Arizona State Sen. Sonny Borrelli (R) holds up a sample of the current ballot at a hearing of the Arizona Committee on Government in Phoenix on Jan. 24, 2022. Borrelli is lead sponsor of a bill to establish currency-grade ballot security measures. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)
An election official from an Arizona county has resigned after allegations of voter irregularities and a ballot shortage on primary elections day.
The Pinal County government confirmed that “David Frisk is no longer in the position of Elections Director and is no longer employed by Pinal County” in a statement on Thursday–two days after Arizona’s primary election day—after a shortage of ballots on primary election day and thousands of early ballots were sent to the wrong voters leading up to the primaries.
Frisk was in charge of ordering the right number of ballots for primary election day, Jeffrey McClure, Chairman of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, told reporters in a press conference on Wednesday.
“I’m not sure how the ballot shortage happened,” McClure said. “We opened the boxes, and there weren’t enough ballots.”
“As a Board, we are deeply embarrassed and frustrated by the mistakes that have been made in this primary election,” McClure said in a Thursday statement, “and as such, we are taking immediate steps to ensure the November election runs smoothly, as elections in Pinal County have historically done prior to this primary.”
The Arizona primaries on Tuesday included Republican races for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, secretary of state, the state legislature, and the high-profile gubernatorial race between Kari Lake and Karrin Taylor Robson.
The Pinal County confirmed the ballot shortage late Tuesday, citing an “unprecedented demand for in-person ballots” causing “a ballot shortage in certain, limited precincts.”
The county said it continued to print ballots and distributed them to the affected polling site during primaries day.
Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer during the press conference that approximately 25 precincts, each with a single voting station, out of 95 precincts were affected by the shortage. Volkmer added that about 750 out of 50,000 voters were affected.
When asked if the volume of ballots were sufficient to impact any results of the race, Volkmer said it is a “difficult question,” noting that only 10 votes were used to separate winners in some municipal races.
“There were those people that felt that they were disenfranchised,” Volkmer said. “They were saying, ‘I didn’t get to vote because I had to go somewhere else. We did everything we could. We offered them the ability to wait, as long as they were capable of waiting.”
Volkmer asserted that both Republican and Democratic races were affected, saying the mistake was “widespread” and an “equal opportunity.”
McClure told local media station FOX10 that he had “not seen evidence of a nefarious act,” referring to intentional voter fraud.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) described the ballot shortage—along with numerous other issues—as a “comprehensive failure” that affected “Republican heavy-precincts” across the state.
The RNC told The Epoch Times in a statement on Thursday that it found at least 12 precinct voting locations ran out of Republican ballots throughout Election Day, describing it as “inexcusable in a precinct voting location system.”
“At least one voting location was not opened at 6 AM and did not open until 10 AM; there were disabled voting machines not plugged in or with the appropriate paper to use, disenfranchising disabled voters,” the RNC added.
In addition, the RNC noted that 63,000 early mail ballots “were sent to the wrong voters due to a misprint regarding municipal elections” and caused confusion. McClure said during the Wednesday press conference that this error contributed in part to the Election Day shortage of ballots.
“I appreciate that the elections director taking responsibility for these bad ballots that were printed out, but it leaves the voter with very very little confidence in the integrity of the election,” Kelli Ward, chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, said in an interview with Lindell TV regarding the erroneous ballots.
“People who shouldn’t have been able to vote in the election were given an opportunity to vote,” Ward said, adding that she’s hearing stories that similar irregularities have been happening in other counties in Arizona as well.
Arizona’s Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, said in a statement in July that her office had completed an “extensive investigation” following the error in the 63,000 early ballots. Hobbs said the state’s voter registration database “did not contribute to the errors on the ballots” and “continues to be secure and reliable for the 2022 Elections.”
Considering all errors leading up to and on Election Day, the RNC noted the importance of having election integrity programs with poll watchers at the ballot box.
“This is a comprehensive failure that disenfranchises Arizonans and exemplifies why Republican-led efforts for transparency at the ballot box are so important,” the RNC said.
Election Integrity Program
Poll watchers—trained in an election integrity program run jointly by the Arizona GOP and the RNC—deployed statewide were able to identify and respond quickly to ballot irregularities on primary elections day, according to the Arizona GOP.
