Two new books on the Catholic Church and its alleged role in making possible the Holocaust have been published. The books, both released in September, come at a time when the evidence continues to mount showing Pope Pius XII and the Church acted heroically in World War II.
John Cornwell, author of Hitler’s Pope, is out with a new book titled, Breaking Faith: The Pope, the People and the fate of Catholicism (Viking). Kirkus Reviews writes about the book, “A thoughtful account in arguing the Catholic Church has condemned itself to irrelevance and even extinction. One of the troubles [according to Cornwell] is the near reactionary cult surrounding the present pope whose, ‘message, invariably, is to accuse the faithful of sinfulness in the conduct of their sexual and marital relationships.’”
It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Hitler’s Pope that Cornwell’s target is Pope John Paul II. As Ron Rychlak , professor of law and the associate dean for academic affairs at the University of Mississippi School of Law, wrote, “[Hitler’s Pope] turns out to be a deeply flawed attack on Pope John Paul II. That’s right, the final chapter is actually an attack on the current Pontiff.”
Writing in the December 1999 edition of Catalyst, Rychlak says, “Cornwell is disturbed by John Paul’s ‘conservative’ positions on celibate clergy, women priests, artificial contraception, and abortion. He is especially concerned about the Pope’s opposition to direct political activity by the clergy.”
The other book, The Popes Against the Jews: The Vatican’s Role in Modern Anti-Semitism (Borzoi), is by Brown University professor David Kertzer. The book’s publisher, in press materials released with the book, says it’s “a groundbreaking historical study that shows anti-Semitism at the highest levels of the Catholic Church nurtured the hatred that would ultimately make the Holocaust possible.” And the person the publisher chose to lend a quote about Kertzer’s book? John Cornwell.
It is somewhat ironic that the Kertzer book comes at a time when CIA documentation shows that Pope Pius XII and the Church acted nothing short of heroically in saving Jewish lives during World War II. Citing secret archives of the American OSS (later the CIA), the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that Pius XII was actively involved in opposing the Nazi regime and took major steps to save Jewish lives. The paper reported the American documents show Pius summoned the German foreign minister and demanded a halt to the deportation of Jews as soon as he learned of it.
A new book by Italian historian Andrea Tornielli, Pope Pius, Pope of the Jews, reveals Hitler once ordered his SS troops to level the Vatican with “blood and fire,” kidnap Pius and deport him to Liechtenstein. This, according to the book, was in reprisal for the Pontiff’s assistance to the Jews.
Finally, Rabbi David Dalin, former professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, furthered the cause of truth when speaking to the international lay Catholic organization “Communion and Liberation” on August 23rd. Dalin told the gathering, “Pius XII saved more Jewish lives that any other person, including Raoul Wallenberg and Oskar Schindler.” He said, “The Jewish people had no greater friend in the 20th Century than [Pope Pius XII].”
As Catholic League members know, this is an issue we are dedicated to addressing. The lies and calumnies heaped on Pius XII will be challenged at every turn. To do any less would be to cede the moral ground to the enemies of the Catholic Church.