“The election of Cardinal Pacelli is not accepted with favor in Germany because he was always opposed to Nazism and practically determined the policies of the Vatican under his predecessor.”
Berlin Morgenpost, March 3, 1939
Of all the historical controversies that I have examined over the years, the one over Pius XII has to be the most mendacious. Everyone, the Nazis, the Allies and the Jews, knew where Pope Pius XII stood during the War. Pope Pius was regarded as a hero by all who opposed the Nazis and the Nazis regarded him as a bitter enemy. The controversy arose after his death, instigated by playwright Rolf Hochhuth and his historically worthless anti-Catholic diatribe The Deputy (1963), a play which sought to cast Pius XII as coldly indifferent to the fate of the Jews, a reverse mirror image of the actual historical record. Haters of the Church eagerly seized upon this thesis as a club to belabor the Church for her stances in current controversies. There has never been any historical validity to the thesis: zilch, zero, none. Its persistence has much to do with anti-Catholicism and nothing to do with History.