Pope Pius XII and the Nazis

Shrewd diplomat or failed prophet?

Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, by John Cornwall
Pius XII and the Second World War: According to the Archives of the Vatican, by Pierre Blet

These two volumes stand in stark contrast. John Cornwall indicts Pope Pius XII for aiding and abetting the Nazis in order to consolidate his power over the Catholic Church. Pierre Blet offers an equally strong defense of Pius as a compassionate leader who did all he could to help Jews and other Nazi victims under very trying circumstances—a claim Blet considers confirmed by 12 published volumes of Vatican archival materials. There is little or no middle ground between the two authors. Cornwall is the prosecutor, Blet the defense attorney. Neither succeeds fully in his assumed role, though Blet’s scholarship is by far the sounder.

 

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