Pope Benedict XIV defended the legacy of the wartime Pope Pius XII.
At an interfaith symposium in Rome on the reign of Pius, the current pope on Wednesday said that Pius “spared no effort” to intervene on behalf of the Jews during World War II.
The Pave the Way Foundation, a group of Jews and Catholics, compiled 200 pages of historical documents for its symposium that exhibited Pius’ initiatives, some of them clandestine, to save Jews.
“One understands, then, that wherever possible he spared no effort in intervening in their favor either directly or through instructions given to other individuals or to institutions of the Catholic Church,” said Benedict, the Irish Times reported.
Benedict also commended the symposium for supporting his previous public assertions that Pius had undertaken “many interventions, made secretly and silently, precisely because given the concrete situation of that difficult historical moment, only in this way was it possible to avoid the worst and save the greatest number of Jews.”
Conclusions of the symposium contradict beliefs held by some that Pius, who served from 1939 to 1958, did not do enough to save the lives of Jews during the Holocaust. Some are insisting that the Vatican open private archives before arriving at any decisions on sainthood for Pius.