UNDERSTANDING THE HISTORICAL TRUTH ABOUT PIUS XII
VATICAN CITY, 18 SEP 2008 (VIS) - At midday today in Castelgandolfo, the Pope met participants in a symposium on the life and the pastoral and humanitarian work of Pius XII. The symposium was promoted by the Pave the Way Foundation, the president of which is Gary Krupp.
Having mentioned the fact that 50 years have passed since the death, on 9 October 1958, of Servant of God Pius XII, the Holy Father pointed out that although "so much has been written and said of him during these last five decades, ... not all of the genuine facets of his diverse pastoral activity have been examined in a just light.
"The aim of your symposium", he added continuing his English-language talk, "has been precisely to address some of these deficiencies, conducting a careful and documented examination of many of his interventions, especially those in favour of the Jews who in those years were being targeted all over Europe, in accordance with the criminal plan of those who wanted to eliminate them from the face of the earth.
"When one draws close to this noble Pope, ... one can come to appreciate the human wisdom and pastoral intensity which guided him in his long years of ministry, especially in providing organised assistance to the Jewish people.
"Thanks to the vast quantity of documented material which you have gathered, supported by many authoritative testimonies, your symposium offers to the public forum the possibility of knowing more fully what Pius XII achieved for the Jews persecuted by the Nazi and fascist regimes", said the Holy Father.
He then highlighted how the work of the symposium had drawn attention to Pope Pius' "many interventions, made secretly and silently, precisely because, given the concrete situation of that difficult historical moment, only in this way was it possible to avoid the worst and save the greatest number of Jews. This courageous and paternal dedication was recognised and appreciated during and after the terrible world conflict by Jewish communities and individuals who showed their gratitude for what the Pope had done for them".
Pope Benedict thanked the Pave the Way Foundation "for its ongoing activity in promoting relationships and dialogue between religions, as witnesses of peace, charity and reconciliation.
"It is my great hope", he concluded, "that this year, which marks the 50th anniversary of my venerated predecessor's death, will provide the opportunity to promote in-depth studies of various aspects of his life and his works in order to come to know the historical truth, overcoming every remaining prejudice.
AC/SYMPOSIUM PIUS XII/... VIS 080918 (440)