Published On: Mon, Sep 7th, 2015

The Wartime Pope

During the Second World War, Pope Pius XII was criticized for his perceived lack of aggressive action towards Nazi Germany. But he actually did more than was known at the time…

On 15 October 1943, thousands of men, women and children gathered around Pope Pius XII during his inspection tour of Rome after an American air raid. A former papal nuncio to Germany, Pius came under heavy criticism from the Allies for his public stance of neutrality throughout the war and for maintaining his silence while Nazi atrocities were committed. Secretly, however, as well as maintaining links with the German Resistance, he sheltered a number of Jews and, when he was asked to baptise Jewish babies, he ruled that they not be returned to their parents afterwards, but that instead, for their own safety, they be placed in the care of the Catholic Church. He reigned as Pope from March 1939 until his death in 1958.

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