The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Vatican will post war archives online

posted by jmcgee

This could make for some fascinating reading:

image6212767g.jpgThe Vatican plans to make some of its World War II archives available on the Internet soon to calm down the controversy over Pope Pius XII’s actions during the Holocaust.

The Vatican’s newspaper announced the plan, saying it will “render service to the historic truth,” and officials said Tuesday the material will be accessible soon.

However a panel of Jewish and Catholic scholars who examined the 11 volumes of material a decade ago concluded that more information was required to decide whether Pius did everything he could to head off the Nazis’ efforts to exterminate European Jews.

Some Jews and others contend Pius should have done more, and are angered by Pope Benedict XVI’s recent decision to move Pius closer to sainthood.

The Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano said Gary Krup, an American who heads the Pave the Way Foundation, which seeks to strengthen Catholic-Jewish relations, was behind the online initiative. It quoted him as saying that the Pius XII papacy “has become a source of friction.”

There’s more background at the link.



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Goodguyex

posted February 16, 2010 at 1:24 pm


Of course Pope Pius XII could have done more. How do we know? Because he survived the mess. If he had died, we would know he tried to do more. His sin is surviving the war.
But if he had been executed by the Nazis, perhaps he would not have done as much as he did? Maybe if he were dead he would have done less because to do more he had to be alive?
Now if he had died at Nazi hands maybe fewer Jews would have been saved. But this is not the issue now; that is not the way people think about this at this time.
Maybe Churchill and Roosevelt could have done more! They, unlike Pope Pius XII were not in Hitler’s hammerlock, but no one gives a flying flip about whether they could have done more.
Well, Pius XII is indeed dead now. And it is hard to do a controlled experiement to see if he had done something that would have cost him his life if it would have done more for the Jews who died in the Holocaust.
We can only pray for Pius XII and the horde of dead during this time period.



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romancrusader

posted February 16, 2010 at 1:38 pm


As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter how much evidence you present to vindicate Pius. Fact is, Abe Foxman and his ilk will never be satisfied no matter how much information you present them regarding Pius’ WWII record. They’ll accuse the Pope of hiding these “secret” documents under his bed. The truth offends the liberals so much, that they stand it.
Like I say, I’m glad that Benedict XVI refuses to be bosed around by the political correctness of our day.



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sue worthington

posted February 16, 2010 at 1:53 pm


The pope could have done more to help the Jews.Hitler was catholic.WHY wasn’t he excommunicated? Why didn’t the pope tell catholics to help their Jewish neighbors? Some catholics acted on their own to help.Many priests were KNOWN to be anti-jewish.After the war,the Vatican was proven to be helping ex-nazis to escape to South America.Why weren’t these individuals arrested? Simply because they were priests? I guess Hitler was ‘getting rid of the competition’ so the catholic church didn’t care.As a former catholic,I am appalled by the PROVEN lies they teach.



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curious

posted February 16, 2010 at 2:56 pm


Half of the time, people are telling religious leaders to get out of politics, and the other half, they are blaming religious leaders for not intervening.



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kenneth

posted February 16, 2010 at 3:14 pm


The fact that they’re releasing only selected and/or redacted records shows it’s a whitewash (which is even more insulting than a stonewall IMO). I suspect the full record would show that Pius tried to do some good within some very narrow bounds of political expediencey. They helped some Jews where they could, but the institution always came first. That doesn’t make him a villain, but I can’t see how it makes him a saint. Catholics should be more upset at that notion than Jews because it would cheapen the notion of sainthood considerably. If he gets it, so should any Catholic who had good intentions.



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Your Name

posted February 17, 2010 at 11:40 am


If Pope Pius XII is canonized it will be because he made the requirements for canonization, not simply because of the way he postured himself during WWII.



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Your Name

posted February 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm


I just don’t see why canonizing Pius XII is necessary for the faith. He’s not doctrine or dogma. He was a man who, as kenneth said, likely acted primarily in the interest of institutional protection and also provided some limited aid to Jewish people. Popes are just as fallible as any other human being and can err morally and ethically. Sitting on the throne of Peter doesn’t absolve a bishop from criticism.
The best olive branch that the Church could give to the Jewish community is an indefinite moratorium on canonization. I am convinced that the Church has no role in defining the Shoah through the action (or inaction) of Pius XII. Rather, the definition of the Shoah should remain in the hands of the community that survived the genocide.



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Franklin Jennings

posted February 17, 2010 at 12:36 pm


Frankly, the Church is making no effort to define the Shoah. She is moving forward on a claim of holiness and sanctity advanced by those close to the former pope.
And no, none of this is neccessary for the Church. But then, neither is being spoken well of by professional rabble-rousers.



