The controversy over Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust just doesn’t seem to end. The latest twist came on Friday when our Vatican correspondent Philip Pullella got the scoop that Holocaust survivors and their descendants plan to lobby Pope Benedict to stop the process of making his wartime predecessor Pius XII a saint. They plan to submit their protests to papal nuncios (ambassadors) around the world, something apparently being done for the first time. The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their Descendantsdecided this on Thursday in New York. Earlier that day in Rome, Pope Benedict’s deputy, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, said Jewish accusations were “outrageous” and no one could tell the Vatican whether Pius should be made a saint. But this does not seem to have prompted the decision.
Jewish groups would probably not have upped the ante like this if Pius’s supporters had not stepped up their campaign for his beatification in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of his death. For its part, the Vatican has blown hot and cold on the issue, with Pope Benedict praising Pius at one point and then saying later that he might freeze the beatification process.
Do you think the Vatican has mishandled this? What should it have done to avoid all this?