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  • » 09/18/2008, 00.00


    Pope: Pius XII spared no effort, including secret ones, to save Jews

    Receiving the Pave the Way Foundation, Benedict XVI affirms that "when one draws close to this noble Pope, free from ideological prejudices", one must recognize the "courageous dedication" of Pope Pacelli to saving as many Jews as possible from the Nazi devastation during the second world war.

    Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) - When one approaches the figure of Pius XII "free from ideological prejudices", one must recognize his "courageous and paternal dedication" to saving, wherever possible, the greatest possible number of Jews, which included working "secretly and silently". A congress organized by the Pave the Way Foundation 50 years after the death of Pope Pacelli gave Benedict XVI the opportunity to recall the "historical truth" about Pius XII's efforts to save Jews, which were recognized after the war by many Jewish figures, including 80 delegates of concentration camp survivors.

    "So much has been written and said" about Pius XII, the pope noted, over the past five decades, "and not all of the genuine facets of his diverse pastoral activity have been examined in a just light". "When one draws close to this noble Pope, free from ideological prejudices", he continued, "in addition to being struck by his lofty spiritual and human character one is also captivated by the example of his life and the extraordinary richness of his teaching. One can also come to appreciate the human wisdom and pastoral intensity which guided him in his long years of ministry, especially in providing organized assistance to the Jewish people".

    "Thanks to the vast quantity of documented material which you have gathered", Benedict XVI told those present, "supported by many authoritative testimonies, your symposium offers to the public forum the possibility of knowing more fully what Pius XII achieved for the Jews persecuted by the Nazi and fascist regimes. One understands, then, that wherever possible he spared no effort in intervening in their favour either directly or through instructions given to other individuals or to institutions of the Catholic Church. In the proceedings of your convention you have also drawn attention to his many interventions, made secretly and silently, precisely because, given the concrete situation of that difficult historical moment, only in this way was it possible to avoid the worst and save the greatest number of Jews. This courageous and paternal dedication was recognized and appreciated during and after the terrible world conflict by Jewish communities and individuals who showed their gratitude for what the Pope had done for them. One need only recall Pius XII’s meeting on the 29th of November 1945 with eighty delegates of German concentration camps who during a special Audience granted to them at the Vatican, wished to thank him personally for his generosity to them during the terrible period of Nazi-fascist persecution".

    Benedict XVI finally expressed the "great hope" that this year "will provide the opportunity to promote in-depth studies of various aspects of his life and his works in order to come to know the historical truth, overcoming every remaining prejudice".

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    See also

    09/11/2008 VATICAN
    Pope: "I am still pained" over Kristallnacht and the Holocaust
    Benedict XVI recalls the Holocaust and Kristallnacht, and calls for the elimination of anti-Semitism and discrimination through education. A new appeal for the situation in North Kivu (Democratic Republic of Congo). For the Day of Thanksgiving, he asks for greater solidarity to overcome hunger. The reflection prior to the Angelus on the dedication of the Lateran basilica, the first Christian church built after the edict of Constantine.

    12/02/2009 VATICAN
    Pope: Unacceptable to deny, minimize Holocaust, "a crime against God and against humanity"
    Receiving a visit from the heads of the leading American Jewish organizations, Benedict XVI said "I too am preparing to visit Israel." The Church is "profoundly and irrevocably" committed to rejecting anti-Semitism. He repeated the words with which John Paul II asked forgiveness from God for the injustices suffered by the Jewish people.

    12/03/2009 VATICAN
    Pope: dialogue between Catholics and Jews "necessary and possible"
    Benedict XVI has received a delegation from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, which has resumed dialogue with the Catholic Church, after the "suspension" due to the Williamson case. On his trip to the Holy Land, the pope will pray that Jews, Christians, and Muslims may live in peace and harmony. The rabbis are asking that the Vatican condemn the Durban 2 statement on racism, as "profoundly anti-Semitic."

    30/01/2009 VATICAN - ISRAEL
    Episode of Holocaust denier bishop not stopping dialogue between Catholics and Jews
    For the director of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, the letter in which the Vatican asks for a continuation of dialogue is "important, very beautiful and very serious." The Jerusalem Post interviews Fr. Jaeger: the Williamson affair "cannot possibly have any bearing on the brotherly dialogue and warm friendship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people."

    27/01/2005 VATICAN
    Holocaust, a permanent stain on the history of humanity, says the Pope
    Let what happened be a lesson about those ideologies that justify contempt for human dignity on the basis of race, colour, language or religion.

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