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The Pope can be wrong

The Pope can be wrong

The Pope can be wrong
February 14
14:15 2019

Jesus Sanchez Melean

Pope Pius XII continues to be a very controversial figure. Historians have conflicting opinions when they try to explain why Pius XII declared himself neutral at the time that terrible events were happening in Europe between 1939 and 1945. The question they are trying to answer is: Why an expert diplomat was seen as “weak” before Hitler? Monsignor Giovanni Pacelli, before being elected Pope, was the Secretary of State for the Vatican, and he was in charge of foreign policy for the Vatican.

In 1933, Pacelli negotiated and successfully closed a “concordat”, or a treaty between the Vatican and the Nazi government. The concordat established the freedom to profess the Catholic religion and the church ratified its right to regulate its own affairs. Pacelli and the Nazi regime were lauded for reaching such an agreement. However, a few hours after Pacelli signed the agreement, the regime led by Hitler started to violate the agreement.

On May 25th of that year, five days after signing the concordat, the German government enacted the law of sterilization. This law was against fundamental principles of the Catholic doctrine. Soon after, they took actions to dissolve the Catholic Youth League, epicenter of Catholic activism at the time. That started a saga of persecution and apprehension of thousands of priests, nuns, and secular leaders. Most of these Catholic leaders were criminally charged for immorality and for smuggling foreign currency.

Historian John Cornwell, in his book “Hitler’s Pope” assures that Pius XII didn’t want to provoke the Nazis. The Pope was afraid they could invade the Vatican the same way they had done it with France and Poland. According to his interpretation, Pius XII was afraid to be invaded because he “knew the innards of the Monster.” Another historian, David Dalin, author of “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope,” concluded that not condemning the Nazi regime allowed Pius XII to protect and save the Jewish population. According to Dalin, the Vatican saved about 800 thousand Jews.

Our Pope Francisco has taken the same route that Pius XII took during WWII. The Vatican, under his direction, has declared neutrality over the political and humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Venezuela. The official release issued by the Vatican talks about “positive neutrality,” and suggests that Francisco and the diplomats at the Vatican are not inert in light of the events taking place in the Caribbean country. His actions are not readily visible, and will only be known in a few decades, when access to documents from the Vatican is reached.

While I can’t judge Francisco with the rigor a historian would, I can only complaint as a Catholic. I am frustrated to see how Francisco has resisted to condemn the Chavista regime. He has enough evidence of the humanitarian crisis the Cuban-inspired economic model has caused in Venezuela. He knows about the massacre this regime has caused in recent years. About 140 thousand people, mostly young adults, have died at the hands of the regime from repression.

I believe in the humility of the Pope. That is why I am still waiting for him to accept that he is wrong in his position on the Venezuelan situation. I hope Francisco -in public, not with quiet diplomatic moves- will help end a government model that violates the dignity of the people. In the meantime, I will continue to believe that he is a sympathizer of the Chavista regime.

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Edición Virtual | #334 | 14 de Marzo 2019

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