“Because the Republican Party of Arizona and the RNC have built a robust election integrity program, in which we recruited thousands of election volunteers, we were ready to respond as Pinal County’s election debacle unfolded yesterday,” a spokesperson from the Arizona Republican Party told The Epoch Times on Thursday.
“We had hundreds of poll observers deployed statewide, allowing us to quickly identify the issues in Pinal County yesterday—like multiple Republican-heavy precincts running out of GOP ballots or a polling location not opening on time—and elevate them to our team of election attorneys,” the spokesperson continued.
Poll watchers observe the conduct of the election and report irregularities and violations of the Election Code, if any, to election officials. All political parties are allowed to hire election workers to observe all parts of election administration.
The RNC told The Epoch Times that the poll-watching program in Arizona is part of its “multi-million-dollar investment” in its election integrity program for the 2022 cycle.
Its 2022 cycle election integrity program includes hiring “17 state Election Integrity directors, 29 in-state election integrity counsels, and recruiting tens of thousands of poll workers and poll watchers in battleground states across the country,” the RNC said, adding that it spent 2021 cycle consisted of “spending more than $40 million on election protection efforts in battleground states across the country.”
“The RNC’s stance on election integrity is that we should make it easier to vote, and harder to cheat,” the RNC said. “That means ensuring our elections have: Voter ID, absentee signature matching and safeguards, bipartisan observers, updated voter rolls, and timely processing and counting of ballots.”
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Saying “superficial” marriage preparation programs leave many couples at risk of having invalid marriages or unprepared to cope with the struggles that arise in every marriage, Pope Francis endorsed suggestions for a yearlong “marriage catechumenate” drafted by the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life.
“With too superficial a preparation, couples run the real risk of having an invalid marriage or one with such a weak foundation that it falls apart in a short time and cannot withstand even the first inevitable crises. These failures bring with them great suffering and leave deep wounds in people,” the pope said.
The pope wrote the introduction to the dicastery’s “Catechumenal Itineraries for Married Life,” a document released in Italian and Spanish by the Vatican June 15.
Pope Francis said he hoped the document would be followed by another providing guidance and clear suggestions for accompanying couples “who have experienced the failure of their marriages and live in a new relationship or have been remarried civilly.”
While providing guidance, the pope said, the document also must be adapted for local situations and for the people involved. “It is an outfit that must be ‘made to measure’ for the people who will wear it.”
The document is not a marriage preparation course, the dicastery said, but provides indications for launching “a catechumenal itinerary for married life,” designed to help young people understand the sacrament, prepare engaged couples to celebrate their marriage and support newlyweds in the first years of their married life.
In addition to general presentations to children and teens about marriage as a vocation, the actual “marriage catechumenate” for couples should last about a year and begin with a celebration or “rite of engagement,” the dicastery said. The second phase should include a few months of more immediate preparation and a pre-wedding retreat just before the wedding. The third phase of assisting newlyweds should last two or three years.
The parish pastoral team, it said, will have to be sensitive and discerning in situations where the engaged persons or just one of them refuses to participate in the catechumenate.
The dicastery suggested dioceses and eparchies first establish a “pilot project” or consider the design of their marriage preparation itinerary to be “experimental,” with a fixed time for reviewing and making necessary adjustments.
“The dwindling number of people, in general, getting married, but also and especially the short duration of marriages, even sacramental ones, as well as the problem of the validity of celebrated marriages, constitute an urgent challenge, which puts at stake the fulfillment and happiness of so many lay faithful in the world,” the dicastery said, explaining why the guidelines were necessary.
Citing calls in the church going back to the 1950s for a more serious preparation to celebrate the sacrament of matrimony, the dicastery said that, like with the preparation of adults for baptism, time and energy should be devoted to helping couples prepare to live the Christian vocation of marriage.
By speaking of a marriage “catechumenate,” the dicastery said, it wanted to make clear that the goal is not simply to pass on church teaching about sexuality, marriage and married life — although those are essential — but to help couples recognize and thrive in “the mystery of sacramental grace, which belongs to them by virtue of the sacrament: to bring to life the presence of Christ with them and among them.”
After all, it said, for Catholics matrimony is not a one-day celebration, but “it is a vocation, a journey to holiness that embraces one’s entire life.”
Just as preparations for living the vocations to priesthood or religious life extend over time — years, not a few weeks — so should preparations for the vocation of marriage, the document said.
