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BS: Pius & more Pius...

Raedwulf 12 Nov 17 - 02:37 PM
Donuel 12 Nov 17 - 06:02 PM
bobad 12 Nov 17 - 06:59 PM
Donuel 12 Nov 17 - 07:06 PM
Donuel 12 Nov 17 - 07:15 PM
Greg F. 12 Nov 17 - 08:15 PM
Steve Shaw 12 Nov 17 - 08:27 PM
meself 12 Nov 17 - 08:50 PM
Donuel 12 Nov 17 - 09:06 PM
bobad 12 Nov 17 - 09:28 PM
Joe Offer 13 Nov 17 - 02:51 AM
robomatic 13 Nov 17 - 03:45 PM
Raedwulf 13 Nov 17 - 05:33 PM
bobad 13 Nov 17 - 06:26 PM
Joe Offer 13 Nov 17 - 07:09 PM
Jeri 13 Nov 17 - 07:43 PM
Steve Shaw 13 Nov 17 - 07:52 PM
Joe Offer 14 Nov 17 - 03:36 AM
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Subject: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: Raedwulf
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 02:37 PM

Mr Shaw said he didn't want to create a new thread, partly because he felt it would be "doomed to spasms of defensive behaviour and horrible fights". Since the discussions in the Henry VIII thread have remained perfectly civil, I see no reason why this shouldn't also (if you please, Dear Reader! ;-) ). And Steve also said he would be happy to discuss Pius XI & XII. But not in that thread. Therefore, this! :-)

I have to quote Steve a couple of times from the other thread to provide a starting point for this. I should also point out that I am germanic pagan myself, so have no sympathy whatsoever for christianity, let alone popes, on the whole. Nevertheless!

Steve, from the other thread, "Pius XII colluded with a fascist regime (as did his predecessor) and silently oversaw the removal of hundreds of Jews from under his nose in Vatican City to death camps. He also oversaw the expediting of escape routes to South America at the end of the war for Nazi war criminals, and let's not mention the baleful role of the Church in the Spanish Civil War. Oddly, these guys seem to be first in line for sainthood..."

"There's also the murky question of anti-semitism in the Church and its part leading to the events of the mid-20th century. This culminated in Pius XII putting the interests of the Vatican before the lives of millions of Jews. He vacillated for years in the face of fascism in Italy and of the Nazis before and during the war."

In defence of XI, I pointed out that "he wrote several protests against the Nazis, from 1933 onward, and turned against Mussolini when he started adopting Nazi racial policies in 1938." He also wrote strongly against the racial policies of the Nazis. "Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community ? however necessary and honourable be their function in worldly things ? whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds." was part of an encyclical that was not announced in advance, in order to help it be smuggled into Germany so that it could be read from pulpits. Catholicism was another victim of persecution under the Nazis, clergy & congregation too. In a later address he wrote "Mark well that in the Catholic Mass, Abraham is our Patriarch and forefather. Anti-Semitism is incompatible with the lofty thought which that fact expresses. It is a movement with which we Christians can have nothing to do. No, no, I say to you it is impossible for a Christian to take part in anti-Semitism. It is inadmissible. Through Christ and in Christ we are the spiritual progeny of Abraham. Spiritually, we [Christians] are all Semites."

So where is the evidence of XI colluding with fascism?

As for XII, he was a pre-war critic of the Nazis, and maintained links with the German Resistance throughout the war. And was in a much worse position than XI. As I said in the other thread, "Spiritual authority is one thing, but it's not much of a weapon when the other side has weapons & no respect for said spiritual authority! Stuck inside one fascist state with another even bigger & nastier fascist state just over the border that's been persecuting your clergy & congregation for years... What do you do?" He apparently instructed local churches across Europe to provide discreet aid to Jews, and continued to speak out as best he could against racial persecution. Wiki reckons that he saved 80% of Roman Jews from deportation.

I'm well aware that his reputation is somewhat equivocal, but it seems to me he didn't merely have a weak hand of cards to play; he had no hand at all. As for the anti-Semitism of the church, anti-Semitism was rife across all strands of European culture before 1945. France, for example, did its best to make itself a secular state from the Revolution onwards (persecuting the RC church in the process), but always had a significant anti-Semitic streak (e.g. the Dreyfus affair). To point a finger at the RC church specifically seems somewhat unfair. Why should the Vatican, or any other significant organisation, have been immune? Such attitudes were not, then, ridiculous, as they are today.

