Pope Pius XII
We are governed not by armies, but by ideas.Mona Caird
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On Pacelli as Nuncio
- Liked the man from Rome well enough as a human being. But this was war. Let the British and French answer for it.
- Those of us who were foreign correspondents in Berlin during the days of the Weimar Republic were not unfamiliar with the figure of the dean of the diplomatic corps. Tall, slender, with magnificent eyes, strong features and expressive hands, in his appearance and bearing Archbishop Pacelli looked every inch what he was - a Roman nobleman, of the proudest blood of the western world. In knowledge of German and European affairs and in diplomatic astuteness the Nuncio was without an equal.
- —Dorothy Thomas, American newspaper writer and radio commentator 
- The Nazis are in reality only miserable plagiarists who dress up old errors with new tinsel. It does not make any difference whether they flock to the banners of social revolution, whether they are guided by a false concept of the world and of life, or whether they are possessed by the superstition of a race and blood cult.
- Eugenio Pacelli, quoted in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, March 4, 1963, quoted in the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Pius XII and the Holocaust (Milwaukee, Wisc.: The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, 1988), 106–107.
On Nazism and the Holocaust
- "Only the Church protested against the Hitlerian onslaught on liberty. Up till then I had not been interested in the Church, but today I feel a great admiration for the Church, which alone has had the courage to struggle for spiritual truth and moral liberty."
- Albert Einstein in Time Magazin 1940, quoted in Three Popes and the Jews by Pinchas E. Lapide (New York: Hawthorn, 1967), p. 251.
- "The repeated interventions of the Holy Father on behalf of Jewish Communities in Europe has evoked the profoundest sentiments of appreciation and gratitude from Jews throughout the world."
- "In the most difficult hours of which we Jews of Romania have passed through, the generous assistance of the Holy See…was decisive and salutary. It is not easy for us to find the right words to express the warmth and consolation we experienced because of the concern of the supreme pontiff, who offered a large sum to relieve the sufferings of deported Jews…. The Jews of Romania will never forget these facts of historic importance."
- "The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion, which form the very foundation of true civilization, are doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living proof of Divine Providence in this world."
- "The Church and the papacy have saved Jews as much and in as far as they could save Christians.... Six million of my co-religionists have been murdered by the Nazis, but there could have been many more victims, had it not been for the efficacious intervention of Pius XII."
- Dr. Raphael Cantoni, director of the Italian Jewish Assistance Committee, American Jewish Yearbook 1944-1945, 233.
- "What the Vatican did will be indelibly and eternally engraved in our hearts. Priests and even high prelates did things that will forever be an honor to Catholicism."
- Israel [Zolli], former Chief Rabbi of Rome, 1948.
- "If the pope had spoken out, Hitler would probably have massacred more than six million Jews and perhaps ten times ten million Catholics, if he had the power to do so."
- Rabbi Marcus Melchior, Holocaust survivor and Chief Rabbi of Denmark, 1950.
- "More than anyone else, we have had the opportunity to appreciate the great kindness, filled with compassion and magnanimity, that the Pope displayed during the terrible years of persecution and terror when it seemed that for us there was no longer an escape."
- Elio Toaff, Chief Rabbi of Rome, 1951.
- "We share in the grief of humanity at the passing away of His Holiness Pope Pius XII. In a generation affected by wars and discords, he upheld the highest ideals of peace and compassion. When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the Pope was raised for the victims. The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out on the great moral truths above the tumult of daily conflict. We mourn a great servant of peace."
- Golda Meir, Israeli Prime Minister, message of condolence to the Vatican, sent 1958.
- "With special gratitude we remember all he has done for the persecuted Jews during one of the darkest periods in their entire history”
- Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress, message of condolence to the Vatican, sent 1958.
