In the midst of WWII, Catholics looked to the pope to guide them. Hitler had already begun secretly launching his plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe. Secretly, that is, to most- except Pope Pius XII. The pope remained silent whilst the rest of the world awaited any kind of grand gesture or speech condemning Hitler’s atrocities.
He chose to keep quiet in the face of the crimes committed by the Nazis throughout Europe, crimes that even took place below the Pope’s own windows, like the 1943 liquidation of the Jewish Ghetto in Rome, to which the pope made no official reaction.
At first glance, Nazism and Catholicism are diametrically opposed. The Vatican even seems an institution beyond all suspicion. The Church, however, faced in turn with the rise of Nazism, the Second World War and the extermination of Jews, will play an ambiguous – at times unholy – role. Several men of the Church, priests and bishops, being fervent admirers of Hitler, even fell into complicity…
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