Monday, May 11, 2009

Pope Pius XII: A "Righteous Gentile"

The blessed memory of a great Pontiff who was declared by the Jews a "righteous gentile" following the war because of his great efforts to save their lives.

On the day Pope Benedict XVI visits Yad Vashem, we recall the words of Paul VI:

The Church truly loves you all.

Our great Predecessor Pius XII affirmed this with all strength, and repeatedly, in the course of the last world conflict, and all know what he accomplished in defense and for the rescue of all those who faced difficulties, with no distinction whatsoever. And nonetheless, you are aware, suspicions, and even accusations, have been hurled against the memory of this great Pontiff. We are glad of having the opportunity of affirming it on this day and in this place: nothing is more unjust that this outrage against such a venerable figure.

Those who, like Us, knew this admirable soul closely know just how far his sensibility could go, his compassion for human sufferings, his courage, the sensitivity of his heart.

Those who, just after the war, came, with tears in their eyes, to thank him for having saved their lives also knew it. In truth, following the One whom he represents down here, the Pope wishes nothing else than the true welfare of all men.
Paul VI
Farewell from the Israeli authorities
Mandelbaum Gate (Jerusalem), January 5, 1964

With thanks to Rorate Caeli

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