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DML

posted February 17, 2010 at 2:56 pm


In Mit Brennender Sorge, Pius XII pleads for a return to what I would call “soft persecution” of Jews, excessive persecution is what alarmed him. Foremost was his concern for the Church as an institution. On this point, he goes on and on to defend Catholic religion. A few samples of Pius XII’s words that did little to help the plight of the Jewish people…
8. Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community – however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things – whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.
14. No faith in God can for long survive pure and unalloyed without the support of faith in Christ. “No one knoweth who the Son is, but the Father: and who the Father is, but the Son and to whom the Son will reveal Him” (Luke x. 22). “Now this is eternal life: That they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent” (John xvii. 3). Nobody, therefore, can say: “I believe in God, and that is enough religion for me,” for the Savior’s words brook no evasion: “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father. He that confesseth the Son hath the Father also” (1 John ii. 23).
16. Whoever wishes to see banished from church and school the Biblical history and the wise doctrines of the Old Testament, blasphemes the name of God, blasphemes the Almighty’s plan of salvation, and makes limited and narrow human thought the judge of God’s designs over the history of the world: he denies his faith in the true Christ, such as He appeared in the flesh, the Christ who took His human nature from a people that was to crucify Him; and he understands nothing of that universal tragedy of the Son of God who to His torturer’s sacrilege opposed the divine and priestly sacrifice of His redeeming death, and made the new alliance the goal of the old alliance, its realization and its crown.
34. No one would think of preventing young Germans establishing a true ethnical community in a noble love of freedom and loyalty to their country. What We object to is the voluntary and systematic antagonism raised between national education and religious duty…



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Franklin Jennings

posted February 17, 2010 at 5:04 pm


Yeah, what was he thinking, calling nazis blasphemers and perverters of God’s Order?
That’s just tantamount to throwing the Zyklon-b pellets on the stoves himself!!!
God bless ya, DML, for the moments of entertainment you afford us.



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DML

posted February 17, 2010 at 7:38 pm


Franklin,
This is not a topic that should be treated lightly.



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romancrusader

posted February 18, 2010 at 8:42 am


In 1930, the German Bishops excommunicated anyone involved in the Nazi regime and were barred from communion. So to say that the Nazis weren’t excommunicated is a rumor.
Plus, any direct commdemnation of Hitler would’ve gotten people killed. Any careless word uttered by Pius would’ve hindered the Church’s efforts to save more Jewish lives.
Look at pavethewayfoundation’s website here for some more information:
http://www.pavethewayfoundation.org/Projects/Education/Pope%20Pius%20XII%20Videos.htm



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DML

posted February 18, 2010 at 9:58 am


The Pave the Way Foundation is clearly biased on this issue. I agree that Pius XII did not like the Nazis and he was never “Hitler’s Pope” as other biased accounts try to state. Many Catholics acted very heroically to save Jews and they are to be commended for their personal efforts, but their actions can hardly be credited to Pius XII. It still seems to me that his sole concern was the preservation of the Church, and given the theology that existed prior to VII, he chose not to lend any support to other religions. One should also examine Pius XII’s lack of action concerning the Ustashe genocide of Serbian Orthodox Christians, this provides for a good parallel account of his lack of courage to help others.
As to the German bishops, it is also a complex issue, some really did clash with the German state, others were enthusiastic supporters of the regime.



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Your Name

posted February 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm


DML,
You’re being grossly uncharitable by accusing Pius XII of being a coward and simply covering his backside. authorized the falsification of millions of baptism certificates to get Jewish people moved arouind Europe. He authorized the violation of papal enclosures in monasteries to hide Jews. He authorized religious orders to lie, cheat, steal and do whatever was necessary, except murder, to protect innocent people. That’s how men like Maximilian Kolbe ended up in concentration camps. He allowed Carindal Roncalli (John XXIII) to hide children and smuggle them to Greece. He also allowed Catholic priests, bishops, and brothers to celebrate Jewish services for the Jews who were in hiding and did not have Rabbis to celebrate the holy days for them (talk about ecumenism).
Hows that stupid pharisee?



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DML

posted February 18, 2010 at 1:17 pm


Maximilian Kolbe was anti-Semitic himself in spite of his sacrifice, hardly a role model to hold up in this particular thread. From the NY Times…
“When the church decided to canonize Father Kolbe, the specter of anti-Semitism in his past arose. He was the creator of a major religious publishing concern, and excerpts from its publications indicated open disapproval of what he considered an excessive presence of Jews in Polish economic life. He also spoke out against Freemasons and Communists, movements he also associated with Jews.”
I can’t find any sort of connection between Kolbe and Pius XII. As to John XXIII, he actually disobeyed Pius XII’s orders to keep baptisted Jewish children and not allow them to return to their religious community.
I think your trying to help me out aren’t you Franklin?



