Pope in the Holy Land: “Keep your head down–in prayer”

Pope and Jewish leaders.jpgThat’s my walkaway in this scene-setter for Benedict’s trip to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian territories, which is being recognized as the most difficult and risky of his pontificate–not least because of some of the baggage he himself will bring. I break my analysis at into three degrees of difficulty: The religious, the political, and the personal–that is, Benedict’s own biography and track record.


It’s a sad axiom of modern life that the holier the land, the more dangerous the terrain, and Pope Benedict XVI will quickly discover that truth for himself when he travels to Israel and Jordan this month for a week-long trip (May 8-15) that is officially described as a “pilgrimage.” But that irenic billing doesn’t begin to convey how fraught this trip is for the pontiff, who will bring with him a reputation for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, as witnessed in the recent controversies with the Jewish community, as well as lingering tensions with Muslims over the Pope’s comments about the Prophet Muhammad. And that’s not to mention the usual minefield of politics and violence in the region.

Read the rest here. What do you think?  

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Gerard Nadal

posted May 4, 2009 at 1:20 pm

“But Benedict has complicated those relations at several points in a pontificate that is just four years old. He has, for example, continued to heap praise on the controversial wartime pope, Pius XII, and keep open the possibility that Pius could be made a saint. On this trip, while Benedict will visit Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, he will not visit the memorial’s museum because an exhibit includes a photo of Pius and caption that says that pope did nothing to stop the Nazi slaughter of the Jews–a widely held view that Rome sharply disputes.”
Albert Einstein:
Time Magazine, December 23, 1940:?
“Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks…Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.”
The New York Times editorial on December 25, 1941 (Late Day edition, p. 24):
“??The voice of Pius XII is a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas… he is about the only ruler left on the Continent of Europe who dares to raise his voice at all… the Pope put himself squarely against Hitlerism… he left no doubt that the Nazi aims are also irreconcilable with his own conception of a Christian peace.??”
The New York Times editorial on December 25, 1942 (Late Day edition, p. 16) states:?? “This Christmas more than ever he is a lonely voice crying out of the silence of a continent… Pope Pius expresses as passionately as any leader on our side the war aims of the struggle for freedom when he says that those who aim at building a new world must fight for free choice of government and religious order. They must refuse that the state should make of individuals a herd of whom the state disposes as if they were lifeless things.”
World Jewish Congress, 21 July 1944:
Wrote to Pius XII, “gratefully conscious” of his “aid on behalf of sorely afflicted and menaced Jews in Hungary, which have been followed by offer of the Regent to secure release of certain categories of Jews particularly children. His Holiness’ efforts bring us new hope at the eleventh hour of saving from death the surviving remnants of decimated European Jewry.”
Headlines From The New York Times:
October 28, 1939 “Pope Condemns Dictators, Treaty Violators, Racism: Urges Restoring of Poland.”
January 23, 1940″Vatican Denounces Atrocities in Poland; Germans Called Even Worse Than Russians.”
August 6, 1942 “Pope is Said to Plead for Jews Listed for Removal from France.”
August 27, 1942 “Vichy Seizes Jews: Pope Pius Ignored.”
October 17, 1943 “Pope Said to Help in Ransoming Jews.”
December 4 1943 “Vatican Scores Germans: Denounces Decision to Intern and Strip All Jews in Italy.”
The New York Times on the liberation of Rome:
“Under the Pope’s direction the Holy See did an exemplary job of sheltering and championing the victims of the Nazi-Fascist regime. I have spoken to dozens of Italians, both Catholics and Jews, who owe their liberty and perhaps their lives to the protection of the Church.”
Chief Rabbi of Rome:
Rabbi Israel Zolli in 1945 converted to Catholicism with his wife, and in honor of all the Pope did for the Jews during the War took Pius XII’s name, Eugenio and had the Pope as his Godfather.
Chief Rabbi Herzog of Palestine:
“The people of Israel will never forget what his Holiness and his illustrious delegates are doing for us unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history.”
“I should like to take this occasion to express to His Holiness my deeply-felt appreciation of the frequent action which the Holy See has taken to render assistance to the victims of racial and religious persecutions.” –August 3, 1944
Moshe Sharett:
Later First Israeli Foreign Minister (April 1945):?” . . I told him [the Pope] that my first duty was to thank him , and through him, the Catholic Church, on behalf of the Jewish public, for all they had done in the various countries to rescue Jews, to save children, and Jews in general.”
Golda Meir:
Israeli Foreign (October 1958):?”When fearful martyrdom came to our people, the voice of the pope was raised for its victims.”

