Pius XII: Saintly Defender of European Jews
MARY JO ANDERSON
A rebuttal to the hyper hysterics of Rabbi Boteach's article, "Pius XII: Collaborator and kidnapper" is simple: No good deed goes unpunished. And, apparently, a heroic deed will be punished with a vengeance.
The document Rabbi Shmuley waved under the nose of the gullible to support his claim of "kidnapping" against the pope has been proven as false as Dan Rather's "memogate" paper.
Let's take a look.
The rabbi's libelous charge of Pope Pius XII's "moral cowardice" for "having never once summoned the courage to condemn the Nazi Holocaust" is laughable when seen against comments by respected Jewish leaders of the war era. Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir gave a moving public testimonial to Pius XII at the United Nations at his death in 1958 — long enough after the war for facts to be known.
Boteach — who was not a witness during wartime — should read Meir's comments for an authentic account of the courage of the pope. Here is a sample of her esteem for the pope, from her telegram to the
We share in the grief of humanity. When fearful martyrdom came to our people during the time of Nazi terror, the voice of the pope was raised for the victims."
Pope Pius XII did more than any other man to save Jewish people during World War II. Across
Pius XII — not any Jewish person or organization — rescued hundreds of thousands of Jews, as many Jews themselves have attested. The timing of Boteach's defamation is revealing. The Catholic Church is moving toward canonizing Pius XII, and the rabbi objects. One suspects that the real source of his ire is that no Jewish rabbi can claim the honor of saving so many Jews. The Catholic Church's canonization of Pius XII makes that fact uncomfortably clear.
Recall the similar outrage from some quarters when Edith Stein — a Jewish woman who became a Catholic nun — was canonized in 1987. Stein, raised in an orthodox Jewish home, converted to Catholicism in 1922 after earning a Ph.D. in philosophy. The Church denounced the Nazi death machine. In retaliation, Catholics of Jewish descent, including Stein who would not hide behind her conversion, were gassed at
We need to give theologically cogent reasons for why we would have had to distance ourselves from her in life (as her pious Jewish mother did), and why we would have joined that segment of her family who chose not to attend her beatification.
So Jews regard Edith Stein as a Jewish apostate ... We cannot avoid the question of apostasy because it brings us face to face with the rival truth claims our two communities [Christian and Jewish] make — to ourselves, to each other, and to the world ... Edith Stein represents our impasse. She cannot be a bridge between Jews and Catholics because in this world one cannot be simultaneously both a faithful Jew and a faithful Catholic.
Some have resisted Catholic beatification of Jews and Catholics who were martyred during the war. They see these beatifications as a “Christianization” of the Holocaust. Shmuley Boteach appears to be among them.
Boteach ignored the reports of Jewish history, Jewish scholars and Jewish-managed newspapers at the time of the Holocaust. Had he done so, he would not have embarrassed himself or his people with his comical tantrum. Here is a sample of what Boteach failed to report:
Immediately following the war, Rabbi Herzog of
Jewish physicist Albert Einstein said, "Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth." (Time magazine, Dec. 23, 1940)
Jewish scholar and Israeli diplomat stationed in
Furthermore, if Boteach had been more responsible in what he wrote, he would have read the headlines in Jewish publications of the time before he attacked Pius XII and insulted a billion Catholics:
The New York Times, Christmas Day,1941: "The voice of Pius XII is the only voice in the silence and darkness that developed in Europe this Christmas ... He is the only ruler left on the continent of Europe who dares to raise his voice at all."
Canadian Jewish Chronicle, Sept. 4, 1942: "
In addition, Rabbi Boteach might have read the
Minus tanks, planes, bombs and an army, what precisely do Boteach and his ilk imagine the
Shmuley ignored what the Jewish director of the International Affairs Department for the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, Dr. Joseph L. Lichten, wrote:
Three thousand Catholic priests were murdered by the Nazis in Germany, Austria, Poland, France and other countries; Catholic schools were shut down, Catholic publications were forced out of print or strictly censored, and Catholic churches closed.
Lichten affirmed, "The possibility of a public statement from the
In 1942, the Catholic clergy in
Instead of a responsible investigation, Boteach relies on a much-debunked piece of character assassination by John Cornwell, "Hitler's Pope." Recently even Cornwell himself is backing off his fantastic deceptions. Worse, Shmuley's other source, Robert Katz, has been convicted of criminal slander, according to Ronald Rychlak.