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romancrusader

posted February 18, 2010 at 1:25 pm


DML,
It’s people like you who worship the Holocaust and keeping Kosher who are simply looking to pick a fight aren’t you? And to accuse Kolbe of being anti-semitic is a libelous charge. The NYT is pretty unreliable as best and a useless newspaper if you ask me.
“I can’t find any sort of connection between Kolbe and Pius XII. As to John XXIII, he actually disobeyed Pius XII’s orders to keep baptisted Jewish children and not allow them to return to their religious community.”
There’s no proof of this. And the document from which you draw this from is not an official Vatican document. John XXIII had nothing but love for Pius XII.
“Pope John XXIII referred to him in his first Christmas Message as ‘our Father and Pontiff, whom we see already among God’s saints in heaven. …’ He unofficially ‘canonized’ Pius XII, and stated that ‘the triple title Doctor Optimus, Ecclesiae sanctae lumen, divinae legis amator would be most suitable to his memory.’ (Michael Chinigo, The Teachings of John XXIII, 1967) Pope Pius XII is indeed worthy of the words: ‘Great Doctor, Light of the Holy Church, Lover of the Divine Law.'”
My comment on John XXIII seems to contradict your statement that John XXIII disobeyed Pius XII.



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DML

posted February 18, 2010 at 2:07 pm


romancrusader,
Trying to make Pius XII a saint is the provocative act, I’m merely reacting. Simply letting him fade away into history would have been so much easier. I would not have been roused to say anything then.
The NYT is a solid source and is the premier newspaper of the world. I googled Kolbe and found so much more to make my case for his remarks toward Jews. Reading a bit more though, I will concede that he appears to have had a change of heart after he was incarcerated by the Germans the first time. We should commend his final sacrifice. Again, Pius XII had nothing to do with Kolbe’s efforts.
The Jewish orphan controversy documentation is firm by most accounts, one could quibble over whether they are ‘officially Vatican’ or not, but are directives that clearly come from the Vatican leadership.
I happen to think positively of John XXIII, but his endorsement of Pius XII can’t change history and do not move me.
I know we are at an impasse, but I wont be obstinate. The Vatican could release all their documents on the matter, perhaps I will change my mind.



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Your Name

posted February 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm


“Trying to make Pius XII a saint is the provocative act.”
No. Pius XII was declared venerable because of heroic virtue. That is to say, he repented, did acts of charity and penance. That is to say conversion from sin. That’s what they are looking at here. Not on what he did or did not do. This leaves us in a culture that does not understand the canonization process.
“I happen to think positively of John XXIII, but his endorsement of Pius XII can’t change history and do not move me.”
It seems you have issues with the faith, not with me.
“The Jewish orphan controversy documentation is firm by most accounts, one could quibble over whether they are ‘officially Vatican’ or not, but are directives that clearly come from the Vatican leadership.”
Once again, there’s no evidence of this. I’ve looked at the document myself and Inside the Vatican had an article on it. That is not official Vatican documentation. Farther, the document was fabricated according to Inside the Vatican.
“The Vatican could release all their documents on the matter, perhaps I will change my mind.”
The so called secret documents which you are referring to are the documents that were examined in the study of the life of Pius XII . It is true that these documents are numerous, sometimes hundreds of volumes and thousands of pages of testimonies, writings, and reports. Generally, these are not open to the public. Usually, they are not even available to Catholics. They are stored in secure vaults. For anyone to gain access to them one must go through a very complex petition process. Even historians are not allowed to get to all of these documents. The reason is simple. These documents are saved for posterity. If they are readily available to be handled by too many people, they can become damanged, lost and even destroyed.



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romancrusader

posted February 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm


“The NYT is a solid source and is the premier newspaper of the world.”
The New York Slimes is your god eh? Nice try.



