Talk:Vatican City in World War II
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Quotes from primary sources
During the Soviet Union's acts of aggression against Finland, the Winter War, Pius XII condemned the Soviet attack on 26 December 1939 in a speech at the Vatican. Later he donated a signed and sealed prayer on behalf of Finland.
On 18 January 1940, after more than 15,000 Polish civilians had been killed, Pius XII said in a radio broadcast, "The horror and inexcusable excesses committed on a helpless and a homeless people have been established by the unimpeachable testimony of eye-witnesses." But in his first encyclical (published less than two months after the invasion of Poland), Summi Pontificatus (20 October 1939), Pius XII did not explicitly condemn Germany's invasion, occupation and partition of Poland under the Nazi-Soviet Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Neither Germany nor any reference to an invasion are mentioned. The Pope's only specific reference to Poland is the lament for its suffering in the following words:
|“||The blood of countless human beings, even noncombatants, raises a piteous dirge over a nation such as Our dear Poland, which, for its fidelity to the Church, for its services in the defense of Christian civilization, written in indelible characters in the annals of history, has a right to the generous and brotherly sympathy of the whole world, while it awaits, relying on the powerful intercession of Mary, Help of Christians, the hour of a resurrection in harmony with the principles of justice and true peace.
– Summi Pontificatus, p. 106.
Time magazine commented that the encyclical made clear which side was at moral fault in starting the war with such brutal results in Poland. But Pius XII would never publicly name Germany, the Nazis, or Hitler for their misdeeds.
On 13 June 1940, while the battle of France was still raging, the Pope issued encyclical Saeculo Exeunte Octavo, which, though relating to Portugal, made an ambiguous statement about the general situation in the following words: "now, when more than a few European nations have been lost to the Church because of the changes in these calamitous times", referring to the German occupation.
The Vatican diplomatic record of the meeting describes what transpired as follows: "He (Ribbentrop) answered that at the bottom it is a question of a revolution and that compared with other revolutions the National Socialist Revolution has not caused grave harm to the churches. To which the Pope replied that in reality there had been many injuries – and he continued to point out examples. Ribbentrop underlined that the State spends a great deal for the clergy and the Church. The Pope replied that a great deal has been taken away from the Church, houses, institutions of education – kicking out the legitimate owners malo modo in a few hours. The Holy Father insisted particularly on the schools."
- Finnish Defence Forces – The Winter War 1939–1940. Retrieved 9 May 2007.
- Gilbert, Sir Martin. The Second World War, p. 40.
- "Pius. No dove". Time Magazine. 6 November 1939. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- Pius XII (13 June 1940). "Text of ''Saeculo Exeunte Octavo''". Vatican.va. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
- Conway, Prof. John S., "The Meeting between Pope Pius XII and Ribbentrop", CCHA Study Sessions, volume 35 (1968), pp. 103–16 archives from papers stored at the University of Manitoba