While not presenting a complete curriculum, the dicastery said preparation should: last long enough to allow couples time for real reflection and maturation; place faith and an encounter with Christ at the center; be “articulated in stages, marked — where possible and appropriate — by rites of passage to be celebrated within the community”; and include “formation, reflection, discussion, dialogue, liturgy, community, prayer and celebrations.”
“The marriage catechumenate is not preparation for passing an exam but for living a life,” it said, adding that the challenge can be greater in countries where many, or even most, couples live together before marriage.
The preparation should include encouraging couples to observe “premarital chastity” so that rather than “becoming fixed on the physical instrumentalization of the other,” they focus on dialogue and getting to know each other better, it said. “Even in the case of cohabiting couples, it is never useless to speak of the virtue of chastity. This virtue teaches every baptized person, in every condition of life, the right use of one’s sexuality.”
In most cases, the dicastery said, preparing for marriage will “require gradualness, welcome and support, but also the witness of other Christian spouses to welcome and be present along the way. Therefore, it is important that more space be given in communities to the active presence of spouses as spouses, as agents of marriage ministry, and not just as individual believers.”
The couples engaged in ministry need training and education, however, the document said. “Some complex issues pertaining to marital sexuality or openness to life — such as responsible parenting, artificial insemination, prenatal diagnosis and other bioethical issues — have strong ethical, relational and spiritual repercussions for spouses and require specific formation and clarity.”
Getting to know the couples and their beliefs is crucial, the document said.
“In the event that they explicitly and formally reject what the church intends to accomplish when celebrating marriage, the couple cannot be admitted to the sacramental celebration,” it said. However, if there is an “imperfect disposition,” they can be married, but the priest and couples charged with ministry to families must follow up and help them grow in faith and their understanding of what the church teaches.
The deer appeared out of nowhere, two of them. One stood on the highway’s center line and the other stood about four feet in from the shoulder, perfectly in line with my front bumper. With only three seconds to spare, I decided my best option was to take my foot off the gas pedal and pray that they would move. The first one dashed away, the other smacked with a thud against my passenger side.
Earlier that week, I had actually thought twice about whether I should make the four-hour drive home to Chicago across the backroads of Indiana. It was a long drive, but I’d gain an hour with the time zone change, and I’d get to sleep in my own bed. When making those decisions, no one ever plans on hitting a deer.
I pulled over to the side of the road with flashers on, headlight dangling at a strange angle, and a terrible noise emerging from my front tire. It was pitch dark, but otherwise, a clear fall night. I stared at my phone trying to decide who to call. I was 156 miles from home.
Carl, a diocesan partner, had been at the same meeting that night, and I knew he was driving that same stretch of dark highway. He picked up the phone on the first ring. We figured out that he had likely passed me shortly after I hit the deer. He turned around and headed back my way.
When he arrived, we pulled the front bumper away from the tire, which thankfully was still intact, and checked under the hood. The car appeared to be drivable despite the crushed headlamp.
Carl offered to follow me for the next hour before we went our separate ways, where he would take the turnoff to South Bend, while I continued home to Chicago. “Or you can always stay with us,” he offered. With two of their four kids away at college, there was no shortage of spare bedrooms and clean sheets.
In a fleeting moment of clarity, I could hear the tiny whisper of the Holy Spirit reminding me that there are no bragging rights for ending up dead in a ditch somewhere. My stubborn independence was not going to serve me well in this moment. It was better to play it safe and drive the rest of the way home in the daylight.
In hindsight, I felt so lucky. It could have been much worse. The impact was minimal enough that the airbags never deployed. I was emotionally rattled, but not physically injured. (And by the looks of it the deer ran away unscathed!) Furthermore, I had not expected Carl to be at this meeting. It was his wife’s birthday, and he had rearranged his schedule to take her out to lunch, then made time for this evening meeting on the far side of the diocese.
As a single lay woman and frequent traveler, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and to be open to the mysteries of God’s grace. As we arrived at Carl’s house, his wife Marie asked if I’d like something to eat, and she immediately opened a bakery box full of treats. I’m never one to turn down homemade pastries, except that I’ve developed a gluten sensitivity in recent years. As my mind raced to politely decline, she pointed out several gluten-free options. God’s grace appears in the tiniest details (and tastes like comfort food).
