Pope Francis with Karekin II2
Extremism

Pope Francis and the Armenian slaughter he didn't call genocide

 

Pope Francis delivered a speech at St Peter’s in Rome to commemorate the slaughter of 1.5million Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during the First World War, a century ago. He reportedly referred to the massacre as ‘genocide’, and the resulting global headlines suggest a diplomatic disaster for the Vatican: ‘Turkey anger at Pope Francis Armenian ‘genocide’ claim‘; ‘Pope Francis calls Armenian slaughter “genocide”‘; ‘Pope Francis uses ‘genocide’ to refer to mass killings of Armenians by Turks‘; ‘Pope Francis Calls Armenian Deaths “First Genocide of 20th Century”‘; ‘Turkey protests to Pope Francis after he brands Armenian killings “genocide”‘, and on, and on.

Turkey has recalled its ambassador to the Holy See, with hissy allegations of “unfounded claims”, insisting that the Armenians were casualties of a civil war. Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tweeted that the Pontiff was “out of touch” with “historical facts”. The furore is reverberating around the world, creating further tension between mosques and churches and between imams and bishops. Those who seek to foment division between civilisations aren’t especially attuned to denominational nuances: the Pope has insulted Muslims (once again). Christians are provoking the disciples of Mohammed with their objectionable statements and crass apprehensions of Islamic history. And so, today, millions of Muslims are distraught – not because they’ve ever been particularly disposed to the historic secular Turkish vision of the Caliphate (which is, of course, no caliphate at all), but because, once again, the Pope of Rome has spoken an unpalatable truth, and the Ummah will do what the Ummah has to do.

The thing is, Pope Francis didn’t actually say he believed that the massacre was genocide. Certainly, he said it was a “great evil”. But His precise words were:

This faith also accompanied and sustained people during the tragic experience one hundred years ago “in what is generally referred to as the first genocide of the twentieth century” (John Paul II and Karekin II, Common Declaration, Etchmiadzin, 27 September 2001). Pope Benedict XV, who condemned the First World War as a “senseless slaughter” (AAS, IX [1917], 429), did everything in his power until the very end to stop it, continuing the efforts at mediation already begun by Pope Leo XIII when confronted with the “deadly events” of 1894-96. For this reason, Pope Benedict XV wrote to Sultan Mehmed V, pleading that the many innocents be saved (cf. Letter of 10 September 1915) and, in the Secret Consistory of 6 December 1915, he declared with great dismay, “Miserrima Armenorum gens ad interitum prope ducitur” (AAS, VII [1915], 510).

So, the ‘G’-word did not emanate from the pen of Pope Francis, but from that of Pope John Paul II: “..in what is generally referred to as the first genocide of the twentieth century” is not an expression of moral agreement (though it may be), but of consensual historic perspective. You might wonder why Turkey didn’t recall its ambassador when Pope John Paul II used the word. Well, he also didn’t refer to the massacre of 1.5million Armenians directly as ‘genocide’, opting instead for the precise form of words quoted by Francis: “..in what is generally referred to as the first genocide of the twentieth century”.

Pope John Paul II didn’t fabricate this ‘general referring’ ex nihilo: like Pope Francis, he was simply acknowledging the fact that, generally, the Armenians suffered a genocide, and that is how it is perceived. Generally.

Which raises the question of why, when Pope John Paul II and Karekin II allude to Armenian genocide in 2001, Turkey didn’t recall its ambassador in a fit of pique and its foreign minister didn’t cast undiplomatic aspersions. It also raises the question of why the media portray Pope Francis as jumping into the Armenia controversy with leaded feet, while John Paul II’s identical form of words yielded the rather contrasted headlines: ‘Pope avoids Armenia controversy‘.

  • The Explorer

    Arguably, the German massacre of the Herero in 1904 was the first genocide of the Twentieth century.

    • Dreadnaught

      We Brits have to be careful before we start finger pointing at others we may be accusing of genocide. Without doubt we cleared the Americas of great swathes of ‘injun’ territory to establish colonies. Unknown numbers of Australian and NZ aboriginals were ‘removed’ from prime farm and range-land.

      As for the first genocide of the 20th Century it would remiss to dismiss ‘events’ concerning the civillian population in 1901 South Africa:

      Miss Hobhouse’s worst fears were being confirmed – 93,940 Boers and 24,457 black Africans were reported to be in “camps of refuge” and the crisis was becoming a catastrophe as the death rates appeared very high, especially among the children.

      The venerable Len is spot on.

      • The Explorer

        Didn’t the British try to guarantee the territory of their Indian/Native-American allies of the Seven Years’ War? It wasn’t the Brits who took Oklahoma or Dakota after promising them to the Indians. You can argue it was the descendants of Brits, but by then they’d been pretty well mingled with other European stock.
        Australia and New Zealand, fair enough. I didn’t say, after all, that the Herero were the first victims of genocide; only the first victims of the Twentieth Century.
        I think, also, that it depends on how we define genocide. If there’s intent involved in the definition then many of the Boer deaths were inadvertent. The only way to defeat them was to burn down their farms, and then the women and children had to be put somewhere. What became death camps were not designed as such: I believe that more British soldiers died of cholera as a result of the camps than died of Boer bullets. I don’t think even dyed-in-the-wool anti-imperialists believe that the British set out to deliberately kill their own soldiers.

        • Dreadnaught

          If there’s intent involved in the definition then many of the Boer deaths were inadvertent.

          Words, their meaning and context are paramount.
          The Ottomans would say that the Armenians died from exposure. The Nazi apologists say more died from Typhus than in the gas chambers. The Scots blame the English for the Highland Clearances rather than their fellow Scots.
          Who will aplogise to the English for the Enclosure Acts and abominable exploitation and deaths of workers that followed during the Industrial Revolution, what would it achieve ?
          An exericise in semantics today set against the muddied historic waters of yesterday can contribute absolutely nothing that will bring the dead back to life, and that is what precisely will happen – Nothing.

          Next you will be telling me Blair wants to apologise for the transatlantic slave trade – oops – he already has.

          • The Explorer

            Quite so. The dead got in the way of our guns. The exposed necks got in the way of our scimitars.
            Let me reiterate my basic point: don’t let’s ignore the Herero.

          • Dreadnaught

            Let me reiterate my basic point:

            It will achieve Nothing.

          • The Explorer

            Truth often doesn’t.

