Pro Pontiff, Pro-Magisterial, Pro-life, Pro-family. These articles reflect these values and I believe should be Interesting to Catholics. If there are any article I have missed, or you feel should not be here, or you agree/disagree with, then please feel free to post a comment.

ZENIT RSS-Newsfeed

Catholic Exchange

CE - Theology of the Body

Catholic News Network

Catholic World News Top Headlines ( :: Featured

CNA Daily News

CNA - Saint of the Day

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Karl Keating

At his blog Catholic apologist Mark Shea has posted "Some Thoughts on the Apologetics Subculture": (scroll down to June 16).

Among other things, Mark bemoans the tendency, among some Catholic and not a few Protestant apologists, to get bogged down in minutiae. As an example, he refers to a discussion about the interpretation of the Greek behind the word "until" in Matthew 1:25: "and he knew her not until she had brought forth her firstborn son."

The link Mark provides takes you to an interminable tit-for-tat between a Protestant and a Catholic. Read just the first few paragraphs (you won't be able to get through the whole thing). What will come to mind is Macbeth's soliloquy in Act V: "It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

The writer (in this case a Protestant, but Catholics have done the same) offers up thousands of words--19,000 of them in fact--that supposedly demonstrate that his understanding of "until" is true and that his Catholic opponent's understanding is false. In fact, the most he can hope to do is to prove that this particular Catholic committed an error here or there; he can't (and doesn't) prove that the traditional Catholic understanding of "until" is wrong.

Such a waste of time!

Look, I'm an apologist, and I like engaging in apologetics, but there are limits. There are limits to what apologetics can accomplish, and there are limits to my patience. When I come across a 19,000-word dispute about the meaning of a single term, I don't think: "This is impressive work." I think: "This guy needs to get a life."

Apologetics is the explanation and defense of the faith. It comes into play only when someone asks for an explanation or attacks the faith. It is not the same as evangelization, which is the promotion of the faith.
Apologetics is reactive; evangelization is pro-active. The two often go hand-in-hand, but they are not coterminous and should not be confused with one another.

I think apologetics is important, and that is why I have been engaged in it for a quarter of a century. I think it is so important that I don't want to waste time writing or reading 19,000-word exercises in futility.

It is said that Joseph Conrad once spent the better part of a day trying to decide whether to describe a character as "penniless" or "without a penny." There is a subtle distinction between the two, but it is so subtle that I am sure that no reader of his story ever came across the passage and wondered to himself why Conrad didn't choose the other term.

To Conrad, choosing one word over the other was important. It was important to absolutely no one else. Sometimes apologists reduce apologetics to the same level.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Mortal Sin of Blasphemy

Fr. William Saunders

I have heard Father Benedict Groeschel refer to The Da Vinci Code as “blasphemous.” Exactly what does he mean by this?

One of the greatest violations against the love of God and the reverence we owe to Him alone is the mortal sin of blasphemy. Blasphemy is thinking, speaking, or acting against God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — in a contemptuous, scornful, profane, or abusive manner. Serious ridicule of the saints, sacred objects, or persons consecrated to God is also blasphemous because God is indirectly attacked.

As Christians who are God-fearing, who truly respect God as God, and who love God with our whole hearts, minds and souls, we must be outraged at the blasphemous book and movie entitled The DaVinci Code. While the author Dan Brown states that his work is fiction, he also states it is based on facts. This work is a weaving of half-truths, misrepresentations, and outright lies. We do not have time to elaborate on all of them. However, a good source book would be The DaVinci Deception. Here are a few of the assertions paraphrasing directly from the book:

The book asserts that our New Testament was the product of man, not God. Wrong. The human authors were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The words of Sacred Scripture teach faithfully, firmly, and without error the truth God wanted us to have for our salvation.

The book asserts that throughout history there never has been a definitive version of the Bible. Wrong again. At the time of our Lord, the Jewish people had the 46 books we know as our Old Testament. The New Testament writings were completed by the year 100 at the latest and there is growing evidence that the completion date was closer to 70. In the early second century of Christianity, St. Irenaeus (a disciple of St. Polycarp, who was a student of St. John the Apostle), St. Justin the Martyr and Bishop Papias attested to the 27 books of our New Testament being used at Mass. The Muratorian Fragment (AD 155) lists the books of the New Testament and distinguished between those that were genuine to the apostolic faith and those that were heretical and forged, referring to gnostic writings. There were only four Gospels, those attributed to St. Matthew, an Apostle; St. Mark, a disciple of St. Peter; St. Luke a disciple of St. Paul and who knew our Blessed Mother; and St. John, an Apostle. These four Gospels were accepted because of their apostolic witness.

