In today's editorial, we take on that vaunted news titan 60 Minutes for their scurrilous piece on Pope Pius XII Sunday night and how, by elevating the author of the book "Hitler's Pope" by John Cornwell, a dissident and bitter Catholic journalist, the network and "hit man" Ed Bradley took everything out of context and couched certain questions that would evoke the response they wanted. Through manipulative editing and subliminal footage of dark, forboding scenes whenever they were referring to Pius, they portrayed a man who hated Jews and blacks. Nothing could be further from the truth and we set the record straight in today's commentary. For today's editorial By its use of yellow journalism the once-mighty CBS eye is now black and blue! , click on CATHOLIC PewPOINT
Yet Cornwell found one letter written by Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli in all his search and immediately assumed the worst. He called it a "turning point." A turning point to what? Publishing a scathing best-seller that would demean the Pope of Rome and be gobbled up by anti-Catholics, bitter Jews, dissident Catholics and a liberal media, thus assuring him monetary success on the New York Times best seller list. That was the "turning point!" We suspect that was his intent all along as he used the guise of extolling Pius in order to gain access to the Vatican archives. The Holy See was hoodwinked and the world is being hoodwinked now. The "turning point" Cornwell explained to Bradley, was a letter he found in which Cardinal Pacelli described a leader of a radical band of Jewish socialists as one who was "pale, dirty, with drugged eyes, vulgar, repulsive, with a face that is both intelligent and shy." Where in that description of a person who might very well have been that way does it say anything about Pius's intense scorn for Jews as Cornwell asserts? The facts are that if Cardinal Pacelli wrote that it was not to put down Jews but an honest appraisal of how the crass leader came across. We suspect the man wasn't even a loyal Jew for those attributes would not be acceptable to orthodox Jews. But yet Cornwell took it upon himself to instantly condemn Pius for those words and equate them to what Adolf Hitler would say and immediately the reader and viewer are left with the false assumption that Pius XII scorned all Jews. Yet Father Gumpel has poured through countless letters and testimonies and found none of that. Had he, the cause for Pius XII's beatification would come to an instant halt as is the case per Canon Law and the rules of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Keep in mind that Fr. Gumpel is not looking to hide anything or overlook questionable things for his responsibility is of "devil's advocate." In that position he is to look for every avenue as to why someone should not be a saint rather than why they should be. When he cannot make claim to the negatives holding up, then, and only then does the committee proceed further. To say Father Gumpel is covering up is to impugn the entire Church process present and past.
But neither Bradley or Cornwell are past trying to impugn the Church and it showed in the brief "expose" Sunday night. Bradley immediately launched into a systematic character assassination of Pius XII by interviewing a Jewish man Gerhardt Reigner, still alive today at 87, who back in 1942 was a German Jewish refugee working in Geneva for the World Jewish Congress. Reigner claims he sent a personal memo to the Holy Father back then pleading for the Pope to intervene. Since he didn't hear back from the Pope he assumed Pius didn't care as he conveyed begrudgingly about Pius XII: "he was not involved, wasn't interested, he didn't care" and that "the killing of six million Jews...was not the concern of the Catholic Church." He made this assumption because he didn't hear back from Pius. We question whether Pius ever received the memo in the first place since Cornwell didn't find it in the archives he supposedly poured through. Had he found it wouldn't he have published that to corroborate his argument against Pius? Of course, but it is just more lies poured one on top of the other. Consider Reigner's position at the World Jewish Congress. Do you think the Nazis were not aware of Reigner and his intent? Do you think the Gestapo wanted that memo to reach Pius? No way! Ergo, wouldn't it seem quite possible that the memo was intercepted by members of the Third Reich and never reach Pius for there have been numerous documents uncovered since that verifies that Hitler's regime greatly feared the Vatican and considered Rome an enemy to Arian Superiority. This includes the diary of Adolph Eichmann, one of Hitler's leading butchers, that substantiated Pius was a "friend to the Jews." Yet strangely, the government of Israel kept this under wraps for more than forty years. It has now been released to the news wires. Yet, strangely, CBS News chose to ignore that.
