We'll receive a $25,000 grant if others match it by Pentecost. $23,333 to go. Your gift will be doubled!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Biographer of Pius XII rejects charge that Vatican helped Nazi war criminals escape

Catholic World News - April 17, 2012

A Harvard professor’s essay charging that Pope Pius XII deliberately helped Nazi war criminals escape punishment is a “verifiably false account,” according to a scholar who has written extensively on the wartime Pontiff.

Harvard Divinity School’s Kevin Madigan wrote in Commentary magazine that the Vatican under Pope Pius XII operated “a sort of papal mercy program for National Socialists and Fascists.” But Ronald Rychlak, the author of Hitler, the War, and the Pope said that Madigan’s essay was marred by “sloppy work and over-the-top charges.”

The Pontifical Aid Commission, the focus of the Madigan complaint, was swamped by requests for help from hundreds of thousands of refugees after the war, Rychlak explained, and the volume of work “made it impossible to investigate most individuals who sought help.”

Rychlak said that Madigan was also wrong to suggest that Bishop Alois Hudal, a prelate with known sympathies for the Nazis, represented the views of the Vatican. In fact, Rychlak pointed out, Pope Pius XII once refused to meet with a group of Austrian pilgrims if Bishop Hudal accompanied them.

Pope Pius XII called on several occasions for vigorous prosecution of Nazi war criminals, and assigned a Jesuit priest to help prosecutors, Rychlak said.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Spring Challenge Grant
Progress toward our Spring Challenge Grant goal ($23,333 to go):
$25,400.00 $2,067.00
92% 8%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Defender - Apr. 17, 2012 10:32 PM ET USA

    "He also regularly teaches courses on the Holocaust and has published several articles on the Roman Catholic Church during the Nazi period." - from the Harvard site. It is indeed sloppy work and, of course, the students going through the Divinity School with an erroneous impression of the times. Venerable Pius XII was (and is) a saint. Rabbi Dalin's book is a must read, also.

Matching Campaign
Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

To-do list for faithful Catholics 8 hours ago
Not Fully Human: Anthony Esolen’s compelling verdict on contemporary personal formation 8 hours ago
A silent scandal: Catholic schools promoting morally unacceptable vaccines April 24
A More Militant Church? April 24
How we'll know if the Vatican and the US hierarchy are serious about deposing negligent bishops April 24

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope challenges world leaders' silence on persecution of Christians CWN - April 6
Pope outlines plans for the extraordinary jubilee of mercy CWN - April 13
Vatican completes doctrinal assessment of Leadership Conference of Women Religious CWN - April 16
Pope accepts resignation of Bishop Finn CWN - April 21