Showing posts with label Church Topics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Church Topics. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ISIS Bombs Assyrian, Armenian Churches in Syria

The St. Odisho Assyrian Church in Tel Tal, Syria, was bombed by ISIS yesterday.
The St. Odisho Assyrian Church in Tel Tal, Syria, was bombed by ISIS yesterday.

The following excerpts are from

(AINA) -- According to reports from Syria and also the Turkish press, ISIS has bombed two churches in Syria, the St. Odisho Assyrian Church in Tel Tal and the St. Rita Tilel Armenian Church in Aleppo. The churches were bombed yesterday.

Located on the Khabur river in the Hasaka province in Syria, Tel Tal is one of the 35 Assyrian villages that was attacked by ISIS on February 23. ISIS captured nearly 300 Assyrians in those attacks and subsequently released 23, all from the village of Tel Goran. The remaining Assyrians are still being held captive.

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ISIS Bombs Assyrian, Armenian Churches in Syria

Thursday, February 26, 2015

More Assyrian Christians Captured As ISIS Attacks Villages in Syria

Kurdish fighters in front of a church in the village of Tel Jumaa on Wednesday (Reuters).
Kurdish fighters in front of a church in the village of Tel Jumaa on Wednesday (Reuters).

The following excerpts are from

ISTANBUL -- The reports are horrifying, something out of a distant era of ancient conquests: entire villages emptied, with hundreds taken prisoner, others kept as slaves; the destruction of irreplaceable works of art; a tax on religious minorities, payable in gold.

A rampage reminiscent of Tamerlane or Genghis Khan, perhaps, but in reality, according to reports by residents, activist groups and the assailants themselves, a description of the modus operandi of the Islamic State's self-declared Islamic caliphate this week as it prosecuted a relentless campaign in Iraq and Syria against what have historically been religiously and ethnically diverse areas with traces of civilizations dating to ancient Mesopotamia.

The latest to face the militants' onslaught are the Assyrian Christians of northeastern Syria, one of the world's oldest Christian communities, some speaking a modern version of Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Assyrian leaders have counted 287 people taken captive, including 30 children and several dozen women, along with civilian men and fighters from Christian militias, said Dawoud Dawoud, an Assyrian political activist who had just toured the area, in the vicinity of the Syrian city of Qamishli. Thirty villages had been emptied, he said.

The Syriac Military Council, a local Assyrian militia, put the number of those taken at 350.

Reached in Qamishli, Adul Ahad Nissan, 48, an accountant and music composer who fled his village before the brunt of the fighting, said a close friend and his wife had been captured.

"I used to call them every other day. Now their mobile is off," he said. "I tried and tried. It's so painful not to see your friends again."

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Piece By Piece, Middle Eastern Christianity is Being Shattered

The following excerpts are from

Still reeling from last week's news of the Islamist beheading of 21 Coptic Christian migrant workers in Libya, Middle Eastern Christians were again targeted by a large scale Islamist terror attack with thousands of victims Monday, in Syria. Islamic State jihadists laid siege to a string of Christian Assyrian villages, along the Khabour river, in northeastern Syria, kidnapping or killing scores of residents. Those abducted are now in imminent peril and thousands more who were expelled have joined the ranks of mendicant displaced.

Piece by piece, Middle Eastern Christianity is being shattered.

What this means for the Islamist militants are gains in strategic ground and further headway in the goal of religious cleansing. In other words, the Islamic State also known as ISIS is still winning -- militarily and politically. And despite upbeat statements about our counter-terrorism strategy by new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and last week's Counter Violent Extremism conference at the State Department, our side -- those who oppose this barbarism -- finds itself still back on its heels.

Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana of the Assyrian Church of the East emailed that sources in the city of Hassakah, reported that some 3,000 of the villagers managed to flee, either to that city or to Qamishly, where they are being sheltered in churches. According to his source, who requested anonymity, the captives included "50 families in Tel Shamiran, 26 families in Tel Gouran, 28 families in Tel Jezira, and 14 young people (12 males and 2 females) who were defending Tel Hormiz." Milad, a 17-year-old man, was "martyred."

Since a family averages five people, this translates to over 120 Christians captured by ISIS. The Islamist militants reportedly separated the captives, men from women and children -- a pattern also seen when ISIS attacked Iraq's Yizidi community on Sinjar mountain last August. The Syrian Christians' fate is unknown but could include murder, enslavement, rape or traded as a hostage. Churches in the seized villages could be seen ablaze from the opposite river bank.