          • Merchantman

            In Scottish Highlands I believe it was OK to kill awkward people or groups of people by tying them to rocks and waiting for the tide to come in. You see it was then dependent on God to stop the tide rising. No doubt the Turks would argue the same sort of thing with the weather killing the Armenians.
            Aren’t people twisted?

      • Anton

        As a point of information, the British intent was not deliberately to kill them, which is the definition of genocide, but (in Australasia and some of N America) to do whatever it took to remove them from certain pieces of land. As for the Boers, those were concentration camps rather than extermination camps, even though many died of disease in them.

        • Dreadnaught

          The ‘ point ‘ is the Brits of the time, weren’t all that bothered so long as it stopped food production and support for the Boers.

          • Anton

            I agree.

  • CliveM

    Well as diplomatic language no longer yields any benefit, let’s just call it what it is. The first Muslim inspired genocide of Christians of the 20th Century.

  • len

    “In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
    George Orwell’
    It is said that history is written by the victors but truth sometimes interferes with that process.

  • IanCad

    This is a bit rich. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
    When is the Catholic church going to apologize for the slaughter of over half a million Serbs during WW2?
    Had a little help from their Muslim friends as well.

    • Athanasius

      I didn’t know Francis or John Paul had a hand in that, or that the Ustaše was run from the Vatican. Thanks for the heads-up.

      • IanCad
        • Athanasius

          Stopped reading at the words “canonization” and “Pius XII”. Zionist propoganda alert.

          • Anton

            How do you know it’s propaganda if you don’t read it?

          • Athanasius

            Because Plus is a personal hero of mine and no man, not even an Arab, has ever suffered such vilification at the hands of zionism as he has. Once his name comes up in an Israeli paper, you assume tissue of lies.

          • Anton

            How do you know it’s propaganda if you don’t read it?

          • Albert

            I can’t see what difference reading the article makes. Few things are of value, unless they can cite their sources and newspaper articles tend not to.

          • This cites sources and uses them selectively. It is an article basically against the canonisation of Blessed Pius XII.

          • It is anti-Catholic, Zionist propaganda against Popes Pius XII, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

            It starts from this premise:

            “The real question is whether the Vatican supported the world order, or at least aspects of it, that the Third Reich promised to bring, a world order in which dead Jews were collateral damage …”

            It implies but provides no evidence for this allegation. It lists the murderous activities of key Croatian politicians and Catholic Church members, then t asserts:

            “It has been 60 years, and the world still doesn’t know the story of wartime Croatia, where not only did the Vatican not speak out against crimes, not only was it complicit in the genocide of a million people ….

            And then:

            “One can’t help wondering whether the Vatican as an institution was silently cheering the decimation of its Orthodox rival.”

            A nasty slur.

          • Anton

            At least you’ve read it! You concentrate, of course, on the few sentences that comprise slurs while saying little about the shocking complicity of ordained “Catholic Church members”.

          • It’s not a few sentences, is it? It’s the whole raison d’être for the article. Why else was it written? Albert has argued the point above.

            The accusation has been levelled against the Vatican of complicity and cheering on of the of massacres against Orthodox Serbs. It’s a nasty piece arguing against Croatian membership of the EU and, more pointedly, the canonisation of Pope Pius XII.

          • Anton

            The motivation of the author is irrelevant. The assertions in the article about the behaviour of the Roman Catholic hierarchy (by which I mean ordained priests and higher) are either true or false, and you are not challenging them. Reader can make their own judgement. No doubt there were good men in this system but they remained silent; you expect that in the world, but the church is supposed to be better than the world whereas here it was worse. And, rather than confess it, you are doing your utmost to deflect attention from this fact.

          • Why would Jack deflect attention from the undoubted brutality by some of the Catholic Croatian clergy against Serbian Orthodox Christians? It’s shocking and illustrates how blood lust and vengeance are ever present where national identity and religion combine and are fuelled by centuries of mutual hatred. The Church isn’t and has never been immune from sin.

            The issues, and these have been raised by Albert, is whether the Vatican and the Papacy played an active role or colluded with this – or could have prevented it in someway. This is what the article is asserting and why the link was posted.

            So how does this article demonstrate Pope Francis’ statement about State organised genocide by Turkey constitutes “people in glasshouses throwing stones”, as originally alleged?

          • Anton

            I agree that the “Church isn’t and has never been immune from sin” but when it is worse rather than better than the world then it raises very serious questions in the light of the New Testament.

            You ask why you would deflect attention from brutality by Roman Catholic clergy in Croatia during WW2. The question is about yourself, so you must know the answer whereas I can only guess, but embarrassment would be an obvious motive.

            We may discuss what issues we like about the Croatian clergy. (First you said “Catholic Church members” then when I pointed out they were ordained you say “clergy”, but we can be more specific for bishops were involved, and Stepinac – a man whom I have previously given the benefit of the doubt – does not emerge well from the facts in the JP article.) The issues to which you prefer to restrict yourself are “whether the Vatican and the Papacy played an active role or colluded with this – or could have prevented it in someway.”

            An active role – No. But the Vatican could unquestionably have prevented it in some way. Pius XII was well informed yet did nothing to curb these evils perpetrated by men under his control. As for collusion, giving an audience to Pavelic despite knowing of his actions and commands might very well be construed as such. And after the war Pavelic, the top unapprehended war criminal in Europe, hid for three years in Vatican-controlled buildings in Rome itself before escaping to South America. Are we supposed to believe the Pope knew nothing of that?

          • No organisation composed of fallen men is without sin – n.o.n.e.- study the history of all religions, including Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism.
            As for the rest, mere assertion and supposition about the Pope and the Vatican.

          • Anton

            You would rather believe that the Pope did not know that a former Head of State and no.1 war criminal was hiding in Vatican-owned buildings in Rome itself? That’s equally damning of the whole organisation.

          • Happy Jack would rather hear the truth …. it seems to him that you’re the one with a prejudicial position.

          • Anton

            Have you any idea how difficult the reputation of political Christianity makes conversion?

          • It is the Holy Spirit who converts, Anton. The Church’s history is what it is and needs to be presented openly and honestly. The Catholic Church has spent decades apologising for its sins, recent and more historical, much to the delight of its enemies.

            Jack suspects it is the here and now and the current divisions within Christianity, with all the arguments, recriminations and finger pointing, that weakens the Church’s moral and spiritual influence in the world.

