Sir Martin on Pope Pius XII during the Second World War

Pope Pius XII gives a radio broadcast from the Vatican in 1947 (AP)

“For years Pius XII has been smeared.  The BBC retraction shows the tide is turning; Major historians such as Sir Martin Gilbert have demolished the myths first perpetrated by the Soviet Union” by William Doino, Jr, posted 14 December 2016:

When I read the BBC’s correction, I could not but help think of the impressive scholarship of men like Chadwick and Gilbert, who did so much to exonerate Pius XII, and whom I had the privilege of consulting before their respective deaths. Both of them, I am sure, would have welcomed the BBC’s about-face, especially Gilbert, whose book,The Righteous, is a comprehensive study of Christians, including Pius XII, who rescued Jews during World War II – often at great risk to themselves.In 2003, the year Gilbert’s book was published, he granted me an extensive interview in which he methodically demolished the charges against Pius XII, emphasizing two things:

  • Not only was the Catholic Church not “silent,” during the Holocaust, Vatican Radio, authorized and sustained by Pius XII, was among the first major voices to publicly condemn Nazi atrocities against Jews and Catholics in Poland, shortly after World War II began. Hence, said Gilbert, ‘To assert Pius XII was “silent” about Nazi mass murder is a serious error of historical fact.’ Sir Martin also told me that the Pope’s Christmas message of 1942, which condemned the extermination of people based upon their ‘race or descent’ was extremely important, because it ‘put the Pope squarely and publicly against the Holocaust.’ Indeed, the Nazis were so infuriated by it that they denounced Pius XII as a ‘mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals.
  • Asked if he agreed with the Vatican’s 1998 declaration on the Holocaust (‘We Remember’) that ‘hundreds of thousands’ of Jews were rescued under Pius XII, Gilbert, who spent decades meticulously researching the Holocaust in archives around the world, told me that that statement was not a self-serving exaggeration, but historically accurate: ‘Yes, that is certainly correct. Hundreds of thousands of Jews, saved by the entire Catholic Church, under the leadership, and with the support of Pope Pius XII – would, to my mind, be absolutely correct.’

“Gilbert has helped to inspire a generation of writers who have defended Pius XII with hard facts and serious research.”

The Catholic Herald,

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