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Thursday, June 15, 2006

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.

1 comment:

Catholic Author said...

Thanks for posting this article. I'm the author of it and you can now read my regular articles on and I also have a couple of interviews on my website

God bless

Brendan Roberts