NY Daily News article on Pius XII (POLL ALERT)

You knew that as soon as the ball started rolling again in the cause of Pope Pius XII, as Pope Benedict XVI did today, the naysayers would resume their detraction.

What always astonishes me is how the earlier lies so quickly became the footnotes in subsequent "scholarly" attacks.  But I digress.

Here is a story in the New York Daily News… which as a POLL!   I voted "No" in their poll… not that you have to.  But again I digress.

Pope Benedict XVI declares Pius XII ‘venerable,’ angering Jewish groups

BY Samuel Goldsmith

Saturday, December 19th 2009, 11:46 AM

Jewish leaders expressed disgust Saturday when Pope Benedict XVI pushed a controversial predecessor one step closer to sainthood.  [Actually, it must have been Pius XII’s own life that pushed him closer to this.  You should see the documentation presented in the cause for Pius.  I did.  I saw the stacks of volumes of the positio presented to demonstrate the "heroic virtue" of Pius XII.]

The pontiff declared Pius XII "venerable" even though he’s been criticized for not doing enough to help Jews during the Holocaust.  [Pius XII saved thousands of Jews.  Thousands of families exist today because of him, perhaps even those to which some of his detractors belong.]

Jewish groups had asked for the move – one step before beatification – to be postponed until they’re allowed to review Vatican archives on Pius’ World War II actions.  [And why should Jews be able to determine anything about a cause for a servant of God in the Catholic Church?  Are Catholic leaders consulted when someone is determined to be "Righteous Among The Nations"?]

Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, called Benedict’s decision "profoundly insensitive and thoughtless."

"We are left bereft in our feelings," he said from his Manhattan office Saturday.

The Vatican maintains Pius worked quietly to help the Jews during World War II.

Jewish groups say no documents supporting that have been released and they need to know more about what he did and didn’t do.  [HUH?]

"Why the rush to open up the wound again before the opening of the archives?" asked Abe Foxman, U.S. national director of the Anti-Defamation League, from Jerusalem.  [The same old same old.]

Also elevated on the road to sainthood Saturday was Pope John Paul II, widely popular among both Christians and Jews during his time as pontiff from 1978 to 2005.

When Jews start consulting Catholic leaders about how Jews can pray or who is considered worthy of veneration, we might be able to see their concerns in a different light.

I dunno.  This stuff always sounds whiny to me.  I know… I know… emotions run high in these discussions.  Am I wrong about this?

The New York Daily News has a POLL about this. 


In the meantime:

I recommend these books about Pius XII and what he did to save Jews.  These could also be good gifts. It is important to get this information into circulation.

First, try The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: Pope Pius XII and His Secret War Against Nazi Germany  by David G. Dalin.  The author is a rabbi.

Also, there are the excellent books by Ron Rychlak Hilter, the War, and the Pope.  Rychlak is professor in the law school at Ole’ Miss and teaches how to handle evidence.  Amazon made this really hard to hunt up on their site.  A search won’t produce it.  I had to modify an old link I posted some time ago.  This is a testimony that this is one of the better books.


Also by Rychlak with Michael Novak is Righteous Gentiles: How Pius XII And the Catholic Church Saved Half a Million Jews from the Nazis

Speaking of evidence, there is also Pius XII and the Second World War: According to the Archives of the Vatican by Pierre Blet,


Others could be added (and maybe I will add them), but give these a shot.  They are fascinating reading.

UPDATE: 20 Dec 0536 GMT

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Mitchell NY says:

    How do people of another faith know so much about our Saints and lives? Are they “closet” Catholics in disguise? Does our Pope or Bishops have that much say into the decisions internal to such faiths as well? I mean does this work both ways? I do not get this.

  2. Geoffrey says:

    I just voted. “Disgust”? Are they kidding?!

  3. Doc Angelicus says:

    I just voted too. The No vote is up to 49% over 44% Yes.

