A new book by the Italian-American nun and expert in literature Sister Margherita Marchione entitled, “Pius XII: The Truth Will Set You Free,” has hit book stands in Italy as the 50th anniversary of the death of the late Pontiff approaches on October 9.
Through direct testimonies, documents and photographs, the book rehabilitates the figure of Pius XII and shows his active commitment in support of the Jewish people during World War II.
Speaking about the new book, Sr. Marchione stressed the need to “speak the truth” about the work the Catholic Church carried out during the papacy of Pius XII to defend and save the Jews from the Nazi persecution.
“In Rome alone some 5,000 Jews were saved” by taking refuge in monasteries, churches and even inside the Vatican, she said.
Marchione said she hopes the book will remove the shadows that have surrounded the figure of Pius XII, who has been criticized for his alleged silence in the face of the Nazi holocaust. No “historically objective and well-documented method of research” supports such a claim which, she added, “is the result of prejudice and of precipitous and superficial analysis.”
“In reality Pius XII saved the lives of thousands and thousands of Jews and other persecuted people. Many church buildings, including his residence at Castel Gandolfo, were transformed into places of refuge. Everything took place not only thanks to his consent, but also by order of Pius XII,” the book’s publisher, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, said in a statement.
The Vatican has always defended the position taken by the Pope, who preferred “to maintain maximum reserve and work in silence in order to prevent bloody reprisals and a worsening of the violence.”
In fact, the neutral position maintained by the Pope was only “apparent,” since his speeches on Nazism were “clear and never ambiguous,” as was the case with the encyclical “Summi Pontificatus” published in 1939 or the radio message broadcast on Christmas Day 1942,” the statement continued.
Marchione’s book includes a prologue by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who stressed the work’s “fundamental importance” for recalling the efforts of Pius XII to save the Jews.