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March 18, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 55

Why is Pope Pius XII is getting such a bad rap?

     On the heels of the release of the Vatican document on the Holocaust, entitled "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah (Holocaust)," we ask aloud why do the Jewish factions, especially in America, protest so much and blame Pope Pius XII for allowing the Nazis to persecute the Jews? We answer those questions in our hard-hitting editorial today titled, "Have they forgotten the lessons of history?" Click on today's CATHOLIC PewPOINT

Have they forgotten the lessons of history?

     Today we celebrate the optional feast of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, a bishop and doctor. No one knows if he was born a Jew but we do know he converted to Christianity and cared deeply about the Jewish people under his jurisdiction as head of Jerusalem's flock - Christian and non-Christian. His life was filled with strife and accusations stemming from jealousies and the politics of Arian sympathizers. It is not unsimilar to another great man of the Church whose life was filled with strife during the terrible war of nations known as the Second World War. In the aftermath of that terrible time accusations were slung like misguided arrows at Pope Pius XII who was unjustly accused of remaining silent while hundreds of thousands Jews were murdered in the gas chambers of the Nazi and, later, Soviet death camps. The most notable, of course, is Auschwitz where just this weekend the controversy reached a crescendo over the removal of a twenty-six foot cross that had been part of a Carmelite convent that was built in memory of the souls who died there. The good nuns prayed night and day for not only the souls of those murdered, but also for their murderers. But in recent times the Carmelites were forced to forsake it and abandon the convent to the Polish government because of political pressure from the Jews. The latter screamed in protest that this "cross" was an affront to their fellow Jews - nearly one and a half million - who died. They failed to recognize that over 75,000 Catholics were also put to death at this same camp, including Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Blessed Edith Stein, a convert from Judaism. They lament their countrymen and well they should, but they should not deprive others, especially in a Catholic country such as Poland, homeland of our Holy Father, of a fitting memorial to all the slain. Perhaps it is too vivid a reminder of the tree their ancestors, both silently and vociferously, approved be raised to hang an innocent Man on nearly 2000 years ago. Perhaps they forget that it was Catholics, clergy and the Church who have stood with them throughout history in their persecutions, with great saints taking unpopular stands in their favor because it was the right thing to do. But evidently with these Jewish voices, the loudest coming from factions in the United States such as the Jewish Anti-Defamation League headed by national director Abraham Foxman and Phil Baum, head of the American Jewish Congress, they want blood! Why?

      We can't presume to answer their reasoning, only what the Roman Catholic Church has done and only by studying the causes and effects of history. Over the centuries the Inquisition created ill will with many and often it could have been handled better. But what so many historians seem to forget is that this was not the sole working of Rome, but rather heavy influence from monarchs in Europe who used the Inquisition for their own personal gain and, sadly, used Holy Mother Church in the process. We must remember man was born with Original Sin and therefore no one is perfect, not pope, bishop, priest, religious, lay person, king, peasant, aristocrat, rabbi, or minister. There were many throughout history who took advantage of the Church both those employed by her and those who used her for their own purposes. If one truly studies the causes and effects of history, especially European history one can see the intertwining tableau of monarchies that feared competition. That was the main reason kings, dukes and the like tried to curb Jews and their activities during those years for the Jews formed their own exclusive cliques to try to monopolize and manipulate markets. It had nothing to do with religion! That's right! In fact, we suspect there were more priests available to minister to the victims of the holocaust than there were rabbis, but the American Jewish factions fail to recognize this and instead lash out at another Pole - John Paul II, who himself was a first-hand victim of the atrocities while growing up in Poland. There was and is no greater sympathizer to the Jewish cause than this wise Pope.