Several times, Carl remarked about how calm I appeared. “You’re handling this really well! You hit a deer, and now you’re standing in a stranger’s kitchen.” It’s true, I’d only met Carl a handful of times before tonight. Above his shoulder, a piece of handcrafted artwork hung on the wall, its distinctive bright colors reminiscent of Central America.
I took the artwork as another sign that I had landed in the right place. God gave me a missionary heart, and I’ve learned how to be at home in the home of strangers. A dozen service trips to Nicaragua, an immersion experience in Rwanda, and countless other places. I have traveled enough to know that God’s presence will be revealed in the delays and detours, if only I pause long enough to notice. My adventures have long been influenced by a quote from Max Warren reminding missioners “to take off our shoes, for the place we are approaching is holy” and to recall that “God was there before our arrival.”
God gave me a missionary heart, and I’ve learned how to be at home in the home of strangers.
Indeed, there was ample evidence that God’s presence preceded my arrival here. I heard it in the story Marie shared of how their relationship unfolded, and the ways they have committed their lives to careers in Catholic education. It was evident in spare toothbrushes, hot coffee and extra blankets. I noticed it in the quiet way Marie traced the sign of the cross on their children’s foreheads before school.
Hospitality is one of those gifts that we truly only experience when we’re in need. When we find ourselves standing at a stranger’s door, empty handed, with nothing to offer but our bare selves. Further, you cannot offer hospitality unless someone else is there to receive it. Those who are blessed to offer hospitality are only made aware of the impact of their generosity because they have taken time to notice the beggar on the side of the road in need of a good Samaritan.
God never tires of making grace known through acts of radical hospitality when strangers appear — whether along the road to Emmaus, or on a dark highway running through South Bend, Indiana. As I headed out the next morning, with the sun peaking over the horizon, I was reminded to keep an eye open for God’s presence and to watch out for the deer.
Catholicism has a rich and turbulent history in England, and Catholicism has played an important role in England’s history. Today we’ll take a look at the current state of Catholicism in England with a special guest.
Throughout Christ’s ministry the apostles were blessed to witness many signs and wonders of the glory and divinity of Jesus, but the Transfiguration stands above other scenes as a bright window into the splendor of the Lord and his heavenly kingdom.
On top of Mount Tabor the Lord’s appearance was changed, it was transfigured so that “his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.”
In that moment, the glory and divinity of Jesus was physically reflected in his human body as if a veil had been temporarily lifted.
It is a moment where the Incarnation was clearly demonstrated; Jesus is both God and man.
The Word of God chose to share in our humanity so that we might share in His glory.
He took on human flesh so the heavenly Father could also say of us, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’.
All we must do is ‘listen to him’ (Mt. 17:5). But in our sinfulness it is sometimes difficult to see this at work in our lives.
This is why the Holy Spirit guides us to reflect on how this has already been perfectly accomplished in another, in the Blessed Virgin Mary.
No one ever loved or listened to the Lord better than Mary.
Immaculately conceived, she was free from all stains of sin. Perfectly holy and being the Mother of God, she has been crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.
She is not God, yet she shares in Christ’s majesty like none other.
Mary’s glory has also been demonstrated repeatedly throughout history.
Yet, the final apparition of Our Lady of Fatima stands above other moments in history in a similar way to how the Transfiguration was a special example of Christ’s divinity.
On October 13, 1917 over 70,000 people had gathered to witness the anticipated apparition.
After hours of heavy rain, after Mary gave her final message to pray the Rosary and repent, the clouds parted.
The Holy Family was seen beside the sun which had burst forth like an immense silver disk.
It spun and danced in the sky and its radiant light showered dazzling colors which reflected off of the peoples’ garments! And the once drenched people now stood dry and amazed.
The sign couldn’t be more clear, Mary has been robed in the glory of Jesus and both he and she invite us to likewise share in such majesty.
If only we would listen to her message!
So, today, on this first Saturday of the month, let us renew our devotion to her, confess our sins, pray the Rosary, and receive the Blessed Sacrament.
Let us do so in reparation for the world, for the salvation of ourselves and our families, and for the reign of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
At the end of the Second World War, Pope Pius XII was universally acclaimed for his courageous leadership. The Jewish historian Pinchas Lapide acknowledged that the Church saved the lives of 850,000 Jews in Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, and Hungary. Rome’s chief rabbi, Israel Zolli, converted to Catholicism. To thank and honor Pope Pius XII, he took the name Eugenio, after Eugenio Pacelli, the pope’s birth name.
