The Boston Globe is reporting that, "In his first public remarks on Catholic-Jewish relations, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley last night said the spirit of God was behind Catholic efforts to purge their religion of centuries of anti-Semitic teaching and traditions. He vowed there would be no retreat from the declarations of kinship between the two faiths that began with the Second Vatican Council in 1965 and deepened under the late Pope John Paul II."
Huh? With all due respect to His Eminence, the Church has always condemned anti-Semitism. There is no history within the Catholic Church of "anti-Semitic teaching and traditions." The Church's respect for Jews didn't begin with the Second Vatican Council:
Beginnings to 1094
Pope Gregory I
"For it is necessary to gather those who are at odds with the Christian religion the unity of faith by meekness, by kindness, by admonishing, by persuading, lest these...should be repeled by threats and terrors. They ought, therefore, to come together to hear from you the Word of God in a kindly frame of mind, rather than stricken with dread, result of a harshness that goes beyond due limits." (Synan,The Popes and the Jews in the Middle Ages,p.45)
June 591 "Censure of Virgil, bishop of Arles, and Theodore, bishop of Marseilles, for having baptized Jews by force. They are to desist. (Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.4)
November 602 "Admonition to Paschasius, bishop of Naples, to ensure that the Jews are not disturbed in the celebration of their religious festivals." (The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.23)
"TO PASCASIUS, BISHOP OF NAPLES: Those who, with sincere intent, desire to lead people outside the Christian religion to the correct faith, ought to make the effort by means of what is pleasant, not with what is harsh, lest opposition drive afar the mind of men whom reasoning...could have attracted. Those who act otherwise...demonstrate that they are concerned with their own enterpises, rather than with those of God!
Now, the Jews dwelling in Naples have registered a complaint with Us, asserting that certain people are attempting, in an unreasonable fashion, to restrain them from some of the solemnities connected with their own feast days, as it has been lawful for them to observe or celebrate these up to now, and for their forefathers from long ages past...For of what use is this, when...it avails nothing toward their faith and conversion?...One must act, therefore, in such a way that...they might desire to follow us rather than to fly from us...Rather let them enjoy their lawful liberty to observe and to celebrate their festivities, as they have enjoyed this up until now." (Synan, 217).
Pope John XVIII 1007 "The Jews of France, victims of persecution, are taken under papal protection."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.34)
Pope Alexander II
1063 "Praise for Winfred, archbishop of Narbonne, for defending the Jews." 1063 "Praise for Berengar, viscount of Narbonne, for protecting the Jews." 1065 "Admonition to Landulf, lord of Benevento, that the conversion of Jews is not to be obtained by force." (The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.35,36,37)
1094 to 1200
With the dawn of the First Crusade, a burst of anti-Semitism also flared up. However, there was also much opposition to this behavior. "Bishops and princes [were] mostly on the side of the [Jewish] victims, but proving for various reasons, powerless to protect them effectively." (Catholic Ency.p.393).
Pope Calixtus II 1119-1124 "The Jews are taken under papal protection."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.44)
With the Second Crusade (1147-1149) hatred erupted again. Yet, many would not tolerate the bigotry. The German prelates, Pope Eugenius III, and St. Bernard protested against this eruption of anti-Semitism:
Pope Eugenius III 1145-1153 "The Jews are taken under papal protection."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.47)
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (letter to Archbishop Henry of Mainz, 1146) "Is it not a far better triumph for the Church to convince and convert the Jews than to put them all to the sword? Has that prayer which the Church offers for the Jews...been instituted in vain?"
(Carroll, Warren; The Glory of Christendom, 62).
Things settled down the next fifty years; "in Italy...Pope Alexander III was favourable to them, and the Third Latern Council (1179) passed decrees protecting their religious liberty." (Cath.En.p.393).
Pope Clement III
10 May 1188 "The Jews are taken under papal protection." (The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.66)
Once again, when a new crusade (1202-1204) was preached in 1198 anti-Semitism came about again. Some crusaders caught up in misguided enthusiasm massacred Jews. In other areas they were forced out of their towns. "The Jews appealed to [Pope] Innocent III to curb the violence of the crusaders; and in answer the pontiff issued a Constitution which rigorously forbade mob violence and forced baptism, but which apparently had little or no effect." (Cath.En.p.393).
Pope Celestine III 1191-1198 "The Jews are taken under papal protection" (Sicut Judeis...)
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.68)
1200 to 1300
Pope Gregory IX
6 April 1233 "Mandate, if facts are established, to the archbishops and bishops of France to induce the Christians in their dioceses to stop persecuting the Jews, who had complained to the pope that they were being maltreated and tortured by certain lords, imprisoned and left to die. The Jews are willing to forsake usury. They are to be set free and are not to be injured in person or in property."
3 May 1235 "Protection provided to Jews by standard formula of Sicut Judeis."
17 August 1236 "List of charges against Emperor Frederick II includes the "matter of the Jewish communities of which certain churches were deprived."