  4. Jack Hughes says:

    Lets make celebrate our venerable Father and vote Chicago style

  5. Roland de Chanson says:

    Are you wrong on this? Not at all, in my opinion. I had a Jewish history teacher in high school who roundly rebuked a Jewish student for repeating the calumny about Pius XII. In the previous thread on this subject I mentioned several Jewish luminaries who praised and thanked Pius XII. That momzer Abe Foxman should shut his mouth. He’s probably still waiting for the pogroms following Gibson’s movie.

    Another good source is Pinchas Lapide’s Three Popes and the Jews.

    As an aside, I found Rychlak’s work on Amazon searching both by title and author.

    I hope that Piux XII (the pope I remember from boyhood and whose biography by Richard Cardinal Cushing I received as a Christmas gift one year) will be canonized in the reign of Benedict XVI. That of course implies either a fast-tracking of the process and/or a very long reign for Benedict. I pray for both.

    Pius XII. Sanctus subito. Benedictus XVI. Ad multos annos.

  6. EXCHIEF says:

    Would that some of our U S political leaders take their lead from the Pope and not do everything based upon political correctness but, rather, on the basis of what is right. Looks like the vote is being modified in the right direction as a result, perhaps, of Fr Z’s bringing this poll to our attention.

  7. Jack007 says:

    I think the “Fr. Z effect” is becoming somewhat of a legend among online pollsters.
    If you read the comments, his name and veiled references to WDTPRS invariably come up. :-)
    Jack in KC

  8. techno_aesthete says:

    Yes 32%
    No 62%
    I don’t know 6%

    The books by Sr. Margherita Marchione in defense of Pius XII should be added to the list.

  9. Traductora says:

    My feeling is that it’s overdue for Pius XII – and premature for JPII. But that’s just me. Off to vote now.

  10. An American Mother says:

    Oddly enough, this controversy – around the time Cornwell’s awful book was first published – is one of the things that led me to the Church.

    I’m an old rat-in-the-barn courthouse lawyer, so naturally I looked into the actual contemporaneous evidence. Then I asked myself, “Why are these people rabidly attacking a Pope who seems to have made almost superhuman efforts to protect Italian Jews?” and then, “Why did all the contemporaneous Jewish luminaries praise him, and why did things suddenly change?”

    I have actually had a Jewish friend tell me that Golda Meir and Albert Einstein and the Chief Rabbi of Rome all praised Pius XII ‘because they needed his support to establish the State of Israel.’ No evidence for this of course.

    None are so blind, etc. etc. Our conversion sort of created a coolness between our families.

    There are some Jews – mostly rather liberal, Reform Jews – who just have a blind hatred for Pius XII, not based on any facts but just on what they have ‘heard’. I am not sure why they bought “Die Stellvertreter” and the STASI’s disinformation so completely, but they have. I wish there were some way to get through to them. I tried my best, I really did.

  11. johnnyboy says:

    some Jewish groups got the holy father to revise the Good Friday prayer in the Traditional Roman missal the prayer goes back unchanged to 4th century and The Congregation actually issued the decree on heroic virtues for Pius XII some time ago on 8 May 2007.
    Remember bishop williamson Comments the holy see was fast to Comment even when many catholic will said the four bishop are outside the church if the priests of the SSPX were in schism the Ecclesia Dei commission would not allow Catholics to frequent their Masses since they would be allowing Catholics to worship outside the Church let us look at the Good Friday prayer in the Novus Ordo rite

    Let us pray for the Jewish people the first to hear the word of God that they may continue to grow in the love of his name and in faithfulness to his covenant WOW!!

    How can the Jews continue in faithfulness to his covenant when they have no covenant?It cannot be the Old Covenant, for both Scripture and the Magisterium declare that the Mosaic Covenant, as a legal entity, has been revoked. But it also cannot be the New Covenant of Christ – the only covenant through which God grants salvation – because the prayer is for the “Jewish people” who are outside the New Covenant. It also cannot be the Abrahamic covenant, since this covenant of faith has been transformed into the New Covenant of which the Jews are not members

    who is the boss in rome ?

