Catholic League president William Donohue says critics of Pope Pius XII are looking “rather foolish” after the truth about a document, slamming the wartime Pope, was revealed late last week.
The New York Times ran a story Jan. 9, citing an Italian newspaper, which claimed to have uncovered a 1946 letter implicating Pope Pius XII in a scheme not to return Jewish children, who were cared for by Catholics during the Holocaust, to their parents after the war.
The newspaper article claimed that Pope Pius XII approved the unsigned letter.
However, Donohue pointed out in a press release that Italian journalist Andrea Tornielli of Il Giornale discovered that the letter never originated at the Holy See. In fact, he found that the text bears the seal of the apostolic nunciature of France.
Most importantly, the letter says the exact opposite of what was originally claimed.
Tornielli discovered that the letter states that Jewish children, who were cared for by Catholic families or institutions during the war, should be returned to their original families. In the event that Jewish organizations, and not families, sought custody of the children it was to be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Donohue added that Zenit, the international news agency that covers the Vatican, “learned that the origins of the document extend to a letter written in 1946 by Isaac Herzog, chief rabbi of Jerusalem, to Pius XII.
“In it, (Rabbi) Herzog thanked the Pope for helping Jews during the Holocaust and for sheltering ‘thousands of children who were hidden in Catholic institutions.’ He then requested that these children be returned to their original families,” said Donohue.