Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust
Pope Pius XII (Italian: Pio XII), born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli; 2 March 1876 – 9 October 1958), reigned as Pope from 2 March 1939 to his death in 1958.
A pre-war critic of Nazism, Pius XII lobbied world leaders to avoid war and, as Pope at the outbreak of war, issued Summi Pontificatus, expressing dismay at the invasion of Poland, reiterating Church teaching against racial persecution and calling for love, compassion and charity to prevail over war.
While the Vatican was officially neutral during the war, Pius XII maintained links to the German Resistance, used diplomacy to aid the victims of the war and lobby for peace and spoke out against race-based murders and other atrocities.
A view expressed by a journalist
Secrecy Surrounding Vatican Art Treasures
Tuesday, 20 Oct 2015 05:48 PM
Many believe that during World War II priests and Vatican insiders knew about Nazi concentration camps that housed and killed Jews, but they remained silent and worked with and helped Nazis and their sympathizers to bank and hide millions of dollars, valuable art, and antiques….. continued ….
MY VIEWS (FOR WHAT THEY ARE WORTH
The Pope is really not that powerful, never was
The last politically “strong” Popes were probably the Medicis. Since those days of a muscular papacy, the Pope now has no military strength and is reliant on a small group of Swiss mercenaries. Their ceremonial role was somewhat augmented after the 1981 failed assassination attempt on John Paul II. The Swiss Guard traditionally provides only bodyguard services at the Vatican. The Pope’s power is purely spiritual. He is powerful only so long as others are willing to give him that power. The Pope’s sway is over Catholics and Catholic run countries. Vast populations have never heard of the Pope. For instance, excommunicating Kim (any 1 of 3), Bin Laden, Idi Amin or Pol Pot may have produced limited (maybe nil) results. The Catholics must stop endowing their Pope with non existent super powers. Pius did what any humanitarian would do – “lobby for peace and spoke out against race-based murders and other atrocities”.
Why should Churchill be preferred over Hitler?
From the Vatican’s point of view, a Catholic nation (Germany) was at war with a renegade Anglican nation (England). If the Pope is supposed to guard his flock, one wonders if a theological choice is possible.
Do Jews alone need protection?
The same theological argument – the victims of the Nazis included besides Jews, also Communists, Trade Unionists, Non-Aryans, Homosexuals, Roma, Mentally Challenged and so on. If you weep for one, you should weep for all.
Saving the art in churches
Church Art was looted by the Nazis in Belgium, France and so on. A criticism often voiced is that Pius was actively preserving Vatican’s art treasures. In the circumstances, the decision must be supported.