Do you remember how you first became interested in the controversy about Pius XII’s actions during World War II?
I’d always heard about Pius XII, but in 2000 . . . I was asked to write a book review for The Weekly Standard. . . . At the time I knew relatively little about the subject. . . .this was shortly after the book by John Cornwall, Hitler’s Pope, had been published. I thought I would write a short book review, and I spent that summer just immersed in this. I came to the conclusion that really there had been a terrible historical injustice against Pius XII, and I wanted to make a small contribution in the book review to set the historical record straight.
And I want to come back to that, because I basically came first in that book review and then in this book to the exact opposite conclusion from John Cornwall the British journalist that Pius XII not only was not Hitler’s pope, but he was a great friend of the Jewish people at a moment in history when it really mattered quite a bit: World War II during the Holocaust years. So what started out as just a small book review ended up being quite a significant review essay . . . and that really motivated me-I got a terrific response; nothing I’ve ever written before has gotten as much attention-to try to write a book that would in some way also help to correct the historical injustice against Pius XII. The motivation was to set the historical record straight.