Professor of law at the
What did Rychlak's legal research uncover? That Eugenio Pacelli, Pius XII, did indeed save Jewish people using diplomatic and practical means to hide thousands of refugee Jews.
When asked about the aid that Pius XII gave to the Jews, Rabbi Dalin replied:
We have much documentation, which shows that in no way did he remain silent. What is more, he spoke out loudly against Hitler and almost everyone saw him as an opponent of the Nazi regime. During the German occupation of
In the 2001 interview, Rabbi Dalin reviewed Lapide's work with Jewish survivors. He explained:
Rabbi Dalin's comments echo those of the director of the Jewish Rescue Committee, Dr. Rafael Contoni:
The Church and papacy saved Jews as much and in as far as they could save Christians. There would have been many more victims had it not been for the efficacious intervention of Pius XII.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach might have consulted Richard Breitman, a Jewish historian at
In general, the Germans considered the pope as an enemy ... The Nazis had spies in the
Rabbi Boteach clutches a supposedly "new finding" from an unidentified archive in
Nonetheless, Boteach attempts to bloody the memory of Pope Pius XII with his assertion that this document shows that the pope "kidnapped" Jewish children. Boteach is his own worst enemy — has he read of King Solomon? Two women came to the king with a claim to the same baby. Solomon quickly determined that the true mother was the one who would allow the other woman to keep the child rather than permit the king to halve the baby in two.
The only reason that this supposed French document has any plausibility at all is because it was known that the Church rescued Jewish people — children and adults — by issuing Catholic baptismal records so that persons might pass Nazi scrutiny. Thus, Boteach inadvertently concedes that the Church saved Jews — he is simply apoplectic that orphaned Jewish children might be raised Catholic. Who is the bigot?
The truth, as we know from authentic documents, is that legitimate family members later claimed some children. One of those documents reads:
After all, even those children who may not have been baptized and who may no longer have relatives — they having been entrusted to the Church that took them under its wing — cannot now, as long as they are not in a position to decide for themselves, be abandoned by the Church or given to those who have no right to them.
Those who had no right included suspicious agencies and individuals whose motives were unclear. In some cases, the Church refused to hand over children to agencies that asked for them. Authentic documents instructed Catholic authorities of the time to determine any claim for a child on a case-by-case basis.
As we see even now, tragically, in
Could it be that the timing of Rabbi Boteach's charges point to a second purpose in hurling hateful claims against Pius XXII?
Pope John Paul II has repeatedly called the Jews "our elder brothers in the faith." In the state of
In 1993, the Holy See and the state of
The State of Israel recognizes the right of the Catholic Church to carry out its religious, moral, educational and charitable functions, and to have its own institutions, and to train, appoint and deploy its own personnel in the said institutions or for the said functions to these ends. The Church recognizes the right of the State to carry out its functions, such as promoting and protecting the welfare and the safety of the people. Both the State and the Church recognize the need for dialogue and cooperation in such matters as by their nature call for it.
The Fundamental Agreement was not enacted into Israeli law, thus its provisions are not enforced. When members of the Likud party tried to attract Arab votes in
Recently, renewed negotiations on the Agreement unexpectedly fell apart when an accord on remaining issues neared a consensus. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., requested that Prime Minister Sharon's office return to the negotiations, and they have. Until the Agreement becomes part of Israeli law, Catholic properties (schools and churches) that have been confiscated or maltreated have no legal representative, no defense in Israeli courts.
Shmuley writhes over things Catholic. His professed affection for evangelical Christians — whose unequivocal support of the state of
The Church looks with sorrow on any and all mistreatment of peoples. The situation between Jews and Palestinians in
Mary Jo Anderson. "Pius XII: Saintly defender of European Jews." WorldNetDaily.com (January 17, 2005).
Reprinted with permission of Mary Jo Anderson.
Mary Jo Anderson is a contributing editor for Crisis Magazine and contributing correspondent for WorldNetDaily.com. A frequent conference speaker and radio guest her assignments cover the United Nations and global threats to religious freedom, Catholic practice and national sovereignty. Mary Jo Anderson has been married for 34 years and is the mother of three children. She was a busy businesswoman and civic volunteer before becoming alarmed at the assault on the Church.
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