Church History (5)
May 14, 2013
Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust
Pope Pius XII was the pope during World War II and during the Nazi Holocaust where Adolf Hitler’s Nazis murdered millions of Jewish people. Pope Pius XII helped the Jews by employing a diplomacy to aid the Jewish victims from the terror of the Holocaust. By doing this, he helped save the lives for another million Jewish people. Unfortunately, Pope Pius XII’s efforts to save lives were frowned upon by the Allied Powers. The Nazi also viewed him as a sympathizer for the Allies and therefore broke the neutrality of the Vatican. Pius XII had served as a Vatican diplomat in Germany before World War II and as Vatican Secretary of State under Pope Pius XI. During this time, He was a big criticizer of Nazism and helped draft the Mit brennender Sorge in 1937, an anti-Nazi encyclical. In 1939, the first papal encyclical by Pius XII was created to express dismay at the invasion of Poland, talked about Catholic teaching against racism and anti-Semitism, and influenced resistance against those opposed to the ethical principles of the Revelation on Sinai and the Sermon on the Mount. During the winter of 1942, he heard of the slaughtering of Jewish people that made him speak out against the killing of innocent people just because of their race or belief. Upon his death in 1958, world leaders and Jewish groups praised him effusively for his wartime leadership. To this day, Pope Pius XII is praised for the saving of millions of Jewish people during World War II and the Holocaust.