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Gerard Nadal

posted May 4, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Pinchas E. Lapide:
Three Popes and the Jews (1967):?
“. . . the Catholic Church, under the pontificate of Pope Pius XII was instrumental in saving at least 700,000, but probably as many as 860,000, Jews from certain death at Nazi hands.”
Rabbi David G. Dalin: The Weekly Standard, February 26, 2001:?”. . . Pius XII was, genuinely and profoundly, a righteous gentile.”
Zenit News:?
“No one knows exactly how many Jews were hidden and saved by the Church, but according to “Three Popes and the Jews” by Jewish historian Emilio Pinchas Lapide, then consul general in Milan, “the Holy See, the nuncios, and the Catholic Church saved between 740,000 and 850,000 Jews from certain death.” It is estimated that more than 80% of the Jews in Italy escaped the Nazi genocide. In Rome alone, the Jewish community has certified that the Church saved 4,447 Jews from the Holocaust.”
Kenneth Woodward:
Newsweek (March 30, 1998):?
“In his 1942 Christmas message, which The New York Times among others extolled, the pope became the first figure of international stature to condemn what was turning into the Holocaust.”
Israeli diplomat and Consul in Italy, Pinchas Lapide chronicled the extraordinary growth in Catholic Jewish relations from the 1930’s to 1967, the year he published, “Three Popes and the Jews” He concluded:
“The Catholic Church saved more Jewish lives during the war than all other churches, religious institutions and rescue organizations put together.”
Then, there is the detailed book by Rabbi David G. Dalin:
“The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews From the Nazis,” by Rabbi David G. Dalin, (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc, 2005).
The Polish Educational Foundation of North America has compiled a 273 page (pdf) non-comprehensive selection of Jewish survivors’ testimony (2007) of the efforts of Priests, Monks and Nuns in over 900 Roman Catholic Church Institutions by several times that number of those who staffed them. Several hundred additional cases have yet to be added to this work. It may be accessed at:
For a video Lecture By Ronald J. Rychlak from Pave the Way Foundation that DEMOLISHES all arguments against the Church’s and Pope Pius XII’s roles in aiding Jews:
Two Books by Ronald J. Rychlak:
“Righteous Gentiles, How Pius XII and the Catholic Church Saved Half a million Jews From the Nazis.” (2008) And…
“Hitler, The War and The Pope” (2000)
A good online article:
Pius XII and the Holocaust, By Thomas Craughwell:
Consider a representative selection:
“In all, some 40,000 Jews throughout Italy were saved from the Nazis. Fourteen years after the liberation of Rome by the Allies, an officer of the Jewish Brigade was quoted in Davar, the Hebrew daily of Israel’s Federation of Labor: ‘When we entered Rome, the Jewish survivors told us with a voice filled with deep gratitude and respect: If we have been rescued; if Jews are still alive in Rome come with us and thank the Pope in the Vatican. For in the Vatican proper, in churches, monasteries and private homes, Jews were kept hidden at his personal orders…. Even on the synagogue near the Tiber he had his papal seal imprinted, and that was respected even by the Nazis.’
In the interest of giving the WWII Jews back their voice, a voice stolen from them in the 1960’s when false witness against Pope Pius XII (and by extension, against the WWII Jews’ testimonials) became fashionable, here they are in their own words.

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Gerard Nadal

posted May 4, 2009 at 2:41 pm

The system is holding part II of this post. Is it because of the links?

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Your Name

posted May 4, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Your obsessive comments about Jews make one wonder just how much of a “friend” to Jews you really are.
I guess as long as we’re useful.

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David Gibson

posted May 4, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Gerard, yes, the system was holding it [not sure why–the first went thru] for a while but I “allowed” it hours ago, I thought.
Also, publishing long tracts of excerpts of defenses of Pius XII–which you’ve done before–advances the discussion how? Is that all this comes down to?