After the legalization of Christianity in AD 313, the Church was able to meet and to set officially the texts of Sacred Scripture. In AD 367, St. Athanasius listed the 27 books of the New Testament. When Pope St. Damasus instructed St. Jerome to translate the Sacred Scriptures into Latin in AD 382, producing the Vulgate Text, the canon of Sacred Scripture comprised 46 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament, as we have today and what the apostolic Church had accepted. This canon was again affirmed at the Council of Hippo in AD 393, the Council of III Carthage in AD 397, and in a letter of Pope Innocent I in AD 405. In AD 1441, the Council of Florence again defined the canon of Sacred Scripture. Therefore, the Church has had a definitive version of the Bible. The first person to tamper with the canon was Martin Luther in 1532 when he removed 7 books of the Old Testament.

What then are the Gnostic gospels? They did not appear until about AD 150-200. The Gnostics were a heretical sect that believed in a God and an equally powerful devil. First mistake! They thought everything material, including our person, was evil; everything spiritual was good. Our spirit was imprisoned in the body and only a special knowledge — or "gnosis" — would free us. Jesus, a spiritual creature (another mistake) only appeared human; He entered a human Jesus, because a spiritual being would not really become incarnated. He gave the gnosis. He then did not die on the Cross; only the human Jesus did. Therefore, the Gnostics did not believe in the incarnation. There was no redemption of us, body and soul. There were no sacraments because God would not channel grace through evil material things like bread and wine, water or oil.

The Gnostics did not believe in marriage or procreation, because no one would want to imprison another spirit in a body. Moreover, abortion, suicide, and infanticide were not uncommon among some of the Gnostic sects, because these acts freed the spirit from the body. For good reason, the Church condemned Gnosticism. The Gnostics wrote “gospels” appending names like the “Gospel of St. Thomas” to lend credibility, but these were bogus. None of the Gnostic gospels can be traced to apostolic origin, and for that reason plus their heretical teaching, they were condemned.

The Da Vinci Code asserts that Emperor Constantine declared Jesus as divine. Wrong again. Another lie. The Gospels attest Jesus is a divine person, true God who became true man. He showed His divine power through such ways as His miracles, exorcisms, and the forgiveness of sin. He suffered, died, and rose for our salvation. Just think: Would those Apostles have gone forth to found the Church and face martyrdom if Jesus truly was not the divine Lord and Savior, who rose from the dead? Would the Church have survived all of these centuries if Jesus were not the divine Lord and Savior, still present in the midst of His Church? Granted, in AD 325 Constantine and Pope St. Sylvester convoked the Council of Nicea to address another heresy called Arianism which asserted Jesus was just a human; that council produced the Nicene Creed, based on the Apostles' Creed attributed to the Apostles. Nevertheless, Christians have always believed in the divinity of Christ.

The book asserts Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. Wrong again. There is no historical evidence even in the bogus Gnostic gospels to support such a claim.

The book asserts the Church is “anti-woman.” Wrong again. We have always upheld the equal dignity of man and woman, each made in the image and likeness of God. We have upheld the sacred union of a husband and wife joined as one in the sacrament of marriage. We have honored our Blessed Mother as the model of faith. St. Mary Magdalene herself is the repentant sinner who stood at the foot of the Cross and saw the resurrected Lord; she is an inspiration for all of us.

The book and movie attack Opus Dei, an organization founded by St. Josemaria Escriva in 1928. Opus Dei is neither a cult nor spy organization, but a personal prelature of the Holy Father. The purpose is for all members — priests and laity — to sanctify their work as an offering to God. Moreover, there are no monks in Opus Dei, not to mention albino ones.

