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the Role of the Catholic Church Regarding Nazi Idealsim and Anti-Semietic Practices Throughout Wolrd War II.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

THE ROLE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH REGARDING NAZI IDEALSIM AND ANTI-SEMIETIC PRACTICES THROUGHOUT WOLRD WAR II By Solange di rocca Word count = 3265 TABLE OF CONTENTS Cover page page 1 Table of contents page 2 Introduction page 3 Accusations page 3 The issue of the Reich concordat page 4 The facts page 5 Saving the innocent page 7 Conclusion page 8 Abstract page 10 Bibliography page 12 INTRODUCTION Born on March 2nd 1876, of an ancient Roman family that had for generations served the Holy See; in rural Viterbo, a small town north to Rome, Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Eugenio Pacelli, was to become the Pope to lead the Catholic Church through one of its most turbulent periods, World War II. He was trained in Diplomacy and Canon Law, was well read and experienced in global affairs. In 1929, the young Eugenio Pacelli was appointed secretary of state for the papacy and finally in 1939 he became better know to the world as Pope Pius XII. During WWII Pacelli was seen as a heroic figure who saved countess Jews from certain death, but in recent years, more in-depth studies of the subject have seemed to bring up evidence to disrupt this image. The media in particular has been a major contributor to the accusations made to the Church of either helping the Nazi regime or of being quiet whilst aware of the Holocaust. But most of these accusations can easily be traced back to one original source, 'the Deputy'1 a play better known to some as 'the Representative', which pictured Pope Pius XII as an insignificant and weak willed figure or as Newsweek writer describes him 'a moral coward'2. But was this Pope truly 'a ruthless cynic more interested in the Vatican's stockholdings than in the fate of the Jews'3? Or should he be seen as a diplomat trying to maintain and uphold peace? ...read more.

Middle

in the Reich and its component states, the Holy See will prescribe regulations for the exclusion of clergy and members of religious orders from membership of political parties, and from engaging in work on their behalf. Which meant that Hitler could finally eliminate his last major political opposition, in exchange for protecting Catholic interests under the Reich. Concordats like these were meant to regularise the relations between the Holy See and the states, as well as protecting Roman catholic interests and providing technical procedures through which formal complaints could be made to the Reich by the Holy See, in fact between 1933 and 1939, Pope Pius XI made three dozen formal complaints, all formulated by none other than Pacelli. Both Hitler and Pacelli saw the Reich Concordat as a victory on their part, but the signing of the concordat did not mean the supporting or the approval of National Socialism, as Pacelli clearly stated in an article for l'Ossservatore Romano on July 26th and 27th. But on the other hand, the Concordat prohibited the involvement of clerics in any political activity (Art. 32 of the Reich concordat), weakening the church's power, especially against the rise of Hitler's regime. THE FACTS For every witness and piece of evidence Crowell represents in his book, dozens can be found on the other side. In fact Pius XII was neither silent nor inactive during this period of hatred. In fact although many are sceptic of this, Pacelli drafted a book originally written by Pope Pius XI condemning Nazism as un-Christian7. This document, was then secretly taken to Germany, printed in German and read in Roman Catholic ceremonies. The Nazis responded by confiscating all copies and condemning many Catholics. "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... ...read more.

Conclusion

ABSTRACT Eugenio Pacelli often described as a member of the 'Black Nobility'; a group of aristocratic families of Rome came from a respectable but modest background. At the age of 23, when he ordered as a young priest, he perused further studies and was later, in 1939, elected head of the Catholic church and became better knows as Pope Pius XII. In 1933, Hitler gained power as head of the Nazi party and lost it by 1945, only 12 years. And yet by the end of this regime, Europe had been plunged into a global war and over 30 Million people died, over 6 million of which, Jews; men, women and children; who were systematically and efficiently slaughtered for no other reason than that they were Jews. But what impact did this Pope have on this massacre of innocent people? As Newsweek writer Kenneth Woodward correctly explains: "During the second world war, Pope Pius XII was lauded for his singular efforts to halt the carnage. And for years after, he was praised for the church's efforts in saving an estimated 700,000 Jews from the Nazi death camps (...) Recently, however, a neat bit of revisionist history is now blaming the wartime pope for failing to stop the Holocaust from the Vatican. In choosing diplomacy over protest Pius XII had his priorities straight" Many would think in that Pope Pius XII remained silent in the face of the holocaust, some might say that it was because he a coward15, or because it was in his best interest, some would even say he was pro German or pro Nazi even. But like many events in history, the evidence can be approached from different angles and seen from different points of views. One cannot avoid asking oneself the common question 'what if'. What if he has raised his voice or taken a stronger stand against Hitler's views? Would the events of history have taken a different turn? But what most of us tend to forget when analysing such evidence is that these were men and Pacelli's silence did indeed help to save many Jewish lives. ...read more.

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