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Dr. Levy

posted May 4, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Real Life Angels & Demons
Nazi Gold & The Vatican Bank
May 4, 2009
Vatican Bank Plaintiffs
+1 202-318-2406
Dr. Jonathan Levy, Esq.
San Francisco:
The Dan Brown based movie, Angels and Demons, will preview in Rome next week to great acclaim. Many will assume it to be a work of fiction but a lawsuit in the US Federal courts that has persevered against all odds for ten years suggests otherwise. Not everything at the Vatican is, as it seems.
Alperin v. Vatican Bank, US District Court for Northern California, Case No. C-99-4491 MMC, ostensibly is a lawsuit against the Vatican Bank and Franciscan Order to obtain the return of Nazi loot known as the Ustasha Treasury. The Ustasha Treasury was a horde of gold, diamonds, and other valuables plundered from Serbs, Jews, and Roma by Nazi allied Croatia and laundered by the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor and the Vatican Bank after the Second World War. However, the lawsuit is about more than the gold and jewels estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. First and foremost the plaintiffs want to know who laundered the loot and what did they do with it and therein lays the trouble – the truth is embarrassing to the historic legacies of several Popes from Pius XII to present.
The cast of characters in this saga is right of Hollywood central casting: the aptly nicknamed “Golden Priest”, Fr. Krunoslav Draganovic was a former Ustasha officer who specialized in laundering money and helped thousands of Nazis escape Europe via the Vatican ratline before becoming an American spy; another prelate, Fr. Dominik Mandic, the Grand Definitor and Treasurer of the Franciscan Order in Rome espoused bizarre racial theories of Croatian superiority; and a major Nazi war criminal Ante Pavelic who cheated justice and was the ultra Catholic dictator of wartime Croatia. Pavelic and his loyal Ustasha black shirts slaughtered well over 500,000 Serbs, Jews, and Roma in his own brand of brutal concentration camps and delighted in putting villages of Orthodox Christians “schismatics” to fire and sword with the full knowledge of the Vatican. Pavelic died in exile in Spain in 1959 after seeing his Ustasha terrorist movement firmly transplanted to Argentina, the US, Canada, and Australia.
Mandic, Draganovic, and Pavelic were responsible for an improbable ten-truck convoy loaded with Axis loot that entered St. Peter’s Square in 1946 and was received at the Vatican Bank. Sworn testimony by Rome based US Special Agent William Gowen about his 1947 investigation of the Ustasha corroborates the event. Gowen investigated and infiltrated an Ustasha hideout at a hostel run by Draganovic and Mandic and interrogated Draganovic and others who admitted their roles in the bank plot. US government documents point to involvement at even higher levels, Jim Angleton the CIA station chief in Rome and the Vatican Undersecretary of State Montini (late Paul VI) were implicated. Gowen’s career as a Special Agent was ended for his efforts and he was transferred from Rome and investigated by the infamous Congressional Un-American Activities Committee.
The unholy alliance between war criminals and the Catholic Church was forged to fight the evils of Communism and spawned a decades long wave of bombings, assassinations and counter assassination that spanned the globe with the Church firmly on the side of former Nazis and war criminals. Notable events in this secret war included mafia style executions, airliner hijackings and bombings, commando raids in Yugoslavia, and even a terrorist bombing at the Statute of Liberty.
Enter the Gospa
The Franciscan Order along with the Vatican Bank was the prime mover of the Ustasha Treasury in the United States. In 1952 Fr. Dominik Mandic, one of the Ustasha Treasury paymasters, immigrated to Chicago where he founded with Ustasha funds a Franciscan publishing empire dedicated to racist propaganda, which argued Croatians were Aryans, and Serbs descended from Africans. Another Franciscan hat trick was the Gospa, the Croatian Virgin Mary, who first manifested herself at a small village named Medjugorje, Herzegovina near the site of a wartime massacre of Serbs.. It was on the tenth anniversary of this vision that all out war between Croatia and Yugoslavia erupted. The handlers and promoters of the visionaries are Croatian Franciscans of the Order of Friars Minor whose antics have brought censure from local bishops and belatedly from the Vatican in 2008. Funds from the Ustasha Treasury are alleged to have played a role in the Medjugorje phenomena.
Despite ten years of litigation, this real life Angels and Demons continues to unfold in federal courts in California as new information is revealed including revelations that Ustasha Treasury diamonds were passed by the Catholic Church to Croatia to purchase arms in 1990s and an Ustasha plot just last month to assassinate the Bolivian President, Still neither side has budged despite mounting evidence of the Vatican Bank and Franciscans’ involvement in the Ustasha criminal enterprise.

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Gerard Nadal

posted May 4, 2009 at 11:46 pm

Good question. I guess so long as the calumnies are repeated against Pius XII it doesn’t hurt the cause of truth to show the breadth and depth of the Jewish accolades during and after WWII. The purpose of the discussion is to advance truth, no?
Even so, you see that Your Name posting above somehow interprets the truth as told by WWII Jews as somehow being anti-Semitic coming from my mouth.
Yes I’ve posted this before. The result is always the same. Silence. That wasn’t the case on these threads a few months ago before I assembled these references. Back then Pius was the great whipping boy.
So, relative to what you posted, that Benedict carries the baggage of Pius XII and his conspiratorial silence, what is your reaction to the substance of what I’ve posted here David? Do you think Pius continues to be maligned? What say you? Do you think that justice requires telling the truth in response to repeated lies until the lies are defeated by the truth? Or does being an enlightened Catholic mean sitting still for this garbage, and then adopting an apologetic stance over that which is the opposite of what really happened?
I don’t know how long you’ve been Catholic, but I’ve been hearing this nonsense for years. Enough already.

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Gerard Nadal

posted May 6, 2009 at 2:56 am

Yesterday you asked some pointed questions. Sniping or do you care to engage this topic? I’m interested in your sense of justice. You asked how my posts advance the discussion.
I submit that the purpose of the discussion is to seek the truth. What do you think is behind the efforts to demonize Pius by denying the experiences that the WWII Jews had?
Or is this just hit and run stuff here?

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posted May 13, 2009 at 10:32 am

You do not understand. Our Catholic religion doesn’t follow political correctness. It follows Christ.

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