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Vatican defends wartime Pope Pius XII as convention honors Israeli victims of Hamas incursion

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ROME — The Vatican secretary of state on Monday strongly defended World Battle II-era Pope Pius XII as a good friend of the Jews as he opened an historic convention on newly opened archives that featured even Holy See historians acknowledging that anti-Jewish prejudice knowledgeable Pius’ silence within the face of the Holocaust.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin’s defensive remarks had been delivered earlier than the convention noticed a minute of silence to honor victims of the Hamas incursion in Israel. Standing alongside the chief rabbi of Rome, Parolin expressed solidarity with the Israeli victims and “to those that are lacking and kidnapped and now in grave hazard.”

He mentioned the Vatican was following the warfare with grave concern, and famous that many Palestinians in Gaza had been additionally shedding their lives.

The convention on the Pontifical Gregorian College was outstanding due to its unprecedented high-level, Catholic-Jewish organizers and sponsors: The Holy See, Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust analysis institute, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the U.S. and Israeli embassies to the Holy See and Italy’s Jewish neighborhood.

The main focus was on the analysis that has emerged within the three years because the Vatican, on orders from Pope Francis, opened the Pius preach archives forward of schedule to answer historians’ requests for entry to the Holy See’s documentation to raised perceive Pius’ wartime legacy.

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Historians have lengthy been divided about Pius’ report, with supporters insisting he used quiet diplomacy to avoid wasting Jewish lives and critics saying he remained silent because the Holocaust raged. The controversy over his legacy has stalled his beatification marketing campaign.

Parolin toed the Vatican’s longstanding institutional protection of the wartime pope, citing beforehand identified interventions by the Vatican secretariat of state in 1916 and 1919 to American Jews that referred to the Jewish individuals as “our brethren.”

“Because of the latest opening of the archives, it has grow to be extra evident that Pope Pius XII adopted each the trail of diplomacy and that of undercover resistance,” Parolin mentioned. “This strategic resolution wasn’t an apathetic inaction however one which was extraordinarily dangerous for everybody concerned.”

After he left, nevertheless, different historians took the ground and provided a far completely different evaluation of each Pius and the individuals within the Vatican who had been advising him. They cited the brand new paperwork as useful to understanding Pius’ fears, anti-Jewish prejudices and the Vatican’s custom of diplomatic neutrality that knowledgeable Pius’ choices to repeatedly preserve silent at the same time as particular person Catholic spiritual orders in Rome sheltered Jews.

Giovanni Coco, a researcher within the Vatican Apostolic Archives who not too long ago uncovered proof that Pius knew properly that Jews had been being despatched to dying camps in 1942, famous that Pius solely spoke of the “extermination” of Jews as soon as in public, in 1943. The phrase was by no means once more uttered in public by a pontiff till St. John Paul II visited Auschwitz in 1979.

Even after the warfare, Coco mentioned, “within the Roman Curia the anti-Jewish prejudice was diffuse,” and even become flat-out antisemitism within the case of Pius’ high adviser on Jewish affairs, Monsignor Angelo Dell’Acqua.

David Kertzer, a Brown College anthropologist, cited a number of {cases} by which Dell’Acqua suggested Pius towards any public denunciation of the slaughter of European Jews or any official protest with German authorities in regards to the 1943 roundup of Italy’s Jews, together with “non-Aryan Catholics,” through the German occupation.

Kertzer mentioned whereas Pius “personally deplored” the German efforts to homicide Italy’s Jews, his general precedence was to “keep good relations with the occupying forces.”

Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, the chief rabbi of Rome, mentioned it was one factor to supply a theological justification for the Catholic Church’s anti-Jewish prejudice that knowledgeable Pius actions and inactions and fairly one other to justify it morally.

Sitting subsequent to Parolin, Di Segni rejected as offensive to Jews any judgements which can be “absolutist and apologetic in any respect prices.”

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