The Buzz About the
  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' inequit-able 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



The Text

Inside Cornwell's Hitler’s Pope, before the text, Cornwell presents a quotation from Thomas Merton, a well-known contemplative monk. As butchered by Cornwell, the quotation says:

“Pius XII and the Jews.... The whole thing is too sad and too serious for bitterness… a silence which is deeply and completely in complicity with all the forces which carry out oppression, injustice, aggression, war.”

This is a fairly shocking condemnation of the Pope from an esteemed Catholic thinker. If Merton had actually written this, it would indeed give one pause. Actually, however, this is not a true quotation. Cornwell manufactured it. 

The Context

Cornwell gave no citation, so his deception was hard to uncover. It was unmasked by Prof. Robert Gorman, who presented it at the October 2001 meeting of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. The full quotation, which was written by Merton in his personal journal [Dancing in the Water of Life, p. 84], is a complaint that he had been ordered not to publish his essay on nuclear war. The “silence” about which he complained was unrelated to Pius XII. The full context is given below.  Cornwell selected the phrases that I have set in red type, linked them with ellipses, and committed academic fraud.  If a student doctored a quotation this way in a paper handed in for one of my classes, I would fail him or her.  If I were a judge and a lawyer tried to pull a stunt like this, I would impose sanctions. 

“A grim insight into the stupor of the Church, in spite of all that has been attempted, all efforts to wake her up! It all falls into place. Pope Pius XII and the the Jews, the Church in South America, the treatment of Negroes in the U.S., the Catholics on the French right in the Algerian affair, the German Catholics under Hitler. “All this fits into one big picture and our contemplative recollection is not very impressive when it is seen only as another little piece fitted into the puzzle. The whole thing is too sad and too serious for bitterness. I have the impression that my education is beginning - only just beginning and that I have a lot more terrible things to learn before I can know the real meaning of hope.

There is no consolation, only futility, in the idea that one is a kind of martyr for a cause. I am not a martyr for anything, I am afraid. I wanted to act like a reasonable, civilized, responsible Christian of my time. I am not allowed to do this, and I am told I have renounced this – fine. In favor of what? In favor of a silence which is deeply and completely in complicity with all the forces that carry out oppression, injustice, exploitation, war. In other words silent complicity is presented as a “greater good” than honest, conscientious protest – it is supposed to be part of my vowed life, it is for the “Glory of God.” Certainly I refuse complicity. My silence itself is a protest and those who know me are aware of this fact. I have at least been able to write enough to make that clear. Also I cannot leave here in order to protest since the meaning of any protest depends on my staying here.”





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Cornwell's Errors  A point-for-point devas-tation of John Corn-well'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

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