Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Should Jews try to help prevent sainthood for WW II Holocaust-era Pope Pius XII?

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.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry, and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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