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January 25, 2007

Comments

Jacob

Details are certainly surprising, but the KGB's efforts to undermine the West ought never be underestimated.

TM Lutas

General Pacepa was never a Soviet agent. He was Romanian. From the article:


Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc. His book Red Horizons has been republished in 27 countries.

With some alarm, I note the casual revelation of the infiltration and turning of Romanian priests who were in the Vatican.

Ed the Roman

Well, Gen. Pacepa was no more a Soviet agent than any other east bloc intelligence officers were.

Maureen

That's not what it says. It says he had DIE undercover agents who were _posing as priests_, rummaging through the Vatican Archives. Not priests become agents or agents become priests; simply poseurs.

This sort of thing would be a lot harder to do nowadays because independent verification across borders is easier; though of course someone would have to think to check.

Jeff

That the Deputy originated from an effort by Communists and their sympathizers to destroy the universal acclaim that Pius XII had garnered after the war?

That is not new news, though some of the details are.

I highly recommend Bottum and Dalin's collection The Pius War. It deals with this subject and related matters.

It's mindblowing how much Pius XII did during the War and how it was common knowledge in the years afterward. All forgotten.

Did you know that Castel Gandolfo was packed full of thousands of Jews during the war? When the Americans bombed Monte Cassino and apologized to the Pope, he didn't complain. "Oh, well, it's war," he said.

But when they bombed Castel Gandolfo and Jews were killed he lodged a furious protest.

After the War, the Jews that had sheletered there bought and donated a memorial CROSS in gratitude for what the Pope did for them.

Read that book.

Dan

The article about the KGB's involvement in "The Deputy" is truly extraordinary. If it is true, it means that those involved with the campaign to discredit Pope Pius are dupes of the KGB. Not that that will bother or stop them.

I also have read that the KGB initiated a similar type of campaign to discredit Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn by promoting the view that he is an anti-semite. That campaign had some success, but not as much as the campaign against Pope Pius and the Church.

Dan

There is not a word about this in the mainstream press. Not a single word. If in the Vatican archives there is uncovered a single document that in some remote way provides tangential support for the claim that Pope Pius did not act energetically to oppose the Holocaust, it receives immediate prominent coverage. Yet when evidence in the form of a first person testimonial emerges that the whole thing was orchestrated by the KGB in the first instance, you don't hear boo. It reminds me of how the press covers the sex abuse scandal.

Blind Squirrel

Interesting, but hardly conclusive. The jury will still be out on this one.

D------

Anti-Catholic propaganda from the Eastern bloc during the first decades of the Cold War was common.

For example, allegations that the Vatican helped Nazi war criminals escape to South America was first made by Tito's regime in Communist Yugoslavia in the late 1940s.

A few years after Cardinal Stepinac was convicted in Yugoslavia, his "diary" was suddenly discovered. (In the mid-1980s, Stepinac's prosecutor admitted the case was politically-motivated and had no merit.)

ContraMundum

"Interesting, but hardly conclusive. The jury will still be out on this one."

The only way anyone could possibly consider the evidence inconclusive is if he thinks Pacepa is lying here. If he's telling the truth, the game's over. Hitler was trying to destroy PP Pius XII, and THE DEPUTY was a hatchet job pitched by Soviets.

(By the way, some posters above say that Pacepa was not a Soviet agent. Wasn't he? Wasn't Romania a Soviet-bloc nation? He wasn't Russian, but that's a different matter.)

TM Lutas

Pacepa was Soviet in the same sense that Australia was British in WW I. The distinction deserves to be kept because in that part of the world if you let it go, even for one split second, you've birthed a new irredentist monster that will plague decent people for centuries. So, no, They are not all the same and there is good reason for keeping the distinction.

Pacepa has lots of neat insights into E bloc operations and their long-term consequences, some of them very uncomfortable. You should read his note regarding WMD in Iraq.

Blind Squirrel

"The only way anyone could possibly consider the evidence inconclusive is if he thinks Pacepa is lying here. If he's telling the truth, the game's over."

Not so. One could also consider the evidence inconclusive if Agayants were lying to Pacepa. Certainly the latter has nothing to substantiate the story beyond the assertions of the former. "A man in a bar told me..." is not the kind of factual provenance that normally commends itself to historians.

