The New York 'Jewish lobby' has unfairly blackened the name of World War II Pope Pius XII in the interests of a modern political agenda and needs to be challenged, according to former Australian Ambassador to the Holy See Tim Fischer, reports The Age.
Pius XII has been criticised for not doing enough to protect Jews during the Holocaust, but Mr Fischer argues in his just-launched memoir that he did save Jews 'and gets zero credit.'
Mr Fischer, Australian ambassador to the Holy See for three years from 2008 and former Deputy PM, told Fairfax Media the 'Jewish lobby' needed momentum and profile and had become increasingly shrill in condemning Pius XII.
In fact, according to Mr Fischer, Pius instructed Catholics to help Jews, hiding hundreds in convents, monasteries and the Vatican. The Nazis rounded up 1002 of Rome's 8000 Jews in 1943 and sent them to Auschwitz, but the other 7000 were saved.
In the book, Holy See, Unholy Me: 1000 Days in Rome, Mr Fischer says an Israeli ambassador who called for a recognition of the live-saving work of Pius XII was quickly forced into a humiliating backdown. 'Further, the moment any suggestion is made to consider Pius XII for beatification and sainthood, they hit out at close to full power and use all media avenues to stamp it out.'
Reports from the Vatican last week suggest Pope Francis wants to move ahead with canonising Pius.
FULL STORY Pius XII unfairly criticised by 'Jewish lobby', says Tim Fischer (The Age)