[ the actual title of this page:]
http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/RC_ChurchExcuses.html
or "4-RC_Church-called-to-task-A" [ Page 4-a ]

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The Scandalous Role of
the R. C. Church
in the Nazi Holocaust
Section 4a
Can "the one true Church"
be absolved of sins which
it has yet to even confess ?

Sections :
Intro ~ 1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ [ 4a ] ~ 4b ~
( 5 = Roman Catholic victims )

R. C. clergy require repentance of
everyone else but themselves!

This fourth of four sections ( #4-RC_Church-called-to-task-A & 4b) deals with the excuses most commonly offered by apologists in their attempts to defend the Pope and the German Catholic hierarchy from the charge that they did too little to prevent or to at least lessen the atrocities of the Jewish Holocaust that happened on their watch.
        It must be said that some in the Roman Catholic hierarchy would like to admit the Church's responsibility for the Holocaust, as in the case of the episcopal bodies of England, France, Germany and the U.S.A.  Here is one example :
        "Christian anti-Judaism did lay the groundwork for racial, genocidal antisemitism by stigmatizing not only Judaism but Jews themselves for opprobrium and contempt.  So the Nazi theories tragically found fertile soil in which to plant the horror of an unprecedented attempt at genocide."
        United States Catholic Bishops' Conference, Catholic Teaching on the Shoah: Implementing the Holy See's "We Remember, a Reflection on the Shoah (2001)
        The Vatican, however, makes it clear that such bishops are not speaking for the "Holy See" itself, which insists that :
        "The Shoah was the work of a thoroughly modern neopagan regime.  Its antisemitism had its roots outside of Christianity. . ."   Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah" (March 1998)

Sadly, however, there are still many Catholic apologists who are unwilling to face the facts and to confess their church's moral failings in the matter of the Jewish Holocaust. The inability of these apologists to get out of their own Catholic skin and to feel the pain suffered by millions of innocent Jews at the hands of their Catholic executioners is in itself proof of the moral bankruptcy of the Roman Catholic culture, which hasn't informed the conscience of Catholics in our time any better than it did the conscience of the Roman Catholics of Nazi Germany.
        Here are some of the many annoying facts which - try as they may - apologists for the Pope XII and the Catholic hierarchy of Germany simply can't erase from history :

  • How could a crime as montrous as the mass-murder of at least 10 million innocent human beings have occurred in a nation where 99% of the population professed to be either Roman Catholic (33%) or "other Christian" (66%) ?
  • How could Adolf Hitler and so many of the other high-ranking Nazi leadership have been produced by R. C. families? (This is so important that I devote an entire page to the many of the highest ranking members of the Nazi Leadership ).
  • Can any such apologist explain why the Vatican was one of the very first independent political entities to recognize Hitler's government, and why it was in such a rush to make its unwise "Reich Concordat" with Hitler, six months after he was in office, thereby giving it unwarranted moral legitimacy in the eyes of the rest of the world?
  • How could the R.C. hierarchy have been expected to oppose Hitler's policies when they had been required by the Reich Concordat agreed to by their church to swear "before God and on the Holy Gospels"not to do so? Click here for much more detail on this "deal with the devil".
  • Can any such apologist offer evidence that Pope Pius XI or XII ever put "Mein Kampf" on its "Index of Forbidden Books"?  ( or did the church allow this horrible "Nazi Bible" to compete throughout the Hitler years with the Judeo-Christian Bible, as the best selling book in Germany.) Click here for more detail on excommunication and the Index.
  • Can any such apologist explain why the Church in Germany never recognized that the substantial subsidies that it received from the Nazi government in support of its parochial schools and even its churches, was a form of bribery making it very difficult, if not impossible, for the church to "bite the hand that was feeding it"?
  • Can any such apologist explain why the Church, which proved that it had the ability and courage to speak out against the government when it's own ox was being gored, so to speak, claimed helplessness when the Jews were the victims?  When the Church made a point of speaking out to save Jews who had converted to Christianity, rather than prove that the Catholic Church cared about Jews, was this not proof that it cared only about "its own"?
  • Can any such apologist point to any statements on behalf of the Jews or against the Nazis which are not couched in nebulous language designed to avoid offending the Nazis,  as opposed to statements that should have used the words "Nazi" and "Jew" to make it impossible for anyone to miss the points that needed to be communicated loud and clear?  If the Church really understood that the most wicked and morally indefensible aspect of the Third Reich was its cold-blooded plan to deny every Jew they could get their hands on every civil right, every kind of freedom and justice, every personal possession, and finally even the right to life, then its pope and/or bishops should surely have made it clear to Catholics and Nazis alike that it condemned "Nazis" for perpetrating a "Holocaust" against the "Jews".  Instead, the Church tried to "have it both ways", by pretending to point an accusing finger, while actually letting the accused off the hook, by making vague diplomatic statements which satisfied those who are easily fooled, while not arousing the faithful and not antagonizing those in power.
  • Did the pope and / or bishops ever make it clear to the twenty million or so Catholics of Germany ( 33% of the population) that it was extremely immoral for any Catholic to support what Hitler's government was all about, i.e. the mass-murder of millions of their brothers and sisters who happened to be, like Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and all of the apostles chosen by Jesus, Jews?
  • If, as many Catholic apologists claim, their church opposed Hitler's immoral policies, why is it that the only records that can be found of German Catholics refusing to be a part of the Nazi military is of seven individuals?  And far from representing their Church's opposition to Hitler, the records show that several of these "conscientious objectors", including a priest, were refused the sacraments for being "bad Catholics" (for not going along with the directions of their church's leaders to "be subject to your leaders")?
  • Even if they are unable to empathize with the suffering of non-Catholic Jews, shouldn't Catholics be concerned about the spiritual harm done to members of their own church, who had a right to expect moral guidance from their clergy and were instead told that they should do whatever their civil leaders told them to do?  The devout Catholic scholar, Gordon Zahn, who went to Germany in the 1950's in the hope of vindicating his beloved church, could only find documentation that led him to conclusions he didn't like, such as this one:

    "The German Catholic who looked to his religious superiors for spiritual guidance and direction regarding service in Hitler's wars received virtually the same answers he would have received from the Nazi ruler himself."  { German Catholics and Hitler's Wars, p. 17 )

    As powerful as is the case made by Catholic Professor Zahn, however, that case is made even more forcefully by the Roman Catholic Austrian farmer, Franz Jagerstatter, whom Professor Zahn discovered and Pope Benedict XVI started on the road to canonization. If any man deserves to be considered a "saint" in the Nazi Holocaust, IMHO it is this hero, whom I honor at NaziMartyrFranz.html.

  • While there is little evidence of the authorities of the Catholic Church in either Germany or the Vatican speaking clearly and loudly against the Nazis,  there is ample evidence of the Church insisting on being "neutral", when it was urged to speak out against the Nazi's.  And yet, when it regularly instructed German Catholics to obey their Nazi rulers, was that being "neutral"?
  • If there is any evidence to support the often repeated claim that Pope Pius XII was personally responsible for saving the lives of 860,000 or so Jews? And even if he deserves credit for saving those Jews, why were so many of those lives only saved after the tide had turned and the defeat of the Nazis was only a matter of time?  See Response 3, below:
  • While apologists for Pius XII can quote various Jewish agencies that spoke highly of this pope early on, and at his death, how can Jewish guardians of Yad Vashem have a high opinion of the best known "gentile" of the period and not include him among the 23,788 "Righteous Gentiles" who had been recognized as of January, 2011, ?   (Instead, Yad Vashem features a picture of Pius XII bearing a caption expressing their unhappiness that Pope Pius "refused to sign the Allied nations' declaration condemning the extermination of the Jews" (Dec. 17, 1942) and "maintained his neutral position throughout the war".)
  • Why, after the Nazis had been defeated, and the liberators of the Jews were attempting to round up the Nazi war criminals for persecution, did the Catholic Church allow the Vatican and other important church assets to become one of the most important avenues of escape of hundreds, if not thousands, of Nazi war criminals, including some of the worst? See http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/NaziLeadership.html
        All of these efforts to brand everything critical of their church as "lies" reminds me of the words of Winston Churchill :"There are a terrible lot of lies going around the world, and the worst of it is (that) half of them are true."

the "Strawman" excuses :

One of the strategies used to defend Pope Pius XII is to create fictitious "strawmen" opponents, which they can then pretend to defeat, as though they were the real opponents of the Pope, when they are not. The popes friends have created three such strawmen.