Also consider that had the World Jewish Congress an envoy or delegate to the Holy See then that memo could have been delivered much more readily. Another problem that few bring up was that there was not a sovereign state the Jews could appeal to, rally around, until David Ben Gurion reestablished Israel in 1948. In other words, they were a people without a country and this hurt drastically in negotiations by the Vatican on their behalf because they could not deal with Hitler's neo-paganistic regime out of strength of diplomacy. While Cornwell and the Jewish people interviewed by Bradley all agree many Catholics helped the Jews during the war, they're quick to point out that it was individual action and not Pius XII. How do they know that? Because they've been programmed to say that for any admittance that Pius XII helped the Jews would weaken their own bitterness toward anyone they could blame with Hitler and all of the Third Reich gone. Being mad at Rome today for what they perceived as Pius' inaction is akin to being mad at the German government today for Hitler's reign of terror. Neither had anything to do with the other. But someone has to shoulder the blame just because they have to have someone to blame and that falls on the most likely victim - the Church and her Vicar of Christ during that terrible time in world history. Think about it though. If Pius XII is going to be crucified because he didn't help every Jew, then shouldn't Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt be looked at the same way for not advising their troops to go into Auschwitz sooner to free the victims? Or, to carry that further, wouldn't the same standards apply to Bill Clinton for not helping every poor person in East Timor or Bangledesh or Africa? Of course not, but then the Church is the target here, not just Pius XII.
Then Bradley goes on to further crucify Pius XII by relating one man's point of view - Cornwell's - that Pius was selfish and power-hungry and didn't care and further faulted the Pope for not speaking out even though countless Jews publicly thanked Pius XII after the war. Then Bradley went back to Reigner and confronted him with these facts that many Jewish organizations including his own World Jewish Congress profusely expressed their gratitude, and Reigner sheepishly said, "well this was because we were all interested in improving relations between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church." Bradley then syllogized it as a political ploy. Talk about doublespeak! If the majority of the Jews felt Pius had not been a friend to the Jews do you think in any way they would have openly praised this Italian Pope? No way! Remember, no one was holding a gun to their heads when they gave thanks to Pius XII. They had nothing to gain temporally by thanking him, only peace of mind that they were grateful for all he did. Still Bradley continues the character assassination by finding a disgruntled old Jewish woman who was one of 1,000 Jews deported in Rome. She was one of the few survivors. But Settimia Spezzichino's bitterness was still very apparent as she lambasted the 260th successor of Peter, saying "We were right under his window...Nobody came, not even to save a child...he should have risked himself to speak out...it is unpardonable." She was there, but she didn't know the true situation for she was very young. She was there, but she didn't understand that Pius XII himself was a prisoner within the Vatican for the Nazis occupied Rome at that time. She was there, but she didn't understand all of the behind the scenes work Pius and his staff were doing to save countless other Jews that weren't quite so obvious. She was there, but didn't realize the Third Reich had placed the refugees near the Vatican as a trap, to see if Pius would show his hand and attempt to rescue them or speak for them. Had he, he undoubtedly would not only have not saved the 1,000 but put in jeopardy the countless other Jews in Rome and throughout Europe who he endeavored to save during his pontificate. For if the Nazis could have gained proof of Pius' involvement they could have commandeered the Vatican itself and confiscated confidential records which detailed places where Jews were hiding or to be hidden. By his silence, he saved countless others. But CBS never even considered that. Strange, for a news organization that supposedly prides itself on integrity and accuracy, they would overlook such obvious facts.