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romancrusader

posted February 18, 2010 at 2:25 pm


DML,
“I googled Kolbe and found so much more to make my case for his remarks toward Jews. Reading a bit more though, I will concede that he appears to have had a change of heart after he was incarcerated by the Germans the first time. We should commend his final sacrifice.”
You can tell that to EWTN.
http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/showresult.asp?RecNum=305416&Forums=0&Experts=0&Days=2002&Author=&Keyword=kolbe&pgnu=1&groupnum=0&record_bookmark=5&ORDER_BY_TXT=ORDER+BY+ReplyDate+DESC&start_at=
Question:
Why do Jews think that St. Kolbe, the Polish martyr, was an anti-Semetic? Didn’t he give over a thousand Jews sanctuary in his monastery during the holocaust?
Asnewer by Matthew Bunson:
I know of no valid reason of any kind to accuse St. Maximilian Kolbe of anti-Semitism. On the contrary, he was deeply concerned with protecting Jews from the Nazis and was one of the most outspoken opponents of Nazism in Poland. This extraordinary Franciscan Conventual and founder of the sodality of the Militia of Mary Immaculate in 1917 was renowned in his own era as a journalist, earning the enmity of the Nazis for his writings. Thus when Poland fell in September of 1939, Kolbe was arrested for what the Nazis considered illegal activities. Released, he was picked up again in February 1941 for giving aid to Jews and assisting members of the Polish underground. Sent to Auschwitz, Kolbe, as prisoner 16670, was subjected to especially brutal treatment because he was a Catholic priest. His death is worth noting again:
An SS guard, for example, attempted to beat him to death, leaving his broken body in a wood. Surviving, Kolbe gave comfort to his fellow prisoners, reminding them that there was glory in the Cross. One day, ten men were picked by the SS to be starved to death in reprisal for a prison escape. Kolbe stepped forward and asked to be chosen in the place of Franciszek Gajowniczek, a onetime sergeant in the Polish army who was married. Surprisingly, the SS officers agreed, and Kolbe joined the others. As his fellow prisoners died, Kolbe prayed for each, aiding them in their final hours. Greatly disturbed by Kolbe’s patience and calm forbearance, the guards hastened his demise by injecting him with phenol. He died on August 14, 1941, and was cremated.
Pope John Paul II canonized him on October 10, 1982,declaring him a martyr for the 20th century.



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romancrusader

posted February 18, 2010 at 2:35 pm


Regarding Pius XII and baptized Jewish Children:
“This background is crucial in appreciating the December 28, 2004, publication of a front-page story in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera entitled “Pius XII ordered: do not give back the Jewish children: The future Pope Roncalli disobeyed,” by Alberto Melloni, professor of contemporary history at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. The article was yet another effort to discredit Pius XII on the Holocaust/anti-Semitic charge and derail the pontiff’s beatification and canonization. This time, though, Catholic apologists, scholars, and journalists were ready to answer and debunk the slander with striking speed and accuracy.”
“The story was built around the leak of an unpublished document dated October 23, 1946, supposedly drafted by the Holy Office and approved by Pius XII and sent to Archbishop Angelo Roncalli (the future Pope John XXIII), then-nuncio to France, regarding Jewish children who found refuge in Catholic homes and institutions. Jewish officials were requesting their return. The note in question was unsigned, the author is unknown, and it was not on Vatican letterhead. Curiously, the text was not in Italian (as was customary for Vatican communications to its nuncios) but in French, making more apparent that it lacked any official status as a message from the Holy Office or Vatican Secretariat of State. The French text boasted seemingly explosive and horrendous instructions:”
“With regard to the Jewish children who, during the German occupation, have been entrusted to Catholic institutions and families and whom Jewish institutions are reclaiming to be entrusted to them, the Holy Congregation of the Holy Office has taken a decision that can be summarized as follows:
Avoid, as much as possible, to answer in writing to Jewish authorities, but do it orally.
Each time that it will be necessary to respond, it must be said that the Church must make its inquiries to study each case separately.
The children who have been baptized could not be entrusted to institutions that would not be in a position to ensure their Christian education.”
“For the children who have lost their relatives, given that the Church looked after them, it would not be appropriate that they would be abandoned by the Church or entrusted to persons who have no rights over them, at least until they are in a position to dispose of themselves. This, obviously, for the children who would not have been baptized.”
“If the children were entrusted by relatives, and if the relatives reclaim them now, inasmuch as the children have not been baptized, they can be returned to them.”
“It is to be noted that this decision of the Holy Congregation of the Holy Office has been approved by the Holy Father.”
“The document was immediately seized upon by media and declared proof positive of the pontiff’s rampant anti-Semitism and indifference. On December 29, the Guardian newspaper in England added, ‘The letter deals a new and crushing blow to the reputation of the wartime pope, Pius XII.’ On January 9, 2005, the New York Times presented its own article on the basis of the ‘discovery,’ essentially repeating the charges made by Melloni, and placed on its web site an English version of the French letter under the title ‘1946 Letter from the Vatican.'”
But within days of the original article in Corriere della Sera, the entire story was proved to be based on a dubious piece of evidence. Leading the charge were two of Italy’s leading experts on Pius XII, Andrea Tornielli and Matteo L. Napolitano, co-authors of Il Papa che salvo gli Ebrei (The Pope Who Saved the Jews). In a front-page article for the January 11 edition of Il Giornale, Tornielli published the original Vatican document and compared it to the French translation. In the same issue of Il Giornale, Napolitano castigated Melloni for his erroneous and misleading use of the memo.



