Synopses & Reviews
In Hitlers Pope
, backed by a wealth of new research, John Cornwell tells for the first time the story of the career of Eugenio Pacelli, the man who as Pius XII was Pope during the Second World War and arguably the most powerful churchman in modern history. Adding to the continuing debate about collective guilt and the Holocaust, as most recently explored by Gitta Serenys Albert Speer
and Daniel Goldhagens Hitlers Willing Executioners,
this is an extraordinary and explosive history.
In the first decade of the century, as a brilliant young Vatican lawyer, Pacelli helped shape an ideology of unprecedented papal power; during the 1920s he employed cunning and moral blackmail to impose that power in Germany. In 1933 Hitler became this perfect negotiating and a concordat was established that granted religious and educational advantages to the Catholic Church in exchange for Catholic withdrawal from social and political action. This voluntary abdication of political Catholicism imposed from Rome facilitated the rise of Nazism.
By Exploring the story of Pacellis early career, including his patent anti-Semitism, John Cornwell makes a firm and final indictment of Pope Pius XIIs scandalous wartime silence and its consequences. He concludes that in the latter half of John Pauls reign the policies of Pius XII have re-emerged to threaten schism in the Catholic Church.
"If true, this tale redefines the entire history of the twentieth century..."
Tad Szulc, Washington Post Book World
"By combining the painstaking research of other scholars with his own new documentation on Pius's knowledge and behavior during World War II, John Cornwell, a British journalist and research associate of Jesus College, Cambridge, makes a case in Hitler's Pope that is difficult to refute." New York Times Book Review
"...[T]he subject of the Catholic Church and the Holocaust the burden of his study is one that needs dispassionate handling. And it is a pity, because Mr. Cornwell, a professional historian, thoughtful Catholic, and vivid writer, has a solid case that he spoils by intemperance. In effect, he blames one man for events in which, though he played a major role, he could scarcely have exercised control." The Economist
"[Cornwell's] book surpasses all others on the subject and the evidence is always honestly presented, allowing one to establish clear areas of agreement and disagreement with the author." R.W Johnson, London Review of Books
"The first serious and complete biography of Eugenio Pacelli, Pius XII....[Cornwell's] criticism...is a devastating refutation of the claim that this Pope's diplomacy can in any way be characterized as wisdom." James Carroll, Atlantic Monthly
"Is the indictment persuasive? Sadly, it is." San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
"[A] fascinating but in some respects flawed book...The trouble with Cornwell's book lies with its sensationalism." Istvan Deak, New York Review of Books
The explosive, untold story of the most dangerous church man in modern history--Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII pontiff from 1939 to 1958, from the eve of World War II to the height of the Cold War. Award-winning journalist John Cornwell shows that Pope Pius XII was instrumental in negotiating an accord that helped the Nazis rise to unhindered power and sealed the fate of the Jews in Europe.
Table of Contents
The Pacellis -- Hidden life -- Papal power games -- To Germany -- Pacelli and Weimar -- The glittering diplomat -- Hitler and German Catholicism -- Hitler and Pacelli -- The concordat in practice -- Pius XI speaks out -- Darkness over Europe -- Triumph -- Pacelli, pope of peace -- Friend of Croatia -- The holiness of Pius XII -- Pacelli and the Holocaust -- The Jews of Rome -- Savior of Rome -- Church triumphant -- Absolute power -- Pius XII Redivivus.