There are more half-truths, misrepresentations, and lies. In sum, this work is blasphemous against God, our Church, and Christianity as a whole. Remember a few months ago the Islamic community was outraged by the cartoons of Mohammed; rightfully so, although no one should resort to violence or the taking of innocent lives. Nevertheless, we should be outraged — but we should direct our anger toward taking advantage of this opportunity to profess our faith, counter the lies with the truth, and evangelize. In such a way, good will triumph over the blasphemous conspiracy presented by The Da Vinci Code, both book and movie.

Fr. Saunders is pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Potomac Falls and a professor of catechetics and theology at Notre Dame Graduate School in Alexandria. If you enjoy reading Fr. Saunders's work, his new book entitled Straight Answers (400 pages) is available at the Pauline Book and Media Center of Arlington, Virginia (703/549-3806).

(This article courtesy of the Arlington Catholic Herald.)

More Myths of 1968

George Weigel

In a recent editorial on condoms and AIDS, the London-based Tablet, an influential weekly in the Catholic Anglosphere, argued that "in 1968, the most persuasive reason advanced in favor of retaining the ban on artificial birth control was that to lift it would suggest that the Church could change its mind, and hence undermine its teaching authority."

That is a distortion of history and the editors of the Tablet — which played a large role in the Humanae Vitae controversy — should know it.

Pope Paul VI was terrified that the Church, by "changing its mind," would undermine the authority of its magisterium? Please. Paul VI presided over a Church that "changed its mind" — better, developed its thought, practice, and doctrine — on many once hotly-disputed questions: the validity of concelebrated Masses; the use of the vernacular in the liturgy; the relationship of the Bible and the Church's tradition as sources of divine revelation; the diaconate; religious freedom and the juridical, limited state. The Tablet's take on the bottom-line rationale for Humanae Vitae is a myth. But it's a myth of a piece with the journal's longstanding misconception of the Church's teachings on marital chastity and family planning: a misconception which holds that these teaching are "policies" or "positions" that can be changed, rather like governments can change the income tax rate or the speed limit.

In 1967, the Tablet (and the National Catholic Reporter) printed a leaked memorandum to Paul VI from members of the papal commission studying the morality of family planning. According to that memorandum, a majority of the commissioners had been persuaded that the morality of conjugal life should be judged by the overall pattern of a couple's sexual conduct, rather than by the openness of each act of marital love to conception. A close reading of this so-called "Majority Report" suggests, however, that the proponents of the Church "changing its mind" on the question of artificial contraception were after much bigger game: they intended to install proportionalism and the theory of the "fundamental option" — methods of moral reasoning later rejected by John Paul the Great in the 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor — as the official moral theological method of the Catholic Church.

Paul VI recognized this, and rejected the proposal accordingly. Pope Paul undoubtedly was told that a "change" of "position" on contraception would undermine the credibility of the magisterium; but that was, at best, a secondary question. The real issue was much graver, and touched virtually every question in the moral life.

If you want to measure the effects of proportionalist moral analysis on a once-great ecclesial community, you need go no farther than the Anglican Communion, which is being torn apart today because proportionalists, insisting that they are the party of progress, have jettisoned both biblical and classical Christian morality to the point where the moral boundaries of the Anglican community are so porous as to be virtually undecipherable. Perhaps the editors of the Tablet imagine this a desirable future for the Catholic Church. Others will find that view hard to comprehend.

Prior to Humanae Vitae, while the self-styled party of progress in the Church agitated the contraception issue in the press (much like a political campaign), classical Catholic moralists tried to construct a responsible theological case for a development of doctrine that would sanction the use of chemical and mechanical means of regulating fertility — and found they couldn't do so without opening the Pandora's box of proportionalism, which blunts the edge of moral analysis and drains the moral life of its inherent drama. True, Humanae Vitae might have been better received had it adopted the richly humanistic defense of natural family planning proposed by then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Cracow, as the approach to marital love and responsibility most congruent with the dignity of women and the dignity of sex. But the Church would have been terribly ill-served if the theologians most responsible for shaping (and likely leaking) the so-called "Majority Report" had had their way.

This myth-making about Humanae Vitae, which falsifies history and distorts theology, should stop. Now.

George Weigel is author of the bestselling books The Courage to Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church and Letters to a Young Catholic.

