Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII

Article excerpt

Cornwell,John. Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XIl. (NewYork: Viking. 1999. Pp. xiv, 430. $29.95.)

John Cornwell, an English journalist, holds that Eugenio Pacelli, who became Pope Pius XII, subordinated his diplomatic actions to the aggrandizement of papal power. This, in Cornwell's view, explains why the pope remained neutral and did not speak out against the Nazis in defense of the Jews in World War II. For this alleged failure, Cornwell holds that Pius XII was "Hitler's Pope"(p. 297).

Claiming that his work is based on documents used for the first time, Cornwell relies on dubious secondary sources and fails to make adequate use of the eleven volumes of documents published by the Holy See, especially those (6,8, 9, and 10) dealing with the Jews and the other victims of the war. That the author even fabricates his evidence to fit his preconception emerges in his treatment of Pacelli's letter of April 18, 1919, about Jewish revolutionaries in Germany, and in his analysis of the deportation of Jews from Rome in October of 1943. Clearly, his tendency to accept uncritically testimony from Carlo Falconi for his views of the Catholic Church in Serbia during the World War II indicates that Cornwell's work is not trustworthy. …

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