Syrian-Catholic Archbishop of Hassakah-Nisibi, Jacques Behnan Hindo, told the Vatican press Fides that the Christians feel like they are "abandoned into the hands" of ISIS.

The Archbishop explained:

"Yesterday American bombers flew over the area several times, but without taking action. We have a hundred Assyrian families who have taken refuge in Hassakah, but they have received no assistance either from the Red Crescent or from Syrian government aid workers, perhaps because they are Christians. The UN High Commission for Refugees is nowhere to be seen."

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Piece By Piece, Middle Eastern Christianity is Being Shattered

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Nicaragua’s bishops to meet with Ortega, declare days of prayer : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from CWN:

  • On May 21, Nicaragua’s bishops, along with the apostolic nuncio, will meet with President Daniel Ortega, whom a bishop recently said has undertaken a “devious persecution” of the Church.
  • Ortega, a leader of the Marxist Sandinistas who overthrew the authoritarian regime of Gen. Anastasio Somoza Debayle, ruled Nicaragua from the 1979 Sandinista takeover until his loss in the 1990 presidential election. Ortega won the presidential elections of 2006 and 2011.

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Nicaragua’s bishops to meet with Ortega, declare days of prayer : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Monday, May 05, 2014

Teacher tells student he can't read the Bible in classroom | Fox News

The following excerpts are from Fox News:

  • A Florida school teacher humiliated a 12-year-old boy in front of an entire class after she caught him reading the Bible during free reading time.
  • The teacher, at Park Lakes Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale, ordered Giovanni Rubeo to pick up the telephone on her desk and call his parents. 
  • As the other students watched, the teacher left a terse message on the family’s answering machine here.
  • “I noticed that he has a book – a religious book – in the classroom,” she said on the recording. “He’s not permitted to read those books in my classroom.”

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Teacher tells student he can't read the Bible in classroom | Fox News

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

‘Faithful dissent’? Catholic school board sponsors lecture on how to oppose Church moral teachings |

The following excerpts are from
  • An Ontario Catholic school board sponsored a lecture last week focused on how Catholic schools can “value … faithful dissent” as a way of opposing Catholic teaching on “ordination, homosexuality, and contraception.”
  • The Waterloo Catholic District School Board sponsored Graham McDonough, PhD, to speak at St. Jerome’s University (SJU) Friday night as part of the University’s lecture series on “Catholic Experience.”
  • “Catholic schools often find themselves dealing with disagreements with Church teaching on topics such as ordination, homosexuality, and contraception as well as with complaints that schools are not properly teaching doctrine,” reads a description of the lecture, titled “Faithful Disagreement: an opportunity for rediscovery in Catholic education.”
  • "This lecture proposes that Catholic schools can do more to include and nurture internal disagreement as a powerful opportunity to embrace intellectual diversity, learn the value of faithful dissent and enable greater participation in the Church and the world.”
  • Jack Fonseca of Campaign Life Catholics called it “diabolical” to have a Catholic school board sponsor a lecture on dissent.
  • “This is all a charade,” he said. “The description of the lecture seems to call for outright revolt against teachings that constitute unchangeable Catholic doctrine.”

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

4,000 incidents of anti-Christian violence in India last year : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic World News Headlines:

  • More than 4,000 cases of anti-Christian violence occurred in India last year, according to a report received by the Fides news agency.
  • The “report on persecution in 2013,” prepared cooperatively by several Christian groups in India, documented 7 murders along with hundreds of beatings, attacks on churches, and other forms of abuse. 

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4,000 incidents of anti-Christian violence in India last year : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pope Francis: More Christians Persecuted Than In The First Centuries

Vatican City, 17 November 2013 (VIS) – At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer, the Pope commented on Jesus' discourse in Jerusalem about the end of time. Jesus exhorted the apostles not to be deceived by false messiahs and not to be paralysed by fear, but rather to live this moment of waiting in hope, as a time of witness and perseverance.

