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August 31, 2003



What is it that the proponents of beatification see in this guy?




That's always been my question, David. The whole thing would be a lot less contentious if the process of clarifying the historical record weren't tied to the canonization process. I mean...why?


For what my opinion may be worth (which can't be much) I take Pacelli's defenders around here (and elsewhere) at their word: canonizing this guy has somehow become a symbol of orthodoxy -- look at folks who post to defend Pacelli, not by arguing about his record, but by insisting this is really about abortion, or gay priests, or holding hands during the Our Father.

And what does THAT say about the institution?

Pacelli and St. Peter have long since met, say I. We're not talking about his salvation, but about something else entirely.

Jimmy Mac

It would be nice if ANY beatification attempt had to wait until 100 years after the propsed's death. Then, hopefully, objectivity would prevail & most cases would die from true lack of interest.

Donald R. McClarey

Saint Pius XII, just a matter of time. As to whether he warrants beatification I believe the testimony of his contemporaries, including the chief rabbi of Rome during the War, is quite eloquent in support of his cause.


The 100 year rule for canonization sounds good to me, too.

ita o'byrne

Personally I couldn't care less if Pius is canonized or not. After all I'm still waiting for my fellow New Yorker Kateri Tekakwitha to be raised to the rafters after 300+ years. Pius can wait in line.

The interesting thing in this article to me is that most "historians" as the reporter put it DO NOT believe Pius XII was "complicit" in the Holocaust. Garry Wills doesn't make such a claim, responsible Jewish groups (not all are on this subject) and even "Hitler's Pope" author Cornwell doesn't go that far. I don't know what Carroll says since I couldn't finish his screed of a book but he's hardly a reputable historian since most of his "history" comes cribbed straight from the Cornwells and Wills of the world.

So where does this "complicit in the holocaust" line come from? The reporter's mind? But...but...that can't be true. The NY Times isn't anti-catholic. [sarcasm]Right?[/sarcasm]


"Complicit in the Holocaust" is a mite loaded, but "complicit in Hitler's rise to power" is a proven case.

There's no serious dispute: Pacelli knew about the Nazis from his work as a Papal diplomat in the 1920s, when his primary responsibility was Germany. As late as 1933, some German bishops sought to expel Nazis from the Catholic Church, and specifically to refuse Communion to those wearing swastikas. Along with Bishop Bornewasser, Pacelli overruled those bishops.

Von Papen, surely the most prominent non-clerical German Catholic, was the decisive broker of Hitler becoming Chancellor. As soon as Hitler took power, Pacelli concluded the first treaty the Nazi regime made with any foreign power -- at a time when, as Bishop Faulhaber of Munich reminded everybody in 1937, other governments were deeply suspicious of Hitler. It was Faulhaber's view (not to mention any serious historian who isn't an apologist for the Vatican) that Papal support for Hitler both in midwifing his taking office as Chancellor (to get the Concordat, through von Papen) to the concordat itself, was the diplomatic equivalent of the French failure to mobilize when Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland.

Had the French stood up to Hitler when he did that in 1936, the German military would have deposed him. And what would have happened if the Vatican had stood with the ANTI-NAZI German bishops in 1933, three years before, when his position was much weaker than it was, even in 1936?

It's one thing to say, okay: this particular diplomatic strategy made sense, but it didn't work. Happens all the time.

It's another to confuse the Vatican's diplomacy with its PURPOSE. The Vatican isn't supposed to be Monaco with funny hats.

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