      This past Monday, with the supreme pontiff's approval, the document "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah (Holocaust)" was released to the public in which the Holy Father stated, it is our "fervent hope that this document will help heal the wounds of past misunderstandings and injustices committed by Christians against Jews." But because he didn't crucify his fellow pontiff Pope Pius XII in the document released by the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, headed by Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy of Australia, they cry for more blood and call the document "a travesy", "hollow," even "bizarre." What do they want? Did they want the Holy Father to admit Pius XII and Nazi despot Adolph Hitler were in cahoots? Talk about absurd! Hitler, once a seminarian, had abandoned his faith and his Church and had subsequently excommunicated himself. He was no longer Catholic. Blaming Hitler's actions on the Church is akin to blaming any criminal activity by anyone born a Catholic, but not living his faith, on the Church. Or it is similar to placing the blame for any criminal no matter how old on the parents. Sorry, we don't buy that! If it was a child, then we could see parental responsibility. But over the years other factors come into play and the parents can do just so much, just as the Church can do just so much. The two have tried to instill the values and ethics so important in leading good, upstanding lives with the ultimate goal of an eternal afterlife as the reward. But we forget about another major player in all of this, one who loves to throw blame around, namely satan. He takes great pride in the state of our society today and it is society that has ruined so many souls because of the seven deadly sins which are just that - fatal. Such was the case of Hitler and many other ruthless, murdering dictators throughout history - both modern and ancient history which includes the Old Testament times.

     The whole crusade against Pius XII began with protests from New York Jews after World War II, not before or during. In fact, during the war, specifically on Christmas Day, 1941 just weeks after America entered the war, the New York Times wrote in their editorial, "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." It is a known fact that German Nazis were not happy with Pius' election on March 2, 1939 for he had long been a vociferous opponent of Nazism. Many complain that Pius XII was "too silent" about the aberrations going on in Germany. Perhaps they fail to realize why. Could it be that by speaking out too strongly he would have endangered the lives of millions of more Catholics not only in Germany, but France and Poland as well? Could it be that his "silence" was really working underground to effect change, to help the allies defeat this mad Arian and his regime which was the scourge of Europe? Could it be that behind the scenes his "silence" was devoted to countless hours of prayer and petition to Heaven for a resolution to this armageddon?

     That same "silence" was being heard in convents and monasteries around the world where religious were praying night and day for God's Mercy on the devastation that befell Europe and the Pacific theater. That same "silence" was busy in the Carmelite monastery for years after the atrocities of Auschwitz. But the Jewish power-brokers don't buy "silence" - they want noise and the more they make, the more they denigrate others such as the Carmelites who were forced to abandon their accommodations for a safer place. We doubt all Jews feel the same way or would express the same "outrage" that Foxman and Baum are spouting in order to grab center stage. But it only takes a few to make some noise. John Paul II, in a sincere effort to bring Christians and Jews together, has released this document out of love and reconciliation. Yet you don't have to be intelligent to make a lot of noise, just have a loud voice and ears to hear it. The media are the ears and they make even louder noise, looking for the sensational, looking for every opportunity to please their Jewish bosses and bash Catholics. It's a common thread that's been going on for years. But for Catholics to cry out "foul?" Well, that's not politically correct! Political correctness be damned, we accept the abuse not because we don't have any other recourse or are afraid, but chiefly because Jesus Christ said we would be persecuted for Him, and to willingly carry our crosses daily. For the Vatican, this is a cross. But they carry it willingly and take the slings and arrows of accusations, false charges, exaggerations and ignorance of what really happened. Father Kurt Peter Gumpel has done extensive research on the subject in spearheading Pius XII's cause for canonization and, as a sort of "devil's advocate" has discovered that Pius XII should be absolved of any wrong-doing as should those who came after him, especially our present pontiff who has shown more love and concern toward the Jewish people than anyone since a certain Carpenter walked their land nearly 2000 years ago - the same Man Who they proclaimed "King of the Jews." But they failed to realize all He told them that His kingdom was not of this world, just as today they fail to realize Pius XII's methods were based on Christ's teaching and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit - also not of this world. Just as they crucified Christ, they try to do the same to Eugenio Pacelli today nearly forty years after the death of this quiet, but effective and holy Pope. Have they forgotten the lessons of history?

