Pius XII Comments Rebuked

Israeli Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen (r), attends Synod of Bishops.
Israeli Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen (r), attends Synod of Bishops. (photo: CNS/Reuters)

Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli has rallied to the defense of Pope Pius XII.

Israeli Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen, the grand rabbi of Haifa, Israel, unexpectedly interjected the wartime Pope into the context of the World Synod of Bishops yesterday.

After making history by addressing the synod, Rabbi Cohen criticized Pius XII in remarks to reporters.

Pius XII “should not be sanctified or looked up to because of his failure to save us, to raise his voice, even if he secretly tried to help” to save Jews during World War II, the rabbi said.

Tornielli, the author of three books about Pius XII, said Rabbi Cohen’s comments were “totally inappropriate” and contradicted the mass of evidence that Pius XII did everything possible to save Jews.

Said Tornielli, “To Rabbi Cohen, allow me to recall the words spoken by a distinguished colleague, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Isaac Herzog in 1944: “The people of Israel will never forget what his Holiness and his illustrious companions, inspired by the eternal principles of religion which are the foundation of genuine civilization, are doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in this most tragic hour of our history, a living proof of Divine Providence in this world.”

— Tom McFeely