5 September 1236 "Mandate to Gerald de Malemort, archbishop of Bordeaus, Peter, bishop of Saintes, John Builloti, bishop of Angouleme, John de Melun, bishop of Poitiers, Hugo, bishop of Sees, William de Saint-Mere-Eglise, bishop of Avranches, Peter de Colmieu, bishop-elect of Rouen, Juhellus de Mathefelon, archbishop of Tours, Geoffroy de London, bishop of Le Mans, William de Beaumont, bishop of Angers, Alan, bishop of Rennes, Robertus, bishop of Nantes, Ramilf, bishop of Quimper, and Philip Berruyer, archbishop-elect of Bourges to force the crusaders of their dioceses who had killed and robbed Jews to provide proper satisfaction for the crimes perpetrated against the Jews and for the property stolen from them. They had complained to the Pope."
5 September 1236 "Request to Louis IX, king of France, to punish the crusaders, murderers and despoilers of the Jews, and to compel them to make restitution."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.143,154,162,163,165)
Pope Innocent IV
7 October 1246 "Request and admonition to Thibaut I, king of Navarre, to continue protecting the Jews from persecution and preventing the forced baptism of their children."
22 October 1246 "Confirmation of the protective Bull Sicut Judeis."
12 June 1247 "Admonition and exhortation to Thibaut I (IV), king of Navarre and count of Champagne, to ensure that the Jews of Champagne are reimbursed by their debtors."
5 July 1247 "Mandate to the prelates of Germany and France to annul all measures adopted against the Jews on account of the ritual murder libel, and to prevent accusation of Jews on similar charges."
6 July 1247 "Admonition and exhortation to Thibaut I (IV), king of Navarre and count of Champagne, to ensure that the Jews of Champagne are reimbursed by their debtors."
25 September 1253 "Mandate to the dean of Wurzburg to protect the local Jews from molestation by the citizens, who are in conflict with Hermann of Lobdenburg, the bishop."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.188-189,193-195,208)
1247; writes, "Certain of the clergy, and princes, nobles and great lords of your cities and dioceses have falsely devised certain godless plans against the Jews, unjustly depriving them by force of their property, and appropriating it themselves;...they falsely charge them with dividing up among themselves on the Passover the heart of a murdered boy...In their malice, they ascribe every murder, wherever it chance to occur, to the Jews. And on the ground of these and other fabrications, they are filled with rage against them, rob them of their possessions without any formal accusation, without confession, and without legal trial and conviction, contrary to the privileges granted to them by the Apostolic See...Since it is our pleasure that they shall not be disturbed,...we ordain that ye behave towards them in a friendly and kind manner. Whenever any unjust attacks upon them come under your notice, redress their injuries, and do not suffer them to be visited in the future by similar tribulations"
Yet these protests by the pontiffs appeared to go generally unheeded by the Christian states. (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910 edition, p.393-394).
Pope Alexander IV
1 February 1255 "Exemption to a group of Jewish merchants of Rome from the payment of tolls in the Papal States and the kingdom of Sicily."
22 September 1255 "Protection to Jews by Sicut Judeis Bull."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.211)
Pope Urban IV
26 April 1262 "Protection of Jews by Sicut Judeis Bull."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.219)
Pope Gregory X
7 October 1272 "Protection of Jews by Sicut Judeis Bull, with additional clauses: a mixed group of witnesses, including a Jew, is to be required to convict Jews; the evidence of a Christian was not to be admissible against Jews accused of ritual murder; in the unlikely event of such a murder being committed, a Jew may be arrested only if caught in the act."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.242)
1273; writes in "an encyclical to all Christians forbidding them to baptize Jews by force or to injure their persons, or take away their money, or to disturb them during the celebration of their religious festivals." (Horace K. Mann, Lives of the Popes in the Middle Ages, Volume XVI [London, 1929], p. 496)
As quoted from: http://www.ewtn.com/library/HOMELIBR/JEWS.HTM
7 July 1274 "Confirmation to all Christians of a mandate to protect Jews of Germany against ritual murder libel."
10 September 1274 "Renewal of Sicut Judeis Bull."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.245-246)
Pope Nicholas III
"Renewal of Sicut Judeis Bull."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.249)
Pope Martin IV
1 March 1281 "Reissue of Sicut Judeis Bull
2 August 1281 "Reissue of Sicut Judeis Bull, with the additiion of a clause limiting the freedom of action of the Inquisition with regard to Jews."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.254)
Pope Honorius IV
1285-1287 "Reissue of Sicut Judeis Bull."
17 September 1285 "Confirmation of the provisions and laws promulgated for the government of the kingdom of Sicily, including the punishment for the murder of a Christian, a Jew, or a Moslem."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.260)
Pope Nicholas IV
1288-1292 "Reissue of Sicut Judeis Bull."
29 August 1288 "Request and admonition to Emperor Rudolf I to set free Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg."
