Readers overwhelmed and perhaps confused by the ferocity of the attacks on Pope Pius XII concerning his attitude to the Jews and his so-called 'silence' during the Holocaust, must be grateful to Fr Michael Butler for his article on this subject in AD2000 (July 2009). Both Fr Butler and Michael Daniel, who reviewed the reprint of Rabbi Zolli's book Before the Dawn (p.17), cite convincing evidence to show that the accusations against the Pope are false.
As valuable as Eugenio Zolli's book is, and as spiritually moving, I was disappointed that Fr Butler did not mention in his article a much later book The Myth of Hitler's Pope, by Rabbi David Dalin, published in 2005. (Zolli's was first published nearly fifty years ago.)
Dalin's revelations, based on the latest research, is to my mind the most important and authoritative exposé of the lies and misinformation that have been levelled at Pius XII. The unfair charge made against Zolli, that he was writing as a convert Catholic and therefore his defence of Pius was prejudiced, cannot be levelled at Dalin who remains a practising Rabbi and Professor of Modern History at a university in Florida.
The Myth of Hitler's Pope is surely the definitive account of the Pope's role during the war. Dalin quotes documents that show that far from being anti-Semitic, Pius XII was 'a friend to the Jews' and using his secret network of bishops and priests in occupied countries, and issuing hitherto unpublicised instructions, saved many thousands of Jews from deportation - an estimated 4,000 in Rome alone.
The author concludes by proposing that the Pope be declared a Righteous Gentile, and even supports the Vatican in its call for the Pope's beatification. The book is fascinating and an altogether moving tribute from a scholarly historian.
At the conclusion Dalin claims that the real agenda of the myth- makers is to attack the very idea of the papacy, Christianity, and traditional religion as a whole. It is highly recommended as finally laying to rest this tiresome subject, if not for the bigoted anti-Catholic who will never be convinced, but at least for all fair-minded people.
East Fremantle, WA
(Editor: The Myth of Hitler's Pope, hard cover, $54.95, is available from Freedom Publishing, p. 19)