  • Strawman # 1 : Some portray the pope's critics as people who make wild charges like "Pius XII said absolutely nothing (was totally silent) in defense of the Jews or in opposition to the Nazis, or that he was a totally willing ally of Hitler's.  The truth is that no serious critic of Pius makes such unqualified claims.  (Those who have not read "Hitler's Pope" might imagine that John Cornwell does so, but that's what you get when you judge a book by its cover.) So this is one bogus strawman argument.
  • Strawman # 2 : Other defenders of the pope pretend that the whole case against Pope Pius XII is based on the 1963 German play "The Deputy" by Rolf Hochhuth, which was nothing but a work of art based on the hunches of a playwright. They want to mislead people into believing that there has been no solid scholarship since then to substantiate some if not all of that artist's hunches.  Setting up and attacking this "strawman" is what passes for scholarship in such Catholic circles.
  • Strawman # 3 : Many of the same apologists claim that the old Soviet Union's KGB did it, with their "black legend". While it is quite likely that these mortal enemies of the Catholic Church and of religion in general were happy to publicize charges made against the church, I have yet to see any proof offered that the KGB originated that evidence. Strawman # 3.

the "We did too!" claim
that Pius XII saved
a great number of Jews :

One of the arguments that apologists for the R. C. hierarchy offer to absolve Pope Pius XII of any responsibility for the death of 6,000,000 Jews is that he was supposedly responsible for quietly rescuing some 860,000 Jews.  There are several clarifications that need to be made about that claim.

1) Goldhagen relies on the work of the R. C. scholar, Susan Zuccotti, to undercut the often repeated – but never substantiated – claim that Pope Pius XII deserves credit for the personally intervening to save the lives of 860,000 Jews :

"Susan Zuccotti recently exposed a central exculpating myth – in her view consciously created or encouraged by the Pope and others, and sustained by Jews who themselves were misled or wanted to placate the powerful Church – that the Pope (Pius XII) gave orders for Italian Church officials to hide Jews in churches and monasteries.  The priests and others who took initiatives to save the lives of any Jews were certainly heroic, but there is no evidence of the Pope's guiding hand.  Based on extensive, painstaking research into one locale after another, she methodically debunks claims that Pius XII was active on behalf he Jews.  These findings have devastated Plus XII's reputation. . .   The Pope's defenders accept the assertions of Jews and Catholics that he was behind rescue efforts in Italy; however, this is hearsay, without foundation, and is contradicted by credible evidence.
        (Defenders of Pius XII often) give great weight to the Pope's representatives' quiet interventions on behalf of some Jews, even when the lucky "Jews" were not Jews at all, but really Catholics who had converted from Judaism or when the interventions were tepid and came only after the Germans and their local helpers had been killing Jews of a given country for months or years. 
(p. 40-41)

2) Even if Pius XII were to be credited with saving those 860,000 Jews, that number may appear large when compared to 0,   but not that large when compared to the 6,000,0000 or so otherJews who could have been saved.  For it means that for every one saved, there were seven who were exterminated.  That being the case, what kind of consolation is it to the 6 million other Jews who slipped through the pope's fingers into the concentration camps and crematoria?
        Just stop for a moment and ask yourself how many more Pius XII could have saved, if he had required all of the Catholic bishops and priests under his authority to 'call a spade a spade', i.e. mass murder and, in the language of their church, the deadliest of 'mortal' sins?  What would the 33% or so of Hitler's millions of assistants who were Roman Catholics have done if their priests and bishops had challenged them to choose between their holy God and their diabolical Führer?  What if, instead of telling them that it was their religious duty as Catholics to be loyal and obedient citizens and soldiers, as they were bound to be by the 1933 Concordat that Pope Pius XII had concluded with the Nazi regime (as the official representative of the previous pope),   the Pope had excommunicated Hitler and the many other Roman Catholics who headed not only Germany, but most of the other NAZI countries, and told the millions of Roman Catholics in those countries that it was the gravest of mortal sins to play any part in the systematic extermination of innocent human beings, including people whom the R. C. liturgy throughout those years continued to call 'the perfidious Jews' ?  What if instead of helping the Nazis by providing them very useful information from all of their parish records, all of the Catholic Churches had been instructed to hide those records and instead give baptismal certificates to any and all Jews who wanted them, (as it appears the future Pope John XXIII did)?
        In The Vicars of Christ, Peter De Rosa, who taught in the nearby Gregorian University, points out that, in sharp contrast to Jesus, who was born in a stable and in his public life later on said that he had 'nowhere to lay his head',  the popes who claim to be the divinely appointed "vicars of Christ" inhabit a palace of eleven thousand rooms.  [That is not a typographical error.]  And then there is Castelgandolfo, where pontiffs go to escape Rome's summer heat.  Beautiful Castelgandolfo, slightly larger than the Vatican, is where John Paul II, at some cost, had a swimming pool built for his personal use." {p. 26}
        With all that space, you would think that Pius XII could have hidden more than just a handful of Jews, like Rabbi Zolli's family.
        Once Hitler and Mussolini had been defeated, and the allies were trying to apprehend and prosecute those guilty of horrendous war crimes, many of them against the Jews, the Vatican which had been unable or unwilling to use its facilities to hide and save Jews, used those same facilities to hide and save the war criminals, enabling them to escape to friendly Catholic countries like Argentina, where they helped Catholic dictators enforce their fascist policies against more innocent victims (most of them fellow Catholics).

Here are examples of what
Catholic apologists say:

  1. "But Pope Pius XII was not completely silent either, especially in his Christmas messages.  His 1941 and 1942 Christmas messages were both translated and published in The New York Times (Dec. 25, 1941, p. 20 & Dec. 25, 1942, p. 10).  To prevent retaliation, he did not refer to Nazism by name, but people of that era still understood him, including the Nazis.
  2. In Lent 1937 Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical "Mit brennender Sorge" (With burning sorrow) with the help of German bishops and Cardinal Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII).  It was smuggled into Germany and read in all German Catholic churches at the same hour on Palm Sunday 1937.  It did not explicitly mention Hitler or Nazism, but it firmly condemned the Nazi doctrines.  On September 20, 1938, Pius XI told German pilgrims that no Christian can take part in anti-Semitism, since spiritually all Christians are Semites."

Catholic League for
Religious and Civil Rights :

Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust (from the F.A.Q. page) : First Question:  "The general charge against Pope Pius XII is that he maintained a "continued attitude of silence" in the face of Nazism and the horror of the Holocaust.  Was the Pope silent?"

    [ from somewhere at http://www.catholicleague.org/pius.php, which has been redesigned since this quote was lifted from its pages.]

"Contrary to the charges of critics, he was consistently anti-Nazi in words and actions, both before and after he became pope. . .  Pius XII spoke out many times against Nazi atrocities, without mentioning names. But the whole world knew to whom he was referring."
Sister Margherita Marchione, a zealous defender of Pius XII and professor emerita at Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Sister Margherita Marchione's idea of arguing is the "shotgun" approach: i.e. shooting all kinds of pellets of information at readers in the hopes of impressing them with her "scholarship". Take the following examples from page 149 of her Consensus and Controversy: Defending Pope Pius XII

"During this period, Pope Pius XII met for more than ninety minutes with Myron Taylor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's personal representative to the Vatican, and the general opinion was that the Vatican was on the verge of doing something more directly to help the Jews in the various occupied countries."
        From London, December 23, 1942, Chief Rabbi Hertz sent a telegram to Pope Pius XII, requesting that he intervene for the Jews in eastern Europe who were threatened with annihilation: "In the name of worldwide religious Jewry respectfully beseech intervention of his Holiness to save annihilation of Israel in Eastern Europe. We invoke the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of Man to save one suffering people.
       At this momentous hour – Agudas Israel World Organization of Orthodox Jews."

If in fact "the general opinion was that the Vatican was on the verge of doing something more directly to help the Jews" everybody was dead wrong because Pius did nothing to answer those prayers of Myron Taylor or Rabbi Hertz. If anything, these arguments of Sister Marchione's prove the very opposite of what she intended to prove about Pius XII.