The Holy Father emphasised the relevance of these words even to us now in the twenty-first century. “It is a call to discernment”, he said. “Even nowadays, in fact, there are false 'saviours' who seek to take Jesus' place: leaders of this world, gurus, holy men, people who want to attract hearts and minds, especially of young people. Jesus warns us: 'do not follow them'. And the Lord also helps us not to be afraid when faced with wars and revolutions, natural disasters and epidemics: Jesus liberates us from fatalism and false apocalyptic visions. … He reminds us that we are entirely in God's hands! The adversity we encounter on account of our faith and our adhesion to the Gospel are opportunities for witness; they should not turn us away from the Lord but rather encourage us to abandon ourselves more fully to Him, to the strength of His Spirit and His grace”.

In this moment”, he continued, unscripted, “let us think of the many Christian brothers and sisters who suffer persecution for their faith. There are many of them. Perhaps more than in the first centuries. Jesus is with them. Let us also be united with them by our prayer and our affection. Let us admire their courage and their witness. They are our brothers and sisters, who in many parts of the world suffer for being faithful to Jesus Christ. Let us extend our heartfelt and affectionate greetings to them”.

Francis highlighted Jesus' promise to us as a guarantee of victory: “'Stand firm, and you will win life'. … This is a call to hope and patience, to know how to await the certain fruits of salvation, trusting in the deep meaning of life and history; the trials and difficulties form part of a greater design, and the Lord, the master of history, guides all to its fulfilment. Despite the disorder and catastrophes that afflict the world, God's plan of goodness and mercy will prevail”.

You can find more information at:
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V.I.S. -Vatican Information Service.

Copyright © Vatican Information Service 00120 Vatican City

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Killing Copts for Ransom in Egypt

The following excerpts are from

  • Not only are the churches, monasteries, and institutions of Egypt's Christians under attack by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters--nearly 100 now have been torched, destroyed, ransacked, etc.--but Christians themselves are under attack all throughout Egypt, with practically zero coverage in Western media.
  • Days ago, for example, Copts held a funeral for Wahid Jacob, a young Christian deacon who used to serve in St. John the Baptist Church, part of the Qusiya diocese in Asyut, Egypt. He was kidnapped on August 21 by "unknown persons" who demanded an exorbitant ransom from his impoverished family--1,200,000 Egyptian pounds (equivalent to $171,000 USD). Because his family could not raise the sum, he was executed--his body dumped in a field where it was later found. The priest who conducted his funeral service said that the youth's body bore signs of severe torture.

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Killing Copts for Ransom in Egypt

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Video From Egypt Shows Muslim Mob Attacking Christian Church, Taking Down Cross

The following excerpts are from

  • Newly-surfaced video from Egypt shows a Muslim mob storming a Coptic church, setting cars on fire and then toppling a cross atop the steeple, in a shocking attack that Christians say has been played out dozens of times since the ouster of Mohammad Morsi.
  • The video, obtained by MidEast Christian News, was shot Aug. 14 from a nearby building overlooking the diocese in the southern Egyptian city of Sohag. In the six-minute video, a crowd, incensed by the eviction of pro-Morsi supporters from camps in Cairo, masses outside the church. Several members of the group scale a wall and attack vehicles in a courtyard, setting several ablaze. The video culminates in the crown exhorting a man high up on the steeple to take down a cross, which he does.
  • Dozens of Coptic churches were attacked by members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the military's move against Morsi, who critics say was turning Egypt into an Islamist state. Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 80 million, but Morsi supporters blamed them for his ouster, according to Coptic leaders.
  • Bishop Makarious, a Coptic leader from Minya, accused Muslim Brotherhood leaders of planning attacks on Christian churches, homes and businesses in an effort to divide the embattled nation.

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Video From Egypt Shows Muslim Mob Attacking Christian Church, Taking Down Cross

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sen. Ted Cruz: Gay ‘marriage’ could lead to Christian beliefs being punished as ‘hate speech’ |

The following excerpts are from
  • In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he believes the legalization of same-sex “marriage” may lead to those who express religious objections to homosexuality being prosecuted for hate speech.
  • “If you look at other nations that have gone down the road towards gay marriage, that’s the next step of where it gets enforced,” Cruz told CBN host David Brody. “It gets enforced against Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages, who speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage, that has been defined elsewhere as hate speech, as inconsistent with the enlightened view of government.”
  • In Canada, where gay ‘marriage’ was legalized in 2005, Christian pastors, public officials, educators and business owners have all faced heavy fines and lengthy court battles after speaking critically of the homosexual lifestyle. In one case a pastor was fined $7000 and ordered never again to speak publicly about the issue of homosexuality after he wrote a letter to the editor of a local newspaper criticizing the homosexual agenda in schools.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cardinal decries rape of Orissa nun, low status of women in India : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News:
  • Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai (Bombay), the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, has condemned the recent rape of a nun in the eastern Indian state of Orissa.
  • “I condemn this gang rape of this young nun in the strongest possible terms,” he said. “This gang rape is physical and emotional terrorism.”
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Cardinal decries rape of Orissa nun, low status of women in India : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Monday, June 17, 2013

