Presentasjon av boken "Pius XII and the Second World War", av p. Pierre Blet SJ

VATICAN CITY, OCT 8, 1999 (VIS) - Cardinal Pio Laghi, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and Fr. Pierre Blet, S.J., today presented the book authored by Fr. Blet and entitled "Pius XII and the Second World War in the Vatican Archives."

Fr. Blet explained that his book was a compendium of the information which he and three other Jesuits had previously gathered from the Vatican Secret Archives and which they published between 1965 and 1981 in 12 volumes entitled "Actes et documents du Saint-Siege relatifs a la seconde guerre mondiale" (Acts and Documents of the Holy See Relative to the Second World War").

He illustrated the background of this 12-volume work. "It is well known," he remarked, "that several years after the death of Pius XII, a campaign, whose motivating forces are still far from being known, was unleashed against him. Paul VI, who had been one of Pius XII's closest collaborators, ... decided to publish the archive documents relative to the war."

These volumes, Fr. Blet stressed, are available to anyone who wishes to consult them. "However," he added, "noting that, after 15 years our volumes were unknown by most historians, I decided to write a synthesis of the contents in one single volume."

Fr. Blet, a professor of modern history at Rome's Jesuit-run Gregorian University, stated that, at this press conference, he would limit himself "to underlining three points concerning the behavior and activity of Pius XII during the world war: his efforts to salvage peace and limit war; his attitude with regards to national-socialist power; his action in favor of the victims of war."

He then proceeded to give a number of examples from the book relative to each of the three above-mentioned points, recounting meetings, telegrams, letters and other communications between Pope Pius XII and his nuncios and between the Pope and diplomats from Europe and the United States.

He dedicated most of his presentation to the third point - the Pope's action for the victims of war. "The most oft-repeated accusation against Pius XII was that of remaining silent in the face of racial persecutions against the Jews, that a public denunciation by the pontiff himself could have saved (them) from extermination, from that 'final solution' enacted by the Nazi regime starting in 1942."

Fr. Blet stressed in particular the countless times that Pius XII reiterated - in person or in writing - what he told the Italian ambassador on May 13, 1940: "(Italians) surely and totally know the horrible things which are happening in Poland. We must say fiery words against such things, and the only thing that makes Us hold back from doing so is knowing that, if We speak, We will worsen the conditions of these unfortunate people."

Another example, said Fr. Blet, would be from a speech Pius XII made on June 2, 1943, when he explained his alleged "reticence" to defend the Jews: "Every word from Us ... to competent authorities, and every public sign from Us, must be seriously pondered and measured by Us in the interest of those who are suffering, so as not to make, even unwittingly, their situation more serious and unbearable."

Fr. Blet closed by highlighting that the Pope's "public silence masked secret actions, through nunciatures and episcopacies, to seek to block deportations. ... Steps repeatedly taken with the governments of those nations who preserved a certain margin of autonomy - Romania, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary - through the nuncios and diplomatic representatives of these nations, succeeded in saving thousands of Jews. ... It must be remembered that it was an Israeli historian who presented the number of 850,000 Jews who were saved."


VIS - Vatican Information Service

av Webmaster publisert 13.10.1999, sist endret 13.10.1999 - 11:56