So, Steve (& anyone else who cares to join in), on what grounds do you hold an opinion of XI or XII, or claim that the Vatican was anti-Semitic after WWI?


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: Donuel
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 06:02 PM

I would remind XI that the Jews are not a race.

otherwise Bravo Raedwulf


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: bobad
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 06:59 PM

the Jews are not a race.

There are those, such as Harry Ostrer, medical geneticist and professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, who say otherwise.

Personally I don't support the concept of race at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: Donuel
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 07:06 PM

Are Jews a Race?

In the 1980s, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Jews are a race, at least for purposes of certain anti-discrimination laws. Their reasoning: at the time these laws were passed, people routinely spoke of the "Jewish race" or the "Italian race" as well as the "Negro race," so that is what the legislators intended to protect.

But many Jews were deeply offended by that decision, offended by any hint that Jews could be considered a race. The idea of Jews as a race brings to mind nightmarish visions of Nazi Germany, where Jews were declared to be not just a race, but an inferior race that had to be rounded up into ghettos and exterminated like vermin.

But setting aside the emotional issues, Jews are clearly not a race.

Race is a genetic distinction, and refers to people with shared ancestry and shared genetic traits. You can't change your race; it's in your DNA. I could never become black or Asian no matter how much I might want to.

Common ancestry is not required to be a Jew. Many Jews worldwide share common ancestry, as shown by genetic research; however, you can be a Jew without sharing this common ancestry, for example, by converting. Thus, although I could never become black or Asian, blacks and Asians have become Jews (Sammy Davis Jr. and Connie Chung)


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: Donuel
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 07:15 PM

In my case I believe even an orphan born of SS parents at a Liebensborn orphanage can be a Jew.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: Greg F.
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 08:15 PM

Personally I don't support the concept of race at all.

Then why bring it up, Boo-Troll?


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 08:27 PM

He brought it up because he believes in the concept of race. Don't mention the Palestinians...

I sent a huge great post to this thread but it didn't take and I've lost it. Damn. It'll be 24 hours before I can do it again, you lucky people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: meself
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 08:50 PM

I thought that, technically speaking, 'race' is synonymous with 'species' - meaning that there is only one human race. I'm not saying that as an ideological statement, but as my understanding of the meaning of the term ... ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: Donuel
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 09:06 PM

asked and answered in post at 7:06


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: bobad
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 09:28 PM

Don't mention the Palestinians...

Did I mention that my wife's family were Palestinian refugees?


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Nov 17 - 02:51 AM

Raedwulf, I think you painted the picture very fairly.

If people want to pick on recent Piuses, I would say that Pius IX ("Pio Nono" - Pope 1846-1878) and Pius X (Pope 1903-1914) are far more questionable. Pius IX lost control of the Papal States in 1870, when Italy became a united nation. He and subsequent Popes became "prisoner of the Vatican," refusing to leave the Vatican until a settlement was reached between Mussolini and Pius XI in the Concordat (Lateran Treaty) of 1929.

Pio Nono reigned for a long, long time. He was a complex character, and I don't know if he (or any pope - or any person, for that matter) can easily be categorized as "good" or "bad." A big deal is made of his adoption of a Jewish boy, taking the boy away from his parents because the boy had been baptized in a hospital. That all seems a little creepy, but it does seem that the boy was raised nicely and voluntarily became a priest. Still, it's more than a little weird.

And Pio Nono was the one who got Papal Infallibility declared at the First Vatican Council in the 1870s. And generally, I think that Pio Nono was more than a little bit paranoid.

Leo XIII was Pope 1878-1903, and he was known for promoting the rights of workers and the poor. His Rerum novarum encyclical is the basis of Catholic Social Teaching, which is really pretty good stuff.

When I was a kid, the nuns all said wonderful things about Pius X (Pope 1903-1914) because he was the one who let kids have First Communion at the age of 7 instead of 13. But as I grew older, I found out that Pius X appeared to be obsessed about the heresy of "modernism." One of my seminary professors said that "modernism" was a long list of things that the Pope arbitrarily didn't like. Priests had to take an "anti-Modernist Oath" into the 1960s, not that they really knew what they were swearing against.

Benedict XV was Pope 1914-1922, and I don't know a damn thing about him.

