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 Pope’s "Lawyer:" A Law Professor with a Mission  (Jurist: Books-on-Law, University of Pittsburgh)

The Political Science Reviewer (Kenneth D. Whitehead):

This book gives the most complete and best documented account of Pius XII and the Holocaust of any of the [10] books under review here.... in the light of the documentation and arguments that the author has assembled here, the case against Pius XII set forth by the anti-Pius writers is simply untenable....

All in all, then, this is the best and most complete and accurate of all the books under review here. It is the one book most likely to give the reader of just one book on the Pius XII controversy the truest picture of what the controversy is all about.

Scripps Howard News Service (Bartholomew Sullivan,):

Hitler, The War and The Pope [is] a carefully argued and densely footnoted treatise defending the man who shepherded the Roman Catholic Church from 1939 to 1958.

Times Review (Joseph O’Brien):

Hitler, the War and the Pope is both a level-headed history of the wartime Pope and a stinging indictment of the dishonest scholarship practices by Pius XII’s critics. As such, its value to the Church can only be described as immeasurable....

Rychlak’s work is not a dry-bones history. His account is informed with all the proper degrees of warmth and cool detachment necessary for reliable but readable history.

Modern Age (James Kurth):

"Perhaps the current accusers, like professional historians of other long-ago events, have discovered facts or documents which were unknown to Jewish leaders at the time. This is what John Cornwell claims about himself. However, Ronald Rychlak systematically demonstrates that these claims are exaggerated or simply false.... Within the constraints of papal language, Pius XII made many statements which criticized Nazi persecution of the Jews. As Rychlak and others have demonstrated, this was recognized at the time both by Jewish leasers and by the Nazis themselves.... Cornwell’s distortions and exaggerations, which are thoroughly documented by Rychlak, are so pronounced that is ti difficult to credit him with good faith.

Catholic Historical Review (Michael O’Carroll, Blackrock College, Dublin):

A work of superb scholarship and most mature judgment.... The author’s clear, graceful style makes his text a delight to read.... It is easy to see future university students working on dissertations delving deeply into the vast accessible treasure.... There is no comparable, certainly no superior writing which manifests command of literature and telling discernment, in recent historical literature.

The book is a landmark. I should make it clear that every major event in the life of Pius XII is dealt with; every question raised about him is answered and answered satisfactorily to the total confusion of his critics.

Catholic News Service (Dr. Eugene Fisher, Loyola University of Chicago):

[Hitler, the War, and the Pope] is written from the probing, no-holds-barred point of view of a very good prosecuting attorney who knows how to weigh evidence with legal precision. From this point of view, the case against Pius is very thoroughly demolished since much of it depends, not on evidence, but on speculation.

Mindszenty Report (Eleanor Schafly):

With exacting scholarship, Professor Rychlak has written a superb piece of history to refute the undocumented and bigoted attacks on Pope Pius XII. Readers will gain a new appreciation for the difficulties, challenges and choices that Pius XII faced during the horrors of World War II.

National Catholic Register (Michael Coren):

Rychlak... responds to Cornwell’s libels and slanders eloquently and intelligently. No illegal hits here, just a firm and fatal punch to the chin.... By setting the record straight with solid scholarship and verifiable facts, Ronald Rychlak has done both truth and heroism a service of incalculable value.

Our Sunday Visitor (Robert Lockwood):

Hitler, the War and the Pope is the authoritative defense of Pius XII produced by a lawyer’s exhaustive research. Documented rather than based on opinion, conjecture and anti-papal prejudice so evident in Cornwell’s pastiche, Rychlak’s book is a masterful restoration of the historical record....

Hitler, the War and the Pope is history at its best: well-documented, dispassionate, objective and engaging. This book is the definitive study of Pius and Nazi Germany. Rychlak’s work should put to an end the slander of a heroic pope who, more than any individual at the time was responsible for saving so many Jewish lives during the horror of the Holocaust.

Homiletic & Pastoral Review (Sr. Margarita Marchione):

Ron Rychlak provides convincing evidence as he addresses three of the major 20th century topics in his book Hitler, the War, and the Pope. A successful law professor and trial attorney, he refutes those who present Pope Pius XII as anti-Semitic, passive and silent in the face of the Holocaust. With the expertise of a "legal" historian, his arguments are clear and concise.... Indeed, it is a balanced analysis that must be considered in any discussion of this contemporary and much-debated topic.

