The often-overlooked about why Carroll, Cornwell, and so many other post-Hochhuth liberal Westerners have fallen into the KGB trap and watered the poppy seeds of its framing of Pius XII, is that their works were ultimately not about Pius. They were part of a new offensive aimed at further dividing the Judeo-Christian world by discrediting the Vatican. They saw the end of John Paul II’s anticommunist papacy coming, and they tried to help elect a leftist pope, by making people believe that Pius XII and John Paul II had led the Church in a bad direction. […]

Any doubt about Cornwell’s intent was resolved in March 2000, when Pope John Paul II made an unprecedented and historic trip to the Holy Land. At that time, as Christians and Jews were coming closer together, Cornwell described the Pontiff as “aging, ailing, and desperately frail as he presides over a Vatican that is driven by cliques, engulfed in scandal, and subject to ideological power struggles.”

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ronald Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (2013)

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While Cornwell [author of Hitler’s Pope] was granted access only to the Vatican’s open archives, he claimed that his book was based on “previously unseen material.” He also said he spent “months on end” in a “windowless dungeon beneath the Borgia Tower,” while a “silent factotum brought him Pacelli’s files, which had been hidden from view for decades.”

In fact, the files were simply in an underground storage vault; moreover, they were not secret, and they covered the years 1912-1922, before Hitler was running Germany and while Pacelli was nuncio to the Kingdom of Bavaria. Vatican records show that Cornwell visited those archives only from May 12 to June 2, 1997, that he did not come every day, and that he often stayed for very brief periods of time…He later admitted that he was there only three weeks and that the files were not secret – but by then the damage was done.

In his preface, Cornwell claimed that by mid-1997, “nearing the end of my research, I found myself in a state I can only describe as moral shock” over the evidence that Pacelli had an “undeniable antipathy toward the Jews” and that his “diplomacy in Germany in the 1930s” betrayed groups that “might have challenged Hitler’s regime and thwarted the Final Solution.” […]

The most revealing insight into Cornwell’s research methods lies in the fact that, citing a secondary source, he wrote that the papal nuncio in Vienna had warned Pacelli about the risks posed by the concordat. Remarkable, Cornwell made no mention of the original document from the Vienna nuncio, which Cornwell is shown to have signed out while doing research in the Vatican archives, and which directly contradicts the statement in his book.

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ronald Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (2013)

Another KGB disinformation technique used in Cornwell’s Hitler’s Pope is revealed by the book’s cover. The dust jacket of the original British edition represents a deliberate and nasty deception. The cover is a photograph showing Nuncio Pacelli [Pius XII] leaving a reception given for German President Hindenburg in 1927. The caption given on the inside of the dust jacket of the British edition, however, dates the photograph as having been taken in March 1939.

This is not an honest mistake. This is intentional deception for a purpose. By March 1939 Hitler was Fuhrer, and Pacelli had been elected pope on March 2, 1939. A naive reader who had fallen for Cornwell’s slander could easily conclude that Pius XII rushed off to visit Hitler as soon as he was elected. That never happened – neither Pacelli nor Pius XII ever met Hitler.

This dramatic photograph shows Nuncio Pacelli, dressed in formal diplomatic regalia (which could easily be confused with papal garments), as he exits a building. In front of him stands a chauffeur saluting and holding open the square-looking door typical of old-fashioned, ceremonial automobiles from the 1920s. On either side of the nuncio stand solders of the Weimar Republic. Those who do not recognize the differences in uniform details could easily confused the Weimar soldiers with Nazi soldiers because of their distinctive helmets widely associated with Nazi-era German soldiers.

The American edition of Hitler’s Pope (and its later paperback version) has the correct date – 1927 – for the cover photograph, but the picture is cropped to eliminate two important points of reference: the soldier nearest the camera and the square door of the automobile. Both of these images provide clues to the true date of this photo, which Cornwell apparently wanted to avoid-he has admitted that he approved the photo. In the American addition, the photos background has also been significantly darkened and blurred, making it unlikely for the observer to notice that the remaining soldier is wearing a Weimar which Cornwell apparently wanted to avoid-he has admitted that he approved the photo. In the American addition, the photos background has also been significantly darkened and blurred, making it unlikely for the observer to notice that the remaining soldier is wearing a Weimar uniform, not a Nazi one. The chauffeur, with the cropping of the car door and the blurring, takes on the appearance of a saluting SS office. It all helped Cornwell establish his thesis.