  12. tewter says:

    Pope Pius XII was the pope of my childhood. I loved him then and love him even more now. His dignity, grace, charity and intelligence inspired me then and inspire me today.

    In 1998 while on pilgrimage to Rome the guide said Pope Pius XII would never be canonized. At that time I was unaware of the slander against him. I think someday the guide will have to eat his words. Thank you Pope Benedict. Ad multos annos.


    As for his detractors, words cannot express MY disgust for these enemies of the truth. The calumny about Pius XII and the Jews emanated from the Kremlin, so that makes Abraham Foxman et al. stooges of the most murderous and anti-Semitic regime in history, even including the Nazis.

    The whiners don’t think the Holy Father raised his voice enough, and apparently would have preferred stupid symbolic acts to his actual, concrete deeds and their results. Let these yahoos ask the hundreds of thousands of Jews whose lives Pius saved what they think.

  14. mdillon says:

    It’s amazing how our side always wins these polls!

  15. An American Mother says:

    It’s der Stellvetreter, of course.

    You’d think on a website devoted to good grammar that I could keep my genders straight . . . but NO, my keyboard outruns my brain yet again.

  16. Trevor says:

    The irony in that poll question is terrific.

    “Do you think the Pope was too quick to venerate Pius?”.

    Granted, both Pius XII and John Paul II were holy men (and we can now say that with certainty). However, Pope Pius XII’s canonization has been going on for over forty-four years, in contrast to the four years for John Paul II!

  17. Norah says:

    Rychlak’s book is wonderful; chock a block with references. Dalin’s book, more widely publicised because he isn’t a Catholic, is good and in an interview, on Catholic Answers I think, he said that he obtained many of his references from Rychlak’s book. Blet’s book is a summary of a twelve volume work which he and three others worked on from the wartime documents. Sr. Margherita Marchione has devoted a good part of her life to the defense of Pius XII. Whatever these books and others come up with in defense of Pius XII the naysayers will have other “evidence”. Years ago with I was researching this topic I came across an article which asserted that Golda Meir and Albert Einstein and the Chief Rabbi of Rome lied in their praise of the pope and when I came to the end of the article I saw that it was written by someone at a Catholic institution. I was shocked but then I was very naive in those days about the whiteanting within the Church.

    some Jewish groups got the holy father to revise the Good Friday prayer and some Jewish groups got the USCCB to revise their amendment to the document about evangelising Jews. With those two major successes why shouldn’t Jewish groups think that they can decide for the pope whether or not Pius XII should be canonised.

  18. Eric says:

    Inside the Vatican of Pius XII by Harold H. Tittmann Jr. is a good book on the subject. It is written by a protestant American diplomat stuck in the Vatican during WWII.

  19. JoanW says:

    Crown of Glory is another excellent read. It was written by a Protestant, Alden Hatch, during Pius’ lifetime. Very inspiring.

  20. Roland de Chanson says:

    Let us keep in mind the words of that Jew who stood astride the Old and New Covenants:

    I come not to destroy the Torah but to fulfill it.

    I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.

    Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church. And the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.

    Heaven and Earth will pass away. But My Words will not pass away.

  21. archambt says:

    I doubt anyone here has see “Hiding and Seeking,” which is a documentary that follows a Jewish father taking his two sons to find the people who hid their grandparents in Poland during WWII. The folks who hid them were Catholic (and later declared “Righteous Among the Nations”). One of the issues that documentary addresses is Jewish “Anti-Gentilism” if you will. There is a persistent distrust among the Jewish people (Reformed to Hasidic) for the “rest of us”. I think anytime we deal with the Holocaust, and what was or was not done on behalf of the Jewish people, things will get heated. It doesn’t help that the Catholic Church has a historical current of Antisemitism to it. That considered, I can understand their reaction here, despite the fact that I think they are wrong to react this way.

    So, does it sound whiny? No more so than some of the stuff I read on here.