30 January 1291 "Mandate to the papal vicar in Rome to protect the Jews."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.265,266,278)
1300 to 1500
Pope John XXII
9 July 1320 "Request and exhortation to all princes, rulers, officials and local authorities to protect the Jews in the papal territories in France under their jurisdiction against attacks by Shepherds."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.319)
Pope Benedict XII
26 June 1335 "Mandate...to Hugo de Vienne, archbishop of Besancon, to grant dispensation to and impose penitence on Vivetus Grosseti de Poligny, a cleric in the archbishop's diocese, who at the age of fifteen, carried wood to help burn Jews at the stake in the village of Arbois, in the diocese of Besancon."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.368)
Pope Clement VI
18 December 1345 "Mandate to Hugues de la Roque, rector of the Comtat Venaissin, to allow the Jews who had recently settled there to dwell unmolested, and to let other Jews join them."
8 May 1347 "Request to King Philip VI of France to set free Bernard de Lipasse, bishop of Dax...and others, including Jews, taken prisoner at sea by the French."
5 July 1348 "Reissue of the Bull Sicut Judeis."
26 September 1348 "Mandate to all prelates and other clergy to act against those who persecute the Jews, especially in connection with the outbreak of the plague, admonish them to desist and threaten them with punishment."
1 October 1348 "Reissue of the protective Bull against the persecutors of Jews, especially in connection with the outbreak of the plague."
20 October 1349 "Mandate to all prelates to adopt suitable measures for the suppression of the Flagellants and their supporters, accused of various crimes, including the persecution of the Jews."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.389,392,396,398-399)
"While the fearful scourge, known as the "Black Death", desolated Europe. The report that the Jews had caused the scourge by poisoning the wells used by Christians, spread rapidly and was believed in most towns of Central Europe, despite the Bulls issued by Clement VI in July and September, 1348, declaring their falsity. Despite the fact, too, that the same pontiff had solemnly ordered that Jews be not forced into baptism, that their sabbaths, festivals, synagogues, and cemeteries be respected, that no new exactions be imposed on them, they were plundered and murdered in many countries of Central and Northern Europe." http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08386a.htm
Pope Urban V
5 June 1365 "Reissue of Sicut Judeis Bull."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.430)
Pope Clement VII
10 July 1381 "Mandate to the subcollector of papal revenues...to hand over 400 French francs and 80 German florins to Simon de Nantua, a Jew...These sums were confiscated from Ysaac of Tulette...for 'excesses and crimes.' The money belonged to Simon, and Amadeus VI, count of Savoy, had interceded on his behalf."
13 August 1387 "Approval of petition presented by the Jews in the towns of Arles, Avignon, Maguelonne, Uzes and Nimes to revoke the mandate to have them make restitution to their debtors, in view of the harassment to which they had been exposed following its implementation."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.483,500)
Pope Boniface IX
1389-1404 "Renewal of the Bull Sicut Judeis.
"In Germany (1384), and in Bohemia (1389, 1399), the Jews were likewise persecuted. Boniface IX had protested, but in vain, against such outrages and slaughters (1389); and it is only in his states, in Italy, and in Portugal, that the Jewish race had any measure of peace during these years of carnage." http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08386a.htm
23 October 1392 "Appointment of Salamon de Metasia de Sabaduchio, a Jew in Perugia, to status of member of the papal household, and grant of papal protection."
(The Apostolic See and the Jews, Documents: 492-1404; Simonsohn, Shlomo, p.507,512)
Pope Martin V
he declared in 1419: "Whereas the Jews are made in the image of God and a remnat of them will one day be saved, and whereas they have besought our protection: following in the footsteps of our predecessors we command that they be not molested in their synagogues; that their laws, rights, and customs be not assailed; that they be not baptized by force, constrained to observe Christian festivals, nor to wear new badges, and they be not hindered in their business relations with Christians"
After the Austrian and German Jews appealed to him, he spoke in their favor in 1420 and "in 1422, confirmed the ancient privileges of their race."
Alexander VI (1492-1503)
When the Jews of Rome refused to admit the Jewish refugees from Spain and offered him a bribe of a thousand ducats, he threatened the Roman Jews with expulsion, demanded two thousand ducats from them, and forced them to allow the Jewish refugees entrance. (Synan, 145).
"Alexander made a place at his court for Jewish physicians...One eminent Jew who held such as post was...Maestro Boneto...Expelled from Provence in 1493, he had taken refuge in the papal city of Carpentras, in order to profit by the friendly reception generally to be expected by Jews in towns under the control of the popes. Since this rabbi [also] possessed...remarkable competence in astronomy...it was possible for him to give striking evidence of his gratitude to the Pope. This he did by dedicating to him a work called The Astronomical Ring...By 1499, Maestro Boneto had become...personal physician to Pope Alexander VI, an office he would retain under Leo X." (Synan, 146-147).