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ronald Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (2013)

To support his conclusion that Pius was “Hitler’s Pope,” [John] Cornwell selectively edited quotes from Western publications, a technique widely used by the “science” of disinformation. By this method, a clever writer can turn a quotation into the exact opposite of what was originally intended. To see how this works, let us take a look at a remarkable statement quoted in the introductory materials to Hitler’s Pope. Cornwell offers a supposed quotation from Thomas Merton, a well-known contemplative monk whose writings have inspired many people. In Cornwell’s hands, the quotation reads:

Pius XII and the Jews…Those whole thing is too sad and too serious for bitterness…a silence which is deeply and completely in complicity with all the forces which carry out oppression, injustice, aggression, exploitation, war.

This seems to be a shocking condemnation of the pope from an esteemed Catholic thinker. If Merton had written this, it would indeed give one pause. But Cornwell manipulated a text by Merton to create this quotation…Since Cornwell gives no citation for this Merton quote (although he did give references for the other two less controversial quotations used on the same page), it was not easy to document his trick.

Below is the complete statement, which was written by Merton in his personal journal, and which is a complaint that he himself had been ordered not to publish his essay on nuclear war. The “silence” about which he complained was the “silence” that had been imposed upon him. It was unrelated to Pius XII. Here is Merton’s complete text, with the parts extracted by Cornwell highlighted in italics:

A grim insight into the stupor of the Church, in spite of all that has been attempted, all efforts to wake her up! It all falls into place. Pope Pius XII and the the Jews, the Church in South America, the treatment of Negroes in the U.S., the Catholics on the French right in the Algerian affair, the German Catholics under Hitler. “All this fits into one big picture and our contemplative recollection is not very impressive when it is seen only as another little piece fitted into the puzzle. The whole thing is too sad and too serious for bitterness. I have the impression that my education is beginning – only just beginning and that I have a lot more terrible things to learn before I can know the real meaning of hope.

There is no consolation, only futility, in the idea that one is a kind of martyr for a cause. I am not a martyr for anything, I am afraid. I wanted to act like a reasonable, civilized, responsible Christian of my time. I am not allowed to do this, and I am told I have renounced this – fine. In favor of what? In favor of a silence which is deeply and completely in complicity with all the forces that carry out oppression, injustice, exploitation, war. In other words silent complicity is presented as a “greater good” than honest, conscientious protest – it is supposed to be part of my vowed life, it is for the “Glory of God.” Certainly I refuse complicity. My silence itself is a protest and those who know me are aware of this fact. I have at least been able to write enough to make that clear. Also I cannot leave here in order to protest since the meaning of any protest depends on my staying here.

Cornwell selected the phrases that are italicized above, and linked them with ellipses. This is more than academic fraud. This is disinformation at its best.

 

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ronald Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (2013)

In the 1950s and 1960s, most Latin Americans were poor, religious peasants who had accepted the status quo, and Khrushchev was confident they could be converted to communism through the judicious manipulation of religion. In 1968, the KGB was able to maneuver a group of leftist South American bishops into holding a conference in Medellin, Colombia. At the KGB’s request, my DIE provided logistical assistance to the organizers. The official task of the conference was to help eliminate poverty in Latin America. Its undeclared goal was to legitimize a KGB-created religious movement dubbed “liberation theology,” the secret task of which was to incite Latin America’s poor to rebel against the “institutionalized violence of poverty” generated by the United States. […]

Pope John Paul II, who had experienced community treachery firsthand, denounced liberation theology at the January 1979 Conference of the Roman Catholic Bishops of South America (CELAM), held in Pueblo, Mexico: “This conception of Christ as a political figure, a revolutionary, as the subversive of Nazareth, does not tally with the Church’s catechism.” Within four hours, a twenty-page rebuttal of the pope’s speech carpeted the floor of the Conference. Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, the Conference’s organizer, explained that the rebuttal was the product of “some 80 Marxist liberationists from outside the Bishops’ Conference.”