When Pius XII died, Israel’s Foreign Minister Golda Meir wrote, “When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the pope was raised for the victims.” Leonard Bernstein asked the audience at a performance of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for a minute of silence “for the passing of a very great man, Pope Pius XII.”
Within five years after the pope’s death, however, efforts began to calumniate Pius. Soviet disinformation sought to discredit him. But it was especially the 1963 play, The Deputy, by Rolf Hochhuth, an unknown clerk at a German publishing house and a radical leftist, that painted Pius XII as a pro-Nazi anti-Semite who was silent while 6-million Jews were murdered.
The actual record did not stop the slander. Robert Graham S.J., a scholar of the period, was asked to explain why. With all the gruesome information coming out about the Nazi death camps in the 1960s and 1970s, someone “needed to be blamed for the Holocaust.” And a pope fit the bill.
Hesemann’s meticulous research reveals Eugenio Pacelli to have been an outspoken critic of the Nazis throughout the 1920s and 1930s. In a 1935 public letter to the bishops of Cologne, for example, Pacelli called the Nazis “false prophets with the pride of Lucifer.” He was also the principal author of Pius XI’s encyclical, written in German and released on Passion Sunday in 1937, With Burning Concern (Mit brennender Sorge), which condemned Nazi racial theories:
Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community. . . .above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God.
The Nazis called Pacelli a “Jew-loving” cardinal.
After learning of the 1938 Kristallnacht attack on Jews, he formed a plan that would enable 200,000 people “who were considered Jews by the Third Reich, to emigrate and, thereby, to save them from further persecution.” If the various governments issued visas, the Vatican would cover the relocation costs. Although Pacelli labored mightily, Hesemann reports that, because of “a lack of cooperation from governments,” only a few thousand were able to emigrate.
One month after the outbreak of the Second World War, Pacelli, now Pope Pius XII, released his first encyclical, On The Unity of Human Society, which called on all people of goodwill to oppose “two pernicious errors”: racism and statism. He bluntly stated that the Nazis “abandoned Christ’s cross for another which brings only death.”
The New York Times declared on its front page: “Pope Condemns Dictators, Treaty Violators, Racism.” The American Israelite praised the pope’s “denunciation of Nazism.”
In his annual Christmas radio addresses, the pope regularly condemned Nazi barbarism. A 1941 New York Times Christmas editorial declared: “The voice of Pius XII is a lonely voice. . . .[He] is about the only ruler left on the continent of Europe who dares to raise his voice at all. [He] left no doubt that the Nazi aims are also irreconcilable with his own conception of Christian peace.”
Pius XII gave his blessing to German resistance groups dedicated to deposing Hitler; their cause was morally sound because “we had to wage war against the powers of evil.”
On several occasions, Hitler ordered Pius to be kidnapped and Curia members executed. Although Hitler was talked into rescinding those orders, Pius prepared for the worst. He signed a Letter of Resignation – to take effect if he were taken prisoner. In that case, the cardinals were to travel to neutral Portugal and hold a conclave to elect a new pope.
After the Germans occupied Rome in October 1943, Heinrich Himmler ordered that the “Final Solution” be implemented there. “All 8,000 Roman Jews,” Hesemann reports, “regardless of age, sex, or state of health, were to be deported to the Reich ‘for the purpose of liquidation.’”
Hesemann discovered that on October 25, 1943, Pope Pius ordered in writing that “religious institutes and even the catacombs be opened for the Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis.” The pope sent food from the Vatican to feed thousands housed in Catholic institutions. He spent his own money on medicine, clothes, and other necessities; and he posted guards to protect compounds.
Hundreds of Jews were hidden on Vatican territory including the pope’s summer residence, Castel Gandolfo. “Of the 7,705 Jews living in Rome on June 5, 1944, the day of the liberation by the Allies,” documents indicate 6,681 owed their rescue directly to the pope.
But as in his previous works on Pius, Kertzer appears to be a historian in search of data to confirm a pre-conceived conclusion: that Pius XII did nothing to protect Jews.
