Pope: Predecessor Made Every Effort To Save Jews
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VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI said yesterday that his predecessor Pius XII spared no effort to save Jews from the Nazis, one of the strongest Vatican defenses of a pontiff accused of silence during the Holocaust.
Pope Benedict said during a meeting with an American-based interfaith group that he wanted any prejudice against Pope Pius to be overcome, praising what he called Pope Pius’s “courageous and paternal dedication” in trying to save Jews.
“Wherever possible he spared no effort in intervening in their favor either directly or through instructions given to other individuals or to institutions of the Catholic Church,” Pope Benedict said.
Pope Pius XII reigned between 1939 and 1958 and was a Vatican diplomat in Germany, and its secretary of state before that. Some historians say that he did not do everything in his power to prevent Jews from being deported to concentration camps. His supporters say he made every effort to help Jews and other victims through quiet diplomacy.
Also yesterday, a cardinal said yesterday Pope Benedict will not attend an World Family Day in Mexico City in January, 2009, because the city sits too high above sea level for someone his age.