Rorate Caeli

Pope Francis strongly defends legacy of Pius XII,
"the great defender of the Jews."
"What about the Great Powers? Why didn't they do anything?"

In an interview granted to Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, and published this Friday, the Pope spoke about the legacy of Pius XII. The daily is based in Barcelona, so its main purpose was to find out the Pope's position on a possible secession of Catalonia, to which the Pope answered carefully that, "Scotland, Padania [Northern Italy], Catalonia, there will be cases in which [secessions] will be just, and cases in which they will not be just, but the secession of a nation without a history of forced unity has to be analyzed with great care [lit. 'with tweezers'] and be analyzed case by case."

The remainder of the interview does not include much that is new, except for his strong words in defense of Pius XII:

[La Vanguardia:] One of your projects is to open up the Vatican archives on the Holocaust.

[Pope:] They will bring out much light.

[La Vanguardia:] Are you concerned with what may be found?

[Pope:] In this theme, what concerns me is the figure of Pius XII, the pope who led the Church during the Second World War. Everything has been thrown upon poor Pius XII! But it has to be recalled that, before, he was seen as the great defender of the Jews. He hid many in the convents of Rome and of other Italian cities, and also in the summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. There, in the Pope's room, on his very bed, 42 babies were born, Jewish children and of other persecuted people who were sheltered there. I do not mean to say that Pius XII did not make mistakes - I myself make many - but his role must be viewed according to the context of the time. Was it better, for example, that he did not speak so that more Jews would not be killed, or that he did? I also want to say that at times I feel a kind of existential rash [urticaria existencial] when I see that all gather together against the Church and Pius XII, and they forget the great powers [United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom]. Did you know that they knew perfectly well the rail network used by the Nazis to take the Jews to the concentration camps? They had the photographs. But they did not bomb those rail lines. Why? It would be good if we spoke a little bit about everything. [Source: en español]