In a review of Kertzer’s The Popes Against the Jews, prominent American philosopher Russell Hittinger noted that the author failed to read papal condemnations of anti-Semitism, because “reading the public documents would cut against his thesis at every point.”
Kertzer’s latest book has similar problems.
About half the text traces the decline and fall of Mussolini, Hitler, and the House of Savoy. The other half portrays Pius XII as a weak, indecisive, incompetent, and unbending tyrant who turned a blind eye to the Holocaust and looked favorably on Fascists and Nazis. As the archival material indisputably shows, this is utterly preposterous.
Kertzer even goes so far as to claim that Pacelli was not a favorite of the Cardinals at the 1939 conclave. He falsely asserts that it took three ballots for Pacelli to get the votes required.
The conclave that elected Pacelli was the shortest since 1623. He received forty-eight votes on the second ballot, but as Hesemann rightly observes, “he insisted on a third ballot, in which he received sixty-one of the sixty-two votes, only his own went to another candidate.”
Kertzer’s arguments rest on facts such as that Pius XII dealt with the head of the Italian state, King Victor Emanuel, and the head of the government, Benito Mussolini, to protect Catholic interests; he argued for peace, not war; and he used them as intermediaries with Hitler in attempts to broker a peace agreement.
Kertzer is appalled that Pacelli, as Cardinal Secretary of State and as pope, dealt with Hitler’s government and had “secret” meetings with German envoys.
Pius XII and his predecessor, Pius XI, recognized Hitler was evil, of course, but they negotiated with the German state to secure the Church’s freedom to educate youth and appoint bishops – and for German Catholics to practice their faith freely.
Popes reaching out to rogue states is hardly unusual. To protect the flock, in the 1920s Pius XI attempted, on at least three occasions, to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union.
Kertzer, to be sure, does not mention Pacelli’s documented efforts to save 200,000 “non-Aryans” after Kristallnacht.
Or that, as Pius XII, he supported the resistance movement that sought to overthrow Hitler.
And Kertzer dismisses Nazi plans to kidnap Pius XII as “Allied propaganda.”
He asserts “there is no evidence the pope ever directed Church institutions to take in Jews,” a false statement, as archival materials show beyond all doubt.
Throughout The Pope at War, the author disparages Pius XII’s public statements and speeches. He complains the pope used “opaque theological language and moralistic bromides” and spoke in a “monotonous tone devoid of any hint of spontaneity.”
Pius XII’s sermons are – in this view – too long; his language “characteristically convoluted” or ambiguous. And the pope’s Christmas radio talks are dismissed as “long and of . . . rarified language.”
The pope’s messages may be too opaque for Kertzer but were not so for millions of Catholics and Jews throughout the world at the time, including the New York Times, which was owned by a Jewish family. They understood the pope’s message and hailed him for his courage.
Pius XII gave a radio address on August 1, 1941, for example, that is far from convoluted or ambiguous:
A great scandal is presently taking place, and this scandal is the treatment suffered by the Jews; that is why I desire that a free voice, the voice of a priest, should be raised in protest. In Germany, the Jews are killed, brutalized, tortured because they are victims bereft of defense. How can a Christian accept such deeds?. . . . These men are the sons of those who 2000 years ago gave Christianity to the world.
Despite such words, Kertzer’s primary accusation against Pius XII is his alleged “silence.” Kertzer claims, without evidence, that the pope was intimidated by Hitler and Mussolini and “clung firmly to his determination to do nothing to antagonize either man.” Hence, he concluded that “as a moral leader, Pius XII must be judged as a failure.”
Pope Pius XII was far from silent, but he was certainly cautious. He instructed local bishops that they must “deliberate whether and to what extent the dangers of retaliatory measures and forms of pressure. . .make it seem advisable. . .to exercise restraint ad maiora mala vitanda [in order to avoid greater evils.].”
There were sound reasons for caution.
A papal letter to be read in every church was smuggled into Poland by a Vatican envoy and delivered to Archbishop Sapieha of Krakow in August 1942. The letter was “a declaration of solidarity and a clear repudiation of the Nazis.” But Sapieha lamented, “For the love of God, though, it is absolutely impossible for me to forward this letter. . .to my priests, much less can I have it read out. If only one copy gets into the hands of the SS, all our heads will roll.”
Sapieha burned the letter and told the pope, “It sorely torments us that we cannot forward the letter of Your Holiness to our faithful, but it would serve as a pretext for further persecutions.”