And then we come to Pius XI, who was Pope during the crucial period of 1922-1939. Pius XII was Papal Nuncio to Germany 1917-29, and then was Secretary of State from 1930 until he became Pope in 1939. One could condemn Pius XI for dealing with Mussolini and signing the Concordat of 1929 and a 1933 concordat with Germany; and one could condemn Pius XII for not being vehement enough in his opposition to Mussolini and to the subsequent German transportation of Italian Jews after Mussolini fell - but who knows what was the right thing to do?

It's really hard to say what Pius XI and Pius XII should have done. It would have been wonderful to have a star-quality Pope who opposed Fascism brilliantly and protected Italy (and Europe) from Mussolini and the Germans. It's clear that the Pius XI 1937 encyclical Mit brennender Sorge was a bold statement against both Hitler and Mussolini, but was it a matter of "too little, too late"?

There really isn't too much opposition to Pius XI, but Pius XII got (and still gets) hard-hit by critics who say he didn't do enough to oppose Mussolini and Hitler. Mussolini really wasn't able to accomplish much against the Jews of Italy - but should the Piuses be credited for that? The Germans took control of Italy in 1943, and only then did the transportation of Italian Jews begin. But was there any way that Pius XII could have stopped the Germans? There are those who hint that Pius XII assisted the Germans, but their evidence is weak. And why would Pius XII have done that? It just doesn't make any sense to me that any pope would assist in the extermination of Jews. To believe that, I'd have to have pretty good evidence.

After 1929, the Vatican was a separate city-state. I don't know of any evidence that the Mussolini or German regimes in Italy were able to capture Jews from the Vatican. Indeed, it's my understanding that many Jews were sheltered in the Vatican and protected from transportation. It's my understanding that there were many Catholic-led operations in Rome to protect Jews. On the other hand, I'm sure there were antisemitic Catholics in Rome who aided the Italian and German efforts against Jews.

There are those who condemn Popes for any misdeeds done by Catholics, and I think this is flawed reasoning. Many people outside the Catholic Church seem to think that all Catholics blindly follow all the commands of the Pope. And so if Catholics do wrong, then the Catholic Church and the Pope are to blame. They use this same flawed reasoning to condemn the Popes for the sex abuse scandal, since they seem to think that Catholics, even sex perverts, always obey the Pope.

Well, it's not all that simplistic. Popes act by logic and persuasion, not by direct command.

Pius XI and Pius XII were both diplomats and intellectuals, and they faced Mussolini and Hitler in a diplomatic manner. As far as I can see, they did what they could to oppose Fascism, but it was not in their character to express that opposition in a dramatic way. It might have been nice to have some heroic Popes at the time, and the Piuses were not what one would call heroic. But would headline-grabbing heroism have succeeded against Mussolini and Hitler? I'm not so sure.

I realise that today's culture lionizes aggressiveness, but I'm not so sure that aggession is always the best approach.

As far as I can see, there was no "right" way to respond to Mussolini and Hitler. The Allies destroyed much of Europe in their efforts to conquer Mussolini and Hitler. It seems to have been necessary, but was it the "right" thing to do?

I guess I'd compare the Popes to Atlee. Was Atlee wrong? Whatever the case, I don't think Atlee was evil, and I don't think that the Popes were evil. They were in an impossible situation, and there was no "right" answer.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: robomatic
Date: 13 Nov 17 - 03:45 PM

Raedwulf, an admirable OP (Original Post) in which you lay out a position and some guidance of what you want from the thread.

I don't know enough detailed history of what is a complex issue. I grew up in a very Catholic part of the world (Boston area) which is yet quite particular: The Catholics were primarily Irish and Italian, who are co-religionists who argue, fight, make horrible ethnic jokes about each other, yet share a religious calendar and frequently inter-marry. And they are distinct from the Irish in Ireland, the Italians in Italy, etc. etc. Catholicism is BIG.
And I'm not Catholic, I'm a witness OF Catholics.

I regard Pope John XXIII as one of the main influencers of the 20th Century, and from my point of view, quite positive. The Catholic Church of today is not the Catholic Church of yesteryear, which IMO is also pretty positive.

As for Pius, he doesn't seem to have been a prime mover for The Holocaust, nor one against it. And the Catholic hierarchy he dealt with was varied and deep. I've read that many in the Nazi leadership were able to flee Europe, mostly for South America, helped by Catholic documentation. Do I know this for historical fact? No. So I don't really concentrate on it.