  22. Robert says:

    “Unlike Pius, John Paul is beloved in the Jewish community for embracing Israel. As Pope, he prayed at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, and was the first Pope in history to visit a synagogue.”

    Oh, I don’t know about that. I believe that the first pope to visit a synagogue would have been St. Peter.

  23. It doesn’t help that the Catholic Church has a historical current of Antisemitism to it.

    WRONG. Jesus was a Jew. The Blessed Mother was a Jew. The Apostles were Jews. Jesus said He came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. You cannot point to a single Catholic doctrine that even condones anti-Semitism. The Popes have always been protectors of the Jews, as Rabbi Dalin documents in his book. No faithful Catholic is a hater of Jews; and no unfaithful Catholic has ever persecuted Jews with the backing of the Church.

    Look at an electoral map of Germany in 1933, and you’ll find that most of Hitler’s voters came from non-Catholic provinces. On the other hand, a large number of faithful Catholics in put their lives on the line to save the persecuted Jews in the ’30s and ’40s.

  24. swamp_rabbit says:

    Has anyone read any of the posts beneath the Daily News article?

    Every time there’s an article even remotely related to something Catholic, the two-bit bashers seem to come out of the woodwork with all their “original” comments & thoughts from the protestant-right or the atheist-left… but on *any* article I’ve read about these beatifications the comments have been pretty extreme with almost none from the middle….

  25. Joan M says:

    The “No” vote is now 74%. Declaring Pope Pius XII Venerable was not done too fast, it was delayed far too long!

  26. Quirinus says:

    As far as the Jewish community of Rome is concerned, a sharp line of distinction must be drawn between their “intellghentzja” representing them in the public square and the ordinary member of the community. The two groups literally hate each other. The Jewish elite that normally gets to give interviews is heavily secularized – even rabbis – fanatically liberal and anti-Catholic. The ordinary guy you run into down at the old ghetto is generally quite different, and some of their elders remember VERY well to whom they owe their lives.

    They do not feel represented by the leftist elite that goes on TV. I have personally talked to old Jews who had only gratitude for Pius XII and hostility toward the secularist left that has taken over their institutions.

    Antoher important factor – in fact the main one – is the modernist sect in our midst. The black legend against Pius XII is of CATHOLIC origin, not Jewish. It’s a civil war among ourselves that led the previously pro-Pius XII Jewish community astray, and it was our internal weakness that allowed the black leged to prevail. Now of course eye-witnesses of what really happened are almost all dead and the young generation grew up with the drivel that has been fed to them for decades.

    I wish we as a Church had the strenght and the means to unleash a hammering counter-offensive on this, and avoided falling in the trap the media and our resident traitors have set up to have us aim at the wrong target. The Pius XII black-legend is part of the war on Papacy and is rooted in the neo-modernist ecclesiology. I dare contend that vast sectors of the larger Jewish community could be our allies on this, if we had the means and the guts to challenge the conformist BS on VENERABLE Pius XII, the epitome of the Roman Pope and saint to many of us who were born in the shadow of the “Cuppolone”. God forgive those renegades who have done this to our Papa Pacelli.

    Viva er Papa!

  27. I never understood people who answer “not sure” in polls, especially on highly controversial topics like this. What are they, potted plants?

  28. dcs says:

    The black legend against Pius XII is of CATHOLIC origin, not Jewish.

    Is Rolf Hochhuth Catholic? I know he is not Jewish.

  29. Melania says:

    I’m very gratified by this news.

    Yes, this kind of announcement does tend to bring out the anti-Catholics in force in comment streams. In my area, it’s the Lavender Mafia in particular.

    I submit comments in only a few places generally, but I try to do my bit in defending Holy Mother Church in these instances in my local rag. My current approach is to not engage the haters in any way but to just drop a lot of facts with references into the comment stream. One or two commenters then go into hysterics and it seems after that the hatefest dies out.
    Or … my contributions have no effect whatsoever and it’s just a coincidence.

  30. An American Mother says:

    The black legend against Pius XII is of CATHOLIC origin, not Jewish.

