Author(s): Mark Riebling
A radical reinterpretation of the wartime Pope. Born Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII is perhaps the most vilified and detested Pope in modern history. Pius XII and the Vatican are thought to have appeased Hitler and betrayed international Jewry by staying silent during the Holocaust. The accusation has fundamentally damaged the Catholic Church's moral standing, and earned Pius XII the nickname 'Hitler's Pope'. But this narrative - of a spiritual leader who stumbled in the world's greatest hour of need, of a man determined to look the other way - is not the complete story. In Church of Spies, intelligence expert Mark Riebling uses a wealth of recently uncovered documents to redraw the conventional image of the wartime Pope, who, in his account, was not Hitler's lackey, but an active anti-Nazi spymaster. Using documents recently released by the Vatican Secret Archives and the British Foreign Office, Riebling shows that the Church's wartime campaign against Hitler was far more extensive than ever thought - and that many actions were intended to undermine the Nazi regime, and were approved by Pius XII himself. In the end, Pius XII was neither a righteous gentile nor Hitler's Pope. He was a politician, at a time when the world needed a prophet.
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