- Hardcover: 209 pages
- Publisher: Regnery History; Annotated. edition (June 24 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0895260344
- ISBN-13: 978-0895260345
- Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 2.1 x 23.5 cm
- Shipping Weight: 422 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #401,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Myth of Hitler's Pope: Pope Pius XII And His Secret War Against Nazi Germany Hardcover – Jun 24 2005
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About the Author
David G. Dalin is a professor of History and Political Science at Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida.
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"While I believe with many commentators that the pope might have done more to help the plight of the Jews, I now feel, 10 years after the publication of my book, that his scope for action was severely limited and I am prepared to state this," he said. "Nevertheless, due to his ineffectual and diplomatic language in respect of the Nazis and the Jews, I still believe that it was incumbent on him to explain his failure to speak out after the war. This he never did."
Others would argue that the author's insistence that Pope Pius XII should have taken a more public stance against Nazism has never made much sense. The Pope lived in Vatican City, a militarily indefensible neighborhood in Fascist Rome. Any time he wanted, Hitler could have sent German troops already in Italy to silence the Pope. In spite of that, the Vatican's open opposition to Nazism compares favorably to that of Switzerland, protected by its mountains and an army that included virtually all adult Swiss males, and Sweden, protected from invasion by icy cold waters and Hitler's need to ensure that nothing happened to his supply of Swedish iron ore.
Instead of making a public statement that would have been sneered at by Hitler and flashed across the front pages of newspapers in the US and UK for a single day and then faded into oblivion, Pope Pius XII did far more good in secret, issuing orders and encouraging others to protect European Jews. Scholars, obsessed themselves with mere words on paper, attach too much value to them. Deeds are better. And having done nothing wrong, the Pope had nothing to explain after the war.
One final note. The assumption that Pope Pius XII could accomplish much by making a single statement before he would be kidnapped and perhaps killed by Nazi soldiers assumes that the Europe of the 1940s was the Europe of the Middle Ages. That's far from true. For centuries, secularists and academia had labored to undermine the Pope's authority, even over Catholics. They can't suddenly turn around and say, "Oh, we've made a mess of things. Why don't you speak up and straighten them out?"
A case in point. Today's popes are often attacked for criticizing something quite similar to Nazi anti-Semitism. Using almost identical arguments, unborn babies are dehumanized and killed. Anyone who criticizes the Pope, or indeed any Catholic, for denouncing abortion has no right to criticize the Pope of World War II, even if he did only one tenth as much as he actually did to save Jews.
The Catholic church, I might add, did for more to save Jews than Europe's much vaunted universities. According to one account I read, half of Rome's Jews found shelter in the Catholic facilities. Pope Pius XII even issued secret orders allowing Catholic nuns to hide Jews deep within nunneries in places that were off limits to anyone who wasn't a member of the order. How many Jews found refugee in the university campuses of Europe? How many secret orders to hide Jews were issued by university presidents? I don't know of a single one. Perhaps the author of Hitler's Pope should devote himself to a new book entitled Hitler's Professors.
--Michael W. Perry, editor of Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II
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Though it secretly plotted to depose Hitler it took little public action. Pius never made a specific condemnation of the Holocaust. But only that.The Vatican remained neutral hoping for a negotiated peace with the Pope acting as a mediator. Dalin, as far as he goes, makes strong defense of Pius and makes a good critique of Cornwell's book Hitler's Pope which is a poorly researched journalistic smear. Should the Pope have made an effort to mobilize the German Church and try to organize partisan resistance and supported an overthrow of Hitler overtly.? This would have made him and the German Church open to severe retaliation, assassination of Pius and alienation of many Catholics who still supported the war effort. Pius would have made himself and his followers martyrs. But isn't this what Jesus did? Readers of literature defending the Pope never really address this and neither does Dalin.
Rabbi Dalin has an interesting chapter regarding why the truth of Pope Pius XII's rare courage and compassion are necessary. The truth matters because the truth undermines anti-Catholic hysteria and falsehood. The truth matters because a very courageous man should recognized for his character and compassion. The truth matters because readers need to know the difference between truth and mass media hysteria and nonsense. For example, THE NEW YORK TIMES(NYT) editors and journalists who wrote for that newspaper were effusive in their praise of Pope Pius XII. These same journalists refuted Soviet smears of Pope Pius XII. Yet modern NYT writers justify lies, smears, bias, etc. against both Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church. One wonders of these modern propagandists ever did any research and read the NYT articles published in during Pope Pius XII's lifetime. Readers should also refer to Albert Einstein's praise of the Catholic Church which can be found in the December 23, 1940 edition of TIME (Pages 38-41). Of course the current NYT editors and other conventional writers will deny this even though the sources are clear. They are too cowardly to do any honest research or writing.
Pope Pius XII was a well know opponent of religious bigotry and ant-Semitisim before he ever became Pope. Rabbi Dalin uses good source material to cite Pope Pius XII remarks regarding race and religious hatred written in the 1920s and early 1930s before Pope Pius XII became Pope. For example, Pope Pius XI was praised for a papal statement condemining the French anti-Semitic remarks published in a journal titled ACTION FRANCAISE. When a dignatary praised Pope Pius XI for these remarks opposing anti-Semitisim, Pope Pius XI gave credit to Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, for actually writing the document.
Rabbi Dalin also praises the historical Catholic Church and earlier popes for their defense of Jewish people. One example that may surprise readers is Pope Alexander VI who was a hero to many of Renasssaince European Jews. Rabbi Dalin contrasts this Pope with many of the Protestant reformers who were openly anti-Jewish and tried to incite political violence against Jews. For example, one should carefully read Martin Luther's vicious attacks against Jews which were often quoted by Hitler & co.
Rabbi Dalin cites numerous sources of Pope Pius XII's consistence efforts in protecting European Jews. While Rabbi Dalin cannot possible cite all the sources and documents, he cites enough to make his case. Those who want to know more can research the sources in the notes and books that Rabbi Dalin cites.
Rabbi Dalin spent too much time re the Grand Mufti's encouragment of Hitler's anti-Semitism. Hitler certainly did not need such encouragement. Anti-Semtisim was not just a German phenomonen. There was anti-Jewish animosity througout Europe during the 1920s and 1930s well beyond German borders.
Rabbi Dalin wrote this book in the midst of what some call cultural wars. The smears of Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church may be part of such cultural wars. This should not detract from the book. Rabbi Dalin wrote a very good book regardless. In other words, Rabbi Dalin's sources are historically sound which does not deflect from honesty and accurates regardless of one's political views.
Rabbi Dalin's book is well written and well documented. This book is useful to the "casual reader" as well as the serious student. Rabbi Dalin has done a credible service to Pope Pius XII as well as historical truth.