Vatican:Elevation of Pius is not ‘hostile’ to Jews

Beatification of WW2-era pope
A decree moving the controversial wartime Pope Pius XII one step closer to sainthood is not a “hostile act toward the Jewish people,” said the Vatican’s top spokesman.

Federico Lombardi, a priest who directs the Holy See Press Office, said in a statement before Christmas that Pope Benedict XVI’s decree on December 19 that recognizes Pius’s “heroic virtues” and declares him “venerable” reflects an evaluation of the late pope’s personal holiness, “and not the historical impact” of his decisions.

Pius’s new status makes him eligible for beatification, the rank just below sainthood. The move has drawn complaints from many Jewish leaders.

Critics say Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, failed to do or say all he could to stop the Nazi Holocaust. His defenders counter that he heroically condemned anti-Semitism throughout Hitler’s reign and both directly and indirectly saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.

 

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