The New York Times has lots of laughably bad coverage, especially when it comes to the Church. A current article is titled “Why a Rush to Pius XII Sainthood?” Yeah it’s only been over 50 years since he died. Yeah that’s a real rush job.
The question of Pius’s wartime record remains open, and will stay that way as long as the relevant archives are closed.
I guess he means the archives that were opened up ahead of schedule in 2003, though an archive of 16 million documents will take time to totally sift through. Much of the wartime documents have been made available and the whole archive up to 1958 is not going to throw anymore light on this. The main thing is the archives are not closed to researchers.
So what was the rush? The answer is politics — which does not make for an edifying religious spectacle. The common perception, disputed by the Vatican, is that by pairing Pius XII with John Paul II in the Dec. 20 decree, Benedict had hoped to satisfy both the conservative and the liberal wings of the Catholic Church.
What? This is so nonsensical it is hard to pry apart. Of course when labels such as conservative and liberal are used it always leads to confusion. If anything both Popes could only be seen as on the conservative side if you were going to apply such a label. The Spirit of Vatican II types and Women’s Ordination supporters would never call Pope John Paul II liberal. Pope John Paul II was loved by many people, but certainly not all that much by the self-proclaimed progressive Catholics.
The article goes on with this line of reasoning of taking Pope Benedict’s action with a political point of view and of course also quotes from the infallibly wrong-headed Fr. Reese for support.
This article is quite disingenuous by not specifying all that we do know about Venerable Pope Pius XII and the actions he took largely behind the scenes to save the Jews that he could. No mention is made that the Jewish community for years after the war had nothing but praise for the actions of this Pope. In the last several years along with many fine books on Venerable Pope Pius XII and his wartime record there have even been books written by Jews defending this great Pope.
In a recent article Gary L. Krupp of the Pave the Way foundation has become a defender of this Pope. He had assumed like many others that the charges against Pope Pius XII were true and he says he was shocked to find during his years of compiling the documentary evidence just how wrong this was. His recent article was “Friend to the Jews.” The fact is there is really no documentary evidence showing any kind of animus towards the Jews and a wealth of evidence showing quite the opposite.
When articles come out condemning Venerable Pope Pius XII it shows a total lack of journalistic integrity and just plain bias – common enough for the NYT. He wants to frame this as a conservative liberal divide and I would say he is just projecting his own motives.
Many people were surprised by Pope Benedict XVI advancing the cause of Pope Pius XII. After all there had been plenty of stories about how his cause had stalled – plenty of stories that were totally wrong. Sure Pope Benedict does have to make prudential political decisions during his papacy. Canonizations sometimes become political such as the case of St. Joan of Arc and St. Thomas More who were canonized much later due to political reasons. I don’t believe that Pope Benedict sees either of these two Venerable Pope’s as being political at all. I think it is much more accurate to look at what Pope Benedict does as advancing the truth. If men live lives of heroic sanctity and their causes prove this then there is no real reason why their cause should not be advanced. It does not matter that some people have a bad opinion of him or that they think he could have done more to help the Jews. Besides the decree of Heroic Sanctity does not mean that every prudential decision he made was perfect.
In some ways I am glad for some of the negative press thrown on this wartime Pope. As a result I have learned much more about this Pope that died days before I was born. All that I have learned has made me appreciate and admire this man. I enjoy saying Venerable before his name and hope within my lifetime to be able to call him a saint.
What annoys me the most is the revisionist history. There was no negative view of Pope Pius XII in regards to the Jewish people until the 1963 Rolf Hochhuth’s play, “The Deputy.” There is strong evidence that play was a KGB-directed and financed bid to smear Pius. It is only after this point that this view grew. This is so sickening that a play could be used as the basis to slander this pope. The fact that Hitler attempted to kill Pope Pius XII never factors into their view. No evidence matters, except for some play.