- "In relation to the insane behavior of the Nazis, from overlords to self-styled cogs like Eichmann, he [Pius XII] did everything humanly possible to save lives and alleviate suffering among the Jews; that a formal statement would have provoked the Nazis to brutal retaliation, and would substantially have thwarted further Catholic action on behalf of Jews."
- Dr. Joseph Lichten, a Polish Jew who served as a diplomat and later an official of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith in Rome. Written in his book A Question of Judgment (1963) (written in response to The Deputy play and available online in full).
- "The papal nuncio and the bishops intervened again and again on the instructions of the pope, and that as a result of these labors in the autumn and winter of 1944, there was practically no Catholic Church institution in Budapest where persecuted Jews did not find refuge."
- Jewish historian Jeno Levai, Hungarian Jewry and the Papacy: Pius XII Did Not Remain Silent (1965).
- "Pius XI had good reason to make Pacelli (the future Pius XII) the architect of his anti-Nazi policy. Of the forty-four speeches which the Nuncio Pacelli had made on German soil between 1917 and 1929, at least forty contained attacks on Nazism or condemnations of Hitler’s doctrines. Pacelli, who never met the Führer, called it ‘neo-Paganism.’"
- Pinchas E. Lapide, former Israeli diplomat and Orthodox Jewish Rabbi in Three Popes and the Jews (New York: Hawthorn, 1967) p. 118.
- "The Catholic Church, under the pontificate of Pope Pius XII was instrumental in saving at least 700,000, but probably as many as 860,000, Jews from certain death at Nazi hands."
- Pinchas E. Lapide, Three Popes and the Jews (1967).
- "No Pope in history has been thanked more heartily by Jews. Upon his death in 1958, several suggested in open letters that a Pope Pius XII forest of 860,000 trees be planted on the hills of Judea in order to fittingly honor the memory of the late Pontiff because the Catholic Church under the pontificate of Pius XII was instrumental in saving the lives of as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands."
- Pinchas E. Lapide, Three Popes and the Jews (1967).
- "I told [Pope Pius XII] that my first duty was to thank him, and through him the Catholic Church, on behalf of the Jewish public for all they had done in the various countries to rescue Jews…. We are deeply grateful to the Catholic Church."
- Moshe Sharett (who later became Israel’s first foreign minister and second prime minister)
- “Pius XII did not make his protest heard when the Roman Jews were carried away right under his nose"
- Amos Luzzatto, president of Union of Italian Jewish Communities. (September 28, 1998). 
- "Hitler distrusted the Holy See because it hid Jews. The Germans considered the Pope as an enemy."
- "My judgment cannot but be positive. Pope Pacelli was the only one who intervened to impede the deportation of Jews on 16 October 1943, and he did very much to hide and save thousands of us. It was no small matter that he ordered the opening of cloistered convents. Without him, many of our own would not be alive." October 25 2000.
- Michael Tagliacozzo, Jewish historian and staff member at Beth Lohame Haghettaot (Center of Studies on the Shoah and Resistance). Beth Lohame Haghettaot in western Galilee in Israel is one of the world's largest museums and centers of documentation on the Holocaust.
- "The Talmud teaches that 'whosoever preserves one life, it is accounted to him by Scripture as if he had preserved a whole world.' More than any other twentieth-century leader, Pius XII fulfilled this Talmudic dictum, when the fate of European Jewry was at stake. No other pope had been so widely praised by Jews — and they were not mistaken. Their gratitude, as well as that of the entire generation of Holocaust survivors, testifies that Pius XII was, genuinely and profoundly, a righteous gentile."
