Vatican City – Jews Tell Pope Of Concern Over Moves To Make Pius XII A Saint


     A handout image provided on 24 June 2013 by the Osservatore Romano shows Pope Francis (C) holding a private audience with the members of International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations on June 24, 2013 at the Vatican.  EPA/OSSERVATORE ROMANO / HANDOUT Vatican City – A Jewish leader expressed concern to Pope Francis on Monday over attempts to make a saint of World War Two-era Pope Pius XII, who has been accused of turning a blind eye to the Holocaust.

    Francis made no mention of his wartime predecessor during his talks with members of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), but the pontiff repeated the Roman Catholic Church’s condemnation of anti-Semitism.

    “The Jewish community continues to be concerned about efforts to canonize Pope Pius XII while innumerable documents pertaining to the history of the Church and the Jewish people during the dark years of the Holocaust still remain closed to outside scholarly investigation,” IJCIC chairman Lawrence Schiffman told the pope.

    The issue of whether the Vatican and the Church under Pius did all they could to help Jews has dogged Catholic-Jewish relations for decades. Pius became pontiff in 1939, the year World War Two broke out, and reigned until 1958.

    Critics accuse Pius of failing to take action to stop the Holocaust but his supporters say he worked actively behind the scenes to encourage the Church to save Jews. They say speaking out more forcefully would have worsened the situation for all.

    Jews have asked that the process, still in its early stages, that could eventually make Pius a saint be frozen until after all the Vatican’s wartime archives have been opened and studied by scholars. The bulk is expected to be released next year.

    At Monday’s meeting, the first between the pope and an international Jewish organization since his election in March, Francis did not mention Pius but when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires he expressed support for opening Vatican archives.
    A handout image provided on 24 June 2013 by the Osservatore Romano shows Pope Francis (C) holding a private audience with the members of International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations on June 24, 2013 at the Vatican.  EPA/OSSERVATORE ROMANO / HANDOUT

    “Due to our common roots, a Christian cannot be anti-Semitic,” he told the delegation from IJCIC, an umbrella group that represents most major Jewish organizations and all streams of Jewish thought.

    Francis, who had good relations with Jews in Argentina and wrote a book with Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka, told the delegation the Church was committed to the Second Vatican Council document Nostra Aetate (In Our Times).

    The 1965 declaration, which Francis called “a key point of reference for relations with the Jewish people”, revolutionized those relations by repudiating the concept of collective Jewish guilt for the death of Jesus and urging dialogue with Jews.

    A participant at the meeting called the atmosphere “extremely friendly” and less formal than in meetings with Francis’ predecessor Benedict.

    Francis reached out to the Jewish community a day after his election on March 13 as the first non-European pope in 1,300 years by sending a message to Rome’s chief rabbi and inviting him to his inaugural Mass at the Vatican.

    In April, Francis accepted an invitation from Israeli President Shimon Peres to visit the Jewish state.

    Both of Francis’s two immediate predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, visited the Holy Land, including the Palestinian territories, in 2000 and 2009 respectively.

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      • Exactly what I was thinking. By showing concern you give credence and crediblity to this whole fictional process, and all you do is annoy a billion Catholics…..Let them enjoy.. I say “knock yourself out, boys”

    1. We don’t ask the big galach from Argentina to advise us who to make the chief rav for ashkenazim or whether Rav Elyahsiv is truly a malitz yosher for the klal. Likewise, we should not be telling the goyim whom to make a “saint”.

    2. Historians are divided on this issue. However, it is quite possible that Pius XII was posturing and thereby saved lives. Remember, Hitler yemach shemo asked “How many army divisions does the Vatican have?”

    3. Did they ask about the kelim for the Bais Hamikdosh that the vatican holds?
      The statement “Due to our common roots, a Christian cannot be anti-Semitic,” is beyond preposterous considering the auto-da-fés and Church authorized burnings of wagon loads of seforim. If these past atrocities committed in the name of the Church were not anti-Semitic – what were they?

      • I once went to a lecture given by Professor Schiffman. He said that the concept of the keilim from the Beis Hamikdosh being in the vatican is an urban legend and there’s no way that the keilim are there. The vatican city and church was established several hundred years after the churban, and it’s unlikely the keilim circulated around and then found there way to the vatican…

      • They were definitely anti semetic, so was the inquisition, but the rabbis there felt they had a grander message to get across & didn’t think one lie (or cover up of the truth) would matter

    4. And just what was Pius XII supposed to do? Promulgage stern encyclicals against the Nazis or threaten them with excommunication? OOOOH, I can just see them quaking in their boots fearing the eternal damnation of their souls. The Nazis HAD NO SOULS, so nothing would have been gained by some Papal threat. Its chutzpadik to think that Jews can dictate to the church who it can or cannot honor.

      • No, you’re right they had no souls BUT if the Vatican spoke out, excommunicated them they might have thought twice, because in the opinion of the nazis themselves they were God fearing & loving Catholics

    5. we should also have no contact with this pope,since it was verified that he “broks” on Pesach during communion.

      We have enough of our own problems ,to be sticking our noses in Vatican business

    6. I am amazed that so many VIN commenters do not understand the importance of this issue and its impact on the Jewish nation. Should an evildoer become a saint, one who facilitated crimes against our people?
      We need to shout “no”. Or are some of us still afraid of the Church, like in past days? Covering up for his crimes, like the establishment of than Nazi rat line, is an affront to history and our people, an insult.


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