The Latest From the “Pius Wars” Front | Michael Coren | Catholic World Report
The new book, Soldier of Christ, published by Harvard University Press, is a definitive biography of Pope Pius XIIThere’s a running joke in Canada about our charming sense of delicate hubris. A Toronto newspaper headline wryly proclaims: “Man Lands on Moon. Boots made in Montreal!” In other words, we’re only 30 million strong and we’re invariably mistaken for quiet Americans, and so when we do achieve something remarkable, even of a minimal variety, we like people to know.
Which is why the world needs to know that what will now be
the standard life of Pope Pius XII—the definitive biography of the wartime
pontiff at least for the present—has just appeared. And it was written by a
Canadian academic. It’s true that Harvard University Press published the book,
A. Ventresca is a professor at King’s College at Western University in
London, Ontario. And his new volume, Soldier
of Christ: The Life of Pope Pius XII is
a splendid work.
It won’t be the last word in the “Pius wars”, of course, but it is one of the best. It depicts a profoundly good and devout man who, contrary to what the critics have claimed, had absolutely no personal animus against Jewish people, was active in the struggle against Nazism, and was clearly and transparently the victim of a concerted attempt to libel him and by extension the Papacy, the Church, and serious Catholicism. Ventresca does agree that were times, both before and during the war, when Pius could have been more specific in mentioning Jewish targets of Nazi eugenics and oppression, but that’s about as severe as the censorship goes.
I’ve obsessed about this issue for some years, partly out of familial and emotional necessity, in that I am a Catholic whose father was Jewish. He was not only Jewish but also from a Polish family.