The Vatican Archives on Pius XII to be Opened

As pope, Pacelli wanted the Roman Catholics, Hitler, Mussolini and Franco, to succeed, and for Nazi Germany to conquer the Soviet Union and destroy world Communism.  Just four days after his election, he showed the German cardinals the draft of a letter he was planning to send to Hitler.  This is what it said:

“To the Illustrious Herr Adolf Hitler, Führer and Chancellor of the German Reich!  Here at the beginning of Our Pontificate We wish to assure you that We remain devoted to the spiritual welfare of the German people entrusted to your leadership…. May the prosperity of the German people and their progress in every domain come, with God’s help, to fruition!”[20]

Alexandre Lenôtre, in Rome et la France, wrote: “During the entire inter-war period, Rome’s foreign policy, more and more directly inspired by the Jesuits…. Indeed, the Vatican thoroughly supports the wars of Italian Fascism…. Having become Pius XII, Pacelli is seen to be an out and out pro-integrist and Germanophile.  He is called the ‘German Pope’.  His entourage, his confessor, are German.  In his eyes Germany is called upon to play the role of the ‘sword of God’, of the Church’s secular arm…. In 1939, Pius XII tries to negotiate with the American diplomats… a stalemate peace in favour of Germany.  In 1943, he refuses to condemn publicly the Nazi concentration camps.”[21]

When Hitler invaded Poland, Pius remained silent, even though it was a Roman Catholic country.  He sacrificed his own followers so that Nazism could advance.  He then laboured to get France and Britain to support the Polish enslavement to Nazism.  And when Poland was finally liberated, he refused to recognise the new Polish-German frontier.

In the official report given by the Reich minister of foreign affairs, von Ribbentrop, who met Pius XII in the Vatican in 1940, it is stated: “After the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Reich had transmitted the Fuhrer’s compliments, the Pope opened the interview by recalling his seventeen years of activity in Germany.  He said that those years passed within the orbit of German culture certainly constituted the most pleasant period of his life, and that the Government of the Reich could be assured that his heart beat, and always would, for Germany.”[22]

Yet a very different version of these events, depicting Pius as coldly lecturing von Ribbentrop about the tortures the Nazis had inflicted on the Poles, was spread to the world media at that time![23]  Should we be in any doubt, then, that the opening of the Vatican files on Pius XII will be anything other than a deliberate whitewash of the man?

The French newspaper, La Croix, supported the invasion of France by Germany and received its orders from Germany; and it was able to state, on 28 January 1942: “The Pope sends his blessing to ‘La Croix’, the organ of ‘pontifical thought’.”[24]  Also, the French Roman Catholic hierarchy supported the Nazi invasion and takeover of France.  Yet the day after Liberation, when the government demanded that the Vatican hand over thirty bishops and archbishops whose attitude during the German occupation had been questioned, only three had to resign – thanks to the mediation of the Vatican delegate.[25]

Let us heap up more evidence.

Francois Charles-Roux, Ambassador of France at the Vatican, stated on 22 January 1940: “Pius XII was perfectly aware what cruelties the Germans were committing in Poland.  He also knew of the hardships they were imposing on the Czechs in Bohemia and Moravia…. The evidence of German cruelties is so abundant that Pius XII no longer feels entitled to doubt it.”

Radio Vatican’s own announcer, a priest named Mistiaen, stated: “One of my German colleagues, Father L…, who was in possession of first-hand information, used to bring me overwhelming documents of the inhuman cruelties perpetrated by the Nazis in Poland.”

Camille Cianfarra, the New York Times correspondent accredited to the Vatican, was absolutely correct: “The Vatican was unceasingly and remarkably well informed of the internal situation prevailing in the various parts of Europe…. The periodic reports which the priests… sent to the bishop of their diocese, always got to Rome somehow or other.”[26]

Time and time again, Pius XII was implored, by all kinds of people, to speak out strongly against the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis.  He did not do so.  He sometimes spoke in very general terms about the sufferings of the sick and aged, women and children –but not specifically and unequivocally and by name, about the Nazis’ “Final Solution” of the Jews.[27]

Then, in December 1942, during a radio broadcast, Pius finally referred publicly to atrocities being committed.  But did he strongly condemn Hitler and Nazism?  Did he refer specifically to the horrors of the Final Solution, of which he was very well aware?  No.  Instead, at the end of his lengthy radio message, all he did was issue this lame statement: “Humanity owes this vow to those hundreds of thousands, who without any fault of their own, sometimes only by reason of their nationality or race, are marked down for death or gradual extinction.”[28]

That was it.  That was all.  That was the sum total of his protest against Hitlerism and the Final Solution.

And no matter how many clever and imaginative excuses Vatican apologists come up with – and over the decades they have come up with plenty – nothing can justify this feeble protest, the best the pope of Rome could bring himself to utter, as the Nazis continued their deadly campaign to annihilate an entire race.

“It is not merely a paltry statement,” wrote John Cornwell.  “The chasm between the enormity of the liquidation of the Jewish people and this form of evasive words is shocking.  He might have been referring to many categories of victims of the many belligerents in the conflict.  Clearly the exhibition of ambiguous language was intended to placate those who urged him to protest, while avoiding offence to the Nazi regime.  But these considerations are overshadowed by the implicit denial and trivialization.  He had scaled down the doomed millions to ‘hundreds of thousands’ and expunged the word Jews, making the pointed qualification ‘sometimes only’.  Nowhere was the term Nazi or Nazi Germany mentioned.  Hitler himself could not have wished for a more convoluted and innocuous reaction from the Vicar of Christ to the greatest crime in human history.”[29]

On 15 November 1945 – in other words, years after the extermination of Jews by the Nazis had begun – Dr Nerin F. Gun, who had been in concentration camps, was received by Pius XII.  He stated: “I frankly told the Pope how those of us who had been deported were unable to understand why the Vatican failed in its duty to organize some assistance during our imprisonment and why it did not unequivocally condemn the Nazi criminals responsible for the Nazi atrocities, as well as the German people who were their passive accomplices.  The Pope replied: ‘We knew that, for political reasons, violent persecutions had taken place in Germany, but We were never informed of the inhuman character of the Nazi repression.  Never were We allowed to make the slightest intervention or to send the smallest parcel of comforts.’  How was it, we asked, that your representatives in Germany failed to inform you?  ‘The information they had must have been incomplete and it was difficult for them to communicate it to Us…’”[30]