"The Pope finally gave a reason for his consistent refusals to make a public statement in December 1942. The Allied governments issued a declaration, "German Policy of Extermination of the Jewish Race," which stated that there would be retribution for the perpetrators of Jewish murders. When Tittman asked Secretary of State Maglione if the Pope could issue a similar proclamation, Maglione said the papacy was "unable to denounce publicly particular atrocities." One reason for this position was that the staunchly anti–communist Pope felt he could not denounce the Nazis without including the Communists; therefore, Pius XII would only condemn general atrocities.
        The Pope did speak generally against the extermination campaign. On January 18, 1940, after the death toll of Polish civilians was estimated at 15,000, the Pope said in a broadcast, "The horror and inexcusable excesses committed on a helpless and a homeless people have been established by the unimpeachable testimony of eye–witnesses." During his Christmas Eve radio broadcast in 1942, he referred to the "hundreds of thousands who through no fault of their own, and solely because of their nation or race, have been condemned to death or progressive extinction." The Pope never mentioned the the Jews (as the victims, nor the Nazis as the villains) by name.
        { http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/pius.html }
        A site by a Catholic apologist makes this interesting admission :  "To prevent retaliation, he (Pius) did not refer to Nazism by name, but people of that era still understood him, including the Nazis."  If everybody knew that the pope was talking about "Jews" and "Nazis", then why would it make any difference whether the pope said "Jews" and "Nazis" out loud or not?  The answer, obviously is that Hitler didn't mind the pope speaking ambiguously. So long as Catholics weren't put on the spot, and forced by their religious leaders to choose between obeying Hitler and obeying God, Hitler was content to let Pius be Pius, the supreme diplomat who could avoid offending anybody by speaking and writing nothing but ambiguities.
        In a September 1940 broadcast, the Vatican called its policy "neutrality," but stated in the same broadcast that "where morality was involved, no neutrality was possible".  This could only mean that they didn't view mass-murder as a moral issue - which is why the Vatican could be neutral about it!-
        The Pope's indifference to the mistreatment of Jews was often clear. In 1941, for example, after being asked by French Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain if the Vatican would object to anti–Jewish laws, Pius XII answered that the church condemned racism, but did not repudiate every rule against the Jews. When Pétain's French puppet government introduced "Jewish statutes," the Vichy ambassador to the Holy See informed Pétain that the Vatican did not consider the legislation in conflict with Catholic teachings, as long as they were carried out with "charity" and "justice."
        "Within the Pope's own church, Cardinal Theodor Innitzer of Vienna told Pius XII about Jewish deportations in 1941. In 1942, the Slovakian charge d'affaires, a position under the supervision of the Pope, reported to Rome that Slovakian Jews were being systematically deported and sent to death camps.
        In October 1941, the Assistant Chief of the U.S. delegation to the Vatican, Harold Tittman, asked the Pope to condemn the atrocities. The response came that the Holy See wanted to remain "neutral," and that condemning the atrocities would have a negative influence on Catholics in German–held lands.
        Robert Wistrich, (the author of "Six Million Crucifixions", notes that "by the end of 1942, the Vatican was among the best–informed institutions in Europe concerning the Holocaust. Except for the Germans or perhaps British intelligence, few people were more aware of the local details as well as the larger picture."
        In late August 1942, after more than 200,000 Ukrainian Jews had been killed, Ukrainian Metropolitan Andrej Septyckyj wrote a long letter to the Pope, referring to the German government as a regime of terror and corruption, more diabolical than that of the Bolsheviks. The Pope replied by quoting verses from Psalms and advising Septyckyj to "bear adversity with serene patience."
        In the summer of 1942, long after the Roman curia had become aware of the mass murders, Pius explained to his college of Cardinals the reasons for the great gulf that existed between Jews and Christians at the theological level: "Jerusalem has responded to His call and to His grace with the same rigid blindness and stubborn ingratitude that has led it along the path of guilt to the murder of God." Historian Guido Knopp describes these comments of Pius as being "incomprehensible" at a time when "Jerusalem was being murdered by the million". [ "Hitler's Holocaust", Guido Knopp, Sutton,2000, p. 250 ]
        On September 18, 1942, Monsignor Giovanni Battista Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, wrote, "The massacres of the Jews reach frightening proportions and forms." Yet, that same month when Myron Taylor, U.S. representative to the Vatican, warned the Pope that his silence was endangering his moral prestige, the Secretary of State responded on the Pope's behalf that it was impossible to verify rumors about crimes committed against the Jews.
        Wladislaw Raczkiewicz, president of the Polish government–in–exile, appealed to the Pope in January 1943 to publicly denounce Nazi violence. Bishop Preysing of Berlin did the same, at least twice. Pius XII refused.
        The Pope finally gave a reason for his consistent refusals to make a public statement in December 1942. The Allied governments issued a declaration, "German Policy of Extermination of the Jewish Race," which stated that there would be retribution for the perpetrators of Jewish murders. When Tittman asked Secretary of State Maglione if the Pope could issue a similar proclamation, Maglione said the papacy was "unable to denounce publicly particular atrocities." One reason for this position was that the staunchly anti–communist Pope felt he could not denounce the Nazis without including the Communists; therefore, Pius XII would only condemn general atrocities.


If as these apologists claim, Pius spoke out "loudly and clearly", it should be easy to prove Pius XII's many detractors wrong by actually quoting some of these supposed statements by the pope, and when and to whom he supposedly made them. But everybody is still waiting for that to happen.


    Here is what the Jewish scholar, Daniel Goldhagen wrote about such claims in his 2002 book, "A Moral Reckoning" :

"The Pope's defenders also eagerly interpret public statements by Pius XII that were critical of violence or racism in general – no matter how glancing, weak or tardy – as powerful and unequivocal defenses of the Jews, even though any mention of Jews is conspicuously absent.

Pius XII's Christmas message of 1942 is, for them, Exhibit A.  At the end of a forty-five-minute speech dealing with other themes, the Pontiff calls for a just society:

'We owe it to the innumerable dead . . .   to the suffering groups of mothers, widows, and orphans . . .   to the innumerable exiles . . .   to the hundreds of thousands who, without personal guilt, are doomed to death or to a progressive deterioration of their condition, sometimes for no other reason than their nationality or descent . . .   to the many thousands of noncombatants whom the air war has [harmed].'  

Laudable as this statement might seem, its platitudinous vagueness is striking."
        By Christmas 1942, the Germans and their helpers had been slaughtering millions of Jews across Europe for almost a year and a half.  They were well on their way to annihilating the three million Jews of Catholic Poland.  The Einsatzgruppen, the German army and other German units, and the German's local auxiliaries had machine-gunned and gassed a good portion of the million Jews in the Soviet Union whom they would ultimately kill.  With the aid of locals, they had also killed most of the Jews of Catholic Lithuania, and of Latvia and Estonia, and had begun destroying the Jews of Romania.  The German army had slaughtered most of the Jews of Serbia.  Catholic Slovakia and Catholic Croatia had for months been "solving" their "Jewish Problem," the Slovaks by deporting the Jews to their deaths and the Croats by killing them themselves.  The Germans had begun to annihilate the Jews of greater Germany itself, including prewar Austria, and the annexed territory that today is the Czech Republic.  With their local helpers, they were annihilating the Jews of western Europe, of Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.  The death factories, with their gas chambers and crematoria, had long been consuming their victims day after day.  For all this time that the Germans and their helpers were killing all these Jewish men, women, and children across the continent, Pius XII publicly said nothing.  He uttered no protest even though he knew the broad contours of the destruction, having received a stream of detailed reports about the ongoing mass murder.  He watched in detached silence.  Now, when he finally said something, he made no mention of Jews as victims, or Germans or Nazis as perpetrators, and no condemnation of racism or anti-Semitism.  Pius XII made no attempt to provide usable information to the European peoples about the extent of the mass murder, and made no call to them to resist further slaughters.

Why, after such a long and lethal period of purposeful silence, did Pius XII say something, even something as inadequate as he did?  He spoke out only after he had been strongly pressured by the Americans and the British to explicitly condemn the mass murder of the Jews, which he nevertheless steadfastly refused to do.  Two weeks before his Christmas message, the British minister to the Vatican, Francis d'Arcy Osborne, was completely exasperated by the Pope's silence.  On December 14, he even took the extraordinary diplomatic step of censuring Pius XII bluntly while speaking to the Vatican Secretary of State.  Osborne recorded that he virtually commanded that the Vatican "should consider their duties in respect to the unprecedented crime against humanity of Hitler's campaign of extermination of the Jews."  But during the years when the Germans were mass-murdering the Jews, Pius XII chose again and again not to mention the Jews publicly.  Nevertheless, his defenders insist that, his purposeful omission notwithstanding, he was speaking about them all along; they ignore that until his vague (one sentence) Christmas utterance well over a year after the Germans initiated that mass murder, Pius XII had been absolutely silent." ( p. 41)
        According to the author of Six Million Crucifixions, Gabriel Wilenski, thanks to the very active role played by the local population, the highest percentage of success in making their country "Jew-free" goes to Lithuania, which managed to murder more than 95% of its Jews. In 1939, 85% of that country's citizens identified themselves as "Roman Catholic".