1500 to 1900
"The early Roman pontiffs of the sixteenth century had Jewish physicians and were favourable to the Jews and the Maranos of their states." http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08386a.htm
1758, Benedict XIV appoints Cardinal Lorenzo Ganganelli (future Pope Clement XIV) to investigate the accusation of blood libel. After a year of investigation, the cardinal reports back that the accusations are false
Pope Gregory XVI
1837, "when, seeing how poverty and high taxes plunged the [Jewish] community into bankruptcy, he rubbed out all their debts, and helped them with medical aid during the cholera epidemic of that year" (Chadwick, Owen/A History of the Popes 1830-1914/Oxford University Press/2003/p.129).
Pope Leo XIII
1892, Leo XIII defends the Jews in a newspaper interview (Ibid.).
Leo XIII supports French Jewish officer Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who has been accused of treason and "publicly condemned the anti-Semitic campaign against him" (Ibid).
"Protestants everywhere condemned the papacy for the Dreyfus Affair, though the papacy had nothing to do with the matter. So far as he expressed an opinion publicly, Leo XIII was on the side of Dreyfus. In March 1899 he was said to have compared Dreyfus to Jesus on Calvary" (Chadwick, Owen/A History of the Popes 1830-1914/Oxford University Press/2003/p.385).
Under the pontificate of Pope Pius X, many condemned anti-Semitism: "In the Catholic Church the leaders were against any such [anti-Semitic] attitudes towards the Jews. In Vienna one cardinal after another, from Rauscher onwards, tried to prevent race-hatred and especially anti-Semitism in the Church. As political anti-Semitism...grew in Vienna, the bishops issued a joint pastoral letter against anti-Semitism and racialism... In 1895 the rector of the university of Vienna was a Catholic priest, Laurenz Mullner...In a debate on money for the medical school, an anti-Semite attacked the university as Jew-infested. Mullner took the speaker to pieces: 'Read Dante, and what he said about Averroes, a Semite; he was a great spirit. Read Thomas Aquinas, a noble mind and a saint. Even where they do not agree with Jewish scholars they speak in a very different spirit. Every year it is my duty to refute Spinoza. Though I refute him, yet I bow before that great spirit and noble mind.'" (Chadwick, Owen/A History of the Popes 1830-1914/Oxford University Press/2003/p.379,381)
1900 to today
Pius X denounces the accusations against the Russian Jew Mendel Beilis (Ibid.).
1916, when the American Jews petitioned Benedict on behalf of the Polish Jews, Benedict responded: "The Supreme Pontiff.... as Head of the Catholic Church, which, faithful to its divine doctrines and its most glorious traditions, considers all men as brothers and teaches them to love one another, he never ceases to indicate among individuals, as well as among peoples, the observance of the principles of the natural law, and to condemn everything that violates them. This law must be observed and respected in the case of the children of Israel, as well as of all others, because it would not be comformable to justice or to religion itself to derogate from it solely on account of divergence of religious confessions" 1
1928, Vatican issues a statement later cited by rescueworkers during the Holocaust: "[J]ust as [the Church] reproves all rancours in conflicts between peoples, to the maximum extent condemns hatred of the people once chosen by God, the hatred that commonly goes by the name of anti-Semitism" 1.
Nov. 1931, Pius XI is thanked by the chief rabbi of Milan for opposing anti-Semitism.
"In the spring of 1933, the year Hitler took power, Pius XI met with Rabbi Allesandro da Fano of Milan to express his solidarity with the Jewish community. The Jewish Chronicle reported: 'The pope...had a long private talk with them about the situation of the Jews in Germany. It is understood that the pope was extremely concerned about the sufferings imposed on the Jews and expressed his sympathy with them and his desire to help. Rabbi da Fano, who is eighty-six years of age, is a personal friend of the pope, and was his teacher of Hebrew when the pope was Director of the Catholic Ambrosian Library in Milan' ('The Pope's Desire to Help,' Jewish Chronicle , May 12, 1933, p.28)." From: (Dalin, David G. & Bottum, Joseph/The Pius War/Lexington Books/2004/p.115-116)
Sept. 6, 1938, he says to some Belgian pilgrims that anti-Semitism "is a hateful movement, a movement that we cannot, as Christians, take any part in...Anti-Semitism is inadmissible" (Chadwick, Ibid.).
1939 issue of B'nai B'rith's National Jewish Monthly features him on the frontcover and writes, "Regardless of their personal beliefs, men and women everywhere who believe in democracy and the rights of man have hailed the firm and uncompromising stand of Pope Pius XI against Fascist brutality, paganism, and racial theories. In his annual Christmas message to the College of Cardinals, the great Pontiff vigorously denounced Fascism...The first international voice in the world to be raised in stern condemnation of the ghastly injustice perpetrated upon the Jewish people by brutal tyrannies was Pope Pius XI" (Chadwick, Ibid.).
"Also of note is Pius XI's support for British efforts to help Jewish and other refugees...the Holy See sent out requests to its representatives throughout the world to assist those fleeing oppression and racial persecution; see Cardinal Pacelli's circular telegrams of November 30, 1938, and January 10, 1939 in Actes et Documents 6, pp.48-50, and Pius XI's letter to the cardinal archbishops of Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Quebec, and Buenos Aires, pp. 50ff" (Pius War, p.119).