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ronald Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (2013)

In the 1960s, Italian writer Carlo Falconi wrote The Silence of Pius XII, a book entirely based on documents provided to him by the communist government of Croatia – including those used to frame Archbishop Stepinac. In fact, the title of each and every chapter in Falconi’s book is related to Croatia.

In his foreword, Falconi explained that the “central core of the Croatian documents” that had been provided to him by the Croatian (communist) government “brought to light an entirely new and unsuspected harvest of relations on the men and the mysterious world” of high Vatican officials. Falconi’s book impressed researchers because it was highly footnoted and relied on documents that had been used in litigation. The Silence of Pius XII shaped much of the early scholarship “documenting” that Pius XII was “Hitler’s Pope”.

We now know that Falconi was not looking at legitimate documents, but at communist fabrications. In 1985, Jakov Blazevic, who prosecuted Stepinac, confessed that the documents on which the archbishop was tried were false. In 1992, one of the first acts of Parliament in the newly independent Croatia was to issue a declaration condemning the framing and “the political trial and sentence passed on Cardinal Stepinac in 1946.”

Though modern writers should know better, The Silence of Pius XII, based on false documents created by Croatian communist government, remains much cited to this day. John Cornwell’s Hitler’s Pope, published in 1999, made much use of it. In fact, Cornwell praise Falconi’s “painstaking” research.

Falconi and the works built upon his book have tainted the entire investigation into Pope Pius XII. As Croatian scholar Jure Kristo has explained: “The documents which both men [Falconi and Cornwell] used had, of course, been assembled by the Yugoslav secret police, then led by the Serbian Communist [head of the UDBA] Aleksandar Rankovic, and fed to Falconi in order to compromise Pope Pius XII as “Hitler’s Pope”.

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ronald Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (2013)

Grand Rabbi Herzog of Jerusalem sent a message expressing thanks for actions taken by Pius XII and the Holy See on behalf of Jewish people. After six months of research at Yad Vashem, Pinchas E. Lapide, The Israeli consul in Italy, wrote:

The Catholic Church saved more Jewish lives during the war than all other churches, religious institutions and rescue organizations put together. Its record stands in startling contrast to the achievements of the International Red Cross and the Western Democracies…The Holy See, the nuncios, and the entire Catholic Church saved some 400,000 Jews from certain death.

He eventually increased his estimate to about 860,000 Jews.

The World Jewish Congress also expressed its thanks and donated two million lire (about $20,000) to Vatican charities. The press reported that the gift was given in recognition of the work of the Holy See in Rescuing Jews from Fascist and Nazi persecution. Dr. Joseph Nathan, a representative of the Hebrew Commission, expressing thanks for support during the Holocaust, said: “Above all, we acknowledge the Supreme Pontiff and the religious men and women who, executing the directives of the Holy Father, recognized the persecuted as their brothers and, with great abnegation, hastened to help them, disregarding the terrible dangers to which they were exposed.”

The National Jewish Welfare Board wrote to Pius: “From the bottom of our hearts we send to you, Holy Father of the Church, the assurance of our unforgotten gratitude for your noble expression of religious brotherhood and love.”

The New York Times reported that Rome’s population grew during Nazi occupation because “in that period under the Pope’s direction the Holy See did an exemplary job of sheltering and championing the victims of the Nazi-Fascist regime. I have spoken to dozens of Italians, both Catholics and Jews, who owe their liberty and perhaps their lives to the protection of the church. In some cases anti-Fascists were actually saved from execution through the Pope’s intervention.” The article went on to explain that “none doubt that the general feeling of the Roman Curia was anti-Fascist and very strongly anti-Nazi.” The World Jewish Congress, on December 1, 1944, at its war emergency conference in Atlantic City, sent a telegram of thanks to the Holy See for the protection it gave “under difficult conditions to the persecuted Jews in German-dominated Hungary.”

The end of the war saw Pius XII hailed as “the inspired moral prophet of victory,” and he “enjoyed near-universal acclaim for aiding European Jews through diplomatic initiatives, thinly veiled public pronouncements, and, very concretely, an unprecedented continent-wide network of sanctuary.”

