Cover image for The defamation of Pius XII
The defamation of Pius XII
McInerny, Ralph, 1929-2010.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
South Bend, Ind. : St. Augustine's Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
xii, 211 pages ; 23 cm
Youth -- Diplomat -- Secretary of State -- A Pope in time of war -- The defamation of Pius XII -- Why?
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BX1378 .M396 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Eugenio Pacelli, Pius XII, was one of the few unalloyed heroes of World War II. At great personal risk, he saved some 800,000 Jews from extermination by the Nazis. Jewish refugees were given asylum in the Vatican, swelling the number of Swiss Guards. No Allied leader can match his glorious record. Golda Meir lauded Pius XII after the war, and the chief rabbi of Rome became a Roman Catholic, taking the name of Eugenio in tribute to Eugenio Pacelli.

Why then has such a man been vilified and all but accused of being responsible for the Holocaust? Rolf Hochhuth's infamous play, The Deputy, marked the turning point. The outrageous distortions of this play turned the greatest friend the Jewish people had during World War II into an anti-Semite. This book restores Pius XII to the rank of hero, demolishes the ludicrous charges against him, and identifies the true target of this infamous calumny: the Church, the papacy, and the Christian moral teaching which confronts and condemns the Culture of Death.

Author Notes

Ralph McInerny was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 24, 1929. He served in the Marine Corps in the late 1940s. He received a bachelor's degree from St. Paul Seminary in 1951, a master's degree from the University of Minnesota in 1952 and a doctorate in philosophy from Laval University in Quebec in 1954. He was a member of the University of Notre Dame faculty from 1955 until 2009. He gained international renown as a scholar, author and lecturer who specialized in the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. During his academic career, he was the Michael P. Grace Professor of Medieval Studies and director of the Jacques Maritain Center at the University of Notre Dame. He is founder and publisher of Catholic Dossier magazine and co-founder of Crisis magazine.

His philosophical works include Aquinas on Human Action, The Question of Christian Ethics, and Aquinas and Analogy. His novels include the Father Dowling Mystery series, an Andrew Broom Mystery series, and the Sister Mary Teresa Mystery series. He also wrote under the pseudonyms of Harry Austin, Matthew FitzRalph, Ernan Mackey, Edward Mackin, and Monica Quill. He died on January 29, 2010 at the age of 80.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Why do John Cornwell in Hitler's Pope (1999) and Gary Wills in Papal Sins [BKL Ap 1 00] say such nasty things about Pope Pius XII? McInerny's fact-crammed response to those best-sellers presents Pius as the best friend Jews had during the Holocaust, responsible for the rescue of 860,000 of the 2 million European Jews who survived. Moreover, Pius' good offices were well known at the time and praised by Jewish political and religious leaders. Cornwell and Wills are reviving the anti-Catholicism of Rolf Hochhuth's hit play The Deputy (1963), which cast Pius as Hitler's anti-Semitic accomplice. Hochhuth slandered Pius, McInerny postulates, to displace Germany's collective guilt--a guilt that Catholic theology, McInerny points out, doesn't acknowledge. Cornwell and Wills are differently motivated. Disaffected Catholics, they despise church teaching on sexual morality and attack Pius and his successors to undermine papal authority. One needn't be Catholic to find McInerny's argument most compelling. Unless the events and statements he cites really didn't happen and weren't written, the memory of Pius XII deserves an apology. --Ray Olson