Saturday, 19 December 2009

Venerable Pius XII

Here we go again. "Jewish groups", answerable to no one but themselves of course, are screeching and screaming because Pius XII has been declared Venerable. As with the partial rehabilitation of the Lefebvrists, this is their business how, exactly?

Anyway, as someone once said, "Tell a lie big enough..." In fact, Pius XII was first ever called "Hitler's Pope" by none other than John Cornwell, in his 1999 book of that name, a thinly disguised liberal rant against John Paul II with the 'thesis' that the future Pius XII, while a diplomat in Germany, could have rallied Catholic opposition and toppled Hitler. Pure fantasy, like the origin of the whole "Pope supported Hitler" craze: the 1963 play The Deputy by Rolf Hochhuth, who was later successfully prosecuted for suggesting that Churchill had arranged the 1944 air crash that killed General Sikorsky.

Pius XII directly or indirectly saved between 8500 and 9600 Jews in Rome; 40,000 throughout Italy; 15,000 in the Netherlands; 65,000 in Belgium; 200,000 in France; 200,000 in Hungary; and 250,000 in Romania. This list is not exhaustive, and the Dutch figure would have been much higher had not the Dutch Bishops antagonised the Nazis by issuing the sort of public denunciation that Pius is castigated for failing to have issued.

After the War, Pius was godfather when the Chief Rabbi of Rome became a Catholic, and was declared a Righteous Gentile by the State of Israel, whose future Prime Minister (Moshe Sharrett) told him that it was his "duty to thank you, and through you the Catholic Church, for all they had done for the Jews." When Pius died in 1958, tributes to him from Jewish organisations had to be printed over three days by the New York Times, and even then limited to the names of individuals and their organisations.

All of this is contained in works of serious scholarship by Margherita Marchione, Ralph McInerny, Ronald J Rychlak, and others, most recently the superlative Rabbi Professor David G Dalin.

Colonel Claus Schenk, Count von Stauffenberg, recently given the full Tom Cruise treatment, was a devout Catholic, with close dynastic connections to the Bavarian Royal House of Wittelsbach (whom the Jacobites would have on the Thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland), to the family of Saint Philip Howard (martyred Earl of Arundel), and so on.

In Austria, Hitler had murdered the Chancellor, Englebert Dolfuss, who in fact defended, on the borders of Italy and Germany, Catholic Social Teaching and what remained of the thoroughly multiethnic Hapsburg imperial ethos (to this day, numerous German, Magyar and Slavic names are found throughout the former Austria-Hungary) against both the Communists and the Nazis.

Yes, he was authoritarian. But look at his neighbours, and look what he was up against domestically. Imagine if a Fascist putsch in the Irish Free State (and at least one was attempted) had coincided with very serious Communist and Fascist threats in Britain. The British Government of the day would have been authoritarian, too. And, while the emergency lasted, it would have been right. In the same tradition was Blessed Franz Jägerstätter. Google him, people. Google him.

Examples of Catholic anti-Nazism could be multiplied practically without end. The more Catholic an area was, the less likely it was to vote Nazi, without any exception whatever. Not least, the present Pope's Maths teacher sent him to get the Hitler Youth form, and then just kept it on file for him. "Thus was I able to escape it." In other words, he was never in it.

No comments:

Post a comment