Apologists for the R. C. hierarchy argue vociferously that their pope and bishops didn't speak out publicly against the Nazi persecution of the Jews because that was the wrong policy.

the Vatican's own explanation
of why Pius said little :

Lewy explains that, at the height of the holocaust, representatives of the Vatican explained why the Pope thought it best NOT to condemn the Nazis "loud and clear".
        " Meanwhile, there was growing criticism of the Pope's failure to protest publicly against Nazi atrocities and especially against the murder of the Jews in the Polish death factories. . . 
        A high-placed official of the Curia explained that the Pope's silence was due to the following reasons: the desire of the Holy See to maintain its absolute neutrality in the world-wide conflict, the importance of Papal pronouncements standing the test of time (which quality was difficult to achieve in the heat of the passions of war and the errors resulting therefrom) and the fear that any clearly pointed protest would worsen the situation of Catholics in the Nazi-occupied countries.  The Pope hesitated to condemn German atrocities . . . because he did not want to incur later the reproach of the German people that the Catholic Church had contributed to their defeat .
        After the Western Allies in December 1942 had vigorously denounced the cold-blooded extermination of the Jews, Tittmann again inquired from the Papal Secretary of State whether the Holy See could not issue a similar pronouncement.  Maglione answered that the Holy See, in line with its policy of neutrality, could not protest particular atrocities and had to limit itself to condemning immoral actions in general.  He assured Tittmann that everything possible was being done behind the scenes to help the Jews.
        Two days later, in the course of a lengthy Christmas message broadcast over the Vatican radio, Pope Pius made another of his many calls for a more humane conduct of hostilities.  All men of good will, the Pope demanded, should bring the life of the nations again into conformity with the divine law.  Humanity owed the resolution to build a better world to "the hundreds of thousands who, without personal guilt, sometimes for no other reason but on account of their nationality or descent, were doomed to death or exposed to a progressive deterioration of their condition." Addressing the Sacred College of Cardinals in June 1943 the Pontiff spoke of his twofold duty to be impartial and to point up moral errors.  He had given special attention, he recalled, to the plight of those who were still being harassed because of their nationality or descent, and who, without personal guilt, were subjected to measures that spelled destruction.  Much had been done for the unfortunates that could not be described yet.  Every public statement had had to be carefully weighed "in the interest of those suffering so that their situation would not inadvertently be made still more difficult and unbearable."  [ Lewy, p.299]

"Could Pius have saved more lives by speaking out more forcefully?  According to Lapide, the concentration camp prisoners did not want Pius to speak out openly (p. 247).  As one jurist from the Nuremberg Trials said on WNBC in New York (Feb. 28, 1964),  "Any words of Pius XII, directed against a madman like Hitler, would have brought on an even worse catastrophe. . .   [and] accelerated the massacre of Jews and priests.

Pope Pius XII was a diplomat and not a radical preacher.  He knew that he first needed to preserve Vatican neutrality so that Vatican City could be a refuge for war victims.  The International Red Cross also remained neutral.    Secondly, he knew how powerless he was against Hitler.  Mussolini could quickly shut off electrical power to Vatican Radio during his broadcast (Lapide, p. 256). 

Finally the Nazis did not tolerate any protest and responded severely.  As an example, the Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht in July 1942 protested in a pastoral letter against the Jewish persecutions in Holland.  Immediately the Nazis rounded up as many Jews and Catholic non-Aryans as possible and deported them to death camps, including Blessed Edith Stein (Lapide, p. 246).  Pius knew that every time he spoke out against Hitler, the Nazis could retaliate against the prisoners.  His best attack against the Nazis was quiet diplomacy and behind-the-scenes action.  According to the 1996 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia (V8.01) under Pius XII, "Wishing to preserve Vatican neutrality, fearing reprisals, and realizing his impotence to stop the Holocaust, Pius nonetheless acted on an individual basis to save many Jews and others with church ransoms, documents, and asylum."

What irony there is in this invocation of the name of "Blessed Edith Stein" in this argument in favor or papal silence when she authored a famous letter to Pope Pius XI pleading with him to speak out against the Nazi persecution of the Jews! Instead of canonizing her for her "martyrdom" after ignoring her cries for help, wouldn't it have been far better for the Vatican to have heeded this moving letter?

The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany" , [p. 304] or not, as claimed by Ronald Rychlak in "The Pius War" (p.38), it represents an explanation as good as any other why Pius XII avoided speaking out clearly and forcefully against the Jewish Holocaust. When asked by a reporter named Eduardo Senatro if he was going to do so in response to news of Nazi atrocities, the Pope is reported to have answered,
        "Do not forget that millions of Catholics serve in the German armies. Shall I bring them into conflicts of conscience?

One of the principal reasons given by the Vatican for the silence of the Pope Pius XII was that "the Holy See did not want to jeopardize its neutrality".  But Pius XII himself exposed the problem with that argument as Lewy points out:

"Pius XII broke his policy of strict neutrality during World War II to express concern over the German violation of the neutrality of Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg in May 1940. When some German Catholics criticized him for this action, the Pope wrote the German bishops that neutrality was not synonymous 'with indifference and apathy where moral and humane considerations demanded a candid word.' All things told, did not the murder of several million Jews demand a similarly 'candid word'? [Lewy, p. 305]


"The desire of the Holy See not to weaken the German power of resistance against Russia was one of the most important reasons why all efforts on the part of the Allies failed to persuade the Vatican publicly to denounce German atrocities, including the extermination of the Jews in Europe. . .
        " On several occasions Pope Pius voiced regret over the treatment of noncombatants, and he always mentioned his concern for a more humane conduct of the war.  But in line with his policy of strict neutrality the Pope never named the guilty party; his statements always expressed sympathy for the victims but never condemned those responsible for the atrocities.  When in October 1941 Harold H. Tittmann, the assistant of Roosevelt's special emissary to the Vatican, tried to get the Pope to issue a public protest against the Germans' mass shooting of hostages, he was told that this could not be done since it would jeopardize the situation of the German Catholics."

But silence wasn't
the right policy !

This is Daniel Goldhagen's response to these claims :

"They (Pius XII's defenders) also assert, perversely, that had Pius XII made concerted efforts to save Jews – as the critics maintain that he should have done – then he would have ended up only hastening more Jewish deaths.  In 1963, no less a personage than the close wartime confidant of Pius XII, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, shortly before his election as Pope Paul VI, made this argument:  "An attitude of protest and condemnation [of the persecutions of the Jews] . . .   would have been not only futile but harmful." But the cardinal's claim was not an argument at all.  It was an imperious assertion, dismissing the need for further inquiry:  "That is," the future Pope declared, "the long and the short of the matter."

The contention that Pius XII would only have harmed Jews by trying to help them is patent nonsense.  There is not a single instance where the intervention of Christian churches led to the deaths of more Jews.  And there are many well-known instances where interventions on behalf of Jews saved many lives."

The best that the Pope's defenders can do is point to the Netherlands, where the Dutch Catholic Church's protest of the deportation of the Jews in July 1942 led the Germans to deport Catholics who had converted from Judaism.  But this example is misleading in several ways.

The Germans' murder of these people is relevant to a discussion of the Church's solicitude for Catholics, which no one doubts or fails to applaud, but it is disingenuous to present this as an instance of the Church, attempting to help Jews, leading the Germans to kill Jews they would not have killed otherwise.  Even if the Germans considered these victims to be Jews, in the eyes of the Church and the victims themselves, they were Catholics; they had renounced Judaism, been baptized, and declared themselves to be Catholics – believers in the divinity of Jesus and subordinate to the authority of his Catholic Church.  Moreover, the Church quickly learned that these Catholics were doomed, destined to be murdered regardless of its protest.  Soon after deporting these Catholics, the Germans deported the Dutch Protestants who had converted from Judaism, even though the Protestant churches had not publicly protested the deportation of the Jews.

The contemporaneous French bishops' public protest of the deportation of Jews from France undermines any argument that the Church could have genuinely believed that silence in this context was golden.  The French bishops' protests did not lead to more Jews dying or suffering.  This was clear at the time.  On the contrary, their protests spurred Catholics, clergy and lay, to save Jews."
        By protesting the mistreatment only of Jewish converts to Christianity, Christians showed that they were not concerned about Jews as Jews or Jews as human beings, but only about fellow Christians who were no longer Jews in their own eyes, though they remained such in the eyes of the Nazi state.

[ Moral Reckoning, pp. 49-50]

"The fact is that in those dark years there were still other Christian church leaders besides the Danes, including the French Catholic bishops, the Orthodox Bulgarian Synod of bishops, and the Greek Orthodox archbishop of Athens, who publicly denounced the German's eliminationist onslaught against the Jews."  ]    "There is every reason to believe that these ecclesiastical protests helped to save Jews' lives, and no reason to believe that they caused more Jews' deaths.  All the Jews living within the borders of prewar Bulgaria, for example, numbering fifty thousand, survived the war.  These protests all occurred before the Germans began the deportation of Italy's Jews.  " p. 52  [ See Christians who saved Jews, where we highlight the heroic manner in which a number of nations saved many or even all of their Jewish citizens.]

        "Holy See" ?
    Isn't it amusing how English-speaking Catholic churchmen insist on translating the Latin "Sancta Sedes" into the meaningless "Holy See", instead of the correct, but silly sounding "Holy Seat"?