Nearly 80% of Italian doctors refuse abortion; MPs attack conscience rights |

The following excerpts are from

  • A report by the Italian government has found that more than 80 per cent of gynecologists – in some areas it is believed to be as much as 91 per cent – and over 50 per cent of anesthesiologists and nurses refuse to participate in abortions, and the number is growing.
  • In response, a group of parliamentarians on the left from various parties have attacked the right to conscientious objection, saying that the government must put quotas into place for recruiting doctors willing to abort babies. One deputy alleged that the refusal of so many doctors and other staff to participate has resulted in an increase in the number of “clandestine” illegal abortions and in the number of Italian women going overseas to abort their children. 
  • Monsignore Igancio Barreiro, head of the Rome office of Human Life International said pro-life activists “have to be ready to defend the rights of conscience and we know that the proponents of the Culture of Death are ready to attack the right to refuse to do abortions.” 
  • “We must be vigilant and concerned because this is not something new,” he added. “We have to reaffirm it. It’s a basic human right.” 

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Nearly 80% of Italian doctors refuse abortion; MPs attack conscience rights |

Friday, April 05, 2013

Pakistan: mob burns shops, cars in Christian neighborhood : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News:
  • A Muslim mob burned shops and cars and threw stones at a church in a Christian neighborhood in Gujranwala, a city of 2.7 million in northeastern Pakistan that was the site of anti-Christian violence in 2011. Six were wounded in the latest incident; calm was restored following police intervention.
  • “The spark that ignited the violence was a dispute between young Muslims and Christians which degenerated into a fight,” said Samson Salamat, director of the Centre for Human Rights Education, who told the Fides news agency that “an imam of the mosque instigated the Muslims to attack Christians.”
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Students try to banish Catholic chaplain from campus for anti-gay stance | The Daily Caller

The following excerpts are from The Daily Caller:
  • Two gay seniors at George Washington University say they feel alienated because the chaplain at George Washington’s Newman Center rejects homosexuality, and they aren’t going to take it anymore.
  • The seniors, Damian Legacy and Blake Bergen, have announced a coordinated campaign to rid the campus of the Roman Catholic priest, reports The GW Hatchet, the school’s independent student newspaper.
  • They also assert that 12 or more students have quit the Newman Center in recent years because they can’t tolerate Father Greg Shaffer’s ardent anti-gay – and, for the record, anti-abortion — beliefs.
  • Shaffer has worked for five years at George Washington’s Newman Center. He told the Hatchet that religion and unrestricted speech “play a vital role at a diverse university like GW.”
  • Legacy and Bergen say they are primarily upset about the counseling Shaffer offers. They say he urges students who have homosexual feelings to lead a life of celibacy.
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Friday, November 23, 2012

From The Dignitatis Humanae Institute: Egypt's Embattled Christians Fear Exclusion Under New Islamist Constitution

Note: The following is a press release from The Dignitatis Humanae Institute

  London, 23 November 2012

As the Western media shift attention from crisis to crisis in the Middle East, one continuing, omnipresent tragedy goes wilfully ignored, the violent persecution of the regions' remaining Christians.  Nowhere is this more evident than Egypt, where the new government, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, press on with the drafting of a new constitution with Sharia Law it is core and little tolerance for Christians.

As Syria and Gaza dominate the headlines, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has quickly gone about shaping what was once a relatively moderate nation into an Islamist republic.  The Arab Spring's ambitious hopes for pluralist democracies has quickly faded, only to be supplemented with theocratic regimes potentially worse than those which preceded them.

