By Paul O’Shea (auth.)
The papacy of Pius XII (1939-1958) has been a resource of near-constant feedback and debate considering the fact that his demise, fairly as a result of his alleged silence throughout the Holocaust. Paul O'Shea examines his little-studied pre-papal lifestyles to illustrate that Pius was once neither an anti-Semitic villain nor a 'lamb with out stain.'
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Additional info for A Cross Too Heavy: Pope Pius XII and the Jews of Europe
65 At the close of the eleventh century, Europe was in the process of change. Economic and political forces were forcing the first cracks in monolithic Christendom. Local identity was being subsumed into more regional and national creations. The process was slow but its pace soon quickened. An Inimical Race On November 27, 1095, Urban II preached the first Crusade at Clermont and the demons were unleashed. Urging the people of Christian Europe 44 A Cross Too Heavy to go and free the Holy Land from the infidels, the pope aroused dormant energies that quickly went out of control.
And so their fate was a result of God’s plan. The only way for Israel to be redeemed was to accept the truth of Christ. 26 Through their rejection and killing of Christ, the Jews made the Covenant null and void. 28 Irenaeus (c. ”30 In the course of its development, by the end of its third century, the Christian church had proved itself tenacious and stubborn in its survival. Contempt as “Virtue” 37 Christian communities dotted the Roman Empire in both east and west. Although still outnumbered by Jews and officially proscribed by the imperium, Christians were making significant inroads into Roman society at all levels.
They had a place in the Christian dispensation, but a marginal one that hovered between contempt and conversion. When faced with the f lesh-and-blood reality of the Holocaust, the academic Pius XII was forced to make choices. Until the escalation of anti-Jewish measures throughout Germany and Austria after 1938, Pacelli had been involved in a series of initiatives to help Jews leave Europe, focused naturally enough on converted Jews. This was not a case of putting the self-preservation of the institutional Church before the lives of those who had been traditionally depicted as the eternal enemies of Christ, but a pragmatic set of actions dictated by the realities and limits of refugee work.
A Cross Too Heavy: Pope Pius XII and the Jews of Europe by Paul O’Shea (auth.)