          • Anton

            Of course the Holy Spirit is responsible for conversion, but that is a subtle diversion from the point I am making that politicised Christianity and its reputation repels and deters people from coming to Christ. Taking your reply literally, there would be no need for missionaries.

            “The Church’s history is what it is and needs to be presented openly and honestly.”

            Yes, absolutely. But Catholics airbrush the bits that are embarrassing about their denomination.

          • CliveM

            “Yes, absolutely. But Catholics airbrush the bits that are embarrassing about their denomination.”

            They’re hardly unique in that.

          • Anton

            I agree, Clive. But I’ve taken the trouble to be in a congregation that has no historical baggage to be ashamed of, and then Jack invokes the apostolic succession, and I say So do the Eastern Orthodox and Can you find it in the Bible, and he says Sola Scriptura isn’t in the Bible, and I answer him (the context for the NT is the OT which doesn’t mention the church and builds on itself from the creation onwards – an event for which there is no context – as being God’s uniquely authoritative word). I’m not ashamed of my choices. Political Christianity is not in the New Testament and is a disgrace to the name of Jesus Christ, because politics is about law and the gospel is about grace. Christians may be in politics wherever the political system permits it, but the church corporately should not be – and politicised Christianity could not have come about had the church not deviated from the decentralised structure described in the NT and adopted worldly hierarchies.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Apart from your finely turned skating legs, I do admire your sense of fair play, Clive:)

          • CliveM

            Thank you Cressida :9)

            You’re up early!

          • “But Catholics airbrush the bits that are embarrassing about their denomination.”
            What “bits” would that be, then?

          • Anton

            For a start, the corruption of the papacy in the 200 years before the Gregorian reforms (including the ‘pornocracy’), the selling of the Crusades as Christian jihad when secular defence was enough, the Inquisition, the Albigensian Crusade, withholding of the scriptures from the laity even in Latin (Council of Toulouse 1229) and no attempt to translate them into the vernacular until protestants and printing forced the issue, even then with prohibitions in the Rules on Prohibited Books of 1564 and Unigenitus of 1713); Boniface VIII’s massacre of the entire population of Palestrina as part of an interfamily feud, the financial and sexual corruption of the Renaissance Popes, the failure of clerical promiscuity in the same era, Sixtus V’s error-strewn Latin translation of the Bible sent as authoritative to Europe’s Catholic monarchs (for which Bellarmine covered up), Gregory XVI’s 1832 condemnation of freedom of the press and freedom of conscience (Mirari Vos, paras 14&15), acceptance by the Vatican of Bernardino Nogara’s insistence that he invest its money without religious or doctrinal consideration, church involvement in the ratlines down which many wanted Nazis escaped to South America, and the universal coverup by bishops of illegal paedophile activity by priests in their dioceses.

          • None of this history has been “airbrushed”. As Jack repeatedly says, the Church has not been and will never be free from sinful men. That isn’t what Christ promised, is it? The first Pope denied Christ three times; Judas betrayed Him. Let’s be honest, the history of Protestantism isn’t exactly glorious either.
            So just what is your anti-Catholic agenda motivated by?

          • Anton

            Most educated Catholics do not know about those things except the Inquisition. I doubt that they are taught to ordinands; a former Catholic ordained priest does comment here…

            My main motivation (among Christians, ie motivation other than evangelism) is to advocate against political Christianity and church hierarchy. Roman Catholicism is simply the outstanding example. I also do not sit back when called a heretic by people who pray to Mary. That’s all; I have no Catholic background which I have repudiated, nor have I been significantly wronged by Roman Catholics. My concerns are with Catholicism, not Catholics, whom I take as I find and gladly accept that many are brothers and sisters in Christ.

          • If the history of Western Christianity “repels and deters” then perhaps its caused by the adverse misrepresentation of this, ignoring context, rather than honest accounts. The enemies of Catholicism are legion – in the Church and without it. Why is that, do you suppose?

            Apart from its sacramental and doctrinal core (its most important mission), it is the only worldwide Christian Church holding the moral line, based on Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law, on a range of central issues nowadays – contraception, divorce and remarriage, homosexuality, abortion. It also presents clear social teachings on capitalism and poverty, on euthanasia, and on the prudential use of capital punishment and the need to remove weapons of mass destruction. As the world sinks into secular and atheist relativity, it stands as a beacon of light in a darkening world.

            Despite its past, and it is miraculous in some ways it has survived, it remains a force for good in the world. The “gates of hell” keep pressing and it survives – and will do so until Christ returns. So wash your hands of it and discourage people from seeking the only assured and certain path of salvation by entering its doors, the Holy Spirit will continue drawing and keeping His own within it.

          • Anton

            The “only assured and certain path of salvation” is stated very clearly by Jesus Christ himself in the gospels: repent, believe in him, be baptised. If you do those things – and maintain them – then you are saved, and which denomination you join is a lesser issue that must not be confused with it.

            “If the history of Western Christianity “repels and deters” then perhaps its caused by the adverse misrepresentation of this”

            You asked for examples and they are below. I welcome Catholics holding the line on divorce and remarriage, homosexuality and abortion. Evangelicals do too and there are plenty of us but because we do not have church hierarchies we are less visible.

          • Albert

            I’d just like to point out that there are currently about 400 000 Catholic priests in the world. Even if we ignore Deacons and lay religious, that means that the number of Catholic priests alone is more than the population number of 70 countries and dependencies. Now I am not in any way defending anything that is wrong. But simply to observe that at some points, some Catholic priests have done wrong things, very wrong things, is to point something out that is obvious from the maths itself. It says nothing at all about the Catholic Church (except that it has human beings in it), unless you can say something more.

            Now if, after HJ’s post, the best you can do is to point out that some ordained Catholic clergy were involved, then I say that your claim falls far short of what IanCad and the JP have claimed. It is a nasty slur. It is a slur committed against people some of whom at great personal risk, sheltered and helped Jews and other minorities in the war. I find it shocking that it is acceptable in some circles to do this, and I completely agree with Rabbi David Dalin, that it amounts to a kind of holocaust denial, because it denies the testimony of those who lived through the period.