The Christians of Egypt, amounting to approximately 10% of the population, have expressed growing despondency as to the nature of the draft constitution.  Church leaders have found themselves repeatedly shut out of dialogue by the nations' Salafis who are determined to enshrine their dominance into law.  While the future constitution looks bleak for religious minorities, the persecution of the Coptic community continues each day.  Since President Morsi and the Muslim brotherhood gained power dozens of Christians have been murdered in addition to increased attacks on Christian property and the burning of Churches.  Kidnappings are not uncommon as well as reports of qualified Christians being turned away from employment.

Speaking from his office in Westminster to the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, Lord Alton, Honorary President of the British Coptic Association and Chairman of the Cross-Party Working Group on Human Dignity, appealed to the Egyptian government to remain true to their election assurances: 

"Mohammed Morsi swept to power on the promise that he would rule for all Egyptians, including the Christian community.  As the future constitution is drafted and the next chapter of Egyptian history determined, President Morsi must be held accountable to his solemn pledge to bring peace and tolerance to the marginalised communities of Egypt.  The Coptic community have shown remarkable forbearance in these past five months, I sincerely hope their patience with the new government will not be betrayed through further degradation."

The Dignitatis Humanae Institute aims to uphold human dignity based on the anthropological truth that man is born in the image and likeness of God and therefore has an innate human dignity of infinite worth to be upheld. The Institute promotes this understanding by supporting Christians in public life, assisting them to present effective and coherent responses to increasing efforts to silence the Christian voice in the public square.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Archbishop Lori denounces ‘godless secularism,’ Catholic politicians who favor abortion : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News :
  • At the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ special October 14 Mass and Pilgrimage for Life and Liberty at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore lamented the massive loss of human life through abortion, denounced pro-abortion Catholic politicians, and rued the mounting “culture of oppression” against religious believers.
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Archbishop Lori denounces ‘godless secularism,’ Catholic politicians who favor abortion : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Cardinal Newman Society

St. Edward’s University Upholds Catholic Identity, Rejects Gay Advocacy Group from Internship Fair
Cardinal Newman Society

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Pope Pius XII: Misunderstood and Maligned (Part Two of Two)

Pope Pius XII: Misunderstood and Maligned (Part Two of Two)

"Pius XII? That is the only human being who has always contradicted me and who has never obeyed me." Adolf Hitler

Bishop Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, was Papal Nuncio in Bavaria from April 1917, and in June 1920, was also Papal Nuncio to the German Weimar Republic. Early in his Nunciate, in a private letter (November 14, 1923) to Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Cardinal Gasparri, Pacelli denounced the National Socialist (Nazi) Movement as an anti-Catholic and anti-Hebrew threat. He also remarked about Michael Cardinal von Faulhaber, Bishop of Munich (von Faulhaber had said at Advent 1933, "Let us not forget that we were saved not by German blood but by the blood of Christ!" Shots were fired through his study window in 1934, and a Nazi mob broke out the windows of his residence in 1938 because of his opposition to Nazism), had condemned persecutions against Bavarian Jews. During the 1920's and 1930's Pacelli succeeded in negotiating concordats with Bavaria, Prussia, and Baden, but, failed in negotiating with Germany. Pacelli was created a cardinal on December 16, 1929, by Pope Pius XI, and then on February 7, 1930, he was appointed as Vatican Secretary of State. Adolph Hitler did not come into power in Germany until January 30, 1933.

As Vatican Secretary of State, Pacelli made 42 speeches, and 40 of those were speeches that were in opposition to National Socialism. On April 29, 1935 four years BEFORE the war started, with an audience of 250,000 in attendance at Lourdes, France, Pacelli in a speech said that the Nazis “are in reality only miserable plagiarists who dress up old errors with new tinsel. It does not make any difference whether they flock to the banners of social revolution, whether they are guided by a false concept of the world and of life, or whether they are possessed by the superstition of a race and blood cult.” [1] Speeches Pacelli made in addition to private remarks and notes of protest sent to Berlin in his capacity as Vatican Secretary of State, earned Pacelli a reputation among the Nazis as an enemy of National Socialism. Pacelli recognized Hitler for what he was. So much so, that when a Sister asked Pacelli if there was not some good in Hitler, Pacelli said, “This man is completely carried away; everything he says and writes has the mark of his egocentrism; this man is capable of trampling on corpses and eliminating anything that is an obstacle. I cannot understand how there are so many people in Germany who do not understand him, and cannot draw conclusions from what he says or writes. Has any of them even read his horrifying ‘Mein Kampf’?” But, his most scathing denunciation of National Socialism was in Mit Brennender Sorge (With Burning Sorrow), addressed to the German bishops. Although this carried the signature of Pope Pius XI, Pacelli advised and worked with the Pope on this, and Pacelli wrote large sections of it himself. The main point was to urge German Catholics not to abandon their faith for the paganism of Hitler's German National Church. Yet, Pacelli and Pope Pius XI did not fail to attack the racism that was a fundamental mainstay of National Socialism, “Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, a particular form of State, or the repositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the worldly community... whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God.”