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romancrusader

posted February 18, 2010 at 2:38 pm


Her’s another piece of evidence:
http://www.zenit.org/article-11957?l=english
1946 Document on Jewish Children Tells a Different Story
Undercuts Tale That Vatican Tried to Keep Them From Their Families
ROME, JAN. 12, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The latest in a series of accusations about Pope Pius XII’s behavior vis-à-vis the Jews and Nazi persecution seems to have little basis in fact.
The latest round began Dec. 28 when an Italian newspaper published passages of an alleged 1946 Vatican document that supposedly aimed to keep baptized Jewish children from being returned to their families.
The text, as stated in Il Corriere della Sera by Alberto Melloni, director of the G. Dossetti Library of the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Sciences of Bologna, was “a disposition of the Holy Office,” as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was formerly known. The document was said to be dated Oct. 20, 1946.
But after careful research, ZENIT discovered that the document, in fact, was not of the Holy Office and did not bear evidence of the reported date. Nor did it state what the article in Il Corriere said it did.
The document, whose original is in French, was written under the oversight of the then apostolic nuncio in Paris, Angelo Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII.
It was meant to explain to the French clergy the instructions he had received from the Holy See, specifically, from the secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, Monsignor Domenico Tardini.
In his newspaper article, Alberto Melloni did not quote the archive from which the document came.
In fact, the document, in full, was published last Tuesday after being tracked down by Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli of the Milan newspaper Il Giornale.
Tornielli revealed that the original is kept in the Centre National des Archives de l’Église de France, archive of the secretariat of the French episcopate, position “7 CE 131.”
ZENIT obtained by fax a copy of the original and verified that the text has the seal of the apostolic nunciature of France — as opposed to what Il Corriere della Sera published, which attributed it to the Holy Office.
ZENIT also verified that the document is dated Oct. 23, 1946, three days later than that mentioned by Il Corriere, and that the terms of the Vatican proposal are very different from what the Italian newspaper had reported.
The original document contradicts Melloni’s version. It states, in fact, that the children should be returned to their original Jewish families.
Regarding “Jewish institutions,” which during those months were working in Paris and throughout Europe to transfer children to Palestine, the document states that each case must be examined individually.
ZENIT learned that the history of the document began in March 1946, when Isaac Herzog, the chief rabbi of Jerusalem, addressed a letter to Pope Pius XII in which the former wrote: “The Jewish people very much remember with profound gratitude the help given by the Holy See to the people that suffered during the Nazi persecution.”
Profound thanks are given for the “thousands of children who were hidden in Catholic institutions,” and the rabbi requests that these children be returned to the Jewish people.
Herzog emphasized how Pius XII “has worked to banish anti-Semitism in many countries” and concluded with an invocation: “God willing, may history remember that when everything was dark for our people, His Holiness lit a light of hope for them.”
Pius XII took to heart the fate of these Jewish children and, in that same month of March, asked the Holy Office to study the case.
The Holy Office, after hearing from several consultors, prepared a document in response to the Pope’s request.
In August 1946, some French bishops and, specifically, Coadjutor Archbishop Emile Guerry of Cambrai and Cardinal Pierre Gerlier of Lyon, asked nuncio Roncalli for pointers as to how to resolve the situation of Jewish children saved from Nazi persecution.
Angelo Roncalli gathered all this material and, at the end of September, sent a letter to the Vatican Secretariat of State requesting instructions.
Roncalli was answered by Monsignor Tardini, secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, not in the way quoted by the article in Il Corriere, but rather in the way mentioned above.
Journalist Andrea Tornielli told ZENIT that the Church in France resolved the problem in the vast majority of cases by returning the children, whose lives it saved, to their surviving families.
During the war, priests and religious received orders from the Holy See and bishops not to baptize these children. Baptism requires the consent of the person receiving the sacrament or of the parents, if the recipient does not have the use of reason. This is revealed in documents quoted by http://www.vaticanfiles.net.



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Franklin Jennings

posted February 19, 2010 at 12:30 pm


DML,
“This is not a topic that should be treated lightly.”
Then stop.



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