Friday, 19 September 2008

Pope Pius XII

Papal Address on Pius XII Symposium
"Not All the Genuine Facets Have Been Examined In a Just Light"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 18, 2008 - Here is the text of Benedict XVI's address today to Gary Krupp, the president of the Pave the Way Foundation, which organized a symposium on the papacy of Pope Pius XII.

The symposium was held Monday through Wednesday.

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Dear Mr Krupp,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am happy to meet with you at the conclusion of the important symposium organized by the Pave the Way Foundation. I know that many eminent scholars have participated in this reflection on the numerous works of my beloved predecessor - the Servant of God Pope Pius XII - accomplished during the difficult period around the time of the second world war. I warmly welcome each of you especially Mr Gary Krupp, President of the Foundation, whom I thank for the kind words expressed on your behalf. I am grateful to him for informing me how your work has been undertaken during the symposium. You have analyzed without bias the events of history and concerned yourselves only with seeking the truth. I also greet those accompanying you on this visit, as well as your family members and loved ones at home.

The focus of your study has been the person and the tireless pastoral and humanitarian work of Pius XII, "Pastor Angelicus." Fifty years have passed since his pious death here at Castel Gandolfo early on the ninth of October 1958, after a debilitating disease. This anniversary provides an important opportunity to deepen our knowledge of him, to meditate on his rich teaching and to analyze thoroughly his activities. So much has been written and said of him during these last five decades and not all of the genuine facets of his diverse pastoral activity have been examined in a just light. The aim of your symposium has been precisely to address some of these deficiencies, conducting a careful and documented examination of many of his interventions, especially those in favour of the Jews who in those years were being targeted all over Europe, in accordance with the criminal plan of those who wanted to eliminate them from the face of the earth. When one draws close to this noble Pope, free from ideological prejudices, in addition to being struck by his lofty spiritual and human character one is also captivated by the example of his life and the extraordinary richness of his teaching. One can also come to appreciate the human wisdom and pastoral intensity which guided him in his long years of ministry, especially in providing organized assistance to the Jewish people.

Thanks to the vast quantity of documented material which you have gathered, supported by many authoritative testimonies, your symposium offers to the public forum the possibility of knowing more fully what Pius XII achieved for the Jews persecuted by the Nazi and fascist regimes. One understands, then, that wherever possible he spared no effort in intervening in their favour either directly or through instructions given to other individuals or to institutions of the Catholic Church. In the proceedings of your convention you have also drawn attention to his many interventions, made secretly and silently, precisely because, given the concrete situation of that difficult historical moment, only in this way was it possible to avoid the worst and save the greatest number of Jews. This courageous and paternal dedication was recognized and appreciated during and after the terrible world conflict by Jewish communities and individuals who showed their gratitude for what the Pope had done for them. One need only recall Pius XII's meeting on the 29th of November 1945 with eighty delegates of German concentration camps who during a special Audience granted to them at the Vatican, wished to thank him personally for his generosity to them during the terrible period of Nazi-fascist persecution.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your visit and for the research you have undertaken. Thanks also to the Pave the Way Foundation for its ongoing activity in promoting relationships and dialogue between religions, as witnesses of peace, charity and reconciliation. It is my great hope that this year, which marks the fiftieth-anniversary of my venerated predecessor's death, will provide the opportunity to promote in-depth studies of various aspects of his life and his works in order to come to know the historical truth, overcoming every remaining prejudice. With these sentiments I invoke upon you and the proceedings of your symposium an abundance of divine blessings.


Pave the Way Foundation's Address to Pope
Working to "End the Malevolent and the Illegal Use of Religion"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 18, 2008 ( Here is the address Gary Krupp, president of the Pave the Way Foundation, gave today upon meeting Benedict XVI at the apostolic palace of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

The Pope granted an audience to the participants of the congress "Examining the Papacy of Pope Pius XII," which was organized by the foundation. The three-day symposium ended Wednesday.

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You Holiness, The mission of Pave the Way Foundation is to end the malevolent and the illegal use of religion. We begin this process by establishing credible and trusted relationships through our historic gestures of good will and with the identification and elimination of obstacles between the faiths.

Some examples of our projects are that we worked for over 20 years to help the equipment acquisition of the hospital of St. Padre Pio here in Italy. We worked behind the scenes to remove obstacles and to move the fundamental agreements with the Israeli government and the Holy See. We initiated the Jewish thank you to Pope John Paul II for his efforts to achieve religious reconciliation. We brought the manuscripts of Maimonides for the first time in history from the Vatican Library to the state of Israel, and in 2007, we implemented the gift to your library of the oldest manuscripts of the Gospels of St. John and St. Luke, the Bodmer papyrus.

Your Holiness, for all of these benevolent projects I wish recognize, in your presence, one who has dedicated over 20 years behind the scenes to help us to complete this vital work: Doctor Rolando Clementoni.

In the furtherance of our mission, Pave the Way has identified the papacy of Pope Pius XII as a source of friction and misunderstanding. Accordingly, we have undertaken an independent investigation to identify significant documents and to video record eyewitness testimony. I wish to report to you that results of this investigation are stunning, and directly contradict the negative perception of the Pope's wartime activities.

All of the documented material that we have gathered, including the transcript of our just completed three-day symposium, will be turned over to your pontifical institutions and to the internationally recognized Holocaust centers for further study.

Based on their review of these new materials, and in the interest of maintaining their historical integrity and accuracy, we call upon these institutions to carefully review this new information in order to redefine the current perception on this papacy.

This year, for Catholics, Oct. 9, 2008, will be the commemoration the 50th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII, for Jews that date is also significant as it is our holiest Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement. May this providential date usher in a new effort to correct the historical record and bring to light the truth of this papacy.

I wish to close with a passage from a book written by Ambassador Pinchas Lapide, a former Israeli consul general in Italy, and a Jewish theologian: "No Pope in history has been thanked more heartily by Jews upon his death in 1958. Several suggested in open letters that a Pope Pius XII forest of 860,000 trees be planted on the hills of Judea in order to fittingly honor the memory of the late Pontiff, because the Catholic Church under the pontificate of Pius XII was instrumental in saving the lives of as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands."

You Holiness, we humbly ask you to keep the mission of Pave the Way Foundation and its vital work to end the malevolent use of religion in your prayers, and thank you for allowing us this time today.