Holy Cross Judaic Studies Professor Explains Debate on Controversial Holocaust-Era Pope

The Conversation
March 26th, 2019 by 

Alan Avery-Peck, Kraft-Hiatt Professor of Judaic Studies. Photo By Austin Bosworth
Alan Avery-Peck, Kraft-Hiatt Professor of Judaic Studies. Photo By Austin Bosworth

Declaring that the church “isn’t afraid of history,” Pope Francis recently announced that the Vatican would open its archives on World War II-era Pope Pius XII, who has been criticized of staying silent on the Holocaust.

In an article for The Conversation, Alan Avery-PeckKraft-Hiatt Professor of Judaic Studies at Holy Cross, provides historical context for why Pius XII’s legacy has been one of the most contentious debates involving Church figures of the 20th century, with critics saying he did not do enough to publicly combat the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy, and supporters arguing that he worked diligently behind the scenes to save Jews.

“As a scholar who has been teaching Holocaust history primarily to students who grew up in the Christian faith, the question of the attitudes of Christians, and especially of the Church, comes up frequently in my classes,” wrote Avery-Peck.

So what will the files reveal? That’s still unclear, but according to Avery-Peck “the proof of actions Pius XII took in support of Jews might allow the Church to move forward towards his canonization, which has been stalled since 2009.”

To read the full article, go to The Conversation.

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