Canonization of Pope Pius XII?

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ADL Deeply Troubled By Move to Put Pius XII Back on Track for Sainthood

Calls for Suspension of Process Until Archives Are Opened


New York, NY, December 21, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said it was "deeply troubled" by Pope Benedict XVI's decision to move Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII one step closer to sainthood.   The League today called on Pope Benedict to suspend the sainthood process until the relevant Vatican archival documents are made accessible to qualified historians and scholars.

"We are deeply troubled that this step would be taken without the Vatican opening up its Secret Archives for the period before, during and after the Holocaust," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor.  "While we fully recognize that the process of sainthood is an internal matter for the Church, the issue of what Pope Pius XII did or did not do to help save Jews during the Holocaust is a profound question that should be resolved first, for the sake of the Jewish-Catholic relationship. We cannot understand the need to rush to do this now, especially while there are still survivors who are alive who feel the issue very, very deeply."

In noting Pope Benedict's address, which recognized Pius' "heroic virtues" as pope, Mr. Foxman said: "Pope Benedict said that Catholic saints are not representatives of the past but rather they form part of the present and future of the Church and society. That makes it even more crucial for the complete record of such a person to be first studied and understood by qualified independent scholars and historians before any conclusions are reached.  Until all the Vatican's secret World War II-era archives are declassified and made available to legitimate independent scholars for study and analysis, Pius XII's record vis-à-vis Jews will continue to be shrouded, and a source of controversy and contention."

ADL has for years consistently stated that it is in the best interests of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Jewish people to declassify and make available to responsible independent scholars and historians all relevant pre-war and post-war Church archives to seek the best obtainable version of the truth about Pope Pius XII's role during the Holocaust.  These would include materials known as the Vatican's Secret Archives, the archives of European Bishops Conferences, and the archives of Papal Nuncios from around the world working under the administration of Pope Pius XII.

These Church records have special significance for Holocaust survivors and their families. To proceed on the process toward sainthood without having all of the facts would be premature when so much is not known about the historical truth of the Vatican's actions during the war.