Media Watch

Russian Historian Defends Pope Pius XII

TEMPI, April 14 — In an interview with the Italian weekly, Russian historian Evghenjia Tokareva said that in January 1941, Pope Pius XII was ready to publish in L'Osservatore Romano a strong protest for the arrest and deportation of 40,000 Jews but that he burnt it on realizing that his earlier portests had only brought harsh reprisals.

In 1941, under threats from Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, Vatican Radio was obliged to suspend its transmissions because just listening to the programs could provoke persectuion.

To have protested by naming the Catholics and Jews who were arrested or deported would have been a sure way of eliciting even worse consequences. Tokareva said that, by 1943, there were 2,644 priests from 24 countries registered in Dachau.

Moreover, “information on the genocide of Jews was very limited. The Vatican could not even contact Poland, which was invaded. On innumerable occasions Nuncio Orsenigo requested permission … to go there, but not one possibility opened,” the Russian historian said.

Priest Defends Church Teaching on Homosexuality

L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO, April 18 — The Church cannot apologize for its teaching about homosexuality because that teaching flows from the truth, an article in the Vatican newspaper said.

Franciscan Father Gino Concetti, a moral theologian and staff writer for L'Osservatore Romano, said people who had wanted or expected Pope John Paul II to apologize for the way the Church has treated homosexuals do not understand Catholic moral teaching.

“A distinction between the person and his actions or concrete behavior is fundamental in the Catholic Church,” Father Concetti wrote.

“A person is always to be loved and helped to grow in humanity and freedom,” he said. But, an error “being a negation of the truth is always to be refuted because it is detrimental to justice and to right.”

Father Concetti's article responded to homosexual rights organizations which said the Pope should have apologized to homosexuals during the March 12 liturgy in which he asked forgiveness for the sins committed by members of the Church in the past.

The claims of some groups that homosexuals formed a disproportionate number of the victims of the Inquisition “are exaggerated,” he said.

Father Concetti said scholars at a Vatican-sponsored symposium on the Inquisition concluded that “the category of homosexual persons was not a particular target of Inquisition tribunals.”

However, he said, “this certainly does not justify” the actions of anyone at anytime who attacked or unjustly discriminated against homosexuals.

At the same time, the Franciscan said, the Church has always and will continue “to disapprove of homosexual activity as a deviation against the nature and dignity of the person and against the true, authentic love which God has placed in the heart of every human person.”