(This article is provided courtesy of Ethics and Public Policy Center.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Being Had: Another Look at the Death of Terri Schiavo

Charles Colson

Recently, I told you about Michael Schiavo’s new book, Terri: The Truth. I compared reading the book to “falling down Alice’s rabbit hole and ending up in a new and bizarre world.” This world is “a scary place” where “survival of the fittest” is taken to a whole new level — a world that Christians must never stop fighting against.

Now, I stand by everything that I said about Michael Schiavo’s book, but there’s something that I said about his late wife that I need to take back. I’m embarrassed, not only because of the mistake I made, but also because I was had and should have known better.

In the earlier commentary I said that “the autopsy showed that [Terri] had been brain-dead.” This “finding” did not affect my belief that it was wrong to take her life. My concern from the beginning was with the process we followed and its implications for the sanctity of human life.

My calling Terri “brain-dead” was based on what the media said about the autopsy. For instance, MSNBC began its report this way: “an autopsy on Terri Schiavo backed her husband’s contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state...”

Well, I should have known better than to take the media’s word. Terri’s brother, Michael Schindler, thanked me for the commentary but drew my attention to what the autopsy report actually said.

That report said that there was no evidence that Terri suffered, as had been widely reported, from an eating disorder. The medical examiners were unable to determine what caused the heart attack that left her brain-damaged.

Damaged, not dead. In fact, the autopsy report referred to her receiving morphine, which would not have been necessary if she were brain-dead or in a persistent vegetative state. The report, while it noted “severe brain damage,” said nothing about Terri being in a persistent vegetative state.

What’s more, persistent vegetative state is a clinical diagnosis, made through observation and, as such, is a matter of interpretation. So reports like MSNBC’s were, at best, highly misleading. If she had not been deliberately starved, Terri, in the estimate of the medical examiner, “could have lived easily for another decade...”

As bioethicist C. Ben Mitchell puts it, the autopsy confirmed “our worst fears.” Terri didn’t die from any illness but “at the hands of her husband and his lawyers.”

As I said, I’m embarrassed about this mistake, but more than that I am angry. It’s not enough that the legal process sentenced her to death, but the media deliberately or negligently got the circumstances of both her life and her death wrong.

As a result, the “culture of death” has taken several steps forward. Instead of giving life the benefit of the doubt, we are all-too-ready to choose death. As Mitchell said, “Terri Schiavo should be alive today and in the loving embrace of her parents.” Instead, she has become a symbol of the “scary place” our culture is headed: A place where everybody is on the lookout for signs of death, not life. And as for those who defended Terri Schiavo and have been pilloried in the media, well, in the cold light of day, we now know we were right after all.

(This update courtesy of the Breakpoint with Chuck Colson.)

Seven-Year-Old Beaten at School For Father's Stand Against Homosexual Activism

John-Henry Westen
and John Jalsevac

On May 17 — the two-year anniversary of same-sex "marriage" in Massachusetts — the first-grade son of a prominent pro-family advocate was dragged and beaten behind the Estabrook Elementary School in Lexington during recess, receiving multiple blows to the chest, stomach, and genital area.

Jacob Parker, the 7-year-old who was attacked, is the son of David Parker. David Parker is the man who objected to homosexual curriculum in his son's kindergarten class. At a meeting with the principal of the school last year Parker requested that the school inform him of when homosexual discussions would take place, so he could exclude his son from the activity. The principal refused and Parker said he would not leave until his request was granted. School administration called the police and had Parker charged with trespassing.

Brian Camenker the President of MassResistance, a pro-family group, that has worked with Parker to have the rights of parents in Massachusetts respected told that the school system has since continued to refuse to notify parents of such material being presented in class. On April 27, 2006, Parker, his wife, and another family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the school system. spoke with Mr. Parker about the incident. According to Mr. Parker, school authorities determined from an investigation into the assault that the beating was indeed planned and premeditated.

Mr. Parker described the incident at the school saying: "During the recess period, a group of 8-10 kids suddenly surrounded Jacob and grabbed him. He was taken around the corner of the school building out of sight of the patrolling aides, with the taunting and encouragement of other kids. Jacob was then positioned against the wall for what appeared to be a well planned and coordinated assault.”

Parker told, his son related that one student in particular performed the actual physical assault while, “many children stood, watched silently, and did nothing as the beating commenced.”