Michael Cain, editor

Our Lady shares her heart with her children

     The Blessed Mother in her Meditation in Lesson 7 THE MOTHER SUFFERS WITH THE SON shares what is in her heart how the evil one tried to the torment her, but she turned to the sure-fire pest eradicator: prayer and gave herself to the Divine Will. She asks us to do the same- turn to prayer for all louir answers and to withstand the suffering all must undergo if we are to help carry her Divine Son's cross. These meditative lessons, imparted by Our Lady to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart during Lent of 1993, are meant to inspire and prompt a greater understanding of the season of Lent in helping us all prepare for His Passion and Death, and ultimately the glorious Resurrection. Click on "IT IS CONSUMMATED!"

Meditative Lesson 7:


part three Our Lady's Meditation

     My Little Children, only in Heaven shall you know the swords which pierced me and the assaults satan made against me when his hour had come. But I prayed and would not listen to his malicious lies. I trusted the Father to bring to full fruition all He had planned. I was immovable, because my prayer kept me rooted, solid. I felt upon my own flesh and more importantly upon my poor soul, all that my Divine Son suffered. And I joined my pains with His infinite pains that all of mankind might one day believe and accept my Divine Son, and work in union with His Passion for eternal life.

      It was mercy to "see" my Son in every moment of His Passion. It was also martyrdom, for I could not be with Him, Who I had borne in by virginal womb, nourished at my virginal breast. My heart was rent asunder when I could not comfort Him in my arms, nor wipe the blood from His body, nor tenderly kiss each wound.

      I could only pray!

      That is what I ask each of you to do. As I united myself to the Fatherís will, mankindís redemption drew nearer. This also gave me great joy, for this was the reason for my Divine Sonís coming to earth. I, His holy, sinless Mother, wanted only what He wanted: complete obedience to the Divine Will.

      My Little Ones there are so many sublime mysteries in my Divine Sonís life that you will know only in Heaven. But I solemnly tell you that you must do as I didópray! In your prayer which rises from your heart you shut out the evil one and hear only Godís voice.

      No matter the trial you shall have strength. You shall have His peace. This is vital for all of you in these end times and it is possible for each of you if only you will pray from your heart and unite that prayer to my Divine Sonís Passion.

      In the holy season of Lent be crucified with my Jesus, Who did all for love of you. Then shall the Spirit of God fill you and give you holy wisdom and pure discernment.

      Pray with me, your heavenly Mother, for I shall be with you as I was also with my Son - through prayer that united our hearts and souls.


Medjugorje Monthly Message for February 25th

      Dear children! Also today I am with you and I, again, call all of you to come closer to me through your prayers. In a special way, I call you to renunciation in this time of grace. Little children, meditate on and live, through your little sacrifices, the Passion and Death of Jesus for each of you. Only if you come closer to Jesus will you comprehend the immeasurable love He has for each of you. Through prayer and your renunciation you will become more open to the gift of faith and love towards the Church and the people who are around you. I love and bless you. Thank you for having responded to my call! For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE


Events that happened today in Church History

      For events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history, click on ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Historical Events in Church Annals for March 18:

653 and counting, hoping and praying..

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant


Vatican Annual Report reveals Church numbers increase in 1997!

      The Holy Father got an encouraging St. Patrick's Day gift when he received the Annuario Pontificio in a formal ceremony at the Vatican. The numbers revealed that clergy numbers have increased with 161 new bishops, twenty new cardinals, and a 6.7 increase over 1992 in total ordinations. In addition the directory listed seventeen new dioceses in addition to other territories governed by the Holy See. For more, click on Annual Report to read more.


      VATICAN (CWN) -- The Annuario Pontificio, the annual directory of the worldwide Catholic Church, was formally presented to Pope John Paul II yesterday morning.

