PBS recently aired a special entitled “Reflections on Vatican II.” Most of the commentary that was elicited was balanced. One notable exception was the segment that dealt with Pope Pius XII. As usual, the old canard about Pius being silent during the Holocaust was trotted out, and no one was more unfair than Giancarlo Zizola, biographer of Pope John XXIII.

On the September 18 show, Zizola made the rather remarkable comment that during the Holocaust, “the Church was so worried about the naked arms of women in churches, about moral questions, but did not make any statement on the naked Jews who were digging their own graves.” What he failed to say is that Pius was too busy orchestrating shelter and providing phony baptismal certificates for Jews to worry about making headlines that would have backfired on his efforts.

We registered our objections with PBS, citing historical evidence. What we provided stands in stark contrast to the empty rhetoric of Giancarlo Zizola.

As readers of Catalyst know, attempts to denigrate the work of Pope Pius XII are taken seriously by the Catholic League.  We know of no other world leader in the 20th century who has been lied about more than Pius.  It is outrageous that after all he did to help Jews that there is a veritable cottage industry of activists and writers seeking to besmirch his reputation.

In the end, evidence will triumph over emotion.  It it doesn’t, we’re all in trouble.

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