Judging Pius by what he did not say, one could only damn him. With images of piles of skeletal corpses before his eyes; with women and young children compelled, by torture, to kill each other; with millions of innocents caged like criminals, butchered like cattle, and burned like trash—he should have spoken out. He had this duty, not only as pontiff, but as a person. After his first encyclical, he did reissue general distinctions between race-hatred and Christian love. Yet with the ethical coin of the Church, Pius proved frugal; toward what he privately termed “Satanic forces,” he showed public moderation; where no conscience could stay neutral, the Church seemed to be. During the world’s greatest moral crisis, its greatest moral leader seemed at a loss for words.This book is fascinating.
But the Vatican did not work by words alone. By 20 October, when Pius put his name to Summi Pontficatus, he was enmeshed in a war behind the war. Those who later explored the maze of his policies, without a clue to his secret actions, wondered why he seemed so hostile toward Nazism, and then fell so silent. But when his secret acts are mapped, and made to overlay his public words, a stark correlation emerges. The last day during the war when Pius publicly said the word “Jew” is also, in fact, the first day history can document his choice to help kill Adolf Hitler.
Mark Riebling, Church of Spies