            The first quotation is so shockingly contrary to Catholic teaching and policy in the period, that the editor of the JP ought to resign for simply letting it through. We know this not least from the messages sent home from British Ambassadors at the time. We know it from the “insults” directed at Pope Pius XII and other bishops by Hitler and his cronies. We also know how hard it was to try to do good and stop evil under Hitler. Even with hindsight, it is not obvious that Vatican policy could have been more successful. These things are obvious, and a writer who says the kinds of things HJ has quoted is clearly totally compromised, and so is anyone who reads the article and comments on it favourably.

            This is not to say that the Catholic Church got everything right, or that no one did anything.

            not only did the Vatican not speak out against crimes, not only was it complicit in the genocide of a million people ….

            You’ve got the article, I haven’t. Please tell me what evidence is given for that.

          • Anton

            Read the article to see that what good men there in the RC hierarchy in wartime Croatia evidently remained silent and that the actions of the RC church, its hierarchy in Croatia, were set by men with murder in their hearts. If you regard that as acceptable rather than disgraceful then you speak more about yourself than about events 70 years ago.

          • Albert

            You know that I have problems opening the article. Why don’t you cite the article, and its sources, and answer the points HJ and I have made and show how this makes the Catholic Church’s actions in Serbia in an away comparable with those of the Ottoman Empire in Armenia? If you can do all that, then we can have a conversation. But if you can’t you have, morally and intellectually, to withdraw your claims.

          • Anton

            I made no comparison between the Catholic Church’s actions in Croatia (not Serbia) and those of the Ottoman Empire in Armenia; moreover, unless His Grace asks me to desist then I am free to widen the subject of conversation as I have done. I genuinely regret that you are unable to read the JP article and I suggest that you renew your efforts to do so in order to better inform this discussion. I do not consider I am under any moral compulsion to withdraw any claims, but if you specify which claims you have in mind then I shall gladly respond.

          • Albert

            So you are defending an article which was used to illustrate a different point made by someone else, but not that point itself. That’s quite a tangle. I have, in any case, directed comments at things you have said, and you have not answered. I can now open the article:

            The real question is whether the Vatican supported the world order, or at least aspects of it, that the Third Reich promised to bring, a world order in which dead Jews were collateral damage – which Pius indeed regretted.

            What is the evidence to answer that question in the affirmative? There is plenty to deny its truth. So much so that it is disgraceful to publish such things and to applaud them. If you want details, I can give it.

            The Catholic Church was looking for a bulwark against expanding, ruthless, church-destroying communism, but in doing so it supported a Croatian movement called Ustasha, which rose to become the genocidal regime of Nazi satellite Croatia.

            Von Ribbentrop himself complained that the Vatican was opposed to the movement.

            American historian Jared Israel points to a February 17, 1941 New York Times article which reported that the archbishop of Zagreb (Croatia’s capital), Alojzije (Aloysius) Stepinac, was holding conferences in Vatican City “seeking the freedom of Catholic priests detained in [pre-Nazi] Croatia in connection with the circulation of… ‘Free Croatia!’ pamphlets, attributed to Ante Pavelic.” Pavelic, who once criticized Hitler for originally being too soft on the Jews, was the founder of the fascist Ustashas, who were engaging in terrorism all over Europe to “liberate” Croatia from Yugoslavia. He famously said, “A good Ustasha is one who can use a knife to cut a child from the womb of its mother.”

            Israel explains the significance of the understated Times article: “The arrested priests were agitating for a fascist coup d’etat,” and if these had been rogue priests, “the Vatican would have disciplined them and perhaps issued a statement condemning them; it certainly would not have [held] top-level conferences to manage their defense.”

            So priests are in prison for distributing leaflets demanding independence. Do you think that is right?

            Archbishop Stepinac held a banquet for Pavelic, blessed the Ustasha leader and regime, calling them “God’s hand at work,” and the following month had Pavelic received by Pius XII. This was four days after the massacre in the town of Glina, where the Ustashas locked hundreds of Serbian Orthodox inside their church and burned it down, as became standard practice in Pavelic’s Independent State of Croatia (known by its Croatian acronym NDH). Pius XII received Pavelic despite a Yugoslav envoy’s request that he not do so, given the atrocities taking place.

            Popes meet with everyone. It does not indicate approval or support. What is at issue however are the numerous condemnations by the Vatican of what was going on. Why isn’t this in the JP article?

            The Croatian Catholic press consistently published approving articles about the regime.

            Who published what and when?

            What we have here therefore is a range of comments, some of which point to genuine wrong-doing. Some of which (falsely) implicate the Vatican (ignoring the evidence to the contrary), and some of which are simply insinuation without evidence or context.

          • Anton

            I am using the article for its information about the Roman Catholic church in wartime Croatia. The article contains a number of assertions that it behaved evilly. You have now read the article and I note that you do not deny a single one of these assertions.

            Can you provide evidence that Rome sought to rein in its clergy who were actively involved in massacres as soon as it was aware (which was pretty quickly according to the article)?

          • Albert

            I have never denied that some Catholics did very bad things in this.

            Firstly, I have already given evidence to the contrary.

            Secondly, in the light of the evidence to the contrary a newspaper article like this is hardly evidence in favour of anything- especially on an issue that we know that communists deliberately had a black propaganda campaign. I am asking for the evidence to support the claims the article makes.

            Thirdly, I did contradict it’s key claim and I used von Ribbentrop to do so.

            Let me develop that last point, as it seems most significant. This is what JP says:

            it [the Vatican] supported a Croatian movement called Ustasha, which rose to become the genocidal regime of Nazi satellite Croatia.

            It’s not clear what the evidence is for this. But to the contrary is very clear: When Pavelic tried to get diplomatic relations and the Vatican’s blessing for his new Croatian state. The Vatican refused both. In contrast, to the Croatians, the Vatican did maintain diplomatic links with the Yugoslavians who were able to ensure the Vatican was properly informed and therefore policy remained firm. See Hebblethwaite’s book on Paul VI, p. 153 & 157.

            The Vatican instructed the local Archbishop to resist the violence of the new Ustase regime. They did so by strengthening “the hand of [Archbishop Spepinac] in his rejection of forcible conversions and brutalities.” (Hebblethwaite 157). I quote again, Martin Gilbert, since you seem determined to ignore it: Stepinac, “who in 1941 had welcomed Croat independence, subsequently condemned Croat atrocities against both Serbs and Jews, and himself saved a group of Jews”. Aloysius Mišić, Bishop of Mostar, was a prominent resister.