Papal-typeThroneFree
a papal throne

"The Germans took no retribution on the Norwegian, French, Bulgarian, or Greek churches for championing the Jews, just as they had refrained from acting against the Danes.  The Nazis also took no retribution on Bishop Antonio Santin of Trieste, in northern Italy, who during a mass in early November 1943, with Germans and Italian Fascists present, denounced in the name of Jesus the roundup of the Jews as violations of "charity, goodness, and humanity," and urged that within his diocese "every hand offer help" to them.  The Germans did nothing to him, to his parishioners, to Jews married to Catholics, or to Catholics who had converted from Judaism.  Having suffered no punishment for his actions, Bishop Santin wrote a letter imploring the Pope to help the Jews – "  I humbly beg Your Holiness to intervene with the German ambassador to the Holy See in favor of these unhappy people."  Two weeks later he traveled to the Vatican to make the same plea – all in vain.

That the Pope would bring danger upon himself and the Church for speaking out was then, and is now, a convenient fiction."  Moreover, the Pope himself proved definitively that such considerations played no role whatsoever in his decisions to remain publicly silent while the Germans murdered Jews.  (For) After the Allies liberated Rome on June 4, 1944, the Germans were in the process of gradually deporting the Jews of Trieste, which they still occupied.  The Pope and the Vatican were completely safe.  More than half a year had passed since Bishop Santin's appeal.  Yet Pius XII still did absolutely nothing to help Trieste's Jews.  Fifteen of the twenty-two trains that brought almost twelve hundred Jews mostly to Auschwitz departed Trieste when (i.e. after) the Pope was safely under Allied protection.

Quietly, behind the scenes, Plus XII personally could have also done many things to try to help the Jews, particularly of Italy, with no risk to himself or the Church.  He chose not to." p.53

"The notion that had the Pope spoken out and tried to mobilize Catholics, ecclesiastic and lay, and non-Catholics to resist the Germans' slaughters, then more Jews would have died is about as bizarre and nonsensical an argument as I have read by anyone writing about the Holocaust, except of course the fulminations of Holocaust deniers and their fellow travelers who blame the Jews for their own destruction." [ Moral Reckoning, p. 54 ]

Here is how the (Jewish)
Simon Wiesenthal Center
views this matter :

  " What was the attitude of the churches vis-a-vis the persecution of the Jews?
Question :  Did the Pope ever speak out against the Nazis?
Answer :  The head of the Catholic Church at the time of the Nazi rise to power was Pope Pius XI.  Although he stated that the myths of "race" and "blood" were contrary to Christian teaching (in a papal encyclical, March 1937), he neither mentioned nor criticized antisemitism.  His successor, Pius XII (Cardinal Pacelli) was a Germanophile who maintained his neutrality throughout the course of World War II.  Although as early as 1942 the Vatican received detailed information on the murder of Jews in concentration camps, the Pope confined his public statements to expressions of sympathy for the victims of injustice and to calls for a more humane conduct of the war.
        Despite the lack of response by Pope Pius XII, several papal nuncios played an important role in rescue efforts, particularly the nuncios in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Turkey.  It is not clear to what, if any, extent they operated upon instructions from the Vatican.
        In Germany, the Catholic Church did not oppose the Nazis' antisemitic campaign.  (on the contrary) Church records were supplied to state authorities which assisted in the detection of people of Jewish origin, and efforts to aid the persecuted were confined to Catholic non-Aryans (whom the Church viewed as Catholics, rather than Jews).   While Catholic clergymen protested the Nazi euthanasia program, few, with the exception of Bernhard Lichtenberg, spoke out against the murder of the Jews.
        In Western Europe, Catholic clergy spoke out publicly against the persecution of the Jews and actively helped in the rescue of Jews.  In Eastern Europe, however, the Catholic clergy was generally more reluctant to help.  Dr. Jozef Tiso, the head of state of Slovakia and a Catholic priest, actively cooperated with the Germans as did many other Catholic priests."

from http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/resources/questions/index.html#34

Simon Wiesenthal was a survivor of no fewer than 12 concentration camps. Between them, he and his wife lost 89 members of their family to the Holocaust. After the war, he dedicated himself to tracking down fugitive Nazis. The center which bears his name carries on that work to this day, and is also involved in wider educational programs which aim to ensure that what happened in Germany under the Nazis should never be forgotten.

Here is how Shira Schoenberg
of the Jewish Virtual Library
deals with this question :

Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust

        The following is only the Conclusion of an outstanding analysis which deserves to be read in full :

"The Pope's reaction to the Holocaust was complex and inconsistent.  At times, he tried to help the Jews and was successful.  But these successes only highlight the amount of influence he might have had, if he had not chosen to remain silent on so many other occasions.  No one knows for sure the motives behind Pius XII's actions, or lack thereof, since the Vatican archives have only been fully opened to select researchers.  Historians offer many reasons why Pope Pius XII was not a stronger public advocate for the Jews: a fear of Nazi reprisals, a feeling that public speech would have no effect and might harm the Jews, the idea that private intervention could accomplish more, the anxiety that acting against the German government could provoke a schism among German Catholics, the church's traditional role of being politically neutral and the fear of the growth of Communism were the Nazis to be defeated.  Whatever his motivation, it is hard to escape the conclusion that the Pope, like so many others in positions of power and influence, could have done more to save the Jews."

Indeed, in 1937 the Dutch weekly Der Deutsche Weg wrote in amazement about the warm attitude the German bishops showed toward Nazism. They wrote that “despite the inhuman brutalities perpetrated in the concentration camps, despite the currency and defamation trials, despite the personal insults against individual princes of the Church, against the Holy Father and the entire Church, and in spite of all hostile measures amounting to another Kulturkampf, . . . the bishops find words of appreciation for what [next to Bolshevism] is their worst enemy.” As Hitler told Cardinal Faulhaber before the war, “The Catholic Church should not deceive herself: if National Socialism does not succeed in defeating Bolshevism, then Church and Christianity in Europe too are finished. Bolshevism is the mortal enemy of the Church as much as of Fascism.”
        The Church knew very well that if the Communists won, that would have been the guaranteed end of the Catholic Church. In the titanic struggle that ensued during the Second World War, Pope Pius XII knew that the Nazis were the only bulwark against Communism, and we must keep this in mind when pondering about the Pope’s silence vis-à-vis the heinous Nazi crimes including the extermination of the Jews. As much as the Pope may have disliked Nazism and Hitler, in his realpolitik calculation the sacrifice of six million Jews must have been acceptable if that was what it took to save the Catholic Church from what to them was a mortal and implacable foe."
from "Bolshevism is the mortal enemy of the Church"
http://www.sixmillioncrucifixions.com/Articles.html, By Gabriel Wilensky

from http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/holo.html

Let it be noted that between Sept. of 1939 & June of 1941, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin were allies. Yet even during this period, when some of the worst atrocities were being committed against the Jews, Pius remained "neutral" when he could have taken a position opposing both fascism and Communism at once, while siding with the allies who were fighting both of these mortal enemies of Judeo-Christianity.

Excerpts from William R. Perl's
"Holocaust Conspiracy":

[ William Perl (1906-1998), was a United States Army veteran, lawyer/business man, psychologist, Jewish leader, personally credited with rescuing as many as 40,000 from the Nazi Holocaust.]

[ Titles and content of brackets added by Ray Dubuque ]

brave actions of the French,
Dutch and Belgian Bishops :

"In Holland, the first deportation of Dutch Jews was denounced by the Bishops in strong, condemning terms, and in Belgium the local priests were active – with the support of their Bishops, in hiding Jewish children.
        These condemnations by locally influential clergymen did not, however, cause the Germans to abstain or in any way change the measures they took.  (because) They knew that the Vatican would back them up whatever the locals said, and the cooperation they received in Poland, the Baltic countries – in fact wherever Catholics worked with them on the extermination plan – was not endangered.  Only a firm announcement by the Holy Father could have influenced Germany's partners in the annihilation process. . . 
        The protests by some courageous Catholic clerics against what they saw happening all around them appears not to have given the Pope the feeling that in regards to the Holocaust he was out of step with the main body of the Catholic hierarchy.  (Pope Pius XII) never condemned what happened in Germany as far as Hitler's program to murder all Jews went. ( p.199)  His position was well known to the conclave that in 1939 elevated him to the papacy.  Of all those eligible, the cardinals elected the one who had since its birth observed the National Socialist party, and knew Hitler's and the party's determination to solve the 'Jewish problem' in the way Hitler had promised.   In electing him to be the new Pope, the cardinals were aware that they were putting into St. Peter's chair a man who would not take a stand against the plan to kill all the Jews of Europe. Certainly most of the cardinals assembled for the conclave were ready to take the German annihilation plan into their stride. The question may be asked to what degree this cardinals assembly made itself co-responsible with Pius XII when he continued to act in regards to the Holocaust after the election as he had done before as Secretary of State.

