Vatican defends moving Holocaust-era pope closer to sainthood

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

The Vatican on Tuesday insisted that the decision to move Pope Pius XII, who was pope during the Holocaust, one major step closer to sainthood was not an act of hostility toward the Jews, and solely a recognition of at least one miracle attributed to him.

Outrage was sparked earlier in the week when Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree affirming Pius' virtues, the last major obstacle to beatifying the wartime pope.

Many accuse Pius of being more concerned with fostering relations with and maintaining the church's position under Europe's Nazi rulers than with saving the lives of millions of Jews. His detractors say Pius could have used the Vatican's considerable global influence to draw attention to the Holocaust and save many Jewish lives.

The Vatican insists that Pius was engaged in constant quiet dialogue to lessen the suffering of European Jewry, and that speaking out publicly would only have provoked more severe action by the Nazis.

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