A relentless band of propagandists has convinced much of the world that Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church, in the face of the great moral crisis of the twentieth century, were little more than Nazi lapdogs. The myth of “Hitler’s pope,” however, is grounded not in the facts of history but in the ideological agenda of Pius’s detractors. Given unprecedented access to Church archives—including a confidential Vatican report on Pius XII—Ronald J. Rychlak documents the heroic response of the Holy Father and countless other Catholics to the plight of Jews under Nazi rule.
From the end of World War II until well after his death, Pius XII was universally respected for his leadership in the extraordinarily difficult years of the Third Reich. The first attack was Rolf Hochhuth’s 1963 play The Deputy, accusing the pope of indifference to Jewish suffering in the Holocaust. John Cornwell revived the charge in Hitler’s Pope (1999), and Gary Wills, James Carroll, and Daniel Goldhagen have made the revisionist attack on the wartime Church a popular genre.
Rychlak exposes the inconsistent charges, false allegations, and manufactured evidence against Pius XII and his predecessor, the German clergy, and the Catholic Church under Nazi occupation. His comprehensive and thoroughly documented account establishes once and for all that the Catholic Church under Pius XII, far from being indifferent to the Jews, was dedicated to saving them from the Nazis at all costs. The fruit of this concern was the rescue of over half a million Jews from the death camps. Rychlak lays to rest the “black legend” of the Church during World War II, showing that Pius XII and those he directed deserve the title “righteous gentiles.”
The Definitive Record for Setting Pius XII's Record Straight
The illustrious Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was wont to say, "Don’t pay attention to what people say. Pay attention to why they say it." The Archbishop’s wisdom applies to many critics of Pope Pius XII, particularly a good number who have published books critical of the Pope in the last decade. These authors consistently and stridently excoriate the pontiff for his alleged actions and inactions before and during World War II. John Cornwell infamously dubbed Pius XII "Hitler’s Pope" in a best seller released in 1999, and a parade of emulators have followed, including Garry Wills, James Carroll, Daniel Goldhagen, and Susan Zuccotti. In examining their writings, one quickly discerns he is not dealing with dispassionate inquiry aimed at setting the historical record straight. Rather, a decided bias directed at discrediting Pius XII and the Church becomes manifest to one extent or another.
Ronald Rychlak takes note of this trend early on in Full Review...
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