- "Never, in those tragic days, could I have foreseen, even in my wildest imaginings, that the man who, more than any other, had tried to alleviate human suffering, had spent himself day by day in his unceasing efforts for peace, would - twenty years later - be made the scapegoat for men trying to free themselves from their own responsibilities and from the collective guilt that obviously weights so heavily upon them." **rescuer John Patrick Carroll-Abbing, in his 1965 book 
- "During the Nazi occupation of Rome, three thousand Jews found refuge at one time at the pope’s summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. Amazingly, Castel Gandolfo is never mentioned or discussed in the anti-papal writings of many of the pope’s critics. Yet at no other site in Nazi-occupied Europe were as many Jews saved and sheltered for as long a period as at Castel Gandolfo during the Nazi occupation of Rome. Kosher food was provided for the Jews hidden there, where, as George Weigel has noted, Jewish children were born in the private apartments of Pius XII, which became a temporary obstetrical ward."
- "No rebuke has come to Nazism from Pope Pius XI and his successor, Pope Pius XII."
- **Rabbi Louis Finkelstein, chancellor, Jewish Theological Seminary of America in the New York Times, March, 1940.
- "I simply cannot understand the failure of the Pope speak out."
- Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, president of Union of American Hebrew Congregations (2000)
- "Even though the 'Final Solution' was a Nazi invention, not a Church one, the Pontiff who headed the Roman Catholic Church during the Holocaust period, Pius XII, did nothing to either condemn it or protest against it; his standing by while blood was being shed deserves full condemnation, on behalf of future generations as well. At Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, there is an avenue on which every tree is dedicated to the memory of a Righteous Gentile. Had Pius XII fulfilled his basic duty, this avenue would be much longer and the lives of many more Jews would have been saved during those horrible days."
- Israeli Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, 2000.
- "In a sense, it's an indictment of the dual standard of morality practiced by Pius XII. They (the Vatican) have no hesitation in properly charging the Soviets with atrocities but tragically failed to do so when it came to the murder of the Jews in the Holocaust."
- Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress 2001 speaking on discovery of a report by Archbishop Montini into the Soviet occupation of Berlin.
- "The facts are that Pius XII was the best informed leader on what was happening in Europe during the Holocaust. Yet unlike many priests and bishops who risked their lives and showed great courage in defying Hitler, the Pope sat in stony silence as millions of Jews were murdered in the death camps." 2001
- Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center
- “Over time I have become convinced that during World War II Pope Pius XII and the vast majority of European Christian leaders regarded the elimination of the Jews as no less beneficial than the destruction of Bolshevism.”
- Rabbi Richard L. Rubenstein, professor emeritus University of Bridgeport (Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust, Eds Carol Rittner and John K. Roth, Continuum).
- "Yet, if the Roman Catholic Church pursues its plans to canonize Pope Pius XII, it will be more damaging to its reputation than another huge explosion of pedophile priest scandals. For even child molestation – evil and sinister as it is – remains a step below complicity in the extermination of millions of people and ordering mass kidnapping, two great sins among many by which Pius XII disgraced himself." 2004
- "We can't help but notice that under Cardinal Ratzinger's tutelage, the Church began moves to elevate the infamous Pope Pius XII to the status of saint. Instead of repenting for the failure of the Church to give unequivocal messages telling all Catholics that they would be prevented from receiving communion for collaborating or cooperating in any way with Nazi rule, or for failing to hide and protect Jews who were marked for extermination, Ratzinger has sought to whitewash this disgraceful moment in Church history” 2005.
- "I came back from Auschwitz on my own. I lost my mother, two sisters and one brother. Pius XII could have warned us about what was going to happen. We might have escaped from Rome and joined the partisans. He played right into the Germans' hands. It all happened right under his nose. But he was an anti-Semitic pope, a pro-German pope. He didn't take a single risk. And when they say the Pope is like Jesus Christ, it is not true. He did not save a single child."
- Settimia Spizzichino, the sole Roman Jewish woman survivor from the death camps
- "With an unequalled cynicism the Vatican "suada" (art or way of persuasion) refers to a few Catholics who took a firm stand against the fascistic atrocities -- and omits the fact that the Pope and his bishops did not support these courageous priests at all."
- Emil Carlebach, Jewish communist and survivor of Buchenwald
Notes and references
- Carroll-Abbing, But for The Gace of God, pp.48