Media Watch

Anglican Convert Who Defended Pius XII Dies at 87

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, Sept. 6 — Anthony Rhodes, the English historian who mounted the first scholarly defense of Pius XII's efforts to save Jews from Nazi persecution, was remembered in a lengthy obituary in the London newspaper. He died Aug. 23

Drawing on archival material released by the Vatican, as well as British and German Foreign Office archives, Rhodes' 1973 book The Vatican in the Age of the Dictators offered a persuasive rebuttal of claims that Pius XII didn't strive hard enough to help persecuted Jews.

Rhodes “revealed how, as Secretary of State in the 1930s, Pius (then the Secretary of State Cardinal Pacelli) had an important part in the writing of Pius XI's encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge (The Church and the German Reich) which denounced the Nazis. During the war, he was closely involved in keeping Jews out of Germans' hands,” the Telegraph said.

In a review of the book, British writer Rebecca West praised Rhodes' work as “elegantly written, scrupulously fair and informative on matters much obscured by the mutterings of fools.”

Rhodes, who wrote two other books on 20th-century Vatican history, was an Anglican when he wrote The Vatican in the Age of the Dictators. He was appointed a knight commander of St. Gregory by Pope Paul VI in 1976, but did not convert to Catholicism until the mid-1990s, the Telegraph reported.

Pope Praises Good Friday Agreement

THE IRISH TIMES, Sept. 6 — Speaking Sept. 4 to Ireland's new ambassador to the Holy See, Philip McDonagh, Pope John Paul II hailed the Good Friday agreement for giving “new hope” to the people of Northern Ireland.

The agreement, which was signed on Good Friday in 1998 in Belfast, set out a plan for self-government in Northern Ireland and for the decommissioning of paramilitary militias there.

Said the Pope, “I pray that every effort is being made to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Good Friday agreement, which has given new impulse and new hope to the people of Northern Ireland.”

In his remarks to the Holy Father, McDonagh highlighted the contributions of the many Irish Catholics who have gone to Rome to live and work, The Irish Times reported. As an example, McDonagh noted Archbishop Michael Courtney, the apostolic nuncio to Burundi who was murdered there in a car ambush on Dec. 28.

Bush Helps Broker Vatican-Israel Talks

ANSA ENGLISH MEDIA SERVICE, Sept. 6 — At the urging of the White House, discussions between representatives of the Vatican and the Israeli government resumed Sept. 6 in Jerusalem.

The four-day negotiations covered a number of issues involving the rights of Catholics in Israel, including custody of holy sites.

Israel broke off talks a year ago, ANSA said, but returned to the bargaining table at the request of United States. The wire service cited an article in July in the Jerusalem daily Maariv, which reported that President George W. Bush had been asked by the Holy See “to apply pressure on the Israeli government” to resume discussions.