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Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII Hardcover – September 27, 1999
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This devastating account of the ecclesiastical career of Eugenio Pacelli (1876-1958), who became Pope Pius XII in 1939, is all the more powerful because British historian John Cornwell maintains throughout a measured though strongly critical tone. After World War II, murmurs of Pacelli's callous indifference to the plight of Europe's Jews began to be heard. A noted commentator on Catholic issues, Cornwell began research for this book believing that "if his full story were told, Pius XII's pontificate would be exonerated." Instead, he emerged from the Vatican archives in a state of "moral shock," concluding that Pacelli displayed anti-Semitic tendencies early on and that his drive to promote papal absolutism inexorably led him to collaboration with fascist leaders. Cornwell convincingly depicts Cardinal Secretary of State Pacelli pursuing Vatican diplomatic goals that crippled Germany's large Catholic political party, which might otherwise have stymied Hitler's worst excesses. The author's condemnation has special force because he portrays the admittedly eccentric Pacelli not as a monster but as a symptom of a historic wrong turn in the Catholic Church. He meticulously builds his case for the painful conclusion that "Pacelli's failure to respond to the enormity of the Holocaust was more than a personal failure, it was a failure of the papal office itself and the prevailing culture of Catholicism." --Wendy Smith
From Library Journal
Relying on exclusive access to Vatican and Jesuit archives, an award-winning Roman Catholic journalist argues that through a 1933 Concordat with Hitler, Pope Pius XII facilitated the dictator's riseAand, ultimately, the Holocaust.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I have my own views and in no way would they be kind to the Catholic Church but my reading of Cornwell’s book has shed new light and nuance on the operation of church hierarchy, certainly adding new depth and understanding to the role that it plays as the head of Christendom. And in this is what I find the most troubling, even more so then Pacelli’s complicit nature to Nazi Germany, in how deeply entrenched the Catholic Church is involved in the meddling with governments as well as its self-serving interest in preserving its own power.
Even the most casual read of the Gospels and letters to the first century Christian congregations as recorded in the Christian Greek Scriptures (New Testament) would mark the Catholic Church as a monstrosity. World War II was certainly not the first blood bath that has stained the Church red either due to lack of exercising its moral authority or being the instigator of. Some may wish to argue over reasons for Pacelli’s lack of action or if he did save some few Jews from certain death, but the facts are now that Europe as well as Italy are mostly secular even if many do claim to be Catholic its churches are closing and people are leaving in droves no doubt in part because of the laity becoming aware of the true nature of the Catholic Church, it’s bloody and immoral history. This book is another nail in that coffin.
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