First Things, Association of Contemporary Church Historians Newsletter, and Catholic: The Voice of Catholic Orthodoxy (Fr. John Jay Hughes):

Starting in the 1920s and concluding with Pius XII’s death, Rychlak presents the judgement of the Pope’s contemporaries in rich detail... Rychlak’s refutation of the Black Legend is impressive.

The New Oxford Review (Fr. Vincent Lapomarda, Holy Cross University):

With his legal analysis, Rychlak has proved to be a formidable historian by skillfully refuting those who have gained headlines by attacking Pius XII without solid evidence.... [Hitler, the War, and the Pope] can be regarded as one of a handful of essential studies on the role of Pius XII during the Second World War." ....Rychlak’s study should help to defuse the uproar which has intensified during the past year over Pius XII and the Holocaust and to introduce more reason than emotion into the discussion of the major issues of his papacy and the cause for his beatification.

Inside the Vatican (Robert Phillips):

Professor Ronald Rychlak's new book is a significant accomplishment. Hitler, the War, and the Pope is the most complete, timely and well documented work on the war-time Pope. Rychlak, a scholar and legal expert, tells a now familiar story. If his style at times seems that of a lawyer patiently building his case, it is because the author wishes to tell the whole story without frills or exaggerated interpretations. In a 500 page manuscript, 183 pages are notes. This massive documentation backs up a detailed account of the decisions and actions of the Holy See in World War II.

In a superb epilogue, Rychlak expertly demolishes John Cornwell's book, Hitler's Pope. He shows convincingly that Cornwell's real target is not Pius XII but John Paul II and that the canonization of the wartime Pontiff as one of the final acts of the present Pope would signal the restoration of "a reactionary papal absolutism." Rychlak's book is the best word on the subject.

The Wanderer (William Doino):

Hitler, the War and the Pope will forever change the way the world views Pope Pius XII.... By meticulously documenting Pius XII’s rescue efforts, from unimpeachable archival sources, Rychlak demolishes the claim – made by Cornwell and others – that those who rescued Jews always acted on their own initiative, without any prompting from the Vatican. Indeed, if there is one fact which Hitler, the War and the Pope proves, it is that these Catholic rescuers acted under the direct orders of and worked in close coordination with Pope Pius XII.

Not only Catholics, but especially Jews, should forever be grateful to Professor Rychlak for spending so much time – and brandishing so much intellectual courage – in publishing this book.

The Wabash Commentary (Ben Dilworth):

A strikingly intellectual read. One is immediately struck by the... academic validity of Rychlak’s arguments.

Lay Witness (Thomas Nash):

Hitler, the War, and the Pope (Genesis Press) will prove helpful in dealing with both Cornwell and Wills’ books. The evidence in Rychlak’s book, ignored by Ed Bradley in his reckless portrait of Pius XII on "60 Minutes" earlier this year, serves as a methodical refutation of Cornwell, Wills, and others who, whatever their motives, misrepresent the record of Pius XII before and during World War II.

Culture Wars (Wayne Allen):

Rychlak puts this "silence" charge to rest at the level of fact.... Eternity entails larger obligations than time, which Pius XII understood, and which Rychlak makes abundantly clear with his indefatigable defense.

The Catholic New World (Dolores Madlener):

From discussing the "doctored" photo on its cover to Cornwell's last chapter where he attacks Pope John Paul II, whom he likens to Pius XII, Rychlak's epilogue pins Cornwell to the mat of truth.... Hitler the War and the Pope is as fascinating as anything in a Grisham novel or plot on "Law and Order."

Religious and Social Issues Online:

A hard-hitting exploration of the wartime performance of Pope Pius XII.... Rychlak examines the role of the papacy in the world, the Lateran Treaty, the rise of Hitler and his battles with the Church. After setting this background, he moves to the actions of the Pope year-by-year through the war. In his last chapter he pulls it all together to ask the ten tough questions that are now used to attack the Pope. His answers to these questions are a strong rebuff to John Cornwell and other critics of Pius XII.

