"Hitlers Pope"
Analysis and creticism on the Book15-Sep-99 -- Church News

PRESS CONTINUES DISAPPROVAL OF BOOK CALUMNIATING POPE PIUS XII

Madrid, 15 (NE) The international press has continued showing its
disapproval to a book accusing Pope Pious XII of a supposed
collaboration with the Nazi party. As several Italian newspapers did
last week, The Madrid ABC newspaper published on Monday an interview to
Father Pierre Blet, who denied the distorted arguments that the English
author John Cornwell writes in his last book "Hitlers Pope". Cornwell
book, states Father Blet, is just a commercial product that adds to the
campaign of defamation that grows now that the process of canonization
of Pope Pacelli advances.

Father Blet is a French Jesuit historian, member of the team of
historians that participated in the publication of the 12 volumes of
"Acts and documents of the Holy See during World War II." To say that
Pope Pius XII was pro Nazi and anti-Semitic is "fiction", said the
French priest. "The Pope who saved more than 800,000 Jews and received
effusive gratitude is now victim of a campaign that judges him as
anti-Semitic, just now that his process of beatification progresses", he
stated.

"Cornwell book is very disordered. It has no historical analysis.
Documents to sustain his thesis are absent. Grave accusations against
Pius XII are stated, without any proofs of the facts", explained as well
Father Blet in an interview published by the Catholic Italian daily
Avvenire.

In this interview, Father Blet stressed that Cornwell book "doesnt only
aim to discredit Pius XII. It is an attack against the Catholic
conception of Papacy." "He protests against the nomination of bishops by
the Pope. He attacks the infallibility declared in the First Vatican
Council and also the definition of the Marian dogmas. Cornwell holds
that all Popes are dictators."

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13-Sep-99 -- ZENIT News Agency

HISTORIANS REVEAL CORNWELL'S ERRORS

New Criticism for Book Against Pius XII

ROME, (ZENIT).- Although it has yet appear on booksellers' shelves,
every day new rebuttals are surfacing which sustain that John Cornwell's
new work, "Hitler's Pope," does not measure up to the standards of
historical truth.

Italian writer Antonio Spinosa reported in "Il Tempo" that "Cornwall
committed a serious error when he said that the Pope supported the rise
to power of the National Socialists... In reality, from the time when
Pacelli was Nuncio in Munich, he had expressed himself strongly against
Hitler; he had condemned the extremism of a 'certain non-Bavarian
person' without pulling punches, he defined Hitler as an 'obsessed
egocentric,' a 'destroyer,' a man 'capable of stepping on corpses and
knocking down anything he thought to be an obstacle.' "

As to his alleged bad relationship with the Jews, Prof. Spinosa
considers this an exaggeration and, to support his opinion, he recalls
the "donation of two million liras [present value $40 million] to Pius
XII by Leo Kubwitsky, Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress, as
a symbolic gesture to show the gratitude of the Jews for what Pacelli
had done on their behalf during the war." A contribution, Spinosa
affirms, that would be inexplicable if enmity between Pius XII and the
Jews had been a reality.

Finally, Spinosa addressed the supposed silences of Pius XII. "Did
Churchill speak against the Holocaust? No. Did Roosevelt speak? No. And
Stalin? Not even he."

"To continue accusing Pius XII of having fallen silent before the
persecutions," continued Spinosa, "is an action in bad faith, because it
does not consider the reasons for the silence, an apparent silence
because the Pope tried to avoid that his words would provoke a more
vicious reaction from Hitler. It was a silence that accompanied a
powerful action in defense of the Jews: he opened the very doors of the
Vatican to them in order to save the greatest number possible. This
happened not only in Rome, but also in other parts of Europe, to the
point that at least 800,000 Jews owe their lives directly to Pacelli.
Pacelli said that every one of his declarations should be seriously
pondered and considered in the light of the interests of those
persecuted, so that he would not make their circumstances even more
difficult and unbearable. He wanted to say 'words of fire,' but the
situation forced him into 'the silence of hope' to avoid reprisals."