Parker added: "The group of kids surrounded Jacob and he was beaten and punched. Then, as he fell to the ground, another child was heard saying to the group of children, 'Now you all can finish him off,' and as he was down on his hands and knees, the beating continued on his back. Then, fortunately, one little girl ran to contact the oblivious playground aides to stop it.

"Four of the attackers were from Jacob's first-grade class; the others were from other classes at Estabrook.

"The teachers' aide apparently determined that since she could not see external bleeding, and since Jacob apparently was not hit in the face, she did not send him to she school nurse."

The family was immediately notified of the incident.

Speaking to, Parker speculated that the cause of the attack was most likely what he called “displaced aggression.” “If children hear venomous things from their parents, the children do internalize this,” he said.

“I certainly don’t want to vilify the children in this,” he said. “We understand that skirmishes happen on the playground. It’s taking the child around out of view of the aides, and the number of children that stood around watching that concerns us.”

Parker noted that his conflict with the school over homosexuality is well known among the students. "We are aware that the school administration sent notices home with all the young children concerning the Parker arrest, the 'King and King' incident and the federal lawsuit," he said. “They must know that the children read them.”

He pointed out that the date of the attack — the two year aniversary of same-sex "marriage" in Massachusetts — cannot be a coincidence.

The topic of Parker's beliefs has become so widespread among the students that Jacob says he overheard his fellow classmates ruminating that perhaps their current principle — who has resigned her position to take up a job elsewhere — was leaving the job because of Jacob’s father. Members of the community itself have organized public demonstrations specifically against Parker, in which their children have taken part.

“We’re trying to be patient and tolerant," said Parker when asked if he was considering pulling his son out of the school. "We’re trying to hang on to the notion that the schools are for every child and for everyone. I don’t feel that we should have to leave for an injustice.”

But he added that “There are limits to how much patience we can have. I certainly understand why more and more parents are pulling their children out of public schools.”

Ironically, the school prides itself on its long-time involvement in various "Safe School" programs, which are geared to creating school environments "safe" for students who are homosexual.

Parker asked, "Isn't the school supposed to be addressing safety and preventing bullying and violence? Or are such programs only focused on children with homosexual parents? You can be certain that if this happened to a child with homosexual parents more would be made of this and that 'lessons' teaching tolerance and diversity of homosexual behavior normalization would be forced upon the young children."

The school and larger community are deeply divided over the Parker's stand against pro-homosexual indoctrination. A group has been formed in Lexington to counter Parker's efforts. The 'Lexington Cares' group maintains an anti-Parker website and has conducted anti-Parker letter writing campaigns and demonstrations.

Calls to Estabrook School were not returned by press time.

(This article courtesy of

Andrew: the Church Reaches All Peoples and Cultures

Vatican Information Service

St. Andrew the Apostle, brother of St. Peter, was the subject of Benedict XVI's catechesis during Wednesday's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square in the presence of 35,000 people.

The name of Andrew, not Hebrew but Greek, is "an appreciable sign of a certain cultural openness of his family," said the Pope. "He was the first of the Apostles to be called to follow Jesus," and thanks to Andrew (according to tradition, the evangelizer of the Greek world), "the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople feel themselves to be sisters."

The Holy Father pointed out how the Gospels mention Andrew in three key moments: The multiplication of the loaves and fishes when "his realism is worthy of note, he saw the boy [with the bread and fish] but noticed the scarcity of his resources." When asking explanations from Christ on His words concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, he showed that "we must not be afraid to put questions to Jesus, but at the same time we must be ready to accept the teaching He offers us." And again, shortly before the Passion, with Philip, "he interpreted and mediated for a small group of Greeks before Jesus."

Referring to this last episode, the Holy Father recalled Jesus' words on the necessary death of a grain of wheat in order to bear fruit, a symbol of the crucifixion that "in the resurrection will become bread of life for the world, a light for people and cultures." Christ thus prophesies the meeting with the Greek world and Greek culture and the extension of the Church "to pagans as a fruit of His Passion."

Tradition recounts St. Andrew's death in Patras on a diagonal cross as, "like his brother Peter, he asked to be crucified on a cross different from that of Jesus." Benedict XVI then quoted the words attributed to St. Andrew during his agony when he said of the cross: "before the Lord was placed upon you, you incited earthly terrors. Now, blessed with a heavenly love, you are received as a gift."

