Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pius XII: A Small Step ?

As is well known, Rutgers School of Law publish a distinguished journal on Law and Religion: The Journal of Law and Religion

They published an article by Msgr. Stephen M. DiGiovanni, H.E.D. (Volume 3.2.8)entitled PIUS XII AND THE JEWS::The War Years – as Reported by the New York Times (.pdf file)

The article reports what the New York Times reported and commented upon concerning Pope Pius XII.

It successfully refutes the commonly held belief, propagated first by the communist party near the end World War II and popularized since the 1963 production of Rolf Hochuth’s play, “The Deputy,” that Pope Pius XII dropped the ball, and that the Church did little to stop, even though it did not actively support, the genocide committed by the Fuhrer and the Duce.

The article concludes that The New York Times provides a very different view. It reported that Popes Pius XI and XII repeatedly spoke out against the racist policies of the totalitarian governments and that they both worked to save thousands of Jews from extermination.

The article demonstrates that the Pope’s outspokenness is established simply by looking at articles in the New York Times during the same period. The Times reported that the Pope was not silent, often applauding him for what he did do and say, and the Church was quite active during the War.

The Times also reported that numerous synagogues in New York City expressed gratitude for the Pope’s efforts during World War II.

As seen in the news reports and editorials printed in the New York Times during the War years, contemporary evidence shows that everyone knew the Pope was speaking about the Jews in his numerous condemnations of Nazi policies. It was clear the Pope was speaking about their situation and trials even though he spoke in religious terms and from a higher moral level rather than merely condemning individual actions. Yet his condemnations were clear, and his contemporaries understood them.
The article concludes:

"Pius XII did strongly and clearly condemn the Nazi and Fascist government extermination of the European Jewish community; but he had only words and prayers in his armory. Neither words nor prayers moved Hitler; he respected only guns and armies. Only Hitler and the Allied forces could stop the killing. Hitler refused; the Allies arrived too late."