            The issue of the forcible conversion of Serbs is a particularly difficult issue. It is plainly wrong, and gravely contrary to canon law, but it was saving Serbs’ lives, so it’s unintelligent simply to cite that. Instead, how about a quotation from Stepinac:

            “All men and all races are children of God; all without distinction. Those who are Gypsies, black, European, or Aryan all have the same rights…. For this reason, the Catholic Church had always condemned, and continues to condemn, all injustice and all violence committed in the name of theories of class, race, or nationality. It is not permissible to persecute Gypsies or Jews because they are thought to be an inferior race.” (24 October 1942)

            Further evidence:

            Stapinic declared publicly in mid-1942 that it was “forbidden to exterminate Gypsies and Jews because they are said to belong to an inferior race”. When Himmler visited Zagreb a year later, indicating the impending roundup of remaining Jews, Stepinac wrote Pavelić that if this occurred, he would protest for “the Catholic Church is not afraid of any secular power, whatever it may be, when it has to protect basic human values”. When deportatation began, Stepinac and Papal envoy Giuseppe Marcone protested to Andrija Artukovic. According to Phayer, the Vatican ordered Stepinac to save as many Jews as possible during the upcoming roundup. Though Stepinac personally saved many potential victims, his protests had little effect on Pavelić.

            To conclude: some Catholics, including some clergy did wicked things in this. However, it is not true that the Church simply recognized it all or participated in it. On the contrary, the Church neither recognized the state, not its leadersip, the Vatican demanded the local clergy not only not be involved in violence, but actively oppose it and help victims. And it is obscene, and a grotesque misuse of other people’s suffering (and heroism) to lie and pretend it was otherwise.

          • Anton

            “I am asking for the evidence to support the claims the article makes.”

            The article is in a newspaper and obviously is not going to provide footnotes for every assertion, but it appeared in a newspaper of reputation as a reflective article rather than a news ephemera, and mentions several scholarly books on the subject which are clearly the author’s sources. If you are so keen to uphold the reputation of the Roman Catholic church in wartime Croatia, you disprove them. It is the Roman Catholic church’s performance at that time and place which I have always stated is my principal interest, and I have stated that prior to my reading of that article I gave Stepinac the benefit of the doubt – because there is evidence either way, and of course you look only at one half of it.

            By such means you might exonerate Rome in your own eyes, but most people will look at the Catholic clergy’s involvement in atrocities in wartime Croatia and simply be disgusted and repelled, while wondering how it was that Stepinac and Pius didn’t speak out loud and publicly to rein in the men under their authority.

          • Albert

            Do you not understand the words I have written? I have disproved the claims made. Do you not understand what it means to withhold absolution from murderers? Do you not understand that claims in the article have been shown by me to be false? Do you not understand the point I have made about insinuation, rather than evidence? Most of the article is just talking about atrocities, it is not even arguing that the Church was responsible. I have said repeatedly that bad things were done by some clergy, but it is grotesque to say that they were done by the Church.

            while wondering how it was that Stepinac and Pius didn’t speak out loud and publicly to rein in the men under their authority.

            I can only assume you did not read my post – ironic under the circumstances. What is not clear about this quotation for example:

            “All men and all races are children of God; all without distinction. Those who are Gypsies, black, European, or Aryan all have the same rights…. For this reason, the Catholic Church had always condemned, and continues to condemn, all injustice and all violence committed in the name of theories of class, race, or nationality. It is not permissible to persecute Gypsies or Jews because they are thought to be an inferior race.”

            On the other hand, I don’t think the article even cites evidence for the key claim that:

            It [the Vatican] supported a Croatian movement called Ustasha, which rose to become the genocidal regime of Nazi satellite Croatia.

            But I have given clear evidence to the contrary.

            because there is evidence either way

            Okay, so what evidence will you cite (beyond a discredited article)?

            I cannot understand why you persist in supporting the unsubstantiated and falsified assertions of the article, except as the manifestation of a nasty kind of prejudice.

          • Anton

            Where did I say that those things were “done by the church”? What I do say is that the Roman Catholic church in Croatia – beyond just Roman Catholic clergy in Croatia – bears a heavy responsibility for them. I understand fully the words you write but do not consider that you have “disproved the claims made” in that article concerning the role of RC clergy in the Croatian atrocities and the failure of people to whom they have pledged obedience to rein them in. Did Pius and/or Stepinac excommunicate Pavelic? If so, when? If not, why not?

            The writer of that article makes hostile judgements about the role of the Vatican and Archbishop Stepinac. Others may make different judgements, but can you disprove any of the allegations about the ungodly writings and actions of clergyman in Croatia who are named in that article?

          • Albert

            Where did I say that those things were “done by the church”?

            You are supporting the article, and the article makes that claim.

            I do say is that the Roman Catholic church in Croatia – beyond just Roman Catholic clergy in Croatia – bears a heavy responsibility for them.

            That’s rather vague. If you mean clergy were involved in killings, I have already conceded that repeatedly, so I can’t see why you press the point. But if you go beyond that, then yes, I think you need evidence, and I would ask you to cite the article for your evidence.

            Did Pius and/or Stepinac excommunicate Pavelic?

            If he was involved in murder he was excommunicated. As for a more public declaration, that’s a very naive question. In WWII the question of excommunication of some of these people was discussed. When it arose, they reflected on the effects of excommunicating Elizabeth I on Catholics. It wasn’t good – or necessary. I think that it is very easy, when one has grown up in a democracy to think these things are simple in a dictatorship, but they aren’t. Symbolic actions achieve little except for making ordinary people’s lives more dangerous and miserable.

            The writer of that article makes hostile judgements about the role of the Vatican and Archbishop Stepinac

            Are you going to support them? If so, which ones? One of the problems with this discussion is the sheer vagueness of both you and the article on what exactly the Vatican and Stepinac are supposed to have done. The vagueness is then put alongside (in the article) descriptions of the violence, and the unwary reader will fall into the trap of assuming Stepinac or the Vatican actually supported such things. The evidence is to the contrary.

            but can you disprove any of the allegations about the ungodly writings and actions of clergyman in Croatia who are named in that article?

            Why don’t you actually pinpoint something? It would be a whole lot easier.

