Pope Francis is comfortable speaking to the press as we know. Today, the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia published their interview with Pope Francis, who spoke about the legacy of Pope Pius XII and murder of the Jews, among other things. The Holy See has been increasingly working to restore the good name of Pius who has been maligned for his seeming lack of concern for the Jews during WWII. Historical evidence, however, shows that in fact, Pius did do much to assist the welfare of the Jews fighting for their freedom and dignity. Here is a translation of the interview. Notice how direct, some say strong, Pope Francis is…
[La Vanguardia:] One of your projects is to open up the Vatican archives on the Holocaust.
[Pope:] They will bring out much light.
[La Vanguardia:] Are you concerned with what may be found?
[Pope:] In this theme, what concerns me is the figure of Pius XII, the pope who led the Church during the Second World War. Everything has been thrown upon poor Pius XII! But it has to be recalled that, before, he was seen as the great defender of the Jews. He hid many in the convents of Rome and of other Italian cities, and also in the summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. There, in the Pope’s room, on his very bed, 42 babies were born, Jewish children and of other persecuted people who were sheltered there. I do not mean to say that Pius XII did not make mistakes – I myself make many – but his role must be viewed according to the context of the time. Was it better, for example, that he did not speak so that more Jews would not be killed, or that he did? I also want to say that at times I feel a kind of existential rash [urticaria existencial] when I see that all gather together against the Church and Pius XII, and they forget the great powers [United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom]. Did you know that they knew perfectly well the rail network used by the Nazis to take the Jews to the concentration camps? They had the photographs. But they did not bomb these rail lines. Why? It would be good if we spoke a little bit about everything.