I think when large, ancient institutions show they are capable of change, this should be acknowledged and dealt with.

Hope I didn't take the thread too far afield.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: Raedwulf
Date: 13 Nov 17 - 05:33 PM

Thank you for your answers so far (and I look forward to yours, Steve - save it before posting next time, tha daft old bugger! ;-) ). On the subject of race, I should possibly do a Steve & request that such a discussion passes to a new thread... Nah! Feel free, but keep it clean, please!

My comment on the subject is something that I sort-of pointed out several years back to a particularly obnoxious troll of this forum who was extremely loud in his Jewishness (I'm sure several of you can work out who I mean without trouble!). Semitic is a word only normally encountered with an anti in front of it. It doesn't, in that context mean anti-Semitic; it means anti-Jewish. Semitic; coined from Shem, one of Noah's sons; originally referred to a language grouping, rather than a racial one. Arabic is actually the semitic language with the most speakers. Maltese, perhaps surprisingly, is also a semitic language.

I think Donuel is confusing or conflating different things. Jew most certainly is a race. Let's ignore the impossible question of how "pure" a race can be. We're all mongrels to some degree, and it's difficult to give credence to any notion of 'racial purity' in the cradle of civilisation, the melting pot that the Middle East has been for a dozen millennia. Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, Kurds, Persians... It's surely not controversial to suggest that they are genetically more closely related to each other than they are to northern Europeans, black Africans, etc, yes?

So Jew may refer to race (for a given definition of race). But Judaism is a religion, and culture is something that may (or may not) relate to either. As Don says, he cannot become a genetic Jew. At the same time, though, he is effectively disagreeing with himself, because he acknowledges the genetically based concept of race, and certainly Jews are more closely related to other Jews than they are to Arabs, Uncle Tom Cobbley & all, no?

And isn't what we generally mean & hear when we use or hear the word "race"? Equally, of course, as Don also says, one may convert to Judaism. Or be brought up in a Jewish culture. Jew is a racial term, I suggest, but Jewish is a rather more complicated word...


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: bobad
Date: 13 Nov 17 - 06:26 PM

There?s really no such thing as race, there?s different tribes but not different races. We?re all one species.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Nov 17 - 07:09 PM

Well, in common conversation, I think the word "race" implies "skin color," connected to other stereotypes and connotations. It's a difficult word to feel comfortable with - because dividing people by race is mostly a tool of bigotry.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: Jeri
Date: 13 Nov 17 - 07:43 PM

No such thing as race...

It's just a sub classification of humans. It's the word that's the problem, but I'm pretty sure people all mean the same thing and understand each other. It's normally about groups of people with similar physical characteristics. "Jewish" CAN be a race, but also can be a religion, and one has to know a person to know if the term "race" is applicable.

Joe, I don't think it's "a tool of bigotry". Bigots can use any difference to separate people from them. Race classification, by itself, is harmless.


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Nov 17 - 07:52 PM

I haven't got the time or energy to revisit my lost post. I've been driving around all day in the service of others and I'm bloody knackered, and if I stayed up until two in the morning I'd be wrecked tomorrow. Damn.

What I gleaned before making that post is that, sure, Joe, Pius XII was not a bad man. But I think he was overwhelmed by political figures who had ten times the guile that he had. A man cloistered in seminaries, then in the rarefied air of the Church institutions, shackled by the moral mores of his religion, was not able to exercise the naked expedience of the seasoned politico. And when you consider that those politicos were Hitler and Mussolini, well, frankly, what chance did he really have?

The criticism is that he serially vacillated. Didn't speak out. You say, what else could he do? Some would answer, he could have gone for broke. His mentor Jesus went for broke when he threw over the tables in the temple. He knew what was happening to the Jews. He saw his role as trying to strike a balance when "balance" was the last bloody thing that six million Jews needed to hear. He serially disappointed the good people who needed the one and only forceful non-combatant voice that was even remotely conceivable in the darkest days of the war. He was a massive let-down, a man whose courage failed. That's what I read again and again about him when I was making that post. I've got to get to bed!


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Subject: RE: BS: Pius & more Pius...
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Nov 17 - 03:36 AM

I could more-or-less agree with that, Steve.
-Joe-


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