Jan. 1939, The Jewish National Monthly reports "the only bright spot in Italy has been the Vatican, where fine humanitarian statements by the Pope have been issuing regularly" 2.
"When Mussolini's anti-Semitic decrees began depriving Jews of employment in Italy, Pius XI, on his own initiative, admitted Professor Vito Volterra, a famous Italian Jewish mathematician, into the Pontifical Academy of Science...(see 'Scholars at the Vatican,' Commonweal , December 4, 1942, pp.187-188). When Lord Rothschild, a prominent British leader, organized a protest meeting in London against Kristallnacht...Eugenio Pacelli, Vatican secretary of state, acting on behalf of Pius XI, who was then ill, sent a statement of solidarity with the persecuted Jews; the statement was read publicly at the meeting" (Pius War, p.119).
When Pius XI passed away on February 10, 1939, the world praised him for his opposition to the Nazi and Fascism regimes, as well as for his opposition to anti-Semitism (Quotes below from: Ibid. p.120,121).
Feb. 12, 1939, Bernard Joseph wrote on behalf of the Executive Jewish Agency to the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem: "'In Common with the whole of civilized humanity, the Jewish people mourns the loss of one of the greatest exponents of the cause of international peace and good will...More than once did we have occasion to be deeply grateful...for the deep concern which he expressed for the fate of the persecuted Jews of Central Europe. His noble efforts on their behalf will ensure for him for all time a warm place in the memories of the Jewish people wherever they live' (Pinchas Lapide, Three Popes and the Jews , p.116)"
Feb. 17, 1939, the Jewish historian Cecil Roth publishes the obituary "Pope Pius and the Jews: A Champion of Toleration" in the Jewish Chronicle of London, in which he "wrote movingly of his private audience with the aged pontiff, during which Pius XI assured Roth of the papacy's opposition to anti-Semitism. Roth hailed Pius XI as that 'courageous voice raised unfalteringly and unwearingly...protesting oppression, condemning racial madness...This was an aspect which he appreciated to the full, and earned his memory an undying claim to the gratitude of the Jewish people'" (Pius War, p.120-121)
See also Pope Pius XII#World War II.
In recent years there has been a flood of books on Pius XII’s actions surrounding the Holocaust. The most popularly read ones have tended to view him as a staunch anti-Semite and are generally accepted by the mainstream media. However, there are many other scholars who see numerous errors with this view. Due to this debate, the following article, in keeping within its scope of “Christian opposition to anti-Semitism,” will expound upon the many actions taken by Pius XII in opposition to anti-Semitism as well as answer critiques that have been written of him.
Church’s Actions Against Anti-Semitism under Pius XII
1939, "Pius organized special operations inside the Vatican Information Office to help Jews persecuted by Nazism," writes Ronald J. Rychlak in his review of Susan Zuccotti's Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy , "A Dangerous Thing to Do" (The Pius War Lexington Books, 2004, p.36).
March 1940, “Pius granted an audience to Joachim von Ribbentrop, the German foreign minister and the only high-ranking Nazi to bother visiting the Vatican. The Germans' understanding of Pius's position, at least, was clear: Ribbentrop chastised the pope for siding with the Allies. Whereupon Pius began reading from a long list of German atrocities. ‘In the burning words he spoke to Herr Ribbentrop,’ the New York Times reported on March 14, Pius ‘came to the defense of Jews in Germany and Poland.’” Rabbi David G. Dalin, The Weekly Standard
“When French bishops issued pastoral letters in 1942 attacking deportations, Pius sent his nuncio to protest to the Vichy government against ‘the inhuman arrests and deportations of Jews from the French-occupied zone to Silesia and parts of Russia.’ Vatican Radio commented on the bishops' letters six days in a row—at a time when listening to Vatican Radio was a crime in Germany and Poland for which some were put to death. (‘Pope Is Said to Plead for Jews Listed for Removal from France,’ the New York Times headline read on August 6, 1942. ‘Vichy Seizes Jews; Pope Pius Ignored,’ the Times reported three weeks later.) In retaliation, in the fall of 1942, Goebbels's office distributed ten million copies of a pamphlet naming Pius XII as the ‘pro-Jewish pope’ and explicitly citing his interventions in France.” (Ibid.)
October 1943, Pius begins asking churches and convents throughout Italy to shelter and hide the Jews
“In Rome, 155 convents and monasteries sheltered some five thousand Jews. At least three thousand found refuge at the pope's summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. Sixty Jews lived for nine months at the Gregorian University, and many were sheltered in the cellar of the pontifical biblical institute. Hundreds found sanctuary within the Vatican itself. Following Pius's instructions, individual Italian priests, monks, nuns, cardinals, and bishops were instrumental in preserving thousands of Jewish lives. Cardinal Boetto of Genoa saved at least eight hundred. The bishop of Assisi hid three hundred Jews for over two years. The bishop of Campagna and two of his relatives saved 961 more in Fiume.” (Ibid.)
