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    Pope Pius XII & the Jews

    Pope Pius XII

    Pope Pius XII

    Controversy still surrounds Pius XII for his alleged silence at Jewish suffering in the Sho’ah.

    Rolf Hochhuth’s play, “The Deputy”, depicted him in unflattering terms. Evidence on the other side is found in Pinchas Lapide’s “The Last Three Popes and the Jews”, issued in the 1960s. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

    The Pope seems to have had major failures of moral courage. He certainly tried to do a deal with Hitler, but his alleged silence was not as absolute as many suggest. He supported his predecessor’s “Mit Brennender Sorge”.

    He criticised some Catholics’ obeisance to Hitler. He approved acts of humanity towards Jews, even when others rang the church bells to greet the Nazis.

    It is right to criticise him for major lapses and for seeing a theological message in Jewish suffering – but if he lacked real moral courage, so did other world figures who knew what was happening and failed to raise a voice of protest.

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