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ronald Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (2013)

In June 1943, after Italy’s King Victor Emmanuel III arrested Mussolini, Hitler sent his troops into Rome. They took the city after just two days of fighting. Rome’s population was swollen to almost double its size by refugees drawn by what they thought was the protection of an open city. Pius had the Vatican secretary of state write to the leaders of all religious orders and ask them to help refugees any way they could. At first, people could pass freely into Vatican City, but when the Nazis realized the pope was offering shelter to Jews and other refugees, they began checking identification. The Church countered by providing fake identification for people wanting to enter the Vatican. Later still, many people made mad dashes to safety after dark.

All available Church buildings were put to use. One hundred fifty such sanctuaries were opened in Rome alone. “Shelters were improvised everywhere, in lofts, in storage rooms under stairs, hidden behind blind doors or cupboards, subterranean galleries, ancient Roman doors used as escape routes: all this as soon as the alert sounded – according to agreed signs, such as the convent bells – that a Nazi inspection was approaching.” Catholic hospitals were ordered to admit as many Jewish patients as possible, even if their ailments were fictitious. Castel Gandolfo, the pope’s normal summer home, was used to shelter thousands of refugees. A wartime US intelligence document reported that the “bombardment of Castel Gandolfo resulted in the injury of about 1,000 people and the death of about 300 more. The highness of the figures is due to the fact that the area was crammed with refugees.” No one but Pope Pius XII had authority to open his summer home to outsiders. In fact, his personal bedroom was converted to a nursery and birthing area, and about forty babies were born there during the war.

Father Robert Leiber, Pius XII’s private secretary and personal confidant during the war said: “The Pope sided very unequivocally with the Jews at the time. He spent his entire private fortune on their behalf….Pius spent what he inherited himself, as a Pacelli, from his family.”

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ronald Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (2013)

In his 1942 Christmas statement, broadcast over Vatican Radio, Pius said that the world was “plunged into the gloom of tragic error,” and he spoke of the need for mankind to make “a solemn vow never to rest until valiant souls of every people and every nation of the earth arise in their legions, resolved to bring society, and to devote themselves to the services of the human person and of a divinely ennobled human society.” He said that mankind owed this vow to “the hundreds of thousands who, through no fault of their own, and solely because of their nationality or race, have been condemned to death or progressive extinction.” He urged all Catholics to give shelter wherever they could. In making this statement and others during the war, Pius used the Latin word stirpe, which means race or nationality, but which had been used for centuries as an explicit reference to Jews.

British records reflect the opinion that “the Pope’s condemnation of the treatment of the Jews & the Poles is quite unmistakable, and the message is perhaps more forceful in tone than any of his recent statements.” […]

The Pope’s Christmas message was not hard for the Axis leaders to decipher. The German ambassador to the Vatican complained that Pius had abandoned any pretense at neutrality and was “clearly speaking on behalf of the Jews”. One German report stated:

In a manner never known before, the Pope has repudiated the National Socialist New European Order….[H]is speech is one long attack on everything we stand for…God, he says, regards all people and races as worthy of the same consideration. Here he is clearly speaking on behalf of the Jews…he is virtually accusing the German people of injustice toward the Jews, and makes himself the mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals.”

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ronald Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (2013)

Radio Moscow’s insinuation that Pius XII was “Hitler’s Pope” attracted no attention whatsoever in the West, because the pope’s heroic support of the Allies and generous aid to the Jews during World War II was still fresh in people’s minds. They knew this man too well, based on the word of the highest Western authorities, for the insinuation to take hold.

On August 3, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote to the pontiff:

I should like to…take this occasion to express to His Holiness my deeply-felt appreciation of the frequent actions which the Holy See has taken…to render assistance to the victims of racial and religious persecutions.

On September 6, 1944, Winston Churchill announced: “I have spoken today to the greatest man of our time.” Churchill admired Pius XII’s “simplicity, sincerity and power.” Albert Einstein wrote: “Only the Church protested against the Hitlerian onslaught on liberty. Up till then I had not been interested in the Church, but today I felt a great admiration for the Church, which alone has had the courage to struggle for spiritual truth and moral liberty.” The secular magazine Wisdom editorialized: “Of all the great figures of our time, none is more universally respected by men of all faiths than Pope Pius XII.”

Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ronald Rychlak, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism (2013)