Pius XII and the Nazis

Since Rolf Hocchuth’s 1963 play The Deputy, there’s been an ongoing debate regarding the alleged silence of Pope Pius XII with regard to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. On the one side, Pius is castigated for not speaking out strongly enough. Some even go so far as to suggest that he was secretly pro-Nazi, a line of argument fueled by the 1999 publication of John Cornwell’s book Hitler’s Pope. On the other side, defenders of the pontiff argue that he did a great deal more behind the scenes than people knew at the time. They also argue that he was in fact anti-Nazi, but he knew that if he spoke out too strongly, this would do more harm than good. This debate isn’t likely to end anytime soon, but Father Gerry Fogarty, a Jesuit now teaching at Fordham, has a new and welcome addition to the debate over at America magazine. It’s worth a look.

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