When Pope Pius XI died, the German and Italian fascists were not happy at the prospect of Pacelli being elected Pope, even though he had been the German Nuncio. They recognized him as an enemy of fascism, and indeed, there are some indications that Hitler may have tried to influence the outcome of the papal election in order to prevent Pacelli from being the successor. Hardly the reaction one would expect if Hitler deemed Pacelli as being favorable to National Socialism. Upon his election as Pope, the Berlin newspaper, Morgenpost said “The election of cardinal Pacelli is not accepted with favor in Germany because he was always opposed to Nazism and practically determined the policies of the Vatican under his predecessor.’ ” [2] The Nazis then used what they consider most vile to say against Pope Pius XI at his death, and also against the Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pacelli. The Das Reich said, “Pius XI was a half-Jew, for his mother was a Dutch Jewess; but Cardinal Pacelli is a full Jew.” Once elected Pope, Pius XII spoke directly about the issue of anti-Semitism. "It is impossible," he said, "for a Catholic to be an anti-Semite; spiritually all of us are Semites". [3]

In his first encyclical as Pope Pius XII, (Summi Pontificatus - On the Unity of Human Society - October 20, 1939) the pope made reference to the war specifically in several paragraphs (see paragraphs 23, 24, 30-32, 51, 60-61, 69-73, 77-78, and 107-108) and once again, the Nazi leadership was not happy with what was said. In Christmas addresses in December 1941 and again in December 1942, though not calling the Nazi government nor leadership by name, Pope Pius XII once again, condemned actions against any people because of race or blood. The people of that era understood who he meant, including the Nazis, and editorials in The New York Times praised Pope Pius XII as the “lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe”. So-called historians, writers, and many of the general public will insist that this wasn't a significant address, yet, the Allies considered it significant enough to reproduce and drop hundreds of thousands of copies of it over Germany. Also understanding who Pope Pius XII meant was the various Jewish organizations in the United States, Canada, and Australia, who lauded Pope Pius XII for his address, and included their approvals in editorials of their respective journals.

The Reich Central Security Office of the Nazis did an analysis of Pius XII's 1942 Christmas address, and in it they said, “It is true, the Pope does not refer to the National Socialists in Germany by name, but his speech is one long attack on everything we stand for…. God, he says, regards all peoples and races as worthy of the same consideration. Here he is clearly speaking on behalf of the Jews.... That this speech is directed exclusively against the New Order in Europe as seen in National Socialism is clear in the Papal statement that mankind owes a debt to "all who during the war have lost their Fatherland and who, although personally blameless have, simply on account of their nationality and origin, been killed or reduced to utter destitution." Here he is virtually accusing the German people of injustice towards the Jews, and makes himself the mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals.”

The bravery of the Holland Catholics in opposing their Nazi oppressors is without question. The bishops of Holland protested publicly, and the people of Holland paid dearly for it. Holland had the highest percentage of Jews (79%) murdered by the Nazis than any other nation in Europe. Over 110,000 Jewish men, women, and children from Holland lost their lives, including a notable Jewish convert to Catholicism who became a Carmelite Sister, Edith Stein, and the priest who delivered the letters to the Catholic bishops, Titus Brandsma. The results of what happened to the Dutch was a most agonizing lesson for Pope Pius XII. In a letter to the Berlin bishop, Konrad von Preysing, Pope Pius wrote , “We leave it to the [local] bishops to weigh the circumstances in deciding whether or not to exercise restraint, ad maiora mala vitanda [to avoid greater evil]. This would be advisable if the danger of retaliatory and coercive measures would be imminent in cases of public statements of the bishop. Here lies one of the reasons We Ourselves restrict Our public statements. The experience We had in 1942 with documents which We released for distribution to the faithful gives justification, as far as We can see, for Our attitude.”

