Christian Britain took a mortal blow in 1963, as I have written elsewhere, e.g. here. And I have found yet another reason to dislike 1963, for it is the year of the debut of Rolph Hochhuth's play The Deputy, which tarnished the reputation of Pius XII so badly, generations living today have little idea how much he was admired by such contemporaries as Winston Churchill and Golda Meir.
I heard a while ago that The Deputy was later accused of having been part of a KGB plot to discredit Pius XII, and I have found a Wikipedia entry on that here. Fascinating stuff.
I think it is extremely important for Canadians and Americans, in particular, to know the truth about Pius XII and the history of his posthumous reputation because the libel that he "did nothing to help the Jews" is a stick Canadians and Americans use to beat Catholics with. Non-Catholics often enjoy fighting with Catholics about our history, so "Why do you need to think Pius XII was a bad guy? What's in it for you?" is probably not the best approach to take with a non-Catholic. If you're fighting with a Catholic, though, you might get an interesting answer to that.
Generally, I inform my interlocutor/the bully first about Mit brennender Sorge, of which nobody still alive but Catholics and maybe a still-cheesed off 101 year old ex-Nazi will have heard. That was by Pius XI, of course, but generally my interlocutor is not interesting in slagging off Pius XII but the Catholic Church in general.
But it is now dinner, so I must take my righteous indignation away.
Update: As critics rush to pan the new film about Pius XII and repeat the lies of 1963, please read this. And ask yourselves why, in 2015, anyone would want to believe the lies about Pius XII . Pius XII was a good and a great man, a world leader with only the Swiss Guard, trapped inside Mussolini's Italy. He behaved heroically and knowing that whatever he did, other Catholics would suffer for it.
What an excellent essay you wrote there Seraphic. I wish someone would give you a regular column in Standpoint or a mag like that.ReplyDelete
For those of us brought up with nominally Catholic parents TV and the internet either distract distract distract us from thinking about Big Things or tell us what to think about them. Younger people are turning off the telly though, so it's all about the interwebs. Sometimes I wonder if they tried to open up an abortuary in a pretty little English village where there was awful internet access and a sporadic tv service how long would it take for people to run them out of town once they realised what was taken away on bin day. It's the cacophony of noise and mild vile stuff that distracts us from contemplating the Big Stuff and Awful Stuff as they happen. At least with the internet there is a way to find the truth if one is interested.
Pope Pius XII, what a man, God bless him, this piece is interesting about Rabbi Zolli http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/keys-
to-understanding-the-conversion-of-rabbi-zolli-of-rome and of course that lovely story of some American marines who were Catholics arriving at Castel Gandolfo and finding it a haven for Jews, bit of background here. http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/03/castel-gandolfo-home-of-popes-refuge-for-jews
Thanks, Sinead! It's interesting that you mention Rabbi Zolli because one of the real hot-button controversies in life is discussing the attitude of some Jewish people and Israelis towards Jewish people who convert to Christianity, even when the converts received no privileges for becoming Christians or converted at a time where "Christian privilege" no longer existed. (Note the position of Christians of Jewish family origin during the Holocaust.) Anything having to do with Saint Edith Stein, for example, is a flashpoint for misunderstanding in Jewish-Catholic dialogue.ReplyDelete