TSO

Alger Hiss and Pius XII are helpful in weeding out historians we can safely ignore. Both are markers for measuring a historian's sanity. Anyone thinking the former possibly innocent or the latter possibly guilty not only give history - as an endeavor possible of coming to truth - a bad name, but leave egg on their own face too.

Sharon

Not only was Castel Gandolfo opened to provide refuge for Jews but they were provided with kosher food.

Father Elijah

This story concerning "The Deputy" raises many issues-several already mentioned in above comments. But here are a few more.

While we can be more objective now in looking back at the Cold War and the propaganda of the Soviet Empire against both the Church and the West, do not think for a moment that these kind of things are all in the past and are now living in freedom from this kind of 'attack'

One only has to reflect for a moment on the almost non-coverage of the very large pro-life rally [which was by no means ONLY against abortion] in DC or even the West Coast.

While, sadly individual priests and bishops have sinned horrendously and failed Christ and His Church in both the sexual abuse scandal and the complicity with secret police in Poland, both real scandals have become part of the propaganda machine of those 'forces' at work to undermine the Catholic Church in her members and influence in society

I certainly go on with a list, but suffice it to say, even now, forces are at work in our world opposing us and attempting to divide us in any way possible. The names of those forces change but underlying them in the West is Secular Fundamentalism-which actually goes back in its roots, as mentioned in another post, to the late Middle Ages, Nominalism and William of Occam [a Catholic Franciscan philosopher who gave us the famous scientific tool called 'occam's razor'] He opposed Saint Thomas Aquinas's philosophy who claimed that God had revealed Himself in and through Logos-Intellect-reason. Occam claimed that God revealed Himself as Will-and that He was free to say good was evil, evil was good etc [think about that for a moment in its implications]

But even underlying all these human forces, comes today's Saint Paul who reminds us that our battle is not against "flesh and blood but against Powers and Principalities" and that we need to recognize we are in spiritual combat and put on the "armor of the Spirit' [see Ephesians 6]

ContraMundum

"Not so. One could also consider the evidence inconclusive if Agayants were lying to Pacepa."

Okay, fine. If someone is lying. But if this is not based on lies (by whomever), then, I repeat, the game is over, the jig is up, the jury's in, etc. Why would Agayants lie? Or Pacepa? The story is on its face plausible, so unless there is some evidence of lying, why sound a dismissive note? Seems gratuitous.

Blind Squirrel

No, not gratuitous--cautious. All manner of things that seem superficially plausible on closer inspection turn out not to be so (for random examples, Google "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution," "Duke Rape Case," or "Hitler Diaries"). Sensible historians withhold judgment (or "leave the jury out"), especially about matters of fact, unless all reasonable alternative explanations have been ruled out of court.

As a case in point of how difficult this can sometimes be: consider the famous story of Nikita Khrushchev taking off his shoe and banging it on the table at the UN in October 1960. Seems fairly straightforward, does it not? Lots of people were present, many of whom are still alive--journalists, diplomats, etc. The only problem, as a professor writing a biography of Khrushchev who interviewed the eyewitnesses a few years ago discovered, is that half of those who were there are adamant that he indeed banged his shoe while the other half are no less insistent that he did not. Check this out:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2003/07/26/edtaubman_ed3_.php

Now if we experience such difficulty in establishing the truth of something that happened within living memory in front of the world's press, how much more careful ought we to be in lending credence to a story that one man (who may or may not be telling the truth) says that he was told by another man (who may or may not be telling the truth) in the absence of corraborating evidence?

Dan

I agree 100% with Father Elijah. The smear campaigns are so aggressive and so persuasive that they succeed even in cowing or putting on the defensive many committed Catholics.

Art Deco

The only problem, as a professor writing a biography of Khrushchev who interviewed the eyewitnesses a few years ago discovered, is that half of those who were there are adamant that he indeed banged his shoe while the other half are no less insistent that he did not.

Unless my memory is playing tricks on me, the shoe-banging was photographed.

Ed the Roman

And unless my memory is playing tricks on ME, I've seen the photographs.

Dan

pervasive, not persuasive!

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