Wednesday, May 28, 2008

50th anniversary of the death of Pius XII...

Sr. Margherita Marchione, the celebrated American author and university professor, has asked Catholics in the Internet world to please post this which she just wrote in light of her latest book which will soon be available:


50th Anniversary of the Death of Pius XII

Catholics throughout the world will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Pope Pius XII’s death at Castel Gandolfo, on October 9, 1958. Carlo Tei, who now resides in Hong Kong, wrote (March 12, 2008): “As a young student in Rome , I joined the procession of the people accompanying the body of the Pontiff, from Castel Gandolfo to the Vatican . We all felt we were accompanying a ‘Saint’ to the Holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem .” Fifty years later, in spite of five decades of misinformation and calumny, Catholics thoughout the world continue to venerate Pius XII whose efforts during World War II saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust.

Pius XII was not a “silent Pope.” He explicitly condemned the “wickedness of Hitler” citing Hitler by name, and spoke out about the “fundamental rights of Jews.” The wisdom of his words and actions is supported by the evidence. In his testimony at the Adolf Eichmann Nazi War Crime Trials, Jewish scholar Jenö Levai stated: “Pius XII—the one person who did more than anyone else to halt the dreadful crime and alleviate its consequences—is today made the scapegoat for the failures of others.”

Pope Pius XII’s peace efforts, his denunciation of Nazism, his defense of the Jewish people, have been clearly documented. Albert Einstein concluded in Time Magazine (December 23, 1940): “Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing the truth.” Countless expressions of gratitude, on the part of Jewish chaplains and Holocaust survivors, give witness to the assistance and compassion of the Pope for the Jews before, during and after the Holocaust. Rabbi David Dalin states that “to deny the legitimacy of their collective gratitude to Pius XII is tantamount to denying their memory and experience of the Holocaust itself, as well as to denying the credibility of their personal testimony and judgment about the Pope’s role in rescuing hundreds of thousands of Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazis.”

Personally and through his representatives, Pius XII employed all the means at his disposal to save Jews and other refugees during World War II. As a moral leader and a diplomat forced to limit his words, he privately took action and, despite insurmountable obstacles, saved hundreds of thousands of Jews from the gas chambers. Broadcasting in German in April 1943, Vatican Radio protested a long list of Nazi horrors, including “an unprecedented enslavement of human freedom, the deportation of thousands for forced labor, and the killing of innocent and guilty alike.”

Throughout World War II, Pius XII so provoked the Nazis that they called him “a mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals.” Jewish historian and Holocaust survivor, Michael Tagliacozzo, wrote a letter to the daily newspaper “Davàr” (Tel Aviv, April 23, 1985) which states: “Little known is the precious help of the Holy See. On the recommendation of Pius XII the religious of every order did their best to save Jews.”

All experts who witnessed that era, agree that, if Pius XII had stridently attacked the Nazi leaders, more lives would have been lost. Fifty years later, I interviewed Carlo Sestieri, a Jewish survivor, who was hidden in the Vatican . In a letter to me he suggested that “only the Jews who were persecuted understand why the Holy Father could not publicly denounce the Nazi-Fascist government. Without doubt—he stated—it helped avoid worse disasters.”

The world looked with pride and admiration at the many-sided career of Pope Pius XII who, in his own agonized generation, was already recognized as a “Great Pope.” Everyone appealed to him for help to locate missing relatives. Requests for information came from all over the world. Pius XII’s virtuous life speaks for itself. On December 13, 1954, a picture story entitled “Years of a Great Pope,” appeared in Life magazine. The author states that Pius XII was deserving of the title “Great Pope” because he sought “peace for the world and the spirit” during World War II. For almost two decades, he was “unbending, working with devotion and all the skills of diplomacy to mitigate the burdens of a beleaguered world.

When he passed away on October 9, 1958, an editorial, “Fighter for Peace,” in the Los Angeles Examiner, expressed the sentiments of Catholics and non-Catholics: “Pius XII was known as ‘the Pope of Peace’ … . Never, during these troubled years, did Pius XII lose his gift of gracious beneficence. No other Pope received so many people. They numbered many millions. Whether the audiences were large or small, he conveyed a sense of intimacy and understanding. His gifts to them were hope and courage. This fighter for peace is now in peace with God.”

A new book, The Truth Will Set You Free (Paulist Press, 2008), by Margherita Marchione issues a challenge to all Catholics to learn the truth and speak out courageously. The Foreword by Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, casts a great deal of light on the present pontificate’s thinking about the campaign against Pius XII: “How profoundly unjust it is to draw a veil of prejudice over the work of Pius XII during the war….directives given on the radio, in the press, and through diplomatic channels were clear. In that tragic year of 1942 he told everyone: ‘Action, not lamentation, is the precept of the hour.’"

Margherita Marchione, PhD, author of: Yours Is a Precious Witness: Memoirs of Jews and Catholics in Wartime Italy (1997); Pius XII: Architect for Peace (2000); Consensus and Controversy:Defending Pius XII (2002); Shepherd of Souls: A Pictorial Life of Pius XII (2002), Man of Peace (2003), Crusade of Charity: Pius XII and POWs (2006); Did Pope Pius XII Help the Jews? (2007) Paulist Press. [E-mail Sr.Margherita.Marchione@ATT.NET/Tel. 973-538-2886, Ext. 116/FAX 973-539-9327].

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, JP!

~Al

Anonymous said...

I was eleven years old when the saintly Holy Father, Pope Pius XII fell-asleep-in-the-Lord...and yet I remember it as though it were yesterday! Watching the Holy Father's funeral on TV confirmed what I had already felt for a few years before---that I wanted to serve Christ and the Church and by His grace and the inspiration of such holy men as Pope Pius XII, I did. I am a monk now for 43 years and a priest for 28. Thanks be to God and His Most Holy Mother---and the intercessions of the Most Blessed Pope Pius XII!

In His great love,
Fr. Pius

Anonymous said...

What is the holdup (if anyone knows), to Benedict XVI declaring Pius XII as "Venerable"....a title apparently voted for in the affirmative by the Sac. Congregation for Saints in December, and nothing has been signed off yet.
I hope that this Pope is not holding off from honoring Pope Pius XII for the sake of the bigoted comments and protests of the Jews.

Christina said...

Touching comments from Fr Pius, and really right, 3rd anonymous! How devastating it is that the only Popes they seem interested in are the lackluster previous one, and the possible Mason, John XXIII. Pope Pius XII as well as Cardinal Raphael Merry del Val were SO holy! Let's pray for "prompt attention to this matter" by the Vatican!

Anonymous said...

In the past, they claimed that since the pontificate of Pius XII was long, so it took longer time to process the documents for his beatification process. But ironically, it took them less than 3 years to finish the beatification process of John Paul II who reigned much longer than Pius XII!

Anonymous said...

John Paul II didn't reign all that much longer than Pius XII, only 6 1/2 years more.
Comparing the two, there really is no comparission as to who was a REAL saint (the man who earned even in his own lifetime the title "The Angelic Pastor"....Pius XII), and the other man, John Paul II who though personally holy, certainly did not present himself as the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, but rather as "everyone's pastor and friend".
Pius XII really built up the Catholic Church in every aspect of it's life. John Paul II on the other hand, while personally devout unfortunatly was also a "man of Vatican II"....and that says it all how he left the Church.

Dennis said...

Thank you so much for this factual tribute to the great but much maligned Pope Pius XII. Sincerely, Dennis, New Jersey, USA