Pius XII: Hated or Revered by the Third Reich? | Alberto Carosa | CWR
An interview with historian Pier Luigi Guiducci about his new book on the war-time pope.
The unprecedented abdication of Benedict XVI and the election of his successor, Pope Francis, has rekindled worldwide interest in the popes and the papacy. This interest has extended not only to Benedict and Francis, but also to other pontiffs, including the always-controversial Pius XII.
Pius XII is currently in the spotlight mostly because of the bumpy road to his beatification, which is opposed by those who accuse him of having been too lenient towards Hitler’s Third Reich or even of having been in cahoots with the Nazi regime. Recent years have seen the publication of a vast amount of scholarly works refuting these accusations, including books by Sister Margherita Marchione, who is an American nun and member of the Religious Teachers Order Maestre Pie Filippini, and Rabbi David Dalin.
The latest example of this is Il Terzo Reich Contro Pio XII: Papa Pacelli Nei Documenti Nazisti (The Third Reich Against Pius XII: Pope Pacelli in Nazi Documents), by Italian historian Pier Luigi Guiducci, with a preface by Father Peter Gumpel, SJ, the postulator of Pius XII’s beatification cause. Editions in English, Spanish, and French are already in preparation.
Professor Guiducci, who teaches Church history at three universities, including the Pontifical Lateran University’s Ecclesia Mater Institute and the Pontifical Salesian University, has authored nearly 100 books, most with a historical-religious focus, and was so kind as to accede our request for an interview.
Professor Guiducci, could you describe the motives underlying your decision to address such a controversial topic as Pius XII and the Nazis?
Guiducci: Since the Sixties a certain literature has insisted on presenting the figure of Pope Pacelli in a negative connotation, hinting at an alleged passivity on his part during the years of World War II, bordering on some sort of sympathy for a Germany that in those years was dominated by the swastika. What appeared somewhat unclear from the viewpoint of a historical analysis was why so much fuss was being made over Pius XII while…many other, no less dramatic, and even more tragic situations were hardly exposed, scantily reported, and even thoroughly silenced. But by now, dreadful realities, which were neglected and/or sidelined, are increasingly cropping up, thanks to historical studies, investigative reporting, and new in-depth researches.
Can you give us some examples of these wilfully hidden or neglected tragic realities of that era?Continue reading on the CWR site.