    Don’t think so, although certainly people like Cornwell (who claims he’s Catholic) have enthusiastically supported it.

    Hochhuth was from Hesse, so chances are if he has any religion at all it’s Lutheran. But he’s a Communist (and a friend of David Irving), and when East Germany fell it was disclosed that the STASI (with the blessing or connivance of the KGB) had funded Der Stellvertreter with the goal of discrediting the Church.

    That’s where it started, but unfortunately there are self-loathing Catholics who helped spread it around.

  31. The black legend against Pius XII is of CATHOLIC origin, not Jewish.

    Not true. The lie about Pius XII was hatched by the Soviets.

  32. Emilio III says:

    Fr Z, regarding the difficulty in finding Rychlak’s book on Amazon… They have it listed as not released yet, with a publication date of March 14, 2010. They are taking “pre-orders” for delivery on St Patrick’s day. This is presumably a new edition in hardcover: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592765653/ref=oss_T15_product

    The link you posted is for a paperback edition available from third-party vendor. They clearly need to work on how they handle new or revised editions, but there does not seem to be any malice involved, just typical incompetence.

  33. Quirinus says:

    “The black legend against Pius XII is of CATHOLIC origin, not Jewish.

    Not true. The lie about Pius XII was hatched by the Soviets.

    I have to disagree. At a very minumum level, there was a converging effort between the KGB and our own modernists, which would be hardly surprising. But the KGB’s analysts only picked up a lead from our modernists, and my informed guess (although still a guess) is that the Italian Communist Party suggested that move – or at least informed Moscow of the internal struggles of the Church – when they were still hoping to take over Italy at the end of WWII. Be as it may, while it is true that the KGB basically wrote Hochnuts’ play “The Deputy” which re-launched the anti-Pius campaign in the ’60s, not many realize that they had already tried it 20 years earlier with a series of programs on Radio Moscow. That is something (that used to be) well-known, at least in Italy. But the fact is that the vigilant KGB analysts could not have possibly missed the modernist attacks against Pius XII (as part of their ceaseless offensive on the papacy) that had started way before their radio propaganda, and they probably felt that the years around 1960 were the right time to revive that old black legend. The modernist sect was lobbying for a “new kind” of Pope after Pope Pius XI (Achille Ratti), the author of Divini Redemptoris, Quadragesimo anno, Ubi arcano and many other teachings seen as “medieval” by the modernists and which had Card. Pacelli as their ghost-writer in
    many cases (including Mit Brenneder Sorge btw).

    They knew all too well that Eugenio Card. Pacelli was hardly their guy, hence the 1930’s campaign against the “nazi” Cardinal. Come to think of it, haven’t we seen that kind of smear tactics before and after every new conclave lately? And how sweet was it to see their hopes frustrated once again in 2005! Let them swallow their HitlerJugend mud now.

    Sandro Magister was among the first to try and (re)lift the lid of silence over this embarassing aspect of the “Pius XII wars” (embarassing to the usual suspects that is). See for instance:



    We must be very careful and avoid the trap of escalating the quarrel with small but powerful groups and organs who claim to represent the Jewish opinion, and try to have us grow hostile to “the Jews”. “The Jews” are not (IMHO) the problem here – and it’s very easy to have our apologetics stuck in a media blind alley over this. As I said above, if we reject the intended generalisations of the media machine, we can bring a strategic part of the Jewish opinion on our side and for good reasons, having to do with natural law, religious freedom and the public square. The KGB lead is solid, but not the deepest level of this story and its too easy to dismiss that one as a conspiracy theory of some Catholic “McCarthyite”. Not saying that we should let it go unmentioned, but that is neither the head not the heart of this dragon.