          • Anton

            I wrote that “the Roman Catholic church in Croatia – beyond just Roman Catholic clergy in Croatia – bears a heavy responsibility for them” and you replied that that’s “rather vague”. Of course it is, because the church is a spiritual entity; gallons of theological ink have been poured out in seeking to define “the body of Christ” in this sense, and we need not divert into theology. I know that Catholics are willing to tolerate criticism of other Catholics but not of their church (although they dish it out to other churches freely enough). But the church is not Christ and therefore perfect. No church is.

            I quote from the article: When Hitler invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941, Pavelic was activated and became fuehrer… of the new, clerical-fascist Croatia. Archbishop Stepinac held a banquet for Pavelic, blessed the Ustasha leader and regime, calling them “God’s hand at work,” and the following month had Pavelic received by Pius XII. This was four days after the massacre in the town of Glina, where the Ustashas locked hundreds of Serbian Orthodox inside their church and burned it down, as became standard practice in Pavelic’s Independent State of Croatia… Pius XII received Pavelic despite a Yugoslav envoy’s request that he not do so, given the atrocities taking place… In his forthcoming book The Krajina Chronicles: A Short History of Serbs in Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia, Dr. Srdja Trifkovic writes, “The leading [Ustase] racial ‘theorist’ was a clergyman, Dr. Ivo Guberina… He urged Croatia’s ‘cleansing of foreign elements’ by any means. His views were echoed by the influential head of the Ustasha Central Propaganda Office, Fr. Grga Peinovic… When the anti-Serb and anti-Jewish racial laws of April and May 1941 were enacted, … Archbishop… Ivan Saric declared… ‘It is stupid and unworthy of Christ’s disciples to think that the struggle against evil could be waged… with gloves on.'” … clergy members took a voracious dive into the bloodbath, serving as guards, commanders and executioners at the 40 camps, most famously Jasenovac, the Holocaust’s third-largest yet least spoken-of camp… On August 29, 1942, a friar from the monastery of Siroki Brijeg, named Petar Brzica, won first place for killing the most Serbs in the shortest time, boasting 1,350 throats slit in one night. While still an Ustaša military chaplain on behalf of the Catholic church, Miroslav Filipović took part in massacres and personally slaughtered children. Šarić’s diocesan newspaper stated that: “The movement of liberation of the world from the Jews is a movement for the renewal of human dignity.” Šarić also appropriated Jewish property for his own use. Fr. Bozidas Bralo was chief of the security police in Sarajevo. Fr. Mate Mugos wrote that clergy should put down the prayer book and take up the revolver. Fr. Dyonisy Juricev wrote (in the Novi List) that to kill seven-year-olds was not a sin. See: The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965, by Michael Phayer, ch. 3. (Please don’t divert into a rant against Phayer; I am citing him for these particular claims.) It is obvious that the culture inside the Catholic church in wartime Croatia was toxic; you can’t ascribe a situation like that to a few priestly bad apples. Men of goodwill could get nowhere in this church system; the article states that Milan Bulajic, of Belgrade’s Genocide Museum…wrote of a group of Slovenian Catholic priests who were “sent to the Jasenovac camp because they refused to serve a mass of thanksgiving to Ustasha leader Ante Pavelic… One of the imprisoned Slovenian priests, Anton Rantasa, managed to escape… On 10 November 1942, he informed [Stepinac and the papal legate Ramiro Marcone]… on the crimes of genocide being perpetrated at Jasenovac. He was told to keep silent.” What is the differnce between saying that the culture inside the Catholic church in wartime Croatia was toxic and saying that the Catholic church in wartime Croatia was toxic?

            Finally, I asked, “Did Pius and/or Stepinac excommunicate Pavelic? If so, when? If not, why not?” You say that these things have to be private for the sake of lay Catholics under men like Pavelic, and cite the Elizabethan experience, but (1) the problem with the bull Regnans in Excelsis that led to persecution of Catholics in Elizabethan England was not her excommunication but the insistence that Catholics rise up against her; and (2) Pavelic lived openly in Argentina and then Spain and it is inconceivable that the Vatican did not know this, and his parish priests needed to know.

          • Albert

            Archbishop Stepinac held a banquet for Pavelic, blessed the Ustasha leader and regime

            The leader yes. The regime no. Stepinac said he would bless anyone, as he should. He also supported Croatian independence. Is that so wicked? Had Croatia consented to being part of Yugoslavia? Had this resulted in disadvantages for Croatians? Yes it had I believe. So why should Stepinac support independence? But that was before the atrocities were committed. Once that started to happen, he condemned the atrocities, for example. When articles, like the JP one simply link those periods together, it gives the impression that Stepinac was supporting the slaughter. You might as well say that Churchill was supporting communist slaughter because a the same time, he was supporting Stalin.

            the following month had Pavelic received by Pius XII.

            I cannot see any evidence for Stepanic arranging that, but let it pass. The lack of nuance here is quite dishonest. The Pope refused to see Pavelic as leader of the Croatians, but only as a private person. His entourage was not permitted to see the Pope. And why shouldn’t the Pope see him? He was clearly giving him the cold shoulder rather than welcoming him. Judging by the minute of Cardinal Montini, the Pope took the opportunity to complain that Croatia was not acting in a way acceptable to the Holy See and was not thinking of all her citizens. It also needs to be placed in the context of the wider Vatcian policy which was not to recognize Croatia and to demand that the clergy fight the abuses and protect the innocent. Why despite my several citations of that, does that level of nuance not appear in your post?

            You refer to Filipovic as if he was commended, but I have already shown he was expelled from his order, and that those who did such things were, in any case excommunicated without hope of reconciliation (a punishment so extreme, that I cannot agree with it myself). Given that I have already shown this, why have you just restated the same point without that level of context?

            You’ve then cited some other priests, and I have already conceded some did wicked things. It is your lack of balance with regard to leadership of the Church that I am objecting to.

            It is obvious that the culture inside the Catholic church in wartime Croatia was toxic

            You seem to have a complete lack of historical perspective and context. If the culture were simply toxic, it would not have been the case that bishops were condemning the abuses. Men of goodwill could get nowhere in this church system how can you possibly say that in face of the evidence of bishops acting against the abuses? Do you not read my posts, or are you not able to see that some statements cannot fit with others?