      This year's edition of the Annuario includes a listing of the latest members of the College of Cardinals, who were elevated to that rank by the Pope on February 21.

      There were 161 new bishops named during 1997, bringing the worldwide total up to 4,257. The total number of priests at the time of publication was 404,336; of these roughly 65 percent are diocesan priests, while 35 percent belong to religious orders. The number of diocesan priests increased slightly last year, while the number of religious priests declined. Overall, the number of priestly ordinations in 1997 was 6.7 percent higher than it had been five years earlier, in 1992.

      The Annuario lists all of the 166 governments which enjoy full diplomatic relations with the Holy See, including those which established such ties during the past year: Angola, Guyana, and Libya.

      The volume also lists one new archepiscopal see, 17 new dioceses, one apostolic exarchate, one territorial prelature, one military ordinariate, and one apostolic prefecture.


      VATICAN (CWN) -- Pope John Paul II today encouraged a group of bishops from the United States to emphasize the task of evangelization, making each parish a center from which the Gospel is preached.

      The Pope greeted a group of bishops from Washington, Baltimore, and the southeastern US, who were in Rome for their ad limina visit. He reminded them that the Church is always a missionary institution, and expressed his confidence "that you will seek to renew within your communities a vital and dynamite sense of the Church's mission, so that this time of grace will be a springtime of the Gospel."

      One test of the vigor of a Christian community, the Pope said, is "the way in which families transmit the faith from one generation to the next." He added that parish life should guarantee sound teaching for all young Catholics, and urged the bishops to ensure that divisions do not lead to confusion about Church teachings or "polarization" among the faithful.

      Authentic Christianity should also serve the community, the Pope said, insofar as the Gospel impels believers toward responsibility use of their freedom. "When liberty is detached from the truth about the human person and the moral law written in human nature, society and the democratic process are endangered," he said. Thus by preaching the Gospel, Christians are also preserving the health of the democracy, he concluded.

A Call to Peace the main message of Religious prelates in Ireland

     On the most celebrated day in Ireland and the day Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was meeting with President Clinton in Washington, D.C. ecclesial leaders from the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Church of Ireland expressed a sincere tone of reconciliation in striving to end the strife and effect a workable lasting peace in Northern Ireland. For more, click on Irish Peace to read more.


      DUBLIN (CWN) - In Ireland, the heads of both the Catholic Church and the (Anglican) Church of Ireland have called for reconciliation in their St. Patrick's Day messages on Tuesday.

      The Catholic primate of Ireland, Archbishop Sean Brady, and the Church of Ireland primate, Archbishop Robin Eames, said that the search for peace in the British-ruled province of northern Ireland is at a very critical stage. At midday Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh, Archbishop Brady said the conditions now exist to bring about a whole new chapter in the life of the islands of Ireland and Britain. The archbishop said St. Patrick would have joined in condemning those who planned and prepared the weapons of murder: the arsenals of arms, the bombs, and the mortars. He hoped that the peace process might bring an end to the ancient hostilities and that the process of reconciliation might begin in earnest. He said those extremists who had attempted to wreck progress must not be allowed to succeed.

      And at a service in the Church of Ireland cathedral in Armagh, Archbishop Eames said that the next few weeks would be crucial to the peace process. He said that everyone needed the courage shown by St. Patrick, to reach out into uncharted waters and to venture where it is not easy to see the result.

      Meanwhile in the center of Belfast more than 10,000 people gathered for a unique cross-community St. Patrick's Day parade. For the first time in its history the parade left the Catholic area of west Belfast and crossed into the city's center. Military-style bands, political slogans, flags, and speeches were all banned, and the parade was limited to traditional Irish music and dancing.

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"When pride comes, disgrace comes; but with the humble is wisdom."

Proverbs 11: 2

For all other standard features, articles and columns, click on Archives

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March 18, 1998 volume 9, no. 55         DAILY CATHOLIC