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Two sides to the story of Pius XII and the Holocaust


This is in reference to Michael Kelley’s letter to the editor (The Sun, Oct. 16) about the message on the sign at the St. Pius X Church property on Elm Street. When I first read the sign, which says “if you remain silent you will never regret it, but if you speak you will often regret it,” I had to stop and think about what that message implied. My conclusion was that they must simply mean, be careful about what you say, or don’t gossip. In my opinion, the message is ambiguous or incomplete.

I chose to be more lenient with this message because I belong to this parish and I have participated in a lot of great causes due to the homilies and Gospel readings I have listened to at Mass. This parish and its pastor are anything but quiet. Our pastor has been attacked more than once (and at times praised) in this very paper due to his courage and outspokenness on several issues such as the atrocities of abortion (you want to talk about silence?), traditional marriage, euthanasia, communism, socialism, religious freedoms and more. I’ve been motivated to act, and not remain silent, since I’ve come to St. Pius X Church more than I have anywhere else or at any time in my life. We have monthly food collections for the poor (the truck is always full) and the people of St. Pius X continue to astound me when collections are taken for hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and the missionaries.

Mr. Kelly talks about Pope Pius XII and the silence and inaction that he feels were taken by him during the Holocaust. This issue is still very controversial and I’ve read and listened to both sides. There is an article from Catholic Answers written by Jimmy Akin called “How Pope Pius XII Protected Jews.” It states that 700,000 to 800,000 Jews may have been saved due to the actions of this pope. This article states that 3,000 Jews found refuge in the pope’s summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, and that Rabbi Pinchas Lapide records that 155 convents and monasteries sheltered, fed and clothed up to 5,000 Jews in Rome. Also, this article relates how, in June 1944, this pope sent a telegram to Admiral Miklus Horthy, ruler of Hungary, asking him to stop the deportation of 800,000 Jews from that country, and how the fascist press came to call the Vatican paper the “mouthpiece of the Jews.” The article continues to talk about the chief rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, actually accepted baptism in 1945, taking the Christian name of the pope, Eugenio, in honor of everything this pope did for the Jews during the Holocaust. Some Jews actually asked the pope to remain somewhat silent because they were “all fugitives and didn’t want the finger pointed at them.”

There’s more in Akin’s article that supports Pope Pius Xll’s actions during this tumultuous time. I hope everyone will take some time and read it and thank you Mr. Kelly for reminding us it’s not “what” you say, it’s “how” you say, write, display, text, tweet it.

Anne Phelps

Westerly



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