Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $36,834 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Future Pope Pius XII asked bishops to work to save synagogues

Catholic World News - July 02, 2010

Two documents discovered in the Vatican Secret Archives reveal that the future Pope Pius XII sought to preserve Jewish culture, according to the Pave the Way Foundation.

On January 9, 1939, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, then the Vatican’s secretary of state, wrote to 60 prelates, “Do not engage in saving only Jewish people but also synagogues, cultural centers, and everything that pertains to their faith: the Torah scrolls, libraries, cultural centers, etc.” The letter was written two months after Kristallnacht, when Nazis destroyed 267 synagogues in Germany and Austria.

The Pave the Way Foundation also uncovered a November 30, 1938 letter to nunciatures, apostolic delegations, and bishops in which Cardinal Pacelli requested 200,000 visas for “non-Aryan Catholics.” Historian Michael Hesemann of the Pave the Way Foundation believes that “non-Aryan Catholics” was actually diplomatic code for Jews in general-- rather than only Jewish converts to Catholicism-- for two reasons:

  • In the letter, Cardinal Pacelli wrote that “care should be taken that sanctuaries are provided to safeguard their spiritual welfare and to protect their religious cult, customs and traditions”-- a directive that makes far more sense if it applied to Jews in general rather than to Jewish converts.
  • Many of the bishops who responded to Cardinal Pacelli said that they were aiding “persecuted Jews.”
  • 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 Fall Campaign
    Progress toward our year-end goal ($125,213 to go):
    $150,000.00 $24,787.05
    83% 17%
    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 - Jul. 02, 2010 6:36 PM ET USA

      Not that there isn't an overwhelming amount of proof already, but Pius XII's detractors just don't seem to understand that there is a "seamless garment" of consistency in Pius' assistance to the Jews before and during WWII, when he was a pope and when he wasn't. Even the NY Times seemed to like him once!

    Fall 2014 Campaign
    Subscribe for free
    Shop Amazon
    Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

    Recent Catholic Commentary

    The Church Moves On, Slowly 7 hours ago
    Is Cardinal Kasper losing his grip? 11 hours ago
    The Pope is not the problem October 23
    Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. October 23
    Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22

    Top Catholic News

    Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
    Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
    As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
    Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
    Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6