While rejoicing that Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen of Haifa was invited to speak to the Synod of Bishops (read his address here and see pictures here), I must say that I am disappointed that he is still of the opinion that Pius XII in some way betrayed the Jewish people during the dark years of the Shoah.
By a strange twist of fate, today is both Yom Kippur and the 50th anniversary of the late Pontiff’s death.
Today I listened to a couple of very good reports on the question of Pius XII’s war time record from Vatican Radio. These include:
I also have a much longer Vatican Radio program, which unfortunately is no longer on their website, in which they play recordings of his Christmas announcements, including the 1942 message in which he condemned the persecution and near extinction of peoples simply on the basis of their race. He has been criticised for the fact that this pronouncement did not specifically mention the Jews, but his intended audience did not misunderstand him. The Gestapo reported to their master:
“in a manner never known before…the Pope has repudiated the National Socialist New European Order. It is true, the Pope does not refer to the National Socialists in Germany by name, but his speech is one long attack on everything we stand for. …Here he is clearly speaking on behalf of the Jews.”
That is only one example.
It is sad that his name is still maligned today, 50 years after his death, when most of those who so malign him have done no study of the matter at all, but simply listen to the myth. Interestingly, this program points out that very few people have asked for access to the now available archival records for the period leading up to the war itself.