Dutch and Belgian Catholic clerics stand out the more with their courageous acts, as they knew that this position was not backed by the Holy See.  When the French puppet government of Marshall Pétain introduced special "Jewish statutes" and the cardinals and bishops of France announced their disapproval of these measures, the Vichy ambassador to the Holy See, M. Leon Berard informed Pétain that the Vatican did not consider such legislation to be conflicting with Catholic teachings. No principal conflict, it was just asked that the new statutes be applied with "charity" and "justice ".
        The following is what Pope Pius XII himself described as his responsibility:  'We feel that we owe no greater debt to our office and to our time than to testify to the truth with apostolic firmness: to give testimony to the truth' . . .  In the fulfillment of this, our duty, we shall not let ourselves be influenced by earthly considerations.Summi Pontificatus (October 20, 1939)
        In the case of the Vatican, silence was a conspiracy of moral support of the Holocaust because it was a main function of the Pope and his staff to provide moral leadership to the (world's) 400 million Catholics.  Silence in the face of the annihilation process could only mean that this carnage ongoing without a respite, did not offend the principles of morality.  Not only the Catholics actively involved in the slaughtering process were bound to interpret the papal nonintervention as approval.  Plotters in countries not under German control were encouraged to continue actions of which they might have abstained if the issue of morality would have been raised by the Vatican.  It seems that notwithstanding an individual intervention here and there, the Vatican did not think that morality was involved.  In an English language broadcast in September 1940, the Vatican defended its policy of 'neutrality' but assured at the same time that where morality was involved, no neutrality was possible.  Thus the silence amounted to 'there is no moral question involved in these mass murders.' "(Perl, p. 198-200)
        In all these activities and purposeful abstaining from public announcement, the Vatican acted as one conspiratorial unit.  As one would expect, not one of the numerous members of the Church's world government (as opposed to local leaders) is known to have ever even hinted that he did not share the Pontiff's attitude of not standing up publicly against abomination.  Yet the men in the Vatican were better informed than anybody else about what was happening in the lands held by the Germans, as, in addition to the sources available to others, they received reports from hundreds of clerics located right on various spots.  In variation of Luke 23:34, "They did know what they doing."

the Jews, "under
the pope's windows":

In the Pope's own city of Rome, in the night of October 16th, 1942, the Germans hammered at the doors of homes in which Jews lived and assembled them for deportation.  Even then, when Jews were arrested "right under the Pope's windows" and led away, the Pope did not stand up publicly against it.  This being a time at which the Germans were already highly vulnerable, German Ambassador to the Holy See, Ernst von Weizsaecker, was concerned with the possibility that this outrage against the Jews of the city of which Pius XII was the bishop might make him openly condemn the entire program.  But von Weizsaecker could report the Pope continued to shy away from overt action, and he negotiated through emissaries. (Perl points out on page 203 below that the Vatican had advance notice of the impending doom of the Jews and could at least have given them notice and the chance to go into hiding, but said nothing either before or after their capture.)  Without a public stance by the Vatican on October 16, 1,007 Roman Jews, the majority of them women and children, were deported.  They included Enrico Fermi's father-in- law and Admiral Augusto Capon, a war hero in World War I.  Also pressed into one of the freight cars was a Catholic nurse who had been attending a young epileptic Jewish boy and refused to let him go alone.  The sealed train's destination was Auschwitz.  It was seven days en route.  No facilities whatsoever were provided.

        A terse entry in the Auschwitz log book dated October 23 records:

"RSHA (a division of the SS) transport Jews from Rome.  After the selection of 149 men registered with numbers 158451 – 158639 and 47 women registered with numbers 66172 - 66218 have been admitted to the detention camp.  The rest were gassed."

Those 'admitted to the detention camp' were to be worked in a way which resulted in a survival time of 3 months.  Only 16 of the 1,007 survived.(Perl, p. 201)

The Vatican knew in detail what was waiting for the deported.  The procedure varied.  Often there was no selection, dependent on the availability of work places.  Among the reports available to the Vatican was even one from a German source.  SS First Lieutenant Kurt Gerstein had been active in church matters, and he felt that, notwithstanding the risk of being tortured to death if found out, he had to let the Vatican know about the horror which he had eyewitnessed.  (After the Vatican refused to look at his report) Gerstein handed it to R. Winter, the coadjutor for Cardinal Count Preysing of Berlin.
        Early in the morning of August 18, 1942, Lieutenant Gerstein witnessed the arrival of a death train.  There were 6,700 Jews packed into the freight cars.  Of them 1,500 were dead on arrival.  As soon as the train stopped, 200 Ukrainian guards, equipped with leather whips, unsealed the cars, cursing and yelling at the Jews that they should hurry up; they pushed and pulled them out.  Immediately when they touched the ground outside, they were severely beaten, many to the ground, while loudspeakers blared the command to undress for 'disinfection'.  Dazed and stunned, the Jews obeyed.  With a few brutal motions, the hair was shorn off the women's heads.  And as now ordered by the loudspeakers and enforced by the guards the deportees, all naked, started marching towards the nearby 'disinfection-bathhouse'.
        Three weeks prior to the deportation from Rome, the Germans had launched what might well have been a trial balloon to find out whether serious Vatican action should be expected in case of deportation from Rome.  On September 25, they informed the Roman Jewish community that it had to deliver within 36 hours, 50 kilograms of gold, otherwise 200 Jews would be deported.  In their despair, the Jews asked the Vatican to help, but no public protest against that cruel blackmail ensued.  Instead the Pope promised a loan from the Vatican treasury of the difference between gold collected by the Jews and the quantity demanded.  It was moving to see Jews standing in line with wedding rings, little gold chains, with anything they owned in gold to avert the deportation of the 200.  They obtained from the Germans an extension for the delivery, and in end the Vatican's loan was not needed.  The gold was delivered on September 28.  And the Germans now knew that the Vatican did not loudly protest and condemn a major crime committed against the Jews of its city. ( p.202)
        The Vatican's involvement in this deportation went even farther than permitting the roundup and deportation right in its view without public protest and without telling Catholics not to take part in it.  Everything points to the fact that the Pope knew in advance of the surprise raid and deportation plan, yet did not warn the targeted victims.  With the Italian population set against the annihilation policy, most of the 1,007 could have fled and hidden in Italian homes had the Vatican not catered to the German need for secrecy.  The acting German ambassador to Rome, Eitel Friedrich Moellhausen, informed the German ambassador to the Holy See, Baron Ernst von Weizsaecker, a devout Catholic, of the impending action.  Von Weizsaecker, according to Moellhausen, communicated this knowledge to Vatican officials.  But even without information stemming from the Germans, the Vatican must have known.  It had informers everywhere, loyal Catholics who for years had been reporting unusual occurrences.  The census bureau had been requested by the Germans to supply names and addresses of Jews, and from other locations, this was known to precede deportation.  Some Italian police were involved too, in the preparation of the raid, and the Vatican received regularly reports from Catholic police sources.
        That many would have been saved had the raid not been a surprise, may be inferred from the fact that everywhere in Italy, Jews were in hiding with the help of the population, but they considered Rome a safe place because of the Pope's presence.
        Rufino Salvatore Niccacci was the Father Guardian and the head of the St. Damiano Seminary in Assisi, central seat of the Holy Order of St. Francis.  His detailed account of a locally initiated and locally conducted rescue action is recorded in a book tellingly titled While The Pope Kept Silent.  He and the area's bishop, Giuseppe Placido Niccolini, were the main figures in that rescue action, for which they obtained the cooperation of the city's mayor, Arnoldo Fortini.
        There were no Jews in Assisi, but it was learned that in nearby Perugia some thirty Jews were in imminent danger of roundup and deportation as a Gestapo raid was upcoming.  As advised by the bishop, Father Rufino went to the convent of Quirico and asked the mother abbess to hide the Jews in the cloister.  Because the presence of any male in the cloister was inexorably interdicted, those hidden there would be most likely safe from German raiding parties.  The abbess was horrified at the suggestion.  For seven hundred years, she protested, no male had entered the cloister.  She had taken a vow to protect that seclusion, and nobody except the pope or the cardinal in charge of the Franciscan order could lift that vow.  Father Rufino returned with the bishop, who falsely announced that in ordering admission of those fleeing for their lives to the cloister he acted on orders of the pope.  At that, the abbess unlocked the gate and opened the double grill which separated the cloister from the rest of the world, and the Jews survived the Holocaust.  [ Were these among the number Pius XII supposedly saved?]   {pp. 201-203}
        Similar actions were initiated and conducted all through Italy.  4,236 Jews are known to have been saved in various monasteries, in houses of the orders and in private places all through Italy.  This includes 477 of them hidden in Vatican City, the latter fact undoubtedly known to the pope.  This is, by the way, not such a large number considering the size of the sprawling buildings of the Church's capital city, including the 11,000 room papal palace.
        But the thousands saved were not the issue.  The issue was the condemnation of the murder of millions at a time when often in one day ten thousand and even twelve thousand were slaughtered in Auschwitz alone.
        Ten days after the deportation from Rome, when most of the deported had been reduced to ashes, the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano printed an article which in a vague way and as if dealing with an abstract matter expressed disagreement with what had happened.  It stated that 'the eternal charity of the Supreme Pontiff knows neither boundaries nor nationality, neither religion nor race'.  In a letter to his Foreign Office, Von Weizsaecker, knowing that this article constituted all the public reaction forthcoming from the Vatican, expresses his satisfaction as he writes:" {Perl, pp. 204}
[ since Perl truncates the quote, here is a much more complete quote of the passage in question:]
        "Although under pressure from all sides, the Pope has not let himself be drawn into any demonstrative censure of the deportation of Jews from Rome.  Although he must expect that his attitude will be criticized by our enemies and exploited by the Protestant and Anglo-Saxon countries in their propaganda against Catholicism, he has done everything he could in this delicate matter not to strain relations with the German government and German circles in Rome.  As there is probably no reason to expect other German actions against the Jews of Rome, we can consider that a question so disturbing to German-Vatican relations has been liquidated.  (i.e. "finessed")
        In any case, an indication for this state of affairs can be seen in the Vatican's attitude.  L'Osservatore Romano has in fact prominently published in its issue of October 25-26 an official communiqué on the Pope's charitable activities.  The communiqué in the Vatican's distinctive style, that is, very vague and complicated, declares that all men, without distinction of nationality, race or religion, benefit from the Pope's paternal solicitude. . .
        There is less reason to object to the terms of this message . . . as only a very small number of people will recognize in it a special allusion to the Jewish question.'"