This phrase, the Pope continued, contains "a profound Christian spirituality, which sees in the cross not so much an instrument of torture as the unrivaled means of full assimilation to the Redeemer. Our crosses acquire value if considered and accepted as part of the cross of Christ. Only from that cross do our sufferings become ennobled and acquire their true significance."

You Can Change Minds

Mary Kochan

Take all the evil things that detractors and critics say about Pius XII and the role of the Catholic Church in WWII. Add to them every complaint justified, exaggerated or fabricated that was or remains part of the most wild-eyed fundamentalist aspect of Protestant Reformation and Restoration polemics seasoned with Da Vinci-style conspiracy theories and wrap them all up in a neat bundle of resentment and disdain. What do you have?

You have what I used to think about the Catholic Church: the Whore of Babylon, the leader of the World Empire of False Religion, voracious for power and money, corrupt in nature and the most virulent enemy of human freedom, progress and salvation on earth, hand-in-glove with every dictator and friend of Hitler.

To say that my mind has been changed is understatement being reticent. The pertinent question is how did that occur, and the answer is found in 2 Corinthians 10:5, where the Apostle Saint Paul discusses the success of his evangelization work thus: “We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ….”

In short, I believed a pack of lies, and over time those lies were, one by one, revealed to be just that. As my mind was disabused of each lie, a little more truth appeared until gradually a correct picture of the Christianity, history and the Church developed in my mind.

Saint Paul knew this process himself from inside. He had been at one time a man thoroughly convinced that Christians were a pernicious threat to the True Faith — the pharisaical Judaism in which had been raised. He believed that the fledgling Church was such a cancer upon the social order that entire families of Christians deserved imprisonment and even death for their blasphemies. His own change of mind was sudden — so sudden that it threw him to the ground. The Truth revealed Himself to Paul, in an instant overturning the lies in his mind.

Today on Catholic Exchange, our lead spaces, the Edge and Today, feature articles that tell the truth about the questions of what Pope Pius XII did during WWII and what the response of the Catholic Church was to the Jewish Holocaust at the time it was happening. Every Catholic reading this has family, friends and acquaintances who are misinformed on these issues.

Won’t you do something today to destroy these arguments and proud obstacles to the Catholic faith, to defend the reputation of Pope Pius XII, a Holy Father of whom we all should be proud? Won’t you do something today to take the thoughts of your fellow men captive for Christ and knock down mental barriers to the truths of the Catholic faith?

I urge everyone reading our website today to forward these articles to everyone you know. Also, please place within your own mind at least one brief quote, maybe that of Albert Einstein or Golda Meir, so that the next time you hear the Church slandered, you can come back with some defense.

You might not knock anybody off his horse, but as one who has been there, let me assure you that every truth you utter, every email you send out, every article you copy and hand out, has the power to knock down one more proud obstacle against the truths taught by the Church. The obstacles might be proud, but they are erected in the minds of humble people, who, once free of lies, may gratefully join our family of faith.

© Copyright 2006 Catholic Exchange

Mary Kochan, Senior Editor of Catholic Exchange, writes from Douglasville, Georgia. Her tapes are available from Saint Joseph Communications.

About This “Inaction” and “Silence”

Brendan Roberts

The secular press continuously claims that the Catholic Church did not do enough to save Jews during World War II. Furthermore they claim that Pope Pius XII was silent about the persecution and slaughter of the Jews.

We are prompted to ask: Where does the evidence reside? Did the pope ever speak out against the Nazis and for the "voiceless," the tormented, those who had no other voice to speak out for them? Where was the Church?

One does not have to delve far to uncover some rather startling evidence which the critics seem to blatantly ignore in their denunciation of the pope. But even more striking is that this evidence comes from Jewish and secular sources. The famous Albert Einstein, a Jewish refugee from Germany stated in the December 1940 issue of Time Magazine that he once despised the Catholic Church. He asked where the universities and editors of free speech were during the victimization of the Jews; that it was only the Catholic Church that "stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing the truth." He then revealed that the Church he once despised he “now praises unreservedly."

But was Albert Einstein an isolated case of a Jew praising the Catholic Church for the saving of Jewish lives during the Second World War? In 1943, Chaim Wiezmann, the future president of Israel wrote, "The Holy See is lending its powerful help wherever it can, to mitigate the fate of my persecuted co-religionists."