Social Justice Review:

A suburb piece of history with every "i" dotted and every "t" crossed.... Rychlak’s book needs to be placed in the hand of every critic of Pope Pius XII, if he wants to discover the truth about him, and if the media writers have any sincere desire to rectify the slanders that have spread and the falsification of history to which they have contributed.

Catholic Answers Live Radio (Jerry Usher):

The new book that is completely changing the debate over what the Church really did during that horrible period in man’s history.... With exacting scholarship, Professor Rychlak gives a full exploration of that background facts, including discussions of history, religion, politics, diplomacy, and military tactics. Then come ten fundamental questions concerning Pope Pius and the Nazis, which are answered with legal analysis and authoritative citation.... I think it’s going to be of tremendous value.

Theology Today:

The result of extensive research into Vatican and secondary sources.... Far from being Hitler’s Pope, Pius XII was truly Hitler’s enemy.

The Beacon News (Kappy Stewart):

Rychlak presents a thoroughly researched and documented chronology of the war and the Pope’s role in opposing it.... For the reader who is interested in World War II history, and for those who find this ongoing debate on the decisions of the Pope as leader of the Catholic Church during this period, this is a fascinating read."

Deutsche Tagespost (Germany)

Hitler, the War and the Pope is "perhaps the most complete biography of Pius XII."

The Crusade (Karol Gadge):

Over the past two years at least nine separate volumes have been published on the Vatican’s role in the Second World War. One of the best is undoubtedly Ronald Rychlak’s Hitler, The War and The Pope. Rychlak... spent substantial time in Vatican archives, spoke to numerous authorities and produced a rounded portrait of Pius that destroys the fictional pope of the "silent" mantle.

UM Quest:

Rychlak culminated eight years of research with his new book, a documented, historical account of Pope Pius.... [He] methodically defends the man elected to shepherd the Catholic Church just before Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

Rychlak scoured many libraries for information, eventually going to Rome in 1999 to search the Vatican archives.... The first 17 chapters provide factual background, with historical accounts, original documents, and expert commentary laying out the evidence.

Theological Studies (Patrick W. Carey ):

Rychlak’s work is a credible interpretation of the evidence that challenges to some extent those interpretations... that expected more from the pope than the evidence and historical circumstances warranted. Rychlak’s work will not end the debate over those moral expectations, but his interpretations deserve serious consideration.

The Australian (Kevin Tighe):

Best among the recent books defending Pius XII, is Ronald J. Rychlak's Hitler, the War and the Pope,... an elegant tome of serious, critical scholarship.

Catholic Replies (James J. Drummey)

Hitler, the War, and the Pope is an "excellent book."

Justus George Lawler (Popes and Politics: Reform, Resentment, and the Holocaust):

Rychlak’s work is "honestly and forthrightly executed," and his "mastery of the relevant literature is impressive.... He proves himself less biased than the professional and ‘leftist’ historians."

Review for Religious (Patricia Chaffee, OP):

The tone of the writing is as objective as the title. He includes everything necessary and nothing extraneous.... Rychlak unfolds his exoneration of Pius XII like the lawyer he is. Every fact and opinion is stated as objectively as possible....

Rychlak’s argument [is] decidedly more convincing than Cornwell’s. In reading Rychlak, one has a sense of following a logical process through to its conclusion.

The Digest, National Italian American Bar Association Law Journal (Ian McLean):

A legal scholar and accomplished attorney, Rychlak displays a formidable talent for accurate research and balanced conclusions....

It is a solitary book, bravely poking convincing holes in conventional opinion. It is a book worth reading. You may hold any opinion you like about Pius XII and the Catholic Church during WWII, but you would be unjust to voice it without having read Hitler, the War, and the Pope.

St. Austin Review (Fr. Rodger Charles, SJ):

"... an important contribution to the scholarly literature on Pius XII’s life and his Pontificate (1939-1958)." The epilogue on Hitler’s Pope is particularly noted.

Cardinal Karl Lehmann, President of the German bishops’ conference:

"...a knowledgeable refutation of Daniel Goldhagen’s arguments." [Discussing an article on Goldhagen’s work].




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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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