- Hardcover: 470 pages
- Publisher: Genesis Pr Inc (Aug. 1 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1585710067
- ISBN-13: 978-1585710065
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.3 x 23.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 821 g
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,112,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Hitler, the War, and the Pope Hardcover – Aug 1 2000
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This sympathetic portrait of Pope Pius XII serves as a direct rebuttal to John Cornwall's recently published Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (1999), a scathing indictment of the controversial pontiff's wartime record. After placing the beleaguered pope's actions firmly into historical context, Rychlak concludes that Pius did everything within his limited scope of power to condemn Hitler and to save Jews without endangering even more innocent lives. Although this respectful, painstakingly researched account of an undoubtedly compassionate and well-intentioned holy man mired in incomprehensibly difficult circumstances provides a wealth of thoughtfully outlined rationalizations, it fails in its mission to completely convince doubters that Pius XII could not have taken a more heroic public stand against Nazism. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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While one could discount the praise for Pious that Jews gave as an effort to curry favor with the long serving pope during the creation of the State of Israel, I will take it as face value as thanks for those Jews that the church saved. However, that fails to deal with Cornwall's most devastating charges such as:
1- Pious support for the concordant with Hitler and his willingness to disband Germany's catholic party, the most powerful bulwark against Nazism that existed at the time of its dissolution.
2- The church's willingness to allow priests to serve as chaplains in even the most blood thirst of Nazi military units such as the SS.
3- The church's failure, even now, to excommunicate Hitler, a baptized catholic.
4- The Pope's failure to condemn the activities of catholic eastern and south eastern regimes that supported the genocide against the Jews.
Certainly, one can understand the Pope in the context of a man who believed that Communism was the greater threat to his church than fascism. However, one might also say that such thoughts belong in the realm of politics, and that it is the responsibility of the righteous to attack evil, wherever they find it.
The world still waits for a balance biography of this fascinating and conflicted individual. Neither this, nor Cornwall's book meets that bill.
Now sit back and ask yourselves what could the Pope have done?
A. Openly help to smuggle out jews and others thereby putting himself and the whole population of Rome in danger
B. Arm the Vatican guard? maybe somehow overthrow the German puppet goverment?
Or what he really did
C. Niether help nor hinder but be willing to look the other way if a priest or a friar took some independent action
If you want to see another item that deals with this problem check out the Gregory Peck film "The Scarlet and Black"
You did a wonderful job Mr. Rychlak
Please note, in reading some reviews published here, the animosity towards Christianity expressed by several people who obviously haven't read the book. This is a subject that should be approached with a cool head, an acknowledgement of the complexity of the situation, and a willingness to be truthful and fair; Rychlak has done just fine on all counts.
Indeed, unspoken yet real and critical questions are "What about Protestant America?", and "What about Protestant Germany?"
How can anyone question what the militarily impotent Catholic Church did or did not to stop Hitler's extermination of the Jews, when militarily potent, Protestant America did NOTHING for so long? After all, the facts are unimpeachable, and quite sad:
1. Hitler invaded Poland in August 1939.
2. Two months later, in October 1939, Hitler started rounding up Jews in Poland and sending them to concentration camps.
3. Hitler then proceeded to invade Hungary and other countries, also rounding up the Jews there and sending them to concentration camps.
4. During 1939, 1940, and 1941, Hitler exterminated at least hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of Jews.
5. From October 1939 to December 1941, a span of 2 years and 2 months, during which Hitler was exterminating Jews, AMERICA DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
6. America in fact did not enter the war until December 1941.
7. And, America did NOT enter the war to save or help the Jews.
8. Rather, America entered the war solely because its naval fleet in the Pacific had been SUNK.
9. Thus, America entered the war for reasons having NOTHING to do with the extermination of the Jews that was (and for 2 years and 2 months had been) taking place in Europe.
Given these facts, how can anyone seriously question the actions of a militarily impotent Church without first - or at the same time - questioning the utter inaction of militarily potent America? As Stalin famously said, "How many divisions does the pope have?" None, of course. But, alas, that is irrelevant to the historically ignorant anti-Catholic.
Likewise, how can anyone seriously question the actions of a Church based outside Germany, with only a minority of faithful in Germany, without first - or at the same time - questioning the actions of the majority Protestants in Germany? Once again, the facts are unimpeachable, and sad:
1. Germany was a PROTESTANT country.
2. Hitler was ELECTED by the German people.
3. In his electoral victory, Hitler received a MAJORITY of the German Protestant vote.
4. Yet, in his electoral victory, Hitler received only a MINORITY of the German Catholic vote.
5. Thus, Hitler came to power courtesy of German PROTESTANTS.
Given these facts, how can anyone seriously question the minority Catholic Church in Germany without first - or at the same time - questioning the majority Protestant churches in Germany? For instance, what did the German Protestant ministers, such as the Lutheran Bishops, know? And, when did they know it? And, what did they do, or not do, to stop the extermination of the Jews?
Clearly, all these "questions" being asked of the Catholic Church and Pius XII concerning the Jews should first be asked of Protestant America and Protestant Germany. This nonsense about the Catholic Church's alleged "silence" or "inaction" is more than just factually meritless. It is utterly hypocritical, and indeed hilariously so were it not so pathetic.
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