Watch Pope Pius XII
- 1 Season
Pius XII held the position of the supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church from 1939 until his death in 1958. Who would have chosen to serve in any public capacity during the era of Mussolini, Hitler, and World War II? All he had going for him was the status of tradition. Pius XII kept the Vatican neutral during the war, and in the following decade had to watch while the Catholics of Eastern Europe were persecuted by the Communist regime of the young Soviet Union. In the early 1960s, there began a series of attacks upon the reputation of the deceased pope, accusing him of refusal to intervene in the Holocaust. Feelings ran high, and a "black legend" arose vilifying the memory of the wartime pope. A number of attempts have been made in recent years to reassess the actions of Pius XII during the war years. Among these is the made-for-TV documentary A Hand of Peace: Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust. In the film, a number of academic historians, clerics, and scholars are questioned about Pius' actions during World War II, casting much-needed light upon a situation that has grown dim and confused with time.