Bradley then proceeded to take out of context a letter from Pius' Secretary of State Cardinal Luigi Maglione, who died in 1944, to the German Ambassador in protest against the deportations of the Jews. The letter in effect said that in reply to the German delegate's response of what was the Holy See going to do about it, the cardinal said the Church was not going to jeopardize the Catholics in Germany for Pius and the cardinal knew that Hitler was looking for anything he could against the Pope to turn the people of Germany against the Church, a faith Hitler himself had long abandoned in bitterness. As Father Gumpel then explained numerous times to Bradley, that something of that nature taken out of context would seem as a condemnation of Pius but that could be indicative of anyone if one takes things out of context. This would even apply to the Bible. But rather than accepting that, Bradley did what so many liberals are fond of doing; he launched into another attack on another front. This time it dealt with Pius' request of the American military not to send black troops to Rome after the war because of documented problems with many raping the Italian women. Bradley, himself an African American, played on this in trying to associate a prejudice by Pius to blacks, but Father Gumpel exasperatingly backed the holy pontiff by saying the Pope was merely trying to protect the virginity of the young ladies of Rome and that Pius was concerned not just for black soldiers but white U.S. soldiers as well. Having served as an Information Officer in the United States Air Force during the Viet Nam era, this editor can attest to the amoral animal instincts of service men who have little consideration for others but take being in the military as a license to do whatever they want, sort of a "to the victors go the spoils" mentality. Still, Ed Bradley has a penchant for taking things out of context, as does John Cornwell in order for it to fit their arguments. It is no different from those who interpret the bible the way they want to see it. Pat Ludwa wrote in his column last Thursday about the great danger of those three words, "well, I think..." and that is exactly what Bradley and Cornwell have done with no veritable proof to substantiate their character assassination of a good, holy, beleaguered Pontiff who, because of his piety and aloofness from others and his unwillingness to designate, took it all on his own shoulders. Today those shoulders are bruised and bloodied by the cross of accusation and slurs.
Speaking of shoulders, His Holiness John Paul II is looking more stooped over than ever but his spirits are strong as he begins this historic "Jubilee Journey" in retracing the footsteps of Jesus. Yesterday he stood on the very same spot Moses did in looking out over the Jordan Valley toward Jerusalem and Bethlehem from Mt. Nebo. Aided by a Franciscan priest, the Holy Father gazed out at the same sight on a platform above St. George Greek Orthodox Church on Mt. Tabor - looking toward Israel and recalling the passage of Numbers 27: 12-14 in which Moses was allowed to look out on but never set foot in the promised land. Today the Vicar of Christ becomes the first Roman Pontiff in thirty-six years to set foot in Israel since Pope Paul VI's abbreviated visit in 1964. And yet, once again, Clinton is again trying to upstage the Pope. It happened during the Holy Father's historic trip to Cuba in January of 1998. You remember, that same week the media gave it scant notice because Clinton was at the heart of the prurient controversy going on in Washington D.C. with the scandalous Monica Lewinsky affair. Now, once again he's trying to take headlines away from the Supreme Pontiff during the latter's most important week of his glorious pontificate. For some reason Clinton chose this week to go to South Asia and Pakistan, India and Bangledesh. For security reasons he chose not to go to the latter but pledged his support for the poor beleaguered people there. Think about it, if he doesn't save all those poor downtrodden ones will Clinton be accused of "not doing enough to save the people" as Pius was? If not, why not? Oh yes, we forgot, it's a double standard where blame only belongs to the Church! Why not? After 2000 years, the Church relates very well with her Founder who submitted to the scourging at the pillar and today that pillar - His Church - remains the world's whipping post! But through it all the Church and Pope remain the Pillars of Promise and Peace!
Because of the smear job Cornwell, Bradley et alii fired at the Church on Sixty Minutes this past Sunday night, the proud and hauty CBS eye has been sullied. By its use of yellow journalism the once-mighty CBS eye is now black and blue!
Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the wonderful treasures of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith. Today we present the catechesis on the Seven Deadly or Capital Sins with today's first sin of Pride as explained in My Catholic Faith for is the root of many sin and was the downfall of satan himself who would not serve. For the 135th installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH
Our Lord is the best example of meekness and patience. Did He use His almighty power to punish those who did Him evil? For hours He hung meekly on the cross, until He died. Every day God is patient with sinners, giving them time to change their ways. God, the Supreme One, is not proud.
