Backed by a wealth of new research, John Cornwell tells for the first time the story of the World War II career of Eugenio Pacelli, the man who was ...Show synopsisBacked by a wealth of new research, John Cornwell tells for the first time the story of the World War II career of Eugenio Pacelli, the man who was Pope Pius XII, arguably the most dangerous churchman in modern history. In the first decade of the century, as a brilliant young Vatican lawyer, Pacelli helped shape a new ideology of unprecedented papal power in Germany. In 1933 Hitler became his negotiating partner, an agreement was arranged that granted religious and financial payments to the Catholic Church in exchange for their withdrawal from social and political privilege, ensuring the rise of Nazism.Hide synopsis
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Eugenio Pacelli, aka Pius XII, engineered further strengthening of the autocratic governing structure of the Roman Catholic Church. That was his be all and end all. A 'Vicar of Christ' on earth in name only, he, in essence, backed the Fascist regime in Italy and the NAZI regime in Italy in order to strengthen his control over the local churches. Though knowing of atrocities committed by the NAZIs throughout Europe and by Catholic priests in Croatia, among other places, he did not condemn the perpetrators. In fact, he used veiled language that might, if one stretches their imagination, allude to some sort of un-Christ-like behavior by some people. Reading this book also made me aware that some 'dogmas' of the Catholic church are relatively recent, the Immaculate Conception dates from 1854 and papal infallibility from 1870. Using Vatican sources as well as material from other archives, Cornwell paints a picture of the wartime pope that leads one to believe that the 'esteemed' head of the Church was guilty of the mortal sin of pride and, because of his silence in the face of evidence of 'the final solution' and other atrocities, other sins as well.
This book, a basic scree against the Catholic Church, is riddles with inaccuracies, shoddy scholarship, and fictional history.
Cornwell ignores the huge deposit of historical documents which proclaim the thankful Jewish response to the pope's actions during the war. Dozens of international jewish groups paid tribute to the pope's saving actions during the war, in which it is estimated that he saved 800,000 jewish people from the Nazi holocoust.
For a much more comprehensive work on this subject, I refer the reader to
"Hitler, the War, and the Pope" by Ronald J. Rychlak.
Rychlak devoteds a chapter of his book to demoloshing the scholarship in Cornwall's work, and deals with the sources with integrity, revealing the truth of the pope's actions during the war.
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