.

16 April 2007 at 00:08  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Did really the Catholic Church play a more important role in the holocaust than the Protestant Church?

No. But we know which figures pushed for the Protestant churches to merge into Hitler's Protestant Reich Church under Ludwig Mueller.

We know about The Barmen Declaration and the creation of the opposing Confessing Protestant Church.

What is unclear is the role of Pope Pius XII during the period because the documents are not public. That is the crux of the issue, that noone can say definitely what role Pope Pius XII played for good or ill, because the information is not in the public domain.

16 April 2007 at 06:31  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

I note that Yad Vashem have agreed to reconsider their description of Pope Pius XIIs neutrality stance in light of ambassadors Monsignor Antonio Francos objection. I wonder if the British War Museum will take the hint, I expect not.

Mr Voyager, you assert that we can not know what the Pope did, good or bad during the war unless we have access to the archives, I would suggest that the currently available documented actions of the man during this period and testified to by most reliable and credible sources are evidence enough for his motives and deeds.

I would further suggest that there can be little more compelling evidence in support of said actions than that given by those who, in other circumstances one would expect to be among your fiercest critics, i.e. Judaism, but were in fact the chief recipients of his humanity and subsequently recorded such compassion clearly and unambiguously. I suspect that the achieves will not contribute significantly to that which is already known and of course will be open to the charge of objectivity.

16 April 2007 at 14:30  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I wonder if the British War Museum will take the hint, I expect not.

I know of no British War Museum. There is an Imperial War Museum in South Kensington representing the Forces of the British Empire.

The Second World War is the most documented war in history; we have even had access to Archives in Moscow which includes tranches of documents from Berlin; and the Red Cross Archives have recently been made available; German banks like Dresdner, Deutsche etc have given historians access to their files to report warts and all on the actions of Hermann Josef Abs and his role in the Occupied Countries and in acquiring businesses......I therefore do not consider actions of the man during this period and testified to by most reliable and credible sources are evidence enough for his motives and deeds. to be comparable in any sense in terms of openness.

Pope Pius XII has a reputation shrouded in clouds of obfuscation and it is very hard to reach a definitive conclusion about such a man. I have an open mind on the matter and as for Jewish opinion, that is irrelevant simply because so many of their own were compromised by cooperation with the regime, and I doubt Yad Vashem exposes their failures too openly.

No, it is simply truth that is important.

16 April 2007 at 16:08  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Mr Voyager,

Yes OK, British War Museum, Imperial War Museum, I Say Tomayto, You Say Tomahto, If I didn’t leave you these little Tidbits to chew on you’d get bored.

The Vatican is not a business of the state, unlike banks which are subject to a national executive, it is sovereign of itself and as such cannot be compared to the commercial influences present in the financial industries, or any other department or function of state. Its funny you should mention Moscow as the whole blackening of Pius XII s name originates there as testified by KGB chief Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa.

I am not of your opinion on this, as I do not think it is very hard to reach a conclusion about Pope Pius XII, whether it is definitive or not, time will tell. I take his life, his writings, and the evidence of those who knew him, friend and foe and conclude here was a man who made every effort to protect the Church, tell the truth to the world and give aid to those in need where he could (in no particular order). Good grief Geldorf and Bono are lionised for swearing on TV and haranguing a few politicians. No Pius XII was a good Pope (and yes we have has some real stinkers)

I occurs to me that your position of ‘It is simply truth that is important’ is an honourable one but I think it shows a little of the Doubting Thomas in you, needing to place your finger in the holes; which is topical at this time of year.

16 April 2007 at 17:11  
Anonymous Voyager said...

but I think it shows a little of the Doubting Thomas in you, needing to place your finger in the holes; which is topical at this time of year.

What "holes" ? In the case of Pope Pius XII they have been covered up and we are asked to believe there are "holes" when none are apparent

17 April 2007 at 07:16  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

The holes, figuratively speaking are the documents in the archives that you require as proof of the actions of PPXII and that until you (or others) see them you will not believe he opposed the Nazis or actively saved Jews etc. The testimony of others being not enough to convince you that he was not the person described by John Cornwell and his ilk, who just want to trash his reputation for their own purposes.

It was this that brought to mind the similarity between your refusal to accept the word of other witnesses and the proof that St Thomas required, not a perfect allegory granted but nevertheless germane. Like you (I presume) I never knew the man personally but my take on the situation is that the detractors had and still have an axe to grind against the RCC for one reason or another (I accept you still have an open mind), or jut prefer to believe slander and conspiracy. After all don’t we all know Prince Phillip had Diana killed by MI5 because she was pregnant with Dodies child! I digress.