October 1943, during the night between October 15-16, the Germans rounded up 1,259 Roman Jews. The next morning Princess Enza Pignatelli Aragona Cortes begged the pope for help. “She reported later that he was both shocked and furious.” When she left Pius immediately was on the phone demanding a stop to the outrage. But, the German ambassador to the Vatican (who secretly supported Pius and hated Nazism) responded that any public protest by Pius would anger Hitler into ordering the destruction of more Jews. “The British minister to the Holy See, Osborne, confirmed the unpublicized papal protest in a message to his superiors in London, telling them that as a result of the pope’s action ‘large numbers’ of Jews were released” (“Something Deeply Shameful.” The Pius War, 2004. p.61).
“In the summer of 1944, after the liberation of Rome but before the war's end, Pius told a group of Roman Jews who had come to thank him for his protection: ‘For centuries, Jews have been unjustly treated and despised. It is time they were treated with justice and humanity, God wills it and the Church wills it. St. Paul tells us that the Jews are our brothers. They should also be welcomed as friends.’” (Dalin)
When the summer papal residence, Castel Gandolfo, was bombarded by Allied forces at the end of the war, U.S. intelligence documents reported that "the bombardment of Castel Gandolfo resulted in the injury of about 1,000 people and the death of about 300 more. The highness of the figure is due to the fact that the area was crammed with refugees." According to Ronald J. Rychlak, author of Hitler, the War, and the Pope, "No one but Pius XII had authority to open these buildings to outsiders. As at least one witness testified under oath, the orders came from the pope" (The Pius War Lexington Books, 2004, p.37).
When "1,000 German Jews wanted to emigrate to Brazil...the pontiff paid out of his own pocket the $800 each needed for the trip." (The Pius War Lexington Books, 2004, p.36).
When the deportations from the Netherlands started in August 1942, representatives of both the Protestant and the Catholic churches visited the chief Nazi Seyss-Inquart in Amsterdam to express their resentment. They told the Nazis about their plan to formulate a public protest on behalf of he Jews. Seyss-Inquart, who wanted to avoid such a protest, offered a deal: If the churches remained silent, the Christians of Jewish ancestry would be saved. The Protestant church accepted, while the Catholic church formulated a pastoral letter condemning anti-semitism. As a consequence, Catholic Jews were arrested and sent to Auschwitz. The Bishop of Utrecht, de Jong, continued to protest against the deportations, and Seyss-Inquart resigned. Catholic Jews who were either children or over the age of 60 or married to an Aryan survived. Of the nearly 1000 Catholic Jews de Jong could save some 600. Also some historians concluded that de Jong's protest encouraged the Dutchmen to resist against the Nazis. Over 15.000 Jews were hidden in Dutch apartments during the Holocaust. In April 1943, Seyss-Inquart reneged on his promise. Although the majority of Protestant churches remained silent, Protestant Jews were being arrested and killed later. Documents show that Seyss-Inquart never planned to spare the Catholic Jews.
Praise for Pius XII from Rescueworkers
Archbishop Montini, the future Pope Paul VI, declined an honor from the Israel delegation in 1955 for efforts to save the Jews during the war stating, "All I did was my duty...And besides I only acted upon orders from the Holy Father [Pius XII]. Nobody deserves a medal for that" (p.35)
Angelo Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII, also attributed his successful rescue efforts to Pius XII, "In all these painful matters I have referred to the Holy See and simply carried out the pope's orders: first and foremost to save human lives" (35).
Cardinal Pietro Palazzini, assistant vice-rector of the Seminario Romano, who hid Jews there in 1943 and 1944 was honored in 1985 by Yad Vashem as a righteous gentile. "The merit is entirely Pius XII's, who ordered us to do whatever we could to save the Jews from persecution," said the cardinal (35).
Cardinal Paolo Dezza, head of an instution hid Jews, says Pius XII advised him to "Avoid helping the military...but as for the others, help them willingly: civilians, persecuted Jews" (35).
Tibor Baranski, a Hungarian rescuer of the Jews, Italian Senator Adriano Ossicini, and Sister Maria Corsetti Ferdinanda attributes the hiding of the Jews in convents to orders from Pius XII (35).
Father Michel Riquet, Jewish rescuer and inmate at Dachau, also praised Pius XII: "Pius XII spoke, Pius XII condemned; Pius XII acted...throughout those years of horror, when we listened to Vatican Radio and to the pope's messages, we felt in communion with the pope, in helping persecuted Jews and in fighting against Nazi violence" (36).
The Pius War, Chapter 3: A Dangerous Thing to Do (Lexington Books, 2004).
Praise for Pius XII from prominent Jewish leaders
"We share in the grief of humanity [at the death of Pius XII]…. 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."
Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir praised Pius XII's courage against the Nazis
"No keener rebuke has come to Nazism than from Pope Pius XI and his successor, Pope Pius XII."
Rabbi Louis Finkelstein, chancellor, Jewish Theological Seminary of America
"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."
Rabbi Alexander Safran, chief rabbi of Romania
"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."
