Primers on Pope Pius XII

In "Sainthood on Hold" [November 17-24], you state that Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen believes that Pope Pius XII should have done more to save Jews during the Holocaust and wants Pope Benedict XVI to hold off on the beatification of this wartime pope.

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In "Sainthood on Hold" [November 17-24], you state that Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen believes that Pope Pius XII should have done more to save Jews during the Holocaust and wants Pope Benedict XVI to hold off on the beatification of this wartime pope. A former Chief Rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, appeared to have believed otherwise. As written in Sursum Corda by Thomas Craughwell, "at the [baptismal] font, Zolli took the name Eugenio—the Christian name of Pope Pius XII." His conversion to Catholicism took place on February 13, 1945 and reflected great esteem for this pope who saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis.

Martin L. Fleming, Lake Worth, Fla.

I have no idea whether Pius XII should be made a saint, but perhaps your writer and Rabbi Cohen should read Before the Dawn: Autobiographical Reflections by Eugenio Zolli; and Hope Against Hope: Johann Baptist Metz and Elie Wiesel Speak Out on the Holocaust by Ekkehard Schuster and Reinhold Bochert-Kimmig.

C. Jerry Hitchingham, Gainesville, Fla.

In the fall of 1945, while stationed with a U.S. Army unit in Germany, I was part of a group given leave to visit Rome as guests of the Red Cross. While visiting the Vatican, we were ushered into a large room and were told that we were to have an audience with Pope Pius XII. The room was filled with several hundred military personnel representing several nations. We were standing in ordered rows, and when; the Pope entered, most of us knelt. Several did not, and I vividly remember the Pope's response to this "breach of protocol." The look in his eyes through those round-rimmed glasses was not that of a kind, tolerant, and understanding father. There was certainly no aura of saintliness in his reaction toward those who had displeased him. My initial impression of this man was not improved when he addressed his audience in several languages. His comments in English seemed irrelevant to the war that those of us in the room had recently experienced.

Jerome C. McMahon, Jr., Ormond Beach, Fla.


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