Canonizing Pius XII

Why did the pope help Nazis escape?

The past, a historian once ironically remarked, is unpredictable. Certainly, much of what happened in World War II falls into that category, including the saga of Pope Pius XII. Some historians view the record of his long papacy (1939–58) and wartime predicament sympathetically; others view his actions (or inactions) critically, if not harshly. The interpretations of nonhistorians vary even more widely, with some (John Cornwell, Hitler’s Pope) accusing him of pursuing personal power...

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About the Author

Michael Phayer is professor of history emeritus at Marquette University.

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