Rabbi Isaac Herzog, chief rabbi of Israel
"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)
Dr. Raphael Cantoni, director of the Italian Jewish Assistance Committee, wrote: "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."
Scholars Defend Pius XII Against Charges of Anti-Semitism
(To include BRIEF discussion of works that critique Pius, with links to other articles that discuss & critique those works in depth) (Also to include BRIEF discussion of works that defend Pius against charges of anti-Semitism.)
The Catholic Church and the Holocaust
Critique: John Jay Hughes, "Something Deeply Shameful"
Michael Phayer employs a common argument used by many historians to show that Pius XII was an anti-Semite. On October 28, 1943, Weizsacker, the German Ambassador to the Vatican, telegrammed Berlin that the pope “has not allowed himself to be carried away [into] making any demonstrative statements against the deportation of the Jews.” Phayer claims that this is the smoking gun of Pius's anti-Semitism. But what he fails to realize is that in reality Weizsacker secretly opposed the Nazi regime and tried to covertly save as many Jews as he could. So he had to try to pretend like Pius was doing little or nothing to aid the Jews. His telegram would later be called by his deputy, Albrecht von Kessel, one of his chief’s “tactical lies” to protect the Vatican’s efforts in rescuing the Jews (“Something Deeply Shameful.” The Pius War, 2004. p.60-62).
Critique: Hitler's Pope#Critical Analysis of Cornwell's Work
The Hidden Encyclical
Critique: The Moral Challenge of the Holocaust in 1998
"Most important, the [author’s] assumption of a near-universal Catholic anti-Semitism tramples much historical fact. It comports with neither German Catholic voting patterns nor the record of Germany’s Catholic Center Party…It clashed with internal Nazi reports or both Catholic citizens’ ‘greatest indignation’ over government Jew-baiting and Catholic breach of the boycott against Jewish merchants. It conflicts even with the overwhelming disapproval by American Catholics polled on Germany’s mistreatment of the Jews in 1938" (The Pius War Lexington Books, 2004. p.55-56).
The Popes Against the Jews: The Vatican's Role in the Rise of Modern Anti-Semitism, David I. Kertzer
Critique: Excerpt from Desperately Seeking Culprits
Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy
Did Pius Do Enough to Defend the Jews?
While Pius XII could have been more outspoken in his protests against the Jews, the question is whether this would have been a very effective strategy. One major problem with protesting the Nazi’s anti-Semitism was that it did not always work. Oftentimes the more the Church would protest, the worse the Jews were treated. In the Netherlands, the bishops' protests backfired. “The saddest and most thought-provoking conclusion is that whilst the Catholic clergy in Holland protested more loudly, expressly, and frequently against Jewish persecutions than the religious hierarchy of any other Nazi-occupied country, more Jews—some 110,000 or 79 percent of the total—were deported from Holland to death camps,” writes David G. Dalin, quoting from Pinchas Lapide. The Church had to step carefully in her protests so as to not exacerbate the situation. Another issue of concern for Pius was that at any moment the Axis might seize the Vatican or kidnap the Pope. The Vatican was quite literally surrounded. The popes have not always been safe in their Roman residence. Only a little more than a hundred years earlier Pius VII had been seized at bayonet point by Napoleon. Decades before, Leo XIII was driven into temporary exile and Pius XI was forced to flee for his life when his chancellor was assassinated. Hitler was essentially breathing down Pius’ neck and Pius had to take heed, lest they find him too dangerous. Hitler had spoken openly of “packing up the whole whoring rabble [of the Vatican]” and at one point even ordered General Karl Wolff in 1943 to “occupy as soon as possible the Vatican and Vatican City, secure the archives and the art treasures, which have a unique value, and transfer the pope, together with the Curia, for their protection, so that they cannot fall into the hands of the Allies and exert a political influence.” However, in 1943 General Wolff managed to persuade Hitler to call off the plan. Yet, that was not the end of Hitler’s scheming. In January of 1944, writes David G. Dalin, the Germans planned for “the eighth division of the S.S cavalry, disguised as Italians, to seize St. Peters and ‘massacre Pius XII with the entire Vatican.’” Among the reasons the Germans listed for this plan, called “Rabat-Fohn,” was “the papal protest in favor of the Jews.”
Rabbi David G. Dalin, The Weekly Standard
Despite claims of controversial film makers, like those of the movie called Amen (2002), which is entirely based on a controversial progressivist, some say anti-Catholic, theatre play of 1963, the plans of the National Socialist régime in Berlin as to the Vatican were very clear and anti-Pius XII. After the successful end of the war, Hitler said, he wanted to "crush the Catholic Church like you crush a tod".
(J. Lenz, "Christus in Dachau", Vienna, 1957, page 137.)
The Myth of Hitler's Pope: An Interview With Rabbi David G. Dalin
Latest Attempts to Smear Pope Pius XII Continue to Fail
The Vatican and Nazism in Germany and Croatia: A Photo Essay
Hitler's Pope Plot Ignored
The Holy See vs. the Third Reich
Jewish Historian Praises Pius XII
The Good Samaritan: Jewish Praise for Pope Pius XII
Did Pius XII Remain Silent?
