Pius XII: fine tuning at Yad Vashem

2012-07-05 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) - Yad Vashem Israel’s holocaust museum and memorial on Sunday 1st of July fine tuned the wording of an exhibit pertaining to Pius XII’s actions during World War II.

This initiative was the result of more recent research following the opening of archives regarding the pontificate of Pius XI, the Roman Pontiff who came before him. Pius XII was Pope from 1939 to 1958

Changes begin with the title of the panel which is now “The Vatican” rather than “Pope Pius XII”.

Also among the fine tuning is the wording that when Jews were deported from Rome this Pope “did not publicly protest” rather than “he did not intervene”.

Mentioned too is the passage in Pius XII’s 1942 Christmas radio message in which he speaks of “the hundreds of thousands of persons who, without any fault of their own, sometimes only because of their nationality or ethnic origin , have been consigned to death or to a slow decline because of their ethnicity”. Following this quotation is the comment : “Jews were not explicitly mentioned”.

Worthy of note is the fact that the new museum panel addresses the alleged silence of Pius XII by critics who say this war time Pope could have done more to stop the deportation of Jews : “The Pope’s critics claim that his decision to abstain from condemning the murder of the Jews by Nazi Germany constitutes a moral failure: the lack of clear guidance left room for many to collaborate with Nazi Germany, reassured by the thought that this did not contradict the Church’s moral teachings”.

The panel however is not without pointing to those who’ve spoken out in defense of Pius XII: “His defenders maintain that this neutrality prevented harsher measures against the Vatican and the Church's institutions throughout Europe, thus enabling a considerable number of secret rescue activities to take place at different levels of the Church.”

Vatican Radio’s Veronica Scarisbrick steps back in time to bring you documented evidence of the Pope Pius XII and his era.

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