April 5, 2008

Pius XII, the Jews, and Hitler

Do you know what irks me more than an anti-Catholic believing Pope Pius XII did not do much to aid the Jews during WWII, or that he was Hitler’s Pope, or some other such nonsense? The answer: a Catholic believing such anti-Catholic, unhistorical nonsense.

The left leaning anti-Catholic media has done its evil deeds over the last several years reviving the old lies, ones that originated with Rolf Hochhuth and his popular play, “The Deputy”. According to philosophy professor, Ralph McInerny, Hochhuth, a Protestant and guilt-ridden former Nazi Youth member, was disturbed and envious of the praise the Jewish community lavished on Pius XII after the war for all that he did for them. Hochhuth would have his revenge by displacing his own guilt onto Pius XII.

Ever since Hochhuth's slanderous play, "The Deputy", there always seems to be some disgruntled writer emerging from his small world to take up the Hochhuth mantle and continue the defamation of Pius XII, despite the overwhelming, documented facts of history.

Over the past several years, the popular print media and television foisted mythological histories of Pius XII on Americans. Those who rely on these sources for most of their information about the world are generally not critical thinkers, and too readily believe whatever they read or see on television. The situation reminds me of a line in Willy Nelson's song, "Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth?":

“They wouldn’t lie to me, not on my own damn T.V.”

Contrary to the many mythological histories of Pius XII, no individual or group did more for the Jews than Pius XII working through his nuncios. Pius XII was the best friend the Jews had during the WWII. Jewish organizations repeatedly requested assistance from Pius XII, knowing that he would respond.

But Pius XII really needs no defense. The historical records speak for themselves. A good place to begin learning the truth is by reading the book, The Defamation of Pius the XII, by Ralph McInerny. McInerny states this thesis as follows:

“Since the historic efforts of Pius XII during World War II are a matter of history and the attacks on him are risibly easy to dismiss, the question becomes: Why is this good man being defamed? Who are those attacking the man who behaved most nobly during the darkest period of the twentieth century? Anti-Catholicism has been called the anti-Semitism of the liberal. It has now become the trademark of the Culture of Death.”

McInerny presents an insightful background of Eugenio Pacelli, who was elected pope in 1939. He then covers each of the war years, the Zionist and anti-Zionist movements, and the defamers of Pius XII such as James Carroll, John Cornwell, Garry Wills, and so on. McInerny also cites many excellent sources for further study. The Defamation of Pius the XII is an excellent presentation of the truth about the heroic and saintly Pope Pius XII.

I began by saying there are two things I found irksome, the second more than the first: the anti-Catholic believing the lies about Pius XII, and when a Catholic believes the same lies. Well, there is actually a third category, which is much more irksome to me than the two above: the anti-Catholic who falsely claims to be Catholic while disseminating falsehoods about Pius XII and attacking the Church in general. In this category belongs the historian Garry Wills. In his book, Papal Sins: Structures of Deceit, Wills has no qualms about attacking Pius XII with falsehoods. But as McInerny points out, Pius XII is just a target of opportunity for some whose agenda involves undermining papal authority.

By attacking Pius XII, Garry Wills discredits himself as a Catholic and an historian.

Garry Wills, in various writings, also attacks Catholic saints, Catholic devotions, and denies many important Catholic doctrines. Wills rejects fundamental moral doctrines that are part of what it means to be Catholic. Yet Wills claims to be a Catholic. He is deceiving himself and others. In my opinion, Garry Wills has cut himself off from Christ. Wills' attacks on Pius XII and the Church are groundless and loathsome. I hope Catholics say a prayer for Wills' conversion, and then read The Defamation of Pius the XII by Ralph McInerny.

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