Pope Pius was not the only one who learned a lesson about restraint. The International Red Cross and the World Council of Churches in Geneva never made any statements that might obstruct their work or increase the sufferings of the victims (Jews, Slavs, Christian clergy, gypsies, homosexuals, and Communists) by retaliatory measures for any public statements. Yet Pope Pius XII found it extremely frustrating, even heartbreaking to use restraint. He told Archbishop Giovanni Battista Montini (the future Pope Paul VI), “We would like to utter words of fire against such actions; and the only thing restraining Us from speaking is the fear of making the plight of the victims worse”.

As a matter of fact, Pope Pius XII was strongly urged by the bishops of Poland and other occupied countries to use restraint, as with each word from the Vatican, the oppression and persecutions intensified. Archbishop Sapjeha (Krakow) was sent messages from Pope Pius XII by way of a chaplain of a Maltese relief train. The Archbishop immediately threw all the messages in the fire, saying that if ever a copy fell into the hands of the Gestapo, they would kill all Polish priests. Also, a Jewish couple from Berlin who had been held in concentration camps and helped by Pius XII to escape to Spain said, “None of us wanted the Pope to take an open stand. We were all fugitives, and fugitives do not wish to be pointed at. The Gestapo would have become more excited and would have intensified its inquisitions. If the Pope had protested, Rome would have become the center of attention. It was better that the Pope said nothing. We all shared this opinion at the time, and this is still our conviction today.”

So, Pope Pius XII, keeping in mind the necessity of restraint, continued to wage his resistance to the Nazis by working stealthily behind the scenes. He encouraged and instructed bishops, priests, religious, and the laity to work to save Jewish lives whenever and wherever possible. When the Germans occupied Italy, Pope Pius XII worked to ensure the safety of the Italian Jews. In fact, 80% of the Italian Jews were saved, as opposed to the rest of occupied Europe losing 80% of its Jews. When the Nazis first occupied Rome, there were 9,500 Jews, yet when the order was given to round them up, only 1,259 were found. The rest had found safety by Pius' orders at 155 churches, convents, and monasteries around Rome, as well as in the Vatican. The Pope's Palatine Guards went from 300 to 4,000, the additional guards all having the invaluable Vatican City passport. Of these 4,000 “guards”, about 400 were Jews, with 240 hidden in the Vatican itself.

Pope Pius XII began his work to save the Jews of Europe early, as early as when the war broke out in September 1939. When anti-Semitic legislation was passed in Italy, Professor Guido Mendes, a renowned lung specialist who was also a Jew, lost his position. In April 1939, he received an invitation to meet with the Pope in a private audience. Professor Mendes said, "Pope Pius XII ... offered to help me leave Italy and gain admittance to any country I chose," he told the Jerusalem Post in 1965. "When I mentioned Palestine, the Pope promised to intervene with the British authorities and secure a certificate of immigration. Montini (later Paul VI) dealt with the matter, and as a result my entire family arrived in Palestine in 1939."

Pope Pius XII also continued an emigration program established by Pope Pius XI, which helped Jews gain admittance to Brazil. From 1939 to 1941, 3,000 Jews reached the safety of South America through the direct intervention of Pius XII.

The Pope's actions regarding the Jews and Brazil was only the beginning. Between 1939 and 1944, Pius XII supplied passports, money, tickets and letters of recommendation to foreign governments so Jewish refugees could receive visas. Through Pius' efforts, another 4,000-6,000 Jews reached safety. Word of the Holy See's work to rescue European Jews found its way to the United States. On January 2, 1940, the United Jewish Appeal for Refugees and Overseas Needs in Chicago sent the Pope a contribution of $125,000 toward the Vatican's efforts to save "all those persecuted because of religion or race."

When 500 Jewish refugees who had tried to escape to Palestine by boat, were refused entry in every port they tried, they were captured by an Italian patrol boat. They were imprisoned on Italian controlled island of Rhodes until they could be turned over to the Germans. When Pope Pius XII found out about their situation, he contacted the Italian authorities, won the release of the refugees and oversaw their transfer to a hastily erected settlement camp in southern Calabria. Pinchas Lapide (Pinchas E. Lapide, author of Three Popes and the Jews was born in Canada and served during World War II with the 178th Transport Company of the 8th British Army. Later he emigrated to Israel, where he entered government service. He was deputy editor of the Government Press Bureau in the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, and was later appointed Israel's consul to Milan.) of the 178th Transport Company of the 8th British Army recalled: "That is where we found most of them, sound and thankful, on December 23, 1943, the day after our Palestinian unit landed at Taranto."

