[orthodox-synod] Cornwell's article in Vanity Fair
- Here's a thing that might interest some of you:
I have now read (and re-read parts of )John Cornwell's article "Hitler's
Pope," in the Sept. issue of Vanity Fair. I am not at all certain the
article is "fair," pun intended.
Let me put it this way: In 1910, French scholars in Beijing, were lecturing
on the French Revolution. They declared it to be the most important event in
Mandarins replied: "What you say may be true. However, we are living too
close to the event to know that."
It is difficult to know what Pope Pius XII knew and did not know. Or, put
another way: Even Jews, hearing the horror, could not believe it.
Moreover, according to Lenni Brenner, in his book Zionism in the Age of the
Dictators, Zionists in Palestine sent to the German ambassador in Turkey a
telegram, which Lenni (and I knew Lenni) claimed he found in British
possession, following WWII.
In that telegram, the Zionists asked the Nazis for military assistance in
subduing Palestine. In exchange for that, the Zionists were willing to
establish the Hitlerian New Order, in the Middle East.
I have no trouble believing Pope Pius XII was vaguely anti-Semitic. After
all, the old Roman Rite at Good Friday would ask: "Let us pray for the
In his day, Jews were roundly condemned as Deicides.
Moreover, if Pius believed Jews were behind the communist take over in
Russia, he was right. Ten of the original 12 members of the first Politburo
were Jews. That's just a fact.
Therefore, if as the article says: "Pacelli's contempt of Judaism was based
on his belief that the Jews ere behind the Bolshevik plot to destroy
Christendom." it is hard to deny the obvious.
It is what one does with facts that may or may not be persuasive.
I am not persuaded by Cornwell's article that Pius XII was a "hypocrite."
Look at this word picture painted by material extracted from Cornwell's
article. It intends to encapsulate the article, I think.
"Long-buried Vatican files reveal a new and shocking indictment of Wold War
II's Pope Pius XII: That in pursuit of absolute power he helped Adolf Hitler
destroy German Catholic political opposition, betrayed the Jews of Europe and
sealed a deeply cynical pact with a 20th cerntury devil."
The last time I was in the crypt of St. Peter's in Rome, masses of people
were praying at the tomb of Pope John XXIV (there was a 23rd, at Avignon);
no one was at the tomb of Pius XII.
Everything has moved on apace. Pius is passe. The reforms of his jolly
successor, which have made a wreck of the Roman Church, are everywere in
We are still living too close to the events, to know whether what Cornwell
has written is anything more than a turn-coat opportunist's attempt to make a
little money by besmirching the reputation of a better man than he.
Pacelli could not rise above his training, his class (he was a prince, after
all), or the prejudices of his day. He was caught up in the Zeitgeist. It
could not be otherwise, I think.