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Exploding the 'Hitler's Pope' Myth

8/4/2005 - 3:25 AM PST

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By Michael J. Gaynor
Op/Ed

Bravo to Rabbi David Dalin for brilliantly and boldly refuting John Cornwell's contemptuous and contemptible book about Pope Pius XII, Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, in The Myth of Hitler's Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis.

And to Raymond Arroyo, EWTN's News Director and host of "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo," for not only interviewing Rabbi Dalin at length, but also presenting, both visually and orally, compelling evidence in the form of quotations from respected Jewish contemporaries of Pope Pius XII during the July 29, 2005 "World Over" program.

John Cornwell became a darling of secular extremists by writing Hitler's Pope.

Books like Cornwell's Hitler's Pope and Garry Wills' Papal Sin became New York Times bestsellers by charging that Pope Pius XII was at least complicit in the Holocaust by failing to do enough to save the Jews from Nazi extermination.

The following review of Hitler's Pope by Wendy Smith illustrates the gullibility or ignorance of many of Pope Pius XII's detractors and puts in context the valuable service that Rabii Dalin performed in writing The Myth of Hitler's Pope for those willing to examine the facts instead of to blindly accept what passes as the conventional wisdom in the secular extremist media.

"This devastating account of the ecclesiastical career of Eugenio Pacelli (1876-1958), who became Pope Pius XII in 1939, is all the more powerful because British historian John Cornwell maintains throughout a measured though strongly critical tone. After World War II, murmurs of Pacelli's callous indifference to the plight of Europe's Jews began to be heard. A noted commentator on Catholic issues, Cornwell began research for this book believing that 'if his full story were told, Pius XII's pontificate would be exonerated.' Instead, he emerged from the Vatican archives in a state of 'moral shock,' concluding that Pacelli displayed anti-Semitic tendencies early on and that his drive to promote papal absolutism inexorably led him to collaboration with fascist leaders. Cornwell convincingly depicts Cardinal Secretary of State Pacelli pursuing Vatican diplomatic goals that crippled Germany's large Catholic political party, which might otherwise have stymied Hitler's worst excesses. The author's condemnation has special force because he portrays the admittedly eccentric Pacelli not as a monster but as a symptom of a historic wrong turn in the Catholic Church. He meticulously builds his case for the painful conclusion that 'Pacelli's failure to respond to the enormity of the Holocaust was more than a personal failure, it was a failure of the papal office itself and the prevailing culture of Catholicism.'"

The secular extremists loathe Catholicism, try mightily to discredit it and use apostate Catholics shamelessly.

Was Pope Pius XII "Hitler's Pope"?

Of course not.

Was Hitler an admirer of Pope Pius XII?

Hardly.

Does the secular media give Pope Pius XII fair treatment?

No.

And Bill Donohue, the head of the Catholic League, who knows that the secular media is deliberately biased, illustrated it beautifully in this statement:

"An Italian newspaper claims to have uncovered a 1946 document that says Pope Pius XII sought to block the return of Jewish children (who had been hidden by Catholics from the Nazis) to their original families after the war, and immediately the New York Times runs a story on it.

"Moreover, a number of Jewish organizations and pundits jump on the story, making demands on the Vatican; one critic called for an international investigation.

"We now know that the story appears to have been wrong on every salient point. No matter, we have yet another story on the pope, printed in another Italian newspaper, that says Hitler wanted the pope kidnapped. Only this time the response has been quite different.

"Though the wire services and many major newspapers at home and abroad carried the story, readers of the New York Times have yet to read about Hitlerís plot.

"As reported by the British news service Reuters, 'shortly before the Germans retreated from Rome, SS General Karl Friedrich Otto Wolff, a senior occupation officer in Italy, had been ordered by Hitler to kidnap the pope.'

"According to the Italian newspaper, Avvenire, Wolff subsequently arranged for a secret meeting with the pope; he went to the Vatican in civilian clothes at night with the help of a priest. Wolff assured the pope that no kidnapping would occur, but warned him nonetheless. The newspaper said Hitler considered the pope to be an obstacle to his plan for global domination.

"Writers like Garry Wills, James Carroll, John Cornwell and Daniel Goldhagen have sought to paint Pope Pius ...

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