A few days later, Lapide and the 178th were met at Ferramonti-Tarsia near Cosenza by 3,200 Jews, the entire population of another settlement camp operated by the Vatican. The residents were refugees from Austria, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, who had been saved by Pius XII's intervention. Their camp was under the protection of two papal emissaries who had set up a kosher kitchen for the residents and established a school for the children.

These are just a few examples of Pope Pius XII's efforts to save Jewish lives in occupied Europe, and to prove that his efforts were truly catholic (universal), when the Nazis were pursuing Palmiro Togliatti, Pietro Nenni and Giuseppe Saragat, all leaders of the Italian Communist and Socialist parties, Pius XII hid these men in the basement of the Basilica of St. John Lateran—the Pope's own cathedral.

The record of the Pope's words and actions during the war "The Acts and Documents of the Holy See Relative to World War II" fills ten volumes. Perhaps some of those who are so willing to write such anti-Pius XII lies, are so willing to read and believe them, should actually try reading these ten volumes and learn what actually took place instead of creating their own versions of events to suit their own whims.

When countless others worked to save Jewish lives from the Nazi death machine, they did so silently. No one, not Oscar Schindler, Corrie ten Boom, Raoul Wallenberg, nor others who worked to save Jewish lives, stood on a soap box denouncing Nazi atrocities, nor did they spit on these murderers they found so repulsive. To have done so, would have meant an end to what they could do to save lives. Yet, people who should know better, even people who were survivors or descended from survivors, have forgotten or have not bothered to look at and learn from the truth!

So, you may ask...why didn't Pope Pius XII himself, make known to the world, what he did, and how and why he did it? Why? Because he was at peace with God, and his conscience was clear before God. He knew what efforts he had made on behalf of those suffering in Europe, and when one is at peace with God, no explanation to man is necessary.

Below are some of the statements of appreciation for the efforts Pope Pius XII and the Catholic Church made by various figures who lived during those horrible years we call World War 2:

"Allow us to ask the great honor of being able to thank personally His Holiness for the generosity he has shown us when we were persecuted during the terrible period of Nazi Fascism." -Petition of 20, 000 Jewish refugees from Central Europe to Pius XII, Summer 1945

"In the most difficult hours which we Jews of Romania have passed through, the generous assistance of the Holy See...was decisive and A, salutary. It is not easy for us to find the right words to express the: warmth and consolation we experienced because of the concern of the Supreme Pontiff, who offered a large sum to relieve the sufferings of deported Jews, sufferings which had been pointed out to him by you. after, your visit to Transnistria. The Jews of Romania will never forget facts of historic importance." -Chief Rabbi Alexander Saffran of Bucharest, Romania, to Msgr. Andrea Cassulo, papal nuncio to Romania, April 7, 1944

"The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion which. form the very foundations of true civilization, are doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living proof of divine Providence in this world." -Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog of Palestine, February 28, 1945

" When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the pope was raised for the victims. The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out on the great moral truths above the tumult of daily conflict. We mourn a great servant of peace." -Golda Meir in a cable to the Vatican expressing condolences. at the death of Pius XII, 1958

"The Church and the papacy have saved Jews as much and insofar as they could Christians. Six million of my co-religionists have been murdered by the Nazis... but there would have been many more victims had it not been for the efficacious intervention of Pius XII." -Dr. Raphael Cantoni, a leader in Italy's Jewish Assistance Committee

"Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the case of truth: but no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom. But they, like the universities were silenced in a few short weeks. Only the Catholic Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I had never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration, because the Catholic Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess, that what I once despised, I now praise unreservedly." -Albert Einstein in Time magazine, December 1940

[1] Robert Graham, S.J., ed., Pius XII and the Holocaust (New Rochelle, New York: Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, 1988), 106.
[2] Joseph Lichten, “A Question of Moral Judgment: Pius XII and the Jews,” in Graham, 107.
[3] Pinchas E. Lapide, The Last Three Popes and the Jews, p. 118.

Copyright © 2005 Steve Smith. All rights reserved.

Click Here for Part One of Pope Pius XII: Misunderstood and Maligned


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