[ Lewy, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany,p 302]
. . .
        As to the R. C. Church, one would not expect that the Pope needed to be asked by anybody to intervene but that, constituting the moral power that he was, he would have intervened on his own.  But as he did not, there were appeals to the Pope to raise his voice as so many hoped and expected he would.  As the Vatican did not speak up, requests to do so reached it from various sources.  {Perl, p. 204-05}

Holocaust infrastructure
far more horrific
than previously known :

Researchers are now horrified to discover that the infrastructure for the Nazi death machine was far larger and more prevalent than what was previously thought.
Auschwitz was the largest and most famous of the Nazi concentration camps, but . . . .
       Researchers originally expected to find about 7,000 camps and ghettos throughout the continent when they began. The final number they found was a staggering 42,500 Nazi camps and ghettos, which stretched from Nazi-controlled France to Russia between 1933 and 1945, during Adolf Hitler's reign of terror and darkness.
        Researcher Martin Dean was astonished to find the prevalence of camps in Germany. Berlin, for instance, had about 3,000 camps and Hamburg had 1,300 sites. "You literally could not go anywhere in Germany without running into forced labor camps, P.O.W. camps, concentration camps," Dean says. "They were everywhere."
        The research team uncovered 30,000 slave camps, 1,150 Jewish ghettos, 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps, 980 concentration camps, 500 sex-slave brothels and thousands of other camps serving a myriad of wicked ends: forced abortions, mandatory euthanasia of the elderly and ill, "Germanization" and transportation hubs to murder sites.

JewsorChristians

RESPONSES to related questions :

1) Response to "the Red Cross was silent as well" excuse:

The job of the International Red Cross during time of war is to minister to the medical needs of the victims of all sides, not to moralize about which side is guilty and which innocent.  In fact, publicizing its views about such matters would make it impossible for it to minister to the needs of those under the control of the guilty party, such as prisoners of war. Even so, the International Red Cross did not do as much to help the Jews as it might have, as the book, The Holocaust Conspiracy, by William R. Perl, shows.
        However, because the Catholic Church was the most powerful single church in Europe, because it has never ceased to claim to be the one and only, Holy church that Jesus Christ has ever and will ever want the entire world to have (that's what 'Catholic' means), because it had a single spokesman, who happened to be one of the most respected moral authorities in the world, and especially in Europe, and because a great many of the NAZI leaders were Catholics, it was incumbent on the Catholic Pope to be a beacon of moral light and leadership, rather than a 'light hidden under a bushel basket' ".

the excuse of
"the powerless church" :

Some Catholic apologists claim that Pius XII was justified in keeping quiet because Hitler might well have "decapitated" the church by kidnapping and imprisoning its pope. Hitler did indeed consider such a possibility and ordered General Otto Wolff, the supreme commander of the SS and the German police in Italy to plan for its execution. But what the papal apologists don't tell you is "the line", i.e. that the idea was discarded and most importantly why. John Cornwell devotes three whole pages of his book, "Hitler's Pope" to this matter, coming to this very enlightening conclusion:

''Give up the Vatican project . . .  In my opinion an occupation of the Vatican and the deportation of the Pope would prompt an extreme negative reaction in Italy, and also on the part of German Catholics within the Fatherland and at the front, as well as among all Catholics in the rest of the world and in neutral states reactions that outweigh any temporary advantage that will be gained by the political neutralization of the Vatican or the gain of Vatican booty.'   With this, Adolf Hitler acquiesced, and the, kidnap plan was dropped.
        All the facts indicate, therefore, that an attempt to invade the Vatican and its properties, or to seize the Pope in response to a papal protest, would have prompted a backlash throughout Italy that might have seriously hindered the Nazi war effort. And thus even Hitler, came to acknowledge what Pacelli appeared to ignore: that the strongest social and political force in Italy the autumn of 1943 was the Catholic Church, and that its scope for noncompliance and disruption was immense." Hitler's Pope, (pp. 313-315)
        In response to those apologists for the hierarchy who claim that the Catholic Church was powerless before the might of the Nazis, the Catholic scholar James Carroll, shows in his Constantine's Sword how powerful and courageous his R. C. church could have been:
        "As the (19th) century unfolded, the various Germanic states vied with one another until Prussia's decisive victory over France in 1870 put Chancellor Otto von Bismarck in the position to establish a new German empire.  Bismarck was a cynical visionary who put everything second to the restoration of German glory. . .   He immediately hit upon a way to do that, by uniting the various political and regional factions against what he called 'the enemy within,' which was the Catholic Church.  [p. 486] . . .   The campaign was called the Kulturkampf, a word invented, ironically, by a progressive politician and meaning 'cultural struggle,' or, as the conservative American politician Patrick Buchanan might put it, 'culture war.'  The Kulturkampf lasted from 1871 until about 1887, and was characterized by a Catholic who lived through it as 'Diocletian persecution:'   [p. 488]   Among the reasons to consider it closely is to see the kind of resistance the R. C. Church can mount, both locally and from the Vatican, when confronted with a ruthless, calculated, and systematic attempt to destroy it.  The Church's response to Bismarck, in that sense, sets a standard against which its later behavior, in response to Hitler, must be measured.
        Bismarck severed diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1872. . .   In 1872, priests and nuns were banned from teaching posts in schools, and all Jesuits were ordered out of Germany.
        The next year, other religious orders were expelled, and in May the so-called 'May Laws' were passed in the Prussian legislature.  These statutes gave to the government authority to oversee the training and assignments of priests, and put bishops under the direct control of the state.  Nearly the entire Catholic clergy of Prussia reacted to these laws with adamant rejection, simply refusing to obey.  The state responded ruthlessly, arresting, jailing, and exiling priests and even bishops.  Eighteen hundred priests were imprisoned or banished from the state, and a vast fortune in church holdings was confiscated by the government.  The Catholic people supported their clergy, and in many towns spontaneous rallies occurred as angry demonstrators gathered to protest when police or soldiers hauled away curates.
        In 1875, Pius IX issued an encyclical from Rome that amounted to a counterattack on the Kulturkampf, and its fierce provisions remain striking.  The pope declared 'the May Laws' null and void, 'since they are completely contrary to the God-given institutions of the church.'  He urged the Catholics of Germany to engage in a strategy, as he called it, of 'passive resistance.'  And, most telling, he decreed that priests who cooperated with the German government's implementation of these policies, the so-called state-priests, were ipso facto excommunicated.'  'Many millions ' of German Catholics, in the phrase of one contemporary, did just as the pope asked, and passive resistance became the prevalent response even to the escalations of the Kulturkampf.  "[p. 487]
        Here is the assessment of this matter by the highly regarded Catholic Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who led the rebuilding of Germany after World War II :

"Adenauer had been one of the first to criticize the hierarchy of the R. C. Church for its failure to oppose Nazism.  'I believe,' he declared in 1946, 'that if all the bishops had together made public statements from the pulpits on a particular day, they could have prevented a great deal.'  That did not happen, and there is no excuse for it.  It would have been no bad thing if the bishops had all been put in prison or in concentration camps as a result.  But none of that happened and therefore it is best to keep quiet.  As indeed, on this subject, Adenauer mainly was (i.e.  quiet).  His fierce declaration was made (not in a public statement, but ) in a private letter." 
       [Constantine's Sword,  p. 515 ]

When Pope Benedict XVI created 22 more cardinals in 2012 he reminded them new that the red of their three-pointed hat and robes symbolizes the blood they must be prepared to shed for their beliefs, which doesn't appear to include objecting to the mass-murder by Roman Catholics of millions of totally innocent people of a competing faith.

