By Jessica Easthope
Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the newly named Vatican ambassador to the United Nations, described the impact of the Holocaust — one of the worst evils in human history.
Jan. 28 he spoke to leaders at the World Body about the extraordinary efforts undertaken at the Vatican to protect the Jewish people.
“There were some episodes and some people that with their humanity and care for others gave some hope where there was only despair,” he explained.
At a U.N. symposium, a panel of experts presented material showing the Catholic Church was one of those sources of hope.
Gary Krupp, the founder of Pave the Way, an organization dedicated to breaking down barriers between religions, addressed the heroic efforts of Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust.
“The pope ordered in writing and verbally the protection of what he called a ‘vibrant Jewish community’ to be hidden in 696 ecclesiastical and private locations, thereby saving 6,381 Jewish lives,” he said.
In the past, critics have complained that Pope Pius XII didn’t do enough to save those of Jewish faith from the Nazis.
Krupp said the Holy Father did so much without getting proper credit. The work of Pope Pius XII forced him to shift his own personal beliefs about the pope.
“It’s a particularly regrettable irony that the one man in all of occupied Europe who did more than anyone else to halt the dreadful crime and alleviate its consequences is made the scapegoat of all of the others,” he said.
New evidence shows that a propaganda campaign launched from the Soviet Union attempted to tear down Pope Pius’s reputation and cast him as an anti-Semite after his death in 1958.
Today the Church is strongly condemning the surge of hate against the Jewish people worldwide, warning that the very dark time of the Holocaust can never be repeated.
“We say never again, we say we remember but we also need to act today in this world,” said Archbishop Caccia.