13 March 2019, The Tablet

Topic of the week: Pius XII was no friend to Hitler


 

In his article “Unsealing the secrets of the wartime pope” (9 March), John Cornwell writes: “The central accusation is undeniable: that … Pius neither condemned Hitler and the Nazis by name, nor mentioned the victims – the Jews – by name.” 

May I make the point that, although not condemning Hitler by name, Pius XII is on record as denouncing totalitarian dictatorships, war-mongering, racism, persecution and mass murder.

The first encyclical of Pius, Summi Pontificatus, dated 20 October 1939, makes this very clear. He clearly condemns Hitler and the Nazis with a strong attack on regimes which, by deification of the state, threaten the very spirit of humanity.
In December 1940, Pius XII ordered the Congregation of the Holy Office to issue a decree explicitly condemning the mass murders in Nazi Germany and its pursuit of Aryan racial purity. He was no collaborative friend of Hitler and his evil regime, condemning the persecution and extermination of the Jews by his actions. The recent research findings of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation bear this out. When Pius XII died in 1958, Jewish communities, and others, expressed their deep gratitude for what he did, and tried to do, to help save them during the war.

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