If I can ask question Mr Voyager, do you accept that there was a concerted effort to blacken PPXII name that originated with the KGB and a play in Berlin (This sound like one of the conspiracy theories I have just been rubbishing except one of their own admitted it), and that subsequently this is the basis for accusing him of being a Nazi sympathiser. If not then where is the proof, if so then there are a lot of liars out to get him.

17 April 2007 at 10:03  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I said I had an "open mind" - just that. I have not read John Cornwell's book nor given it great attention; I do not find conspiracy theories around The Vatican very interesting.

I simply do not know what to think of Pope Pius XII.

The man that is of interest however is Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini who was very active in meetings with Count Ciano and others, and whom it is alleged was blackmailed by an Attache in the British Embassy on behalf of SIS to facilitate the smuggling of useful Nazis like Klaus Barbie out of Europe postwar using the "Refugee Bureau" of The Vatican

Sr Montini was sources say, gay as was the British Embassy official, Hugh Montgomery. During the War he had arranged for British escaped POWs to use an MI9 escape line and Montini knew of this.

The Catholic Bishop most close to the Nazis was Bishop Alois Hudal who headed a group of pro-Nazi clerics....he used travel documents from Montini to aid fugitives. Montini also headed Caritas......other documents used by theBritish and Americans came from Francois-Poncet Head of the IRC

17 April 2007 at 11:08  
Anonymous Voyager said...

This reference might be of interest


With men like this it is hard to know how you keep track of what they are doing in any organisation

17 April 2007 at 11:21  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

I sometimes think that no commentary however obscure is complete today without the Gay slander in there somewhere. Its almost like an article of faith that any report is somehow less credible without a ‘He’s Gay’ in there somewhere, He’s secretly gay, he’s a bit gay except on feast-days when he’s a cross dresser, He was Gay but he’s better now. What ever his inclination I guarantee you will not get confirmation in any Vatican Archive Documents.

As one of PPXIIs closest advisors it would be inconceivable that the Pope was up to all kinds of skulduggery but his aid-de-camp Montini new nothing of it, even better if the individual in question was a future Pope, then we can burn the whole rotten lot!

Obviously the Vatican had to have dealings with the government of Italy be they Facist or whoever, Ciano was the Foreign Minister for Mussolini so who else would Montini have dealings with. To subsequently say Montini was in league with the Ciano and the Fascists is well, its par for the course I suppose, along with all the Nazi- Vatican secrets and Nazi Gold

However bishop Hudal does seem to be a bit wide of the mark, but even he defended Christianity against National Socialism in the end and seems primarily motivated by a desire to defeat communism. This is exactly the agenda perused by JPII , Maggie T & Ronny. On the rehabilitation of ex Nazis, NASSA claim they only got to the moon first because they snapped up more Nazi scientists that the Russians. Hearsay and rumour like a game of Chinese whispers; none of this is evidence against PPXII

17 April 2007 at 17:00  
Anonymous Voyager said...

To subsequently say Montini was in league with the Ciano and the Fascists is well, its par for the course I suppose, along with all the Nazi- Vatican secrets and Nazi Gold

How you inferred all that from what little I wrote is impressive, and suggests a role in BBC News or other areas of fiction.

If a British diplomat is involved in a gay relationship with a Vatican official it is hardly an earth-shattering revelation....I mean we had Burgess in the Washington Embassy doing his thing....and politics is especially dirty in wartime when the stakes are higher and even "neutrality" means you do favours for both sides

17 April 2007 at 17:49  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Mr Recusant, you may find this of interest


17 April 2007 at 18:12  
Anonymous The recusant said...

Mr Voyager,

Me, in the BBC, Oh the delicious irony, instead of shouting at the telly I could throw things at the presenter’s head, what a happy thought. You are right that a gay relationship with a Vatican official is hardly an earth-shattering revelation (especially today), it’s just so tiresome, and I find it increasingly tedious that it has to be dragged up (no pun intended) into nearly every topic somewhere along the line.

The link on Pius is very interesting thanks, you are almost doing my propaganda for me (have you across the Tiber before the weeks out). I think I’ll see what other juicy offerings his grace has to offer, see you in another discussion.

17 April 2007 at 20:11  
Anonymous Voyager said...

you are almost doing my propaganda for me

No. I am simply looking for the truth and stumble on interesting facts, some of which are worth sharing

17 April 2007 at 22:20  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I will add that had Pope Pius XII made a speech on some matter of theological and philosophical interest in say Regensburg; no doubt the media and press of those days would have hysterically accused him of interfering in Politics or exacerbating "difficulties" with New, Modernising Regimes in Europe, one of which had only recently, in 1929 established the independent status of The Vatican State which Mussolini himself had agreed to.

No doubt when Pope Benedict XVI comments on anodyne matters Muslims and Media pay more attention than Christians; and yet there is less outcry when Christians are murdered in Turkey than when words are spoken in Regensburg....

19 April 2007 at 08:46  

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