Pope Pius XII
THE TABLET – LETTERS – MARCH 16 2019 – “PIUS XII WAS NO FRIEND TO HITLER”
In his article “Unsealing the secrets of the wartime pope” (9 March), John Cornwell writes: “The central accusation is undeniable: that … Pius neither condemned Hitler and the Nazis by name, nor mentioned the victims – the Jews – by name.”
May I make the point that, although not condemning Hitler by name, Pius XII is on record as denouncing totalitarian dictatorships, war-mongering, racism, persecution and mass murder.
The first encyclical of Pius, Summi Pontificatus, dated 20 October 20 1939, makes this very clear. He clearly condemns Hitler and the Nazis with a strong attack on totalitarianism. This wartime pope specifically condemns those regimes which, by deification of the state, threaten the very spirit of humanity.
In December 1940, Pius XII ordered the Congregation of the Holy Office to issue a decree explicitly condemning the mass murders in Nazi Germany and its pursuit of Aryan racial purity. He was no collaborative friend of Hitler and his evil regime, condemning the persecution and extermination of the Jews by his actions. The recent research findings of the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation bear this out.
When Pius XII died in 1958, Jewish communities, and others, expressed their deep gratitude for what he did, and tried to do, to help save them during the war.
RICHARD W. SYMONDS
CRAWLEY, WEST SUSSEX