In the debate over Pius XII’s response or lack of response to the horrors of Nazi Germany, very few writers have been able to overcome the temptation to depict him either as “Hitler’s pope” (as in John Cornwell’s book title) or as a saint (as in the case of those pushing for his canonization). Rabbi David G. Dalin comes to the latter conclusion in a recent article in the Weekly Standard (February 26).
Actually, he does much more. Dalin declares that “Pius XII was, genuinely and profoundly, a righteous gentile.” That highly charged term is used, officially and with authority, only by Yad Vashem, Israel’s respected Holocaust Memorial Institute. The honor is conferred (often posthumously) upon those who heroically, often at lethal risk to themselves and their families, sheltered Jews from detention and deportation into the maw of death.