Leave it to the web site The Daily Beast to publish a lie-filled attack on the Catholic Church the day before Christmas. The author of the hate-filled piece is James Carroll, one of the country's foremost haters of the Catholic Church. He an anti-Catholic zealot. Period. (Is it any surprise that he also writes for the Boston Globe?)
Carroll's piece takes issue with Pope Benedict's decision earlier this week to declare World War II-era Pope Pius XII "venerable." In the Catholic Church, this declaration is a step toward sainthood.
In his article, entitled "The Pope's Big Holocaust Lie," Carroll repeats several falsehoods about the Catholic Church and the actions of Pope Pius XII during World War II and the Holocaust.
Among Carroll's lies:
1. "The case against Pius XII is well established: He knew early on of Hitler’s plan for the Final Solution of the 'Jewish problem,' and never raised his voice against it."
Wrong. Carroll's falsehood is flat-out debunked in many places (see my list below), including the book The Myth of Hitler's Pope by Rabbi David Dalin. Even before he was pontiff, Pius XII, as Cardinal Pacelli, branded the Nazis as "false prophets with the pride of Lucifer" (Dalin, p. 65).
Pius' "pro-Jewish" policies angered the Nazis so much that Hitler actually planned to kidnap and imprison the pontiff. Records from a July 1943 meeting reveal that Hitler openly discussed invading the Vatican. After the war, Nazi General Karl Otto Wolff testified that he had received orders to "occupy as soon as possible the Vatican and Vatican City." (Wolff talked Hitler out of the plan in December 1943.) (Dalin, p. 77)
Meanwhile, the memoirs of Adolf Eichmann detail that the Vatican "vigorously protested the arrest of Jews, requesting the interruption of such action" (Dalin, p. 84).
And in a December 25, 1941, editorial, the New York Times wrote,
The voice of Pius XII is a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas... he is about the only ruler left on the Continent of Europe who dares to raise his voice at all... the Pope put himself squarely against Hitlerism... he left no doubt that the Nazi aims are also irreconcilable with his own conception of a Christian peace.
Additionally, a August 6, 1942, headline in the Times read, "Pope is Said to Plead for Jews Listed for Removal from France."
In his book, Three Popes and the Jews, Israeli diplomat and scholar Pinchas Lapide has asserted, "The Catholic Church under the pontificate of Pius XII was instrumental in saving lives of as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands." Lapide adds that this "figure far exceeds those saved by all other Churches and rescue organizations combined."
Jewish historian and biographer Sir Martin Gilbert has documented that Pope Pius was one of the first to publicly condemn Nazi atrocities and speak out on behalf of Europe's Jews. Gilbert has also asserted, "Hundreds of thousands of Jews were saved by the Catholic Church, under the leadership and support of Pope Pius XII" (Dalin, pp. 13-14).
The truth is that Pius XII spoke out several times against the Nazi regime. Carroll is lying. (For more specific examples, see the sources I've listed below.)
2. "[I]n October 1943, more than a thousand Jews were rounded up in the Roman Ghetto at the foot of Vatican hill, within sight of the pope’s windows, and still [Pope Pius XII] did nothing. That is a fact. Those Jews died in Auschwitz."
The truth is that Pius took immediate and decisive action as soon as he heard of the roundup. According to the research from Rabbi Dalin, Pius personally protested to Germany's ambassador Ernst von Weizsacker and demanded that the Nazis stop the arrests. Pius himself gave sanctuary within the Vatican to hundreds of homeless Jews. He also asked that convents and churches throughout Italy shelter Jews.
Michael Tagliacozzo, "the foremost authority on the October 1943 Nazi roundup of Rome's Jews" and "a survivor of the raid himself, " said Pius' actions helped rescue 80 percent of Rome's Jews. Said Tagliacozzo,
"Pope Pacelli was the only one who intervened to impede the deportation of Jews on October 16, 1943, and he did very much to hide and save thousands of us." (Dalin, p. 83)
And in the June 21, 2009, edition of Carroll's own newspaper, the Boston Globe, Mordechay Lewy, Israel's ambassador to the Holy See, is quoted,
"It is wrong to look for any affinity between [Pius] and the Nazis. It is also wrong to say that he didn’t save Jews. Everybody who knows the history of those who were saved among Roman Jewry knows that they hid in the church."
James Carroll lies again.
Learn the truth:
- "Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust" (a catalog of research): The Catholic League
- "The Truth About Pope Pius XII," by Sister Margherita Marchione. Ph.D.
- "The Real Story of Pius XII and the Jews," by James Bogle
- "How Pius XII Protected Jews," by Jimmy Akin
- "Catholic Heroes of the Holocaust," by Elizabeth Altham
- "How to Manufacture a Legend: The Controversy over the Alleged Silence of Pope Pius XII in World War II," by Robert A. Graham, S.J.
- The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice by Philip Jenkins
- "The Charity of Pope Pius XII," by Eugenio Zolli (former Chief Rabbi of Rome)
- "The Record of Pius XII's Opposition to Hitler," CatholicCulture.org
- A Hand of Peace: Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust (DVD)
- Highly recommended: The Myth of Hitler's Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis by David G. Dalin
In addition to falsely characterizing Catholic doctrine, Carroll additionally smears Pope Benedict by grossly misrepresenting the pontiff's 2006 address at Auschwitz.
The bottom line: Carroll is exploiting the Holocaust for his own angry agenda. And this fact has been noted before:
"The anti-papal polemics of ex-seminarians like Garry Wills and John Cornwell (author of Hitler's Pope), of ex-priests like James Carroll, and of other lapsed or angry liberal Catholics exploit the tragedy of the Jewish people during the Holocaust to foster their own political agenda of forcing changes on the Catholic Church today. This hijacking of the Holocaust must be repudiated." (Dalin, pp. 2-3)
There you have it.