            What you are missing is that the culture in Croatia was toxic. You seem completely ignorant of the fact that this region had suffered centuries of violence and suppression from various parties. Are you not aware that Croatians and Serbs fought on opposite sides of WWI, or that, as a minority, the Croats we treated poorly in Yugoslavia? The Church is made up of the people, and the people there were the products of such a situation. This is not to justify what went on, it is simply to explain it, and the explanation, when all the evidence is considered, clearly shows the problems did not originate in the Church. This ought to be obvious from the fact that those who did terrible things did so against the plain teaching of the Church and against the demands of the their leadership.

            (1) the problem with the bullRegnans in Excelsis that led to persecution of Catholics in Elizabethan England was not her excommunication but the insistence that Catholics rise up against her

            That just misses the point I made: empty gestures do not help anyone. It might help the Church to present a face of a kind of purity, but it might lead to more bloodshed. It also of course shut down the Church’s space to influence people for the better.

            None of this is to say that the policy of the Church couldn’t have been better. It is to say it wasn’t wicked. As Burleigh asks, would it have been different if the culture warrior Pope John Paul II was pope in WWII rather than the diplomat Pius XII. Probably yes. Would it have made any difference? Probably not. Would it have made matters worse? Quite possibly. When the Dutch bishops stood up to the Nazis over the Jews, for example the Nazis simply widened the net to include Jews they had not previously included. It is ignorant, unintelligent and unjust not to take account of the wider of the situation, and quite extraordinary of you serially to ignore the actual evidence of what the Church was doing.

            (2) Pavelic lived openly in Argentina and then Spain and it is inconceivable that the Vatican did not know this, and his parish priests needed to know.

            How do you know that they didn’t? What evidence are you expecting to find here?

            I know that Catholics are willing to tolerate criticism of other Catholics but not of their church (although they dish it out to other churches freely enough).

            That’s not true. I am quite happy to say the Church got things wrong in how it treated heretics, for example. That it was wrong for popes to be warriors, or to interfere in scientific freedom. But that does not mean that I sit back while others have open season on the Church, in the face of the evidence. It’s about justice.

          • Anton

            “The regime no. Stepinac said he would bless anyone, as he should.”

            You think so? Do you not consider that “Repent and come and be blessed” might fit a little better with Christ’s treatment of people?

            “why shouldn’t the Pope see him [Pavelic]? He was clearly giving him the cold shoulder rather than welcoming him.”

            The cold shoulder that he deserved was to be not seen by Pius.

            “You’ve then cited some other priests, and I have already conceded some did wicked things. It is your lack of balance with regard to leadership of the Church that I am objecting to.”

            I have named not only regular priests but a bishop or two. You can’t blame those atrocities on a few rogue priests; this is clearly a systemic failure and you are determined not to accept that. I am happy for readers to see the facts and decide for themselves.

            “What you are missing is that the culture in Croatia was toxic.”

            Absolutely; and what you are missing is that the church is supposed to lead the world upwards, not downwards.

            “would it have been different if the culture warrior Pope John Paul II was pope in WWII rather than the diplomat Pius XII. Probably yes. Would it have made any difference? Probably not. Would it have made matters worse? Quite possibly. When the Dutch bishops stood up to the Nazis over the Jews, for example the Nazis simply widened the net to include Jews they had not previously included.”

            It is up to Christians, be they lowly laymen or Popes, to follow the way of Christ, including in their words, and to leave the big picture up to God.

            “It’s about justice.”

            I couldn’t agree more.

          • Albert

            You think so? Do you not consider that “Repent and come and be blessed” might fit a little better with Christ’s treatment of people?

            The blessing was, I think before all the unpleasantness. But how do you know what was said?

            The cold shoulder that he deserved was to be not seen by Pius.

            You clearly haven’t read about this. He turned up expecting an official reception with his retinue, and hoping to get his state and regime recognized. All this was refused. The Pope gave him a one to one meeting – presumably so that it was possible to retain some influence, and in this meeting the Pope explained why he couldn’t recognize his regime or country. He also, doubtless explained, why he retained diplomatic relations with the Yugoslavians, as the rightful leaders of the country. Don’t you understand how diplomacy works?

            I have named not only regular priests but a bishop or two. You can’t blame those atrocities on a few rogue priests; this is clearly a systemic failure and you are determined not to accept that.

            No. The personal failures of individuals bishop or priests does not represent the policy of the Church. This was clearly in the exact opposite direction, but something you seem unwilling to recognize. Do you not understand what the level of personal risk taken by Stepanic to oppose the regime and its treatment of Jews and other minorities? Do you know nothing about this period? Do you not understand what happened to those who saved Jews? From the comfort of your computer you are quite happy to slag them all off, ignore half the evidence, and the actual policy of the Church, and the risk those involved took. It’s quite disgusting really that you are prepared to impugn the characters of such people, for your prejudicial purposes, and, evidently, having read almost nothing on the subject, except an obviously unbalance (to say nothing stronger) article in a newspaper.

            Absolutely; and what you are missing is that the church is supposed to lead the world upwards, not downwards.

            And you are deliberately missing the leadership the Church gave.

            It is up to Christians, be they lowly laymen or Popes, to follow the way of Christ, including in their words, and to leave the big picture up to God.

            You seem staggeringly naive and uninformed. Do you not know what happened to minorities in Nazi occupied Europe? They got killed you know! When the bishops spoke up for the Jews, more Jews got murdered as a result. And you proclaim as the way of Christ, and that they should leave the big picture up to God! What an extraordinary position to end up in.

          • Anton

            “The blessing was, I think before all the unpleasantness. But how do you know what was said?”

            I don’t. But you said “Stepinac said he would bless anyone, as he should” and I dispute that principle.

            Pius could have conveyed that Pavelic was not welcome before he ever travelled. Pius had abundant channels of communication for conveying the message you presume he whispered in Pavelic’s ear.

            “The personal failures of individuals bishop or priests does not represent the policy of the Church.”

            Certainly it does not represent policy, but when priests and friars take up knives and guns, bishops encourage them, archbishops remain publicly silent although it is a public not an internal church issue, and visiting priests who refuse to bless evil get thrown into a concentration camp, it is obvious that the deviation from policy was systemic within the Catholic church in wartime Croatia, and cannot conveniently be laid at the door of individuals.

            I wrote, “It is up to Christians, be they lowly laymen or Popes, to follow the way of Christ, including in their words, and to leave the big picture up to God” and you replied: You seem staggeringly naive and uninformed. Do you not know what happened to minorities in Nazi occupied Europe? They got killed you know! When the bishops spoke up for the Jews, more Jews got murdered as a result.

