Wednesday, April 25, 2007

my, what a beautiful gown you are wearing emperor!

The Vatican ambassador to Israel threatened Thursday to boycott a Holocaust memorial ceremony next week over a museum’s portrayal of Pope Pius XII’s conduct during the Nazis’ killing of Jews in World War II.

Archbishop Antonio Franco said he had written to the director of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum asking for the revision of a caption suggesting the wartime pope had been apathetic to the Jews’ plight.

The caption, quoted in the Israeli press, says Pope Pius XII “abstained from signing the Allied declaration condemning the extermination of the Jews” and “maintained his neutral position throughout the war."

from Reuters

Jacques-Louis David, "Nude Study of Pope Pius VII" (1805)

In other news the Vatican has declared that the trial and execution of Joan of Arc will from henceforth be called "A Few Brief Questions" and the Crusades will be renamed "our vacation in Palestine".

I am sorry, but the suggestion that Pius XII 'did all that he could do for the Jews' is simply absurd. Can one even begin to imagine the legitimacy the Vatican would have on the issue of human rights, as a voice for peace in the middle east, etc., if Pius XII has signed the declaration; if he had risked losing the Vatican; if he HAD lost the Vatican because he had stood up for what was good.

That the Pope remained "neutral" out of fear of losing his position, out of fear that the Church would be undermined if the Pope were either arrested or forced to flee is understandable. BUT it is NOT "all the Pope could do".

Can one imagine the history between Catholics and Jews after World War II had Pius XII risked his crown, St. Peter's, etc., had he lost it all to Mussolini, had he been martyred? There were Christian martyrs during the war. Pius XII was not one of them.

I am not saying choosing martyrdom is an easy choice; I am not saying I could make that choice myself (I don't like sweating, let alone pain). I am saying don't tell me how beautiful the Pope's clothes are!


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