Unlike the Polish Church, the Dutch Church paid a price for its lack of caution. In July 1942, a pastoral letter inspired by the pope and signed by the Dutch Catholic bishops and leaders of the Synod of Dutch Reformed Churches was read from the pulpit in every Catholic Church.
Within a week, the Nazis retaliated by shipping 40,000 Dutch Jews in Holland, including all the Jewish-Catholics, to Auschwitz, among them Edith Stein (Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross). The Archbishop of Utrecht, Jan de Jong, later lamented, “If I had remained silent and not protested, all these Jewish Catholics would still be alive.”
Dr. Jozef Lichten, a Polish Jew and director of the Intercultural Division of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai-Brith, argued that it was wise for the pope not to speak out more strongly against Nazi persecutions “because anything he would have said was liable to make matters even worse for the Jews.”
Marcus Melchior, the chief rabbi of Denmark, a Holocaust survivor, agreed: “If the pope had spoken out, Hitler would probably have massacred more than six million Jews and perhaps ten times ten million Catholics, if he had the power to do so.”
A leading Roman Jew, Carlo Sestieri, who survived by hiding in a Vatican building, stated that the Vatican’s “prudent policy,” saved thousands of Roman Jews, “without doubt it saved, it helped avoid worse disasters.”
Throughout the war, Pope Pius XII struggled with the temptation to speak out. “He did not,” Hesemann writes, “want to purchase for himself the applause of the civilized world and fame in future generations with the blood of innocent persons.”
Thus, he avoided public denunciations that would anyway have been suppressed by Nazi censors and used his position to rescue as many Jews as possible through diplomatic and underground channels.
While some diplomatic initiatives succeeded, the great success was the underground network developed after Pius XII sent a secret order to the bishops in Europe on December 23, 1940, that directed them to provide aid for “all people who suffer from the racism of National Socialism.”
Priests, nuns, and other religious carried out the pope’s order and saved lives through bold and intelligent tactics. The noted historian, John Toland, reflecting on those noble efforts, wrote in his acclaimed biography of Hitler:
The Church under the pope’s guidance. . .saved the lives of more Jews than all other churches, religious institutions, and rescue operations combined. . . .The record of the Allies was far more shameful. The British and Americans, despite lofty pronouncements, had not only avoided taking any meaningful action, but gave sanctuary to few persecuted Jews.
In a 2003 interview, Gilbert said that “to assert Pius XII was ‘silent’ about Nazi mass murders is a serious error of historical fact.” Instead, Pius XII was the first major voice to publicly condemn Nazi atrocities against Catholics and Jews. And hundreds of thousands of Jews were “saved by the entire Catholic Church under the leadership, and with the support of Pius XII.”
Gilbert rejected the view, still held by Kertzer and others, that Venerable Pius XII must be judged a “moral failure.” Far from deserving obloquy, he said, Pius should be a candidate for Yad Vashem’s order of “Righteous Gentiles.”
In ecumenical discussions at the Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England, Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury, has said that most Anglicans recognize the pope as “the father of the Church in the West.”
Welby said that he is “not proud” of the level of progress made in promoting Christian unity in recent years. He attributed this stasis in part to what he termed “habits of separation” that have been fostered over the last 500 years.
Nonetheless, he believes that the majority of the Church of England’s members acknowledge the pope to be “the father of the Church in the West.”
Addressing the conference, Cardinal Kurt Koch, prefect for the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, stressed the urgency of ecumenical dialogue. Koch called the present state of division an “emergency” in the Church.
Speaking to the Tablet, Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham Bernard Longley noted the ability of the conference to cement the unity of the Anglican Communion.
Longley pointed out that the road to wider Christian unity and dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church would be “hampered” if the former were to divide.
The 2022 Lambeth Conference runs from July 26 until Aug. 8. Over 600 bishops representing Christian communities from the Anglican Communion have gathered in Canterbury for a program of lectures and discussions on a range of topics, from peace and reconciliation to environment and sustainability.
Welby’s comments on ecumenism follow his call for a vote on banning same-sex marriage earlier in the conference. However, Welby said at a press conference in March that debates about human sexuality should not dominate this year’s Lambeth Conference.
The theme of the event is “God’s Church for God’s World: Walking, Listening, and Witnessing Together.”