    The poisonous core of all this is (neo)modernism. This is crystal clear evident in Italy, where the proponents of today’s version of the black-legend on Pius XII are the exact same types who monopolized the “official” version of the history and the meaning of Vatican II, who created the myth of the “Spirit of the Council” and who had their to-do list ready for the conclave of 2005. For instance Alberto Melloni, who never misses a chance to smear Ven. Pius XII. On him and his circle see again Magister: http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/21473?eng=y

    By aiming at it not only we hit the head of the snake, but we take the battle to a battleground of our own choosing, to an intra-Catholic “debate” about which the media and the lobbies will certainly have their say, but with much weaker impact than what can be obtained by playing the stale card of anti-semitism and of course anti-communist “obsessions”. Our target must be the real one: the prophets of the hermeneutic of rupture, because that’s where the anti-Pius XII snake comes from. Crush its head and you will not only restore Eugenio Pacelli’s defamed memory, but you will have scored a victory on a much wider front which is still that of Pope Benedict’s famous 2005 address to the Curia.

  34. irishgirl says:

    The comments that you put in the article say it all, Father.

    I’m so tired of having to kowtow to ‘political correctness’.

    Pius XII SAVED Jews-he quietly told bishops, priests and religious up and down Italy to do it!

    I have another book to add to the list: ‘Assisi Underground’ by Alexander Ramatti. It’s the first hand account of Padre Rufino Nicacci, the Father Guardian of San Damiano in Assisi. He headed the underground operation that saved Eastern European Jews from the Nazis. He received the order to do this from the Bishop of Assisi, Giuseppe Nicolini. And all the refugee Jews who were hidden in Assisi survived, all except one woman who died from complications of diabetes. I also have a DVD titled, ‘Assisi in Silence’, and a video, ‘Assisi Underground’, based on Ramatti’s book.

  35. I’m so tired of this, “Pius didn’t do enough to save the Jews” nonsense. I’m sick to death of it. Why is it that people feel the need to tell the Church how to do it’s job? It’s really stupid if you think about it. Pius was heroic in saving over 1.5 million people from the Nazis, half of them Jews. How can Pius possibly have remained silent? If Pius had denounced the Nazis directly, it would’ve hindered the Church’s efforts to save more Jews. But people will never be satisfied no matter how much proof we provide them with.

  36. wayofthecross12 says:

    I have read The Myth of Hitler’s Pope and it is a very good historical read. Everyone who says Pope Benedict declared Pius XII venerable too soon has not in my opinion read enough. I say to them it should have been done sooner. Viva el papa.

  37. Titus says:

    The Rychlak book is absolutely chock full of evidence, and he devotes a good bit of time in the appendix to dismantling Cornwell’s hatchet job (Hitler’s Pope). The only drawback to the Rychlak work is that it is notably unattractive (poor paper quality, odd typeface, etc.) and not the most readable book in the world. It was, after all, written by a lawyer. But as information goes, it’s irreplaceable.

    It doesn’t help that the Catholic Church has a historical current of Antisemitism to it.

    This is, as other commenters have observed, a false canard. This statement attempts to combine two historical facts and some a-historical lies into a politically useful catchphrase. The facts are, in abbreviated form: 1) The Church has historically been what some have clumsily termed “anti-Jewish” in a religious sense. That is, she clearly teaches that salvation is secured through faith in Christ and that Judaism, although rooted in truth, is not an optimal means for obtaining salvation: thus, it would be preferable if Jews became Christian, for their own sakes. 2) Certain historical events have brought Catholic rulers into conflict with Jewish populations, but for principally secular, political reasons. A prime example is the poor relations between the Spanish crown at the close of the reconquista and Iberian Jews. Many Jews and Jewish communities supported the Moors, often for somewhat understandable economic and political reasons. The crown took the sort of punitive measures it routinely took against rebellious and troublesome populations. In neither case was the fact that the people were specifically Jewish, or, even less relevantly, racially Semitic, of actual importance.

    But to say that the Church herself, or even historical secular authorities closely identified with the Church, are, or have been, “anti-Semitic” is false and anachronistic.

  38. Baron Korf says:

    Such vile hatred on thos comments. Don’t read them unless you have a stomach for that kind of thing.

  39. irishgirl says:

    romancrusader-what you said!

Comments are closed.