But was Chaim also duped regarding what the Catholic Church did to help or save Jews? It was the Chief Rabbi of Israel who overwhelming supported the actions of the pope. Rabbi Isaac Herzog expressed his appreciation when he said, "The People of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion, which form the foundation of true civilization, are doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of history, which is proof of Divine Providence in the world."

Pinchas Lapide, the Israeli historian and diplomat to Milan, in his book Three Popes and the Jews, claimed that Pius XII was instrumental in saving at least 700,000 Jews. In addition Rabbi David Dalin, a Jewish scholar, uncovered fascinating truths regarding the actions of the Church during the merciless mass slaughter by the Nazis. While the Italian Jews were not deported until 1943, Rabbi Dalin reveals that cardinals, bishops, and the laity sheltered Jews. As for the pope, he opened the doors of the Vatican to hundreds and 3,000 were sheltered at the pope's summer residence, Castel Gandolfo.

It is widely claimed that Pope Pius XII was silent about the deportation of the Jews from throughout Europe. But the pope angered both Mussolini and Hitler. On October 1, 1942 The London Times stated that since Pope Pius's accession he "condemns the worship of force and its concrete manifestations in the suppression of national liberties and in the persecution of the Jewish race." In June 1942, upon the mass deportations of French Jews, the pope instructed his Papal Nuncio in Paris to protest to France's Chief of State against "the inhuman arrests and deportations of Jews from the French occupied zone to Silesia and parts of Russia."

Lapide also reveals that minutes from a meeting held on July 26, 1943 recorded that Hitler openly discussed invading the Vatican. Ernst von Weizsacker, the German Ambassador to the Vatican, warned the pope of a plan to kidnap him. Rudolf Rahn, the Nazi Ambassador, corroborated the kidnap plot and that several German diplomats tried to prevent it. Does such a plan suggest the Nazis were happy with Pope Pius XII?

It must not be forgotten that the Nazi SS despised Catholics. They hated Jews first and foremost. Their vehement hatred placed the Jews on the top rung of the ladder of despite. The next rung was reserved for Catholic priests. Even the Bishop of Luxembourg was sent to Dachau. The clergy were termed by the SS as "schweinerischen Pfaffen" ("priest pigs"). They were constantly beaten. If they were caught carrying out their priestly duties they were sentenced to death.

One of the most heroic acts performed at Auschwitz was by a Catholic priest, Maximillian Kolbe, whom Pope John Paul II canonized. St. Maximillian sacrificed his life for another prisoner of war, offering to take the place of a family man condemned to death. The commandant, contrary to his sadistic nature, instead of sentencing them both to death accepted St. Maximillian's request. When they were, as the guards put it, drying up like tulips, instead of sounds of cursing the guards heard hymns and prayers to both Our Lady and to Jesus Christ coming from the cells of the condemned men and also those cells close to St. Maximillian.

It is claimed that the pope should have done more to prevent the widespread slaughter of the Jews. But the Dutch bishops at the pope’s encouragement spoke out against the "unjust treatment meted out to Jews" in July 1942. The result of the letter, which was read out in every Catholic Church in Holland, was devastating. The rage of the Nazis was cataclysmic. Pinchas Lapide concludes that as a result more Dutch Jews were slaughtered than in any country. The bishop of Munster, Germany, also wanted to speak out against the Nazis, but Jewish leaders begged him not to for they knew the consequences.

It has been asked by many where God was during the Nazi atrocities. One need not look far, for the Catholic Church was living the faith and reaching out to the helpless. In fact, Pinchas Lapide highlights the fact that the Catholic Church saved more lives than all the other churches, institutions and rescue organizations combined.

Upon Pope Benedict’s visit to Auschwitz, he was criticized for not “apologizing” on behalf of the Catholic Church for Catholics {and specifically for his predecessor, Pope Pius XII) “turning their backs” on the Jews. Should Pope Benedict XVI have apologized on behalf of the Catholic Church for inaction? The evidence speaks for itself.

© Copyright 2006 Catholic Exchange

Brendan Roberts is a New Zealand author of three books available on Amazon or through Barnes and Noble. You can view his website for his books, articles and MP3 talks.