ROME (Oct. 7)
The official Vatican organ Osservatore Romano today took issue with assertions made in the controversial play “The Deputy” in which the late Pope Pius XII is charged with failing to protest publicly against Hitler’s mass-annihilation of the Jews in Europe.
The paper quoted the late Pope as having stated: “There was no effort which we did not undertake, not a possibility which we omitted, in order that populations should not be deported or exiled. And when hard facts came to delude our most legitimate expectations, we threw everything in action to lessen the sufferings.”
The Pontiff was also quoted as having described the actions of the Nazis as “atrocious.” He also protested against the breach by Hitler of the neutrality of Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg, the Vatican paper pointed out.
Charging Rolf Hochhuth the German author of “The Deputy,” with having no access to the sources he quoted in his play against Pope Pius XII, the Osservatore Romano asked why the public, and even many critics, have accepted his allegations as “historic truth. ” The Vatican paper stressed that Hochhuth’s criticism of the late Pope for not denouncing the concordat between the Vatican and Hitler is based on the “false and uninformed supposition that a concordat means the support of the regime with which it was concluded. The Catholic Church was persecuted in Nazi Germany anyway,” the paper pointes out.