.- A key U.S. diplomat, who served during Pope Pius XIIâs pontificate, states in his revealing memoirs that he expects the pontiff to be eventually made a saint. The book offers a first-hand account and convincing evidence that the accusations railed against Pope Pius XII as a âpro-Nazi Popeâ are unfounded.
âInside the Vatican of Pius XII: The Memoir of an American Diplomat During World War IIâ is the memoir of Harold Tittmann, Jr., who was chief assistant to Myron Taylor, Franklin Rooseveltâs personal representative to the Vatican, between 1940 and 1946.
Tittmann, now deceased, has often been quoted in the case against Pius XII, but his memoir depicts a totally different picture of the wartime Pope, say literary analysts William Doino, Jr. and Joseph Bottum in a book review. Their full book review was published in First Things.
Doino and Bottum state: âThese memoirs may be the most important document to be published on Pius XII in over 20 years. And they prove to be, far from an indictment, an overwhelming defense of the Pope and the Catholic Church.â
In his memoirs, the Episcopalian and World War I veteran insisted that Pius XII âdetested the Nazi ideology and everything it stood for.â He also credited the Pope for his diplomatic skills, decisive nature and ability âto see both sides of a question.â
The 224-page book reveals that Pope Pius XIIâs actions during the war were influenced by the anti-Nazi resistance, which advised him not to make any public statements specifically condemning the Nazis for fear of greater violence against the people.
For example, soon after World War II began, Pope Pius XII had authorized Vatican Radio to condemn Nazi war crimes against Catholics and Jews in Poland, wrote Tittmann. However, âthe Polish bishops hastened to notify the Vatican that after each broadcast â¦, the various local populations suffered âterribleâ reprisals,â he said. As a result, such broadcasts were discontinued.
âPersonally, I cannot help but feel that the Holy Father chose the better path by not speaking out and thereby saved many lives,â wrote Tittmann. âWho can say what the Nazis would have done in their ruthless furor had they been further inflamed by public denunciations coming from the Holy See?â
Tittmann witnessed to the Vatican network that provided assistance to persecuted Jews and Pius XIIâs âpersonal and secret account,â in a U.S. bank, which he âused exclusively for charitable purposesâ during the war.
Tittmann also stated that Allied diplomats followed Cardinal Maglioneâs advice and destroyed âall documents that might possibly be of use to the enemy.â
As a result, say the book reviewers, âthe many official diplomatic documents, which survive the war years, represent merely a fraction of Pius XIIâs activities.â
âI do not for one moment overlook his great spiritual qualities,â wrote Tittmann of Pius XII. âWhether near him or away from him, one was always conscious of them. â¦ Very possibly the future will rate him a saint.â
âInside the Vatican of Pius XII: The Memoir of an American Diplomat During World War IIâ is priced at $13.95.