If one were only to get their news from mainstream sources and the culture at large this story would make little sense to you. If you believe that Pope Pius XII was “Hitler’s Pope” because some anti-Catholic author wrote it in order to sell books, then you might be shocked to read that Hitler had a plot to kidnap the Pope. According to the UK Telegraph:
Pope Pius XII told senior bishops that should he be arrested by the Nazis, his resignation would become effective immediately, paving the way for a successor, according to documents in the Vatican’s Secret Archives.
The bishops would then be expected to flee to a safe country – probably neutral Portugal – where they would re-establish the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church and appoint a new Pontiff.
That Hitler considered kidnapping the Pope has been documented before, but this is the first time that details have emerged of the Vatican’s strategy should the Nazis carry out the plan.
“Pius said ‘if they want to arrest me they will have to drag me from the Vatican’,” said Peter Gumpel, the German Jesuit priest who is in charge of researching whether Pius should be made a saint, and therefore has access to secret Vatican archives.
Pius, who was Pope throughout the war, told his advisers “the person who would leave the under these conditions would not be Pius XII but Eugenio Pacelli” – his name before he was elected Pontiff – thus giving permission for a new Pope to be elected.
“It would have been disastrous if the Church had been left without an authoritative leader,” said Father Gumpel.
“Pius wouldn’t leave voluntarily. He had been invited repeatedly to go to Portugal or Spain or the United States but he felt he could not leave his diocese under these severe and tragic circumstances.” Vatican documents, which still remain secret, are believed to show that Pius was aware of a plan formulated by Hitler in July 1943 to occupy the Vatican and arrest him and his senior cardinals.
Weird, huh? Why would Adolf Hitler be coming up with a plan to kidnap the Pope if the Pope were on his side? Hmmm…
Rabbi David Dalin wrote in his book “The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis” that Pope Pius deserves to be recognized as a “righteous Gentile” for his efforts to rescue Jews from the Nazis.
Rabbi Dalin shows that the Catholic Church, under direct orders from Pius XII, sheltered and protected thousands and thousands of Jews.
The truth is that the myth of “Hitler’s Pope” started in 1963 with left-wing German writer Rolf Hochhuth’s fictional play The Deputy, which portrayed Pius XII as indifferent to Jewish suffering. Then the KGB spread the lie to harm the Catholic Church. They did so only after the Pope’s death.
The lie of “Hitler’s Pope” has become pervasive in the culture but the truth can be found. If only one is willing to look. Even a little.
The truth is that Pope Pius was an untiring enemy of the Nazi regime and Hitler knew it and that’s why he wanted to remove him from the papacy.
According to Jimmy Akin:
The Pope’s efforts did not go unrecognized by Jewish authorities, even during the War. The Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Isaac Herzog, sent the Pope a personal message of thanks on February 28, 1944, in which he said: “The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion which form the very foundations of true civilization, are doing for us unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living proof of divine Providence in this world.”
Other Jewish leaders chimed in also. Rabbi Safran of Bucharest, Romania, sent a note of thanks to the papal nuncio on April 7, 1944: “It is not easy for us to find the right words to express the warmth and consolation we experienced because of the concern of the supreme pontiff, who offered a large sum to relieve the sufferings of deported Jews. . . . The Jews of Romania will never forget these facts of historic importance.”
The Chief Rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, also made a statement of thanks: “What the Vatican did will be indelibly and eternally engraved in our hearts. . . . Priests and even high prelates did things that will forever be an honor to Catholicism.”
It becomes increasingly difficult to honestly believe in the myth of Hitler’s Pope. But something tells me that those who hate the Church will still find a way.