Pope Benedict XVI has defended the Vatican against accusations of indifference towards the Nazis' annihilation of Europe's Jews in WWII. On a landmark visit to Rome's main synagogue, the Pope conceded that "unfortunately, many remained indifferent", to the suffering of the Jews, six million of whom were killed in the Holocaust.

But he said "The Apostolic See itself provided assistance, often in a hidden and discreet way," without mentioning Pius XII by name.

His remarks came directly after the president of Rome's Jewish community, Riccardo Pacifici, told him "the silence of Pius XII before the Shoah [Holocaust], still hurts because something should have been done. Maybe it would not have stopped the death trains, but it would have sent a signal, a word of extreme comfort, of human solidarity, towards those brothers of ours transported to the ovens of Auschwitz," he said.

COMMENT: The Vatican will never allow the truth about the Vatican's war time record to be independently assessed, so it's difficult to accuse them of anything definite. But two things are certain:

Firstly, Germanic Roman Catholics, especially those in Southern Germany and Austria, were the most anti-semitic group in Europe at the time. Ordinary Roman Catholics were responsible for Hitler's rise to power and they, knowingly, allowed him to pursue his "final solution." Roman Catholics were also proponents of the gay holocaust. Rome did not censure them in any meaningful way.

Therefore, secondly, as Pius XII represented these evil churchgoers, no matter what his own personal record was, he must never be canonised. For a former member of the Hitler Youth to pursue such a canonisation is nothing less than Holocaust denial and an arrogant insult to, not only the Jews, gays, Romanies and mentally ill but also to all the good Christians in Germany and Austria who stood up for the Gospel to the point of becoming martyrs for it.



  1. The Apostolic See itself provided assistance, often in a hidden and discreet way

    Seeing how effective THAT was, these words SHOULD shame (and CONVERT) those talking about opposing the Uganda anti-gay legislation “in a hidden and discreet way” today…

    …but of course, it won’t. 🙁

  2. I agree – he shouldn’t be made a saint. The more I read about Pius and the history of that time, from his silence about the Holocaust to the Catholic ratline that helped Nazis escape after the war, the worse he and the church look.

  3. Yes, you are right about this. The canonization of Pius XII may well drive a permanent wedge between the Christian and Jewish communities. Of course, all of the western nations bear some responsibility, from turning away the “Ship of Fools” to failing to broadcast very publically to the German government and people that they knew what was happening, and there would be a reckoning.

  4. MP,

    With respect to your “secondly”: One of the things (far from the only one) that bothers me about the idea that the Bishop of Rome exercises immediate, universal, ordinary jurisdiction is that it doesn’t seem to involve immediate, universal, ordinary _responsibility_. ocicbw, but it seems to me as though the Holy Fathers take rather less responsibility for the actions of their subordinates than does your typical Chief Dogcatcher.

  5. First, we are fortunate that it’s hardly in this Pope’s power to make Pius a saint. As I read it, what he’s pushing is beatification, and we can be pretty sure he won’t live long enough to push through canonization, and we may hope that future Popes will let the damned idea drop.

    (I hope it’s clear that insofar as “damned” has meaning, on which I’m personally not sure, I mean it in its precise sense.)

    Otherwise, 4 May made pretty much the point I meant to. While “represented” may not be the mot juste for Pius’ relations to the world’s Catholics, he very definitely was the moral leader of each and every one of them. To watch evil in one’s own flock and not rebuke it in the mildest fashion is probably a serious sin (I leave that question to the qualified), and unquestionably an abominable failing. To consider that to be blessed brings us close that word “damned” again.

    But maybe by the end of the century there will be a miracle that demsonstrates that Pius has repented, done adequate penance in Purgatory, and entered into Heaven. In that case, obviously, canonization would be in place. Acording to those who find the demonstration convincing.

  6. No event in human history has been studied as thoroughly and carefully than the Holocaust. Thousands of thesis and dissertations papers have poured over all of the evidence, from anecdotal testimony to captured German war documents. Virtually every historian with a PhD in European History agrees that millions of Jews were systematically exterminated by Nazi Germany. One can no more “revise” this fact than one can revise the existence of gravity. Captured German documents alone account for enough evidence to convict Nazi Germany of mass genocide in any civil (not Islamic) court. You can suggest that 5.6 million Jews were killed, instead of six million. But, you cannot deny that millions of innocent Jews were murdered. The Wansee Conference planned the killing. Nazi concentration camp records prove that it was carried out.

    Whenever we stand up to those who deny or minimize genocide we send a critical message to the world. As we continue to live in an age of genocide and ethnic cleansing, we must repel the broken ethics of our ancestors, or risk a dreadful repeat of past transgressions. We know from captured German war records that millions of innocent Jews were systematically exterminated by Nazi Germany – most in gas chambers. These facts have been proven repeatedly through countless thesis and dissertation research papers. Virtually every PhD in the world will stake their career on the veracity of known Holocaust facts. Despite this knowledge, Holocaust deniers ply their mendacious poison everywhere, especially with young people on the Internet. Such deniers have only one agenda – to distort the truth in a way that promotes antagonism against the object of their hatred, or to deny the culpability of their ancestors and heroes.

    Museums and mandatory public education are tools to dispel bigotry, especially racial and ethnic hatred. Books, films and presentations can reinforce the veracity of past and present genocides. They help to tell the true story of the perpetrators of genocide; and they reveal the abject terror, humiliation and degradation resulting from prejudice. It is therefore essential that we disclose the factual brutality and horror of genocide, combating the deniers’ virulent, inaccurate historical revision. We must protect vulnerable future generations from making the same mistakes.

    A world that continues to allow genocide requires ethical remediation. We must show the world that religious, racial, ethnic, gender and orientation persecution is wrong; and that tolerance is our progeny’s only hope. Only through such efforts can we reveal the true horror of genocide and promote the triumphant spirit of humankind.

    Charles Weinblatt
    Author, “Jacob’s Courage”

  7. Most Bavarian German Catholics initially voted for their own party, but when Hitler gained a plurality (or tied) among the many parties in 1932, he was seen as the natural ally of the conservative Catholic party and some other parties catering to constituencies of junkers and industrialists. The Catholic and junker/industrialist parties could have brokered a parliament with the (ineffective but sizable) mainstream left (also anticommunist) party, but chose to go with the Nazi party. The voters didn’t have a say about party coalitions (which may take place after the voting), but it is quite true that Bavaria, the overwhelmingly Catholic state, was quite anti-Semitic and had been the site of early development of the Nazi party.