Here's what a single young cleric
had the courage to do,
as the world's largest
church seemed helpless:

Bonhoeffer lived what he preached. The day after Hitler became chancellor in January 1933, (27 year old) Bonhoeffer made on Berlin Radio a direct attack on the so-called "Führer Principle", before the broadcast was cut off. In April 1933, two weeks after Hitler's enactment of the Aryan Civil Service legislation banning people of Jewish ancestry from public employment, Bonhoeffer published The Church and the Jewish Question, in which he urged the church to "jam the spoke of the state. . . to protect the state from itself".
        He then established his Confessing Church which, before being finally suppressed by the SS in 1941, produced much of the leadership of the German Resistance. Internationally, Bonhoeffer spent from 1933 to 1939 seeking to unite the International Christian Movement into a global pacifist movement that would oppose the aggression of his own state. After the failure of these efforts, in 1940 he joined the German Abwehr (military intelligence) as a double agent, and until his arrest in late 1943 he collaborated with the armed forces' conspiracy against Hitler - and, at the same time, organised the secret evacuation of a number of German Jews to Switzerland.

Another Catholic scholar, John Cornwell, points out that when Hitler's Nazi party was trying to take over power in Germany, there were two political parties with more power than the Nazis, the leading 'Social Democrats', and the runner up 'Catholic Center Party'.  And 'between 1919 and 1933, no less than five Catholic Center Party members became chancellors in ten cabinets.  All the Catholics would have needed to do to keep Hitler from taking over Germany would have been to work together with the Social Democrats.  Instead, Cornwell explains why a strong (but fairly liberal) Catholic political party in Germany didn't fit into Pacelli plans, and why, as the most powerful Catholic prelate in that nation at the time, he acceded to Hitler's demands to have the Catholic Center Party disbanded.

what the "men of God"
could NOT do, ordinary
housewives DID do :

" Though the Nuremberg laws had forbidden marriages between Jews and Aryans, they had not annulled existing mixed marriages.  With the progress of the Final Solution, however, this loophole was now to be closed. . . (In the course of deporting the last German Jews in February 1943) the Gestapo seized several thousand Christian non-Aryans (i.e. Jewish converts) in mixed marriages.  In Berlin alone about 6,000 such men were arrested on February 27.  But then something unexpected and unparalleled happened: their Aryan wives followed them to the place of temporary detention and there they stood for several hours screaming and howling for their men.  With the secrecy of the whole machinery of destruction threatened, the Gestapo yielded and the non-Aryan husbands were released.  Here was an example of what an outraged conscience could achieve, even against Hitler's terror apparatus.
        The German episcopate, after the downfall of the Nazi regime, has taken credit for preventing the compulsory divorce of mixed marriages.  There is strong reason to assume that the lion's share of the credit belongs to the courageous women of Berlin who, in the last days of February 1943, dared to defy the seemingly all-powerful Gestapo and caused the Nazis to fear similar outbursts in the future if they moved to break up these marriages by divorce or deportation."  [ Lewy, pp. 288-289 ]

what the churchmen
claimed they could not do
five college kisds did do :

With a tiny fraction of the resources available to the powerful Catholic and Lutheran churches, five university students in Munich formed a secret society which managed to learn what Nazi Germany was all about and published six leaflets they produced on hand crank machines. Knowing full well that it would cost them their lives, they managed to distribute between 6 and 9 thousand copies before the Gestapo caught them and sent them to the guillotine.
        In their first leaflet they wrote, “It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of his government. Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes . . . reach the light of day?
        In their second, “ Since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way . . . The German people slumber on in their dull, stupid sleep and encourage these fascist criminals . . . Each man wants to be exonerated of a guilt of this kind, each one continues on his way with the most placid, the calmest conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty! "
[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Rose ]

an example of what a lone
Catholic woman accomplished :

A social worker named Irena Sendler (who like most Poles at the time was a Roman Catholic) is credited with risking her own life repeatedly to smuggle some 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto and saving them from almost certain death. Catholics may try to steal her glory, but she attributed her motivation - not to her church, but - to her parents who taught her that she "was ethically bound to help a drowning person even if she could not swim herself." (See http://www.chicagotribune.com/services/newspaper/printedition/sunday/chi-sendler_bdoct21,0,1265159.story?page=2&coll=chi-newsopinionperspective-utl ). Her church, by contrast, consistently maintained that it couldn't risk injury to itself as an institution in order to try to help the Jewish people,

an example of what a
Catholic farmer with little edu-
cation had the wisdom to do :

If put together, the education of the Pope Pius XII and that of all of the R.C. bishops of Germany would surely amount to centuries. Yet, not one of these churchmen, nor all of them put together were able to figure out what Franz Jagerstatter, a poor farmer with only 8 years of education in a one room school house was able to do, i.e. that refusal to cooperate was the only correct moral response to Hitler's regime. Fortunately, Franz' taught himself not only to read well, but to write as well. He is so important that I've dedicated an entire page to his achievements and his writings, i.e. NaziMartyrFranz.html.

4) Response regarding
Albert Einstein's testimony :

Catholic apologists delight in quoting Jews in defense of Pius XII, no matter how irrelevant their testimony.

As early as December of 1940, in an article published in Time magazine, the renowned Nobel Prize winning physicist Albert Einstein, himself a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, paid tribute to the moral "courage" of Pope Pius and the Catholic Church in opposing "the Hitlerian onslaught" on liberty:

"Being a lover of freedom, when the Nazi revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced.  Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom: but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks.  Only the Catholic Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing the truth.  I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom.  I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised, I now praise unreservedly."

Another "Jewish" witness often quoted by Catholic apologists is misunderstanding that Cornwell clears up here is the role of the chief Rabbi of Rome at this time.  Israel Zolli has been used since then as a great apologist for Pope Pius XII, because he praised this pope to the high heavens.  When Catholic apologists quote Zolli, they often tell people that he converted to Catholicism himself, taking the name Eugenio, Pius XII's baptismal name but they usually neglect to tell people that this so-called "chief rabbi of Rome" was disowned by the Jews (i.e.  practically "defrocked") for abandoning his community at their time of greatest need, while accepting the hospitality of Pius XII for himself and his immediate family within the walls of the papal residence, ( See wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Zolli#Conversion.
        The use of such "evidence" by Catholic apologists illustrates the poverty of their case. Einstein's expertise in Physics does not make him an authority in the field of European history and politics.  Not only is his testimony purely anecdotal, but considering the fact that he made this statement in 1940 on the basis of his experiences in Germany which ended in 1932, prior to Hitler's actually taking over the reins of Germany, it proves absolutely nothing about the worst of the atrocities, which began in 1941.

5) Response regarding the encyclical:

This matter is important enough to warrant its own page PiusXI&XII_encyclicals.

6) Response regarding
The Reich Concordat of 1933 :

The Concordat of 1933 signed by Hitler & the future Pius XII is such an important issue that we devote an entire web page to it at :RC-FascistConcordats.html

7) Response to Church claims
that it resisted the Nazis :

After Hitler's defeat, apologists for the Catholic Church, lead by Pope Pius XII have promoted the revisionist version of history that the Church deserves praise for its important contributions to the defeat of Hitler, (rather than scorn for its failure to help in that struggle).  Here's the way Guenter Lewy sums it all up:
        "The concentration camp Dachau, when reached by American troops on April 26, 1945, held 326 German Catholic priests.  A still larger number had passed through the camp, had died in it of starvation or disease, or had been murdered there.  Soon thereafter Pope Pius XII invoked these and other acts of persecution to show that the Catholic Church in Germany had strongly resisted the Nazi regime.  In his letter to the Bavarian bishops in August 1945 the Pope paid tribute to "those millions of Catholics, men and women of every class" who, loyal to their bishops, had fought against the demonic powers that ruled Germany.'  The German bishops, too, ever since the downfall of the Third Reich, have expressed their admiration for Catholics like Provost Lichtenberg, Father Delp and others who died resisting the Nazis, and they have linked the Church to these martyrs.  Yet there was a time when resistance to the Nazi state was not only discouraged by the Church, but condemned.  Catholics who actively fought against the Hitler regime were rebels not only against the state, but against their ecclesiastical authorities as well." [ Lewy, p. 309 ]         This "Section 4" became so lengthy that I broke it into two parts, the second half being called "Section 4b".


Sections :
Intro ~ 1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ [ 4a ] ~ 4b ~
( 5 = Roman Catholic victims )

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