Author Ronald J. Rychlak is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law.  He has written two books and over twenty articles in law journals and popular periodicals.  He makes his home in Oxford, Mississippi. 
      His latest book, Righteous Gentiles, tells the story of Pius XII and many other Catholics who responded heroically to the plight of Jews under Nazi rule.  The army of facts he marshals in this work joins forces with his previous book, Hitler, the War and the Pope, to definitively give the lie to the coterie of anti-Catholic propagandists exemplified by Daniel Goldhagen and John Cornwell.


THE BOOK that proves  for a new generation that Pope Pius XII was the archenemy of Adolf Hitler.  

A closely reasoned and scholarly study of the conflict between Pope Pius XII and Hitler, this work dispels the fog surrounding this issue that first crept out in the early sixties with Rolf Hochhuth's imaginary play, The Deputy, and more recently with the now discredited Hitler's Pope of John Cornwell.

Rabbi David Dalin, former professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, in The Weekly Standard:
...Hitler, the War, and the Pope [is] the best and most careful of the recent works, an elegant tome of serious, critical scholarship.

Prof. Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University:
Rychlak has buried the myth under an avalanche of facts .... [He] has done more than anyone else to set the record straight.

Did you know that

  • Pius XII saved more Jews than Oskar Schindler?  Read more.
  • Hitler was so furious at the Pope that he was about to send the SS to arrest the Pope and destroy the Vatican?  Read more.
  • Israeli diplomat Pinchas Lapide stated: “The Catholic Church under the pontificate of Pius XII was instrumental in saving as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands. This figure exceeds by far those saved by all other churches and rescue organizations combined.” (Three Popes and the Jews, New York: Hawthorn Publishers, 1967.)
  • Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir said of Pius XII, "During the 10 years of Nazi terror, when our people went through the horrors of martyrdom, the Pope raised his voice to condemn the persecutors and to commiserate with their victims." 
  • Nahum Goldman, President of the World Jewish Congress, said, "With special gratitude we remember all he has done for the persecuted Jews during one of the darkest periods of their entire history." 
  • Time Magazine reported December 23, 1940, that Albert Einstein said, "Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth."  Read more.
  • The New York Times, on Christmas Day, 1942, said of Pius XII, “This Christmas, more than ever he is a lonely voice crying out of the silence of a continent.  Read more.



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The Buzz About the Book  See what people are saying about Hitler, the War, and the Pope.

An Interview with Rabbi Dalin  Historian Rabbi David Dalin of New York comes down on the side of Pius XII.

Reviews  A sampling of reviews by law journals and other sources.

60 Minutes on Pius XII  Prof. Rychlak handily dismantles CBS TV's 60 Minutes' inequitable presentation.

The Holy See vs. The Third Reich  An article by Prof. Rychlak appearing in the Oct. 1998 issue of the New Oxford Review.

An Interview With Prof. Ron Rychlak  An April, 2001, inter-view with ZENIT, the International News Agency.

Hitler's Plan to Arrest Pius XII and Destroy the Vatican  A replay of "Is Paris burning?"

Pius XII Rehabilitated by Jewish Historian  Prof. Richard Breitman of American University in Washington weighs in on the issue.

Cornwell's Errors  A point-for-point devastation of John Cornwell's Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII.

The Morphing of a Book Cover The cover photo of John Cornwell's Hitler's Pope changes in the American edition.

A Text Without A Context 
Cornwell mixes and matches to come up with a citation.

Not Hitler's Pope  A review by Rev. Vincent A. Lapomarda, S.J., Coordinator of the Holocaust Collection at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.   Appeared Oct. 2000 in  the New Oxford Review.

Goldhagen vs. Pius XII 
An article by Prof. Rychlak refuting Goldhagen's error-riddled article in the New Republic.  Appeared in the June/July 2002 issue of First Things.

A Question of Judgment: Pius XII & the Jews, by Dr. Joseph L. Lichten.  A reflection appearing in the Jewish Virtual Library.

  Links to other Internet sources of information on this topic.
















ESTABLISHES ONCE AND FOR ALL that the Catholic Church under Pius XII was dedicated to saving Jews from the Nazis at all costs.

The fruit of this concern was the rescue of over half a million Jews from the death camps. Rychlak lays to rest the “black legend” of the Church during World War II, showing that Pius XII and the selfless Catholics he led deserve the title “righteous gentiles.”   

The Washington Times (Shelley Widhalm):
Pius XII
“should be recognized as a ‘righteous gentile’ at Israel's most important Holocaust memorial, said scholar Ronald J. Rychlak... in his book Righteous Gentiles: How Pius XII and the Catholic Church Saved Half a Million Jews from the Nazis.... Rychlak took a lawyerly approach as he examined each of the charges against the pope, researched church archives, including a confidential Vatican report on Pius, and documented what he did to help the Jews.

Publishers Weekly:
Given access to closed Vatican archives, Rychlak amasses evidence to exonerate Pius, uncovering instances where the pope not only spoke out against Hitler but also acted in various ways to save Jews. . . . He presents evidence systematically and thoroughly. .. .

