Friday, January 21, 2005

Very disturbing news about the Catholic Church's and Pope Pius XII's role in the aftermath of the Holocaust:

The latest scandal to rock the Catholic Church, causing a storm in Italy and elsewhere, follows a familiar pattern: first the crime, then the cover-up. It concerns whether the Church kidnapped Jewish children after the Holocaust and has at its center, yet again, Pius XII, the pope that the Church appears determined to make into a saint despite his criminal role during the Holocaust and, we now learn, quite probably afterward. A Church document of October 23, 1946, recently disclosed in Corriere della Sera, contains papal orders for the French Church forbidding the return of entire classes of Jewish children entrusted to Church institutions during the Holocaust. . . . "If the [Jewish] children have been entrusted [to the Church] by their parents, and if the parents now claim them back, they can be returned, provided the children themselves have not been baptized. It should be noted that this decision of the Congregation of the Holy Office has been approved by the Holy Father."

It took almost 60 years for this scandal to come to light, and while an investigation is warranted, it is unlikely to happen. Given Pius XII's deplorable record during World War II -- "systematically spreading hatred and bigotry against a people while they are being persecuted and slaughtered . . . . approving Nazified race laws persecuting an entire people . . . . failing to command bishops and priests subject to his absolute authority not to participate in the deportations of tens of thousands of people to their deaths . . . . ordering a policy of kidnapping children . . . from people who had been through the Nazi" -- any reasonable person, Catholic or otherwise, must wonder why in the name of all that's holy the Church wants to make a saint out of this man.

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