Sunday, November 05, 2006

Anti Catholic Bias and Pope Pius XII

Anti-Catholic bias is a particularly stubborn and vile creature.

There’s no question that in my early Christian years I was influenced significantly in a calculated manner by it, yet with my permission because, well…simply because I wasn’t Catholic. And everyone knew you couldn’t be FOR the Catholics. We just knew we weren’t on the same side and never the twain would meet.

That’s a hard mindset to beat.

But it got worse when I joined the fundamental Baptists. I was forthrightly and adamantly informed that the Catholic faith was entirely corrupt, antagonistic to God and to the Gospel, and was the precursor to the Antichrist. All Catholics were lost and needed to abandon their cult in order to find Christ and salvation.

Only by a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit is it possible to see past all that poison and the corruption that actually does exist in the lives of many Catholics (including clergy) and to see the Church as the authoritative voice of Christ in this world. I thank God for His mercy and patience in this process and for the remarkable ways in which He was able to accomplish such a work.


I’ve been meaning to blog about Pope Pius XII and the criticism which has been leveled against him most recently over his alleged complicity in the Nazi holocaust. Just last week I was alerted to a “new discovery about Pope Pius XII [which] shows the recent slander and dishonest charges against him are fallacious and should be condemned.”

The story of "Be Proud to be a Jew" refutes the spin of modern "historians' and "scholars" who have misinformed the public about the position of Pope Pius XII in relation to the Nazis and the Jews.

I just have not had the opportunity to include the story in a blog entry on this subject.

Until now.

Today I received an email from a well meaning fundamentalist Baptist whose emails occasionally come my way. The following was the entire content of that email.

Question: Are you aware of the letter dated June 22, 1943 from Pope Pius XII to President Roosevelt recently discovered in the U.S. Archives? It very clearly expresses the Pope's opposition to allowing the Jews to establish a homeland in Palestine. If you are aware of it, do you have any comments?

Answer: Yes, the discovery and contents of the letter have been fairly widely reported, though I don't believe the letter has received the attention it deserves. For forty years there has been a controversy surrounding Pius XII. He has been faulted for his failure to speak out publicly in opposition to the Holocaust, which he surely knew was in process. Roman Catholic apologists have attempted to explain this away and pointed to his help in hiding many Jews in Italy from the Nazis. It has also been argued that had he spoken out publicly it would only have inflamed Hitler and made matters worse, in spite of the fact that it couldn't have been worse than it was. (We dealt in depth with this subject in July 1993, July 1994, and September 1998.)

It was actually Sister Pascalina (the nun who was his housekeeper and close associate and confidante for many years) who introduced the Pope to the idea of savingJews and who conceived and carried out the clever and secretive way in which this was accomplished. Her biographer reports that she "risked everything for the Jews...and issued hundreds of papal identity [that Jews] could pass as Christians through Nazi lines for safety in the Vatican." This fact, however, is never mentioned by those praising the Pope for saving Jews.

This June 22, 1943 letter is devastating for those who have defended the Pope. In part this is what it said: "It is true that at one time Palestine was inhabited by the Hebrew Race, but there is no axiom in history [what about God's Word!] to substantiate the necessity of a people returning to a country they left nineteen centuries before. If a 'Hebrew Home' is desired, it would not be too difficult to find a more fitting territory than Palestine. With an increase in the Jewish population there, grave, new international problems would arise." His language and intent is clear.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, calls the letter "an indictment of Pius XII, because it basically says that when the Pope wanted a point of view expressed about how he clearly felt, he said it clearly. Where is a similar letter to Adolf Hitler, telling Hitler that the Vatican finds his policies against the Jews repugnant? But at the height of the Holocaust, the Vatican knew how to oppose the State of Israel."

Furthermore, we have a copy of Pius XII's first letter to Hitler upon becoming pope. In part it said, "To the Illustrious Herr Adolf Hitler, Führer and Chancellor of the German Reich! We recall with great pleasure the many years we spent in Germany as Apostolic Nuncio, when we did all in our power to establish harmonious relations between Church and State. much more ardently do we pray to reach that goal...." Remember, this was 1939 and Hitler's evil had been exposed to the world.

As the war neared its end, the Pope pleaded with the Allied Forces to deal leniently with both Hitler and Mussolini. Both were Catholics to their death. Pius XII never excommunicated either of these master criminals in spite of their unspeakable evils. Pius XII himself merely reflected centuries of anti-Semitism on the part of his predecessor popes and Church involving the most vicious persecution and death of multitudes of Jews.

Commenting upon the discovery of this letter, Rabbi David Rosen, head of the Israel office of the Anti-Defamation League, remarked, "It has been well known for a long time of the shameful policy the Holy See maintained during that period, and this is just one [more] confirmation of that fact."

In fact, we are dealing with more than anti-Semitism. In this letter, the Pope placed himself clearly in opposition to God who throughout the entire Old Testament repeatedly promised the land of Israel to His chosen people in perpetuity. There are so many prophecies promising that God would bring the Jews He had scattered all over the world back to their promised land in the last days and that the Messiah would return to reign over them on David's throne in Jerusalem (and over the world), that the popes (who claim to be Christ's vicars) cannot be excused on the grounds of ignorance. They have, in fact, wilfully opposed the plain teaching of Scripture concerning Israel. Therefore, it is not surprising that Roman Catholicism stands in such opposition to the biblical teaching on salvation.

This is a classic case of virulent anti-Catholic bias; something becoming of especially fundamental Baptists and Seventh Day Adventists. The last sentence was so "original" and an overwhelming "coup de grace" don't you think? As if to say further "See. This is what we always said about Catholics. And this only adds more proof!"


What did I do? I simply replied to his email,
I suppose if one hates the Catholic Church as the epitome of all that is evil and opposed to God, it really doesn't matter whether you attempt an objective assessment. Sad, and so truly un-Christian.

And then for his perusal I included the full contents of a book review by Sir Martin Gilbert. Gilbert is Winston Churchill’s official biographer and the author of ten books on the Holocaust. He reviews Jewish Rabbi David G. Dalin’s book The Myth of Hitler's Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews From the Nazis

Gilbert clears the air. Eye opening.

For those ready to have their eyes opened.

[More insight here and here.]

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