Edwin Smith (University Services):
The documents noted in Rychlak’s book not only exonerate Pius uncovering instances where he spoke out against Hitler – but show he also acted in various ways to save Jews.... Cross examiners, beware.

St. Louis Review (Michael J. Houser):
In the constant barrage of literature that has come out on Pius XII and the Holocaust... Catholics like me may sometimes feel at a loss where to begin to sort through it....  We’re not sure where to turn for a definitive rebuttal.  Ronald J. Rychlak’s Righteous Gentiles is a welcome reference for such Catholics.  Here is a thorough review of the charges made against Pius XII and an exhaustingly thorough rebuttal.  Rychlak is by trade not a professional historian but a lawyer, which he turns to his advantage.  The opening chapter of the book, ‘Due Process,’ explains rules of evidence used to ensure due process in criminal trials, and suggests that Pius’ critics wouldn’t have a leg to stand on in most courts.... The book is well researched and copiously referenced, with more than 80 pages of endnotes and an 18-page bibliography.


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More Acclaim for the Book

Avery Cardinal Dulles:
“Of all the books that have come to my attention this is the one that most effectively refutes the false charges that have been heaped on Pius XII.”

Fr. Peter Gumpel (the Vatican’s judge in Pius XII’s sainthood cause):
“The most extensive and well-documented book in the field.” 

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus:
“Devastatingly debunk[s] the scurrilous attacks that have appeared in the past seven years by the likes of John Cornwell (Hitler’s Pope), James Carroll (Constantine’s Sword), Garry Wills (Papal Sin), and Daniel Goldhangen (A Moral Reckoning).  Rychlak, who is a professor of law and knows all the forensic ins and outs, is especially effective in a point-by-point rebuttal of the reckless charges that have been made against Pius....

If [Pius XII] is beatified, the vindication will be in significant part due to the efforts of people like... Rychlak.”

First Things (William Doino):
“Rychlak...[has become] America’s leading authority on Pius XII.... The documentation provided here—in 400 pages of carefully-argued text and footnotes—is overwhelming; Rychlak’s command of the relevant literature undeniable. So too is his intellectual honesty and dispassionate evaluation of the evidence. Just as Rychlak never allows a false accusation to go unchallenged, he is the first to acknowledge true wrongdoing, where it occurred. His conclusion that the Catholic Church under Pius XII was imperfect (and therefore open to criticism) but nonetheless heroic--saving at least 500,000 Jews from certain deaths at Nazi hands—is likely to advance the cause of Pius XII, and bring historical justice to a topic often devoid of it. By restraining his anger and sticking closely to the facts, Rychlak has produced a powerful and impeccable work of scholarship: the finest single study on Pius XII and the wartime Catholic Church extant. ”

Literary Review (Michael Burleigh)
“Using his forensic talents to great advantage, Rychlak picks up, examines, and rejects every charge against Pius. The second part of his book concentrates on the agendas and deficiencies of individual critics, whose work (and dubious modi operandi) Rychlak exposes on every page. This is no small feat, since critics routinely use a scattergun approach; no sooner has the evidence cleared Pius of one charge, than another bobs up....  Rychlak is in enviable command of both old and more recently released sources, ingeniously using The Tablet for written traces of what was broadcast on Vatican Radio, or the Osservatore Romano for repeated papal condemnations of anti-Semitism.... Rychlak patiently goes through every shifting charge and smear against Pius, highlighting his consistency in condemning Nazism as a form of neo-pagan state worship, and the terrible dilemmas he faced during the war.... [An] excellent book.”

Drew L. Kershen (Earl Sneed Centennial Professor of Law, University of Oklahoma):
“a first rate history with meticulous research and a well-balanced presentation of the historical evidence.”

Catholic World Report (Mark Ruff):
“One chapter, Illogical Arguments and Manufactured Evidence, is devoted entirely to exposing the improper uses of evidence by papal critics....  [Rychlak] clearly does the job in reclaiming ground from papal antagonists.”

Catholic Educators’ Resource Center (J. Fraser Field):
“Ronald Rychlak has written the most thorough and scholarly book.... It is a remarkably thorough and brilliant examination and weighing of all the evidence on both sides and includes much new material never before seen. As the expert in legal and court procedure that he is, Rychlak uses standards of evidence and argument that would be expected in any American courtroom. All the major arguments against Pius XII are reviewed. The book is brilliant.”

The Intercollegiate Review (John Zmirak):
“Rychlak investigates the assertions of Pius’s more scholarly detractors... and reveals the bias that predetermines their conclusions.  In a devastating analysis, he shows that [Susan] Zuccotti willfully ignores hundreds of eyewitnesses and survivors’ testimonies, insisting that nothing short of a ‘written order’ on the part of Pius XII would constitute proof of his intent to rescue Jews.  Rychlak rightly points out there here Zuccotti emulates Holocaust deniers such as the discredited David Irving....”

Mindszenty Report (Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation)
“Rychlak’s thorough and documented account establishes once and for all that the Catholic Church under Pius XII, far from being indifferent to the Jews, was dedicated to saving them from the Jews at all costs....  Rychlak lays to rest the ‘black legend’ of the Church during World War II, showing that Pius XII and those he directed deserve the title ‘righteous gentiles.’  The book is well recommended.”

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