Summi Pontificatus Pope Pius XII's wartime Encyclical condemning Nazism's racism and Communism's atheism
Mit Brennender Sorge anti-Nazi encyclical promulgated by Pope Pius XI, written by future Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli), 14 March 1937. This is the only encyclical to have been originally published in German.
Cornwell's Cheap Shot at Pius XII
Cornwell's "Hitler's Pope" - excerpt published by Vanity Fair
Pius XII and the Jews: The War Years, as reported by the New York Times
Pope Pius XII: Victim of False History Right Reason
Righteous Gentile: Pope Pius XII and the Jews Rabbi David Dalin, Ph.D.
The Usefulness of Daniel Goldhagen The Weekly Standard
Document on Jewish recognition of Pope Pius XII's support during WWII
Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust - Jewish Virtual Library
Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust - defence of Pius XII
Pius XII, books & book reviews
Simon Wiesenthal Center Learning Center Online - on Pope Pius XII
website promoting Pope Pius XII's cause for sainthood. (Also contains image of Pope Pius lying-in-state)
Complete Text of the Concordat between the Vatican and Germany
Reasons for Perceived Anti-Semite Church Legislation
Defenders of the Catholic Church argue that many actions of the Church that are perceived to be "anti-semitic" were actually not intended to be anti-Jewish in any way. For example, the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia argues that the obligation that Jews wear a badge was instituted "to prevent effectively moral offences between Jews and Christian women. The decrees forbidding the Jews from appearing in public at Eastertide may be justified on the ground that some of them mocked at the Christian processions at that time; those against baptized Jews retaining distinctly Jewish customs find their ready explanation in the necessity for the Church to maintain the purity of the Faith in its members, while those forbidding the Jews from molesting converts to Christianity are no less naturally explained by the desire of doing away with a manifest obstacle to future conversions...The inhibition of intermarriage between Jews and Christians, which is yet in vigour, is clearly justified by reason of the obvious danger for the faith of the Christian party and for the spiritual welfare of the children born of such alliances." Another source of friction was that Christians actively sought the conversion of Jews. While some Jews have and still perceive this to be anti-semitic, this is not a universal opinion. However, it is generally regarded that there is nothing morally wrong with trying to peacefully change another person's beliefs. While at times the Christian desire for conversion did indeed turn anti-Semitic by utilizing violence and forcible conversion, many pontiffs and Christians protested these efforts. Nonetheless, at other times many Christians utilized peaceful means of conversion. The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia offers a defense of the actions of the Church in regard to conversion efforts:
[Church] authorities generally deprecated the use of violence for the purpose. [History] bears witness, in particular, to the untiring and energetic efforts of the Roman pontiffs in behalf of the Jews especially when, threatened or actually pressed by persecution they appealed to the Holy See for protection. [History] chronicles the numerous protestations of the popes against mob violence against the Jewish race, and thus directs the attention of the student of history to the real cause of the Jewish persecutions, viz., the popular hatred against the children of Israel. Nay more, [history] discloses the principal causes of that hatred, among which the following may be mentioned:
The deep and wide racial difference between Jews and Christians which was, moreover, emphasized by the ritual and dietary laws of Talmudic Judaism;
the mutual religious antipathy which prompted the Jewish masses to look upon the Christians as idolaters, and the Christians to regard the Jews as the murderers of the Divine Saviour of mankind, and to believe readily the accusation of the use of Christian blood in the celebration of the Jewish Passover, the desecration of the Holy Eucharist, etc.;
the trade rivalry which caused Christians to accuse the Jews of sharp practice, and to resent their clipping of the coinage, their usury, etc.;
the patriotic susceptibilities of the particular nations in the midst of which the Jews have usually formed a foreign element, and to the respective interests of which their devotion has not always been beyond suspicion. In view of these and other more or less local, more or less justified, reasons, one can readily understand how the popular hatred of the Jews has too often defeated the beneficent efforts of the Church, and notably of its supreme pontiffs, in regard to them.
Vast improvements have occurred in Jewish-Catholic relations since the Second Vatican Council, and especially under the leadership of the late Pope John Paul II, as evidence that the Church opposes anti-semitism. The 1991 Catholic Encyclopedia (Our Sunday Visitor Publishing) includes none of the above arguments, and instead speaks of "a building up of friendship and understanding [between Jews and Catholics] to overcome prejudices based on ignorance and also to repent for unjustifiable, sometimes horrendous, victimization based not on Church teaching but on hatred and greed." [pg. 534]
This article incorporates text from the public domain Catholic Encyclopedia.
This entire compilation of articles was accomplished by the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Their website: http://www.wikipedia.org
I do commend His Eminence for fighting anti-Semitism. My readers know full well that I do the same no matter where I find it (I'm nobody's water boy). However, perhaps His Eminence should also fight historical revisionism?