By Paul O’Shea (auth.)
The papacy of Pius XII (1939-1958) has been a resource of near-constant feedback and debate for the reason that his demise, really as a result of his alleged silence through the Holocaust. Paul O'Shea examines his little-studied pre-papal existence to illustrate that Pius was once neither an anti-Semitic villain nor a 'lamb with out stain.'
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Extra info for A Cross Too Heavy: Pope Pius XII and the Jews of Europe
Religio licito In 325, the first ecumenical council of the Church was held at Nicaea, under imperial patronage. The bishops defined a symbol of faith, the Nicene Creed, which outlined in pithy statements the core beliefs of Christians. Councils at Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), and Chalcedon (451) followed Nicaea. This process refined Christian doctrine and liturgical practice as well as establishing canon laws for the governing of the Church. Each council further cemented the Church as an integral part of society in both parts of the Roman Empire and set the basis for its continued operation well after the collapse of the empire.
27 Pius evidently believed that his actions throughout the war had been sufficient to alert the world to the evils of Nazism and encourage individuals to act in defense of the persecuted. ” He referred to the 1942 Christmas message that contained the sum total of his “condemnation” of the exterminatory policies of the Nazis. The paucity of words—seven out of 7,000—has been the source of much commentary, usually negative. It points, yet again, to the need for context. 29 It was couched in Catholic terms: the victims named were primarily Catholics.
38 Through family, seminary, and life in the Vatican, he was surrounded by the living out of a theology that taught him that the truth of Catholicism was self-evident. Denial of that truth was a denial of reason and rationality. ”39 Binding the Church together in its visible unity was the office of the pope entrusted with a sacred duty to teach and preserve the faith against all enemies of God. “The Church would fail if it were not for its head, who is the centre of its unity . . ”40 Similarly, the Church claimed as her own all who lived a good life, whether formally initiated into the Church or not, and in any time or place.