The RC Church is in the (lengthy) process of investigating if Pope Pius XII could be elevated to sainthood. This especially in the light of the newly declassified Vatican archives dealing with his reign.
Jews have condemned the attempt for years. But should we?
In Judaism, a saint is someone who either never sinned. There are very few. Or someone murdered for his/her Jewishness.
In Catholic tradition, a saint is someone who led a saintly life and had one miracle occur to him or her.
Could a Pope who was silent during the Holocaust be said to have led a saintly life? Of course not. Silence is complicity. Especially from a leader.
So, the first reason to speak up for Jews and allies of Jews is to foil any attempt to rewrite history and claim that the enablers were innocent let alone saints. The bloodguilt for the Holocaust of Europe in general and of its leaders is great. And the underlying antisemitism is not in the museum yet. It is alive and must be fought actively and energetically. continuously.
But, while Jews and our allies must speak out against whitewashing hatred of Jews, at the end of the day, the responsibility to deal properly with an anti-Semitic past rests solely on the shoulders of Gentiles, not of Jews.
Germany teaches everyone that real pride doesn’t come from denying the great shame but rather from acknowledging it and disavowing it. And from fighting it forever until it’s uprooted completely.
If the Vatican chooses to elevate the memory of Pope Pius XII to sainthood, it only damages its own name. How shameful a religion that continuous its murderous past regarding the Jews, from the Crusades via the Holocaust to the present.
If Pope Pius XII’s sin was silence in the face of evil, to repent means to speak up. If his failure is rooted in cowardice, rectification is to be brave.
But it’s not our shame of they would ever do such an unspeakable thing.
It is their loss if the Mother Church still, after 83 years, continues an evil tradition of antisemitism, cowardice, and silence. Just know that many Catholics all over the world are not ambivalent about this. They have warm hearts toward Jews and would be the first to be abhorred if their religion still cannot distance itself from this evil. Our hope is with the masses.
My four grandparents were gassed at Auschwitz for being Jews while this Pope was silent. They are saints. (My parents may have been even more saintly as they chose life after the Holocaust.) To think of this Pontiff in the same terms is an unspeakable chutzpah. It’s not only a violation of history and truth. It’s also an abdication of responsibility and continuation of a history of 2,000 years of antisemitism. Because, make no mistake about it. The Holocaust was not our shame. The blood of the Six Million cries out from their ashes to G^d (compare Genesis 4:10). Cain repented. Cain did.