The proud man overestimates himself, and believes himself the source of his own excellence. The virtue of humility, which disposes us to acknowledge our limitations, is opposed to pride. Some are proud of their appearance; others of their family, talents, poisition, money, and the virtues they imagine they possess. Even if we do have excellent abilities or possessions, we should not be proud of them, remembering that they all come from God. Instead, we should be humbly thankful, and see in what way we can make a return to God for such gifts. "Every proud man is an abomination to the Lord" (Proverbs 16:5).
Pride may be called the mother of all vices, for most sins can be traced to it. From pride arise ambition, vanity, presumption, disobedience, hypocrisy, obstinacy in sin. "For pride is the beginning of all sin: he that holdeth it shall be filled with maledictions and it shall ruin him in the end" (Ecclesiastes 10:15). "Never suffer pride to reign in they mind or in they words, for from it all perdition took its beginning" (Tobias 4:14). Pride was the sin of our First Parents, who wanted to be as great as God. It was the sin of the pharaoh; he was so proud that in spite of the miracles Moses worked, he refused to be convinced. For this God "hardened his heart" (Exodus 9:12); that is, God permitted him to close the window of his soul against the grace of the Holy Spirit. "Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord has rejected thee" (1 Kings 15:26).
3. The proud man tries to attract notice and praise, strives after honors, distinctions, and other worldly favors. He is over-confident in himself, and despises the assistance of God. Pride was the sin of lucifer. The proud man pretends to be greater than he is, and tries by all manner of means to attract the praise of others, even using false humility to do so.
God hates pride, and punishes it severely. He often punishes secret pride by withdrawing His assistance from the proud man. And deprived of God's aid, the proud man often falls into grievous sins leading to his humiliation. "The beginning of the pride of man is to fall off from God" (Ecclesiastes. 10:14). "God resists the proud" (1 Peter 5:5). "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled" (Luke 14:11). Thus the proud King Herod was eaten up by worms and died. Thus, the proud Roman Empire fell and became nothing. Our Lord pointed out the pride in the heart of the Pharisee, and praised the humble publican.
If we, however, despise sin as beneath us, that is not pride, but a virtuous self-respect.A decent regard for cleanliness and neatness is not vanity. The ambition to exceed in good things, as in studies, in order to make the best use of God's gifts, is to be commended. God wishes us to be His excellent children.
Tomorrow: Seven Deadly Sins - part two - Covetousness and Lust
Today, the Jewish Feast of Purim, and tomorrow's liturgy are both Lenten Weekdays For the readings, liturgies, and meditations, see DAILY LITURGY.
Mercifully perfect within us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the support given by this holy observance: that what by Thine instruction we know we are to do, by Thine assistance we may be enabled to accomplish. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever. Amen.
"Neither be called masters; for One only is your Master, the Christ. He Who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted."
On this day 854 years ago, Pope Blessed Eugene III charged a young Benedictine monk to begin preaching the Second Crusade throughout Europe. He chose wisely for the holy priest he selected was none other than Saint Bernard of Clairvaux the holy Cistercian, who would be an influential force to many Popes and the Church during his lifetime. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on this date, see MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, at the request of Pope Blessed Eugene III, begins preaching the Second Crusade
Pope Blessed Eugene III grants an annulment to King Louis VII of France and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine
Death of Saint Nicholas Von Flue, Patron Saint of Switzerland
Pope Gregory XIV bans all wagering on papal elections as well as betting on the length of a papal reign or when cardinal would be named and who. 1947 A.D.
Pope Pius XII publishes his eleventh encyclical Fulgens radiatur on Saint Benedict.
Historical Events in Church Annals for March 21:
Roman Emperor Heraclius recaptures the True Cross taken by the Persians and restores it to it's proper place
1146 A.D. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, at the request of Pope Blessed Eugene III, begins preaching the Second Crusade
1152 A.D. Pope Blessed Eugene III grants an annulment to King Louis VII of France and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine
1487 A.D. Death of Saint Nicholas Von Flue, Patron Saint of Switzerland
1591 A.D. Pope Gregory XIV bans all wagering on papal elections as well as betting on the length of a papal reign or when cardinal would be named and who.
1947 A.D. Pope Pius XII publishes his eleventh encyclical Fulgens radiatur on Saint Benedict.