            Yes, I know that. I am talking about churchmen failing to speak out over a longer period than during the war but well before it too. Of a majority of its membership and clergy being willing to accept persecution for their words, as in the early church. We cannot know how different history would have been, but it would have been better, because that is what God wishes His people to do and He is good.

          • Albert

            I dispute that principle.

            Fine, but that does not make you right. This is what the Bible says:

            Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.

            You say,

            Pius could have conveyed that Pavelic was not welcome before he ever travelled.

            Not a question that is directly addressed in the literature I have access to, but it certainly seems to be the case that he did convey that before he travelled. One of his cohort got the hint and didn’t travel. If you are trying to say that Pius mishandled the incident, I have not quarrel with you – it’s a prudential judgement and even with hindsight I can see if both ways. But it is factual inaccurate to say that this was policy.

            Pius had abundant channels of communication for conveying the message you presume he whispered in Pavelic’s ear.

            The principle is that you have to connect before you can correct. Passing messages does nothing if the relationship has been ruptured. You’ve only answered half my case.

            bishops encourage them

            What specifically are you referring to, here?

            archbishops remain publicly silent

            Silent apart of course from the condemnations already cited.

            visiting priests who refuse to bless evil get thrown into a concentration camp

            Who threw them into concentration camps? Are you suggesting that was bishops?

            I am talking about churchmen failing to speak out over a longer period than during the war, but well before it too

            I think that’s the first you mentioned the period before the war. Once again, there is no content to this. What are you referring to here?

            but it would have been better because this is what God wishes His people to do and He is good.

            But what you have proposed is that they should have spoken against persecution even if it meant more innocent people get killed. I cannot see how that can be described as “good” – and that’s with the benefit of hindsight.

          • Anton

            I am not of course saying that Stepinac should have cursed anyone. You cite the Bible; did Jesus bless men of evil who came to him?

            “If you are trying to say that Pius mishandled the incident, I have not quarrel with you”

            Fine; we agree there. I am not claiming it was Vatican policy.

            I wrote “bishops encourage them” and you ask What specifically are you referring to, here? I had in mind Bishop Ivan Šarić, whose diocesan newspaper stated that: “The movement of liberation of the world from the Jews is a movement for the renewal of human dignity.” (Šarić also appropriated Jewish property for his own use.) Another ghastly quote from him is in the JP article.

            I do not agree that church high-ups should deal with their subordinates privately when public matters are at stake, such as mass murder. Private dealings are appropriate for ecclesiastical matters and, obviously, public dealings for public matters. Not only did Stepinac not grasp this basic moral principle; Pius didn’t either. Had he spoken out against the Holocaust, had he called on German Catholics not to take part, what might have happened? You dwell on the increased persecution of Catholics and Jews by Nazis in the dioceses of Catholic bishops who spoke out, but ignore other plausible consequences. Nazi persecution of a Pope would have been likely to change the attitudes of previously friendly Catholic neutrals such as anti-British Ireland, fascist Spain and Latin America, all having strategically crucial coastlines that could have been made available to the Allies. The Pope, uniquely, could reach into the hearts of many of Mussolini’s and Hitler’s troops. Italy might have switched sides sooner. If the war had ended earlier then the Iron Curtain would have fallen further east, and fewer Jews would have perished in the Holocaust. The Nazis would have been well aware of the risk posed by Pius. Diplomacy is like poker, but the one man who might have influenced the course of the war by words alone made no declaration of that sort. History is liable to demand great things of a man in a great position, but Pius’ words and deeds rose only to those of a dutiful bishop – helping the local Jews – rather than the Papacy whose word would echo throughout the continent. Can you imagine an approach of communist troops to Rome silencing John Paul II? Pius’ assistance to the Jews of Rome indicates that his silence was not due to anti-semitism, and I don’t believe he was a physical coward; most likely he wished to preserve Rome and the Vatican from another sacking of archives and treasures, as Napoleon had done. But the church fights a spiritual battle in which its arms are words (Ephesians 6:17). Had Pius been willing to risk martyrdom, he could have made a difference; had he actually gone to his own cross then all Europe would ring with his name today, and the Catholic church would have redeemed its name among the Jews and be far better respected throughout Europe. That he got his priorities wrong is a tragedy for more than the Catholic church.

          • Albert

            did Jesus bless men of evil who came to him?

            This is what he taught us to do:

            ” But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

            You say,

            I am not claiming it was Vatican policy.

            But that surely is what the article wants us to think, and it is that I am objecting to:

            not only did the Vatican not speak out against crimes, not only was it complicit in the genocide of a million people

            That’s unjust, isn’t it?

            I had in mind Bishop Ivan Šarić, whose diocesan newspaper stated that: “The movement of liberation of the world from the Jews is a movement for the renewal of human dignity.”

            The conflation of Bishop and newspaper is an interesting one.

            ‘It is stupid and unworthy of Christ’s disciples to think that the struggle against evil could be waged… with gloves on.’

            In the context of the article, that is a truly horrible quotation. What is the original context? But yes, it may be that Saric was a monster. That doesn’t make it Catholic policy – neither can his actions be expressed as Catholic Church actions without nuance. The actions of the Church are best expressed in the actual policy of the Church.

            I do not agree that church high-ups should deal with their subordinates privately when public matters are at stake, such as mass murder.

            How many quotations do you need from Stepanic to show him publicly condemning such?

            Pius didn’t either. Had he spoken out against the Holocaust, had he called on German Catholics not to take part, what might have happened?

            Pius was tormented by the question of whether to speak out – he was worried it would make matters worse (as in Holland), and unlike you, his main concern was to stop Jews being murdered. He did speak out – clearly in his Christmas address of 1942, and at the time everyone understood he was condemning the holocaust. No German could participate in the holocaust without knowing he was contradicting Pius’ position. But that was before people fell for communist inspired black propaganda.

            I’m actually not going to read any further of your post, if you don’t mind. Do you mind writing in paragraphs? I’m quite busy, and there’s a limit to how much time I can afford to give to deciphering your posts.

          • Anton

            I don’t mind in the slightest. Anybody who stops reading his opponent in debate because he is unhappy with the number of paragraph breaks is likely seeking a way out. In ancient Greek manuscripts there weren’t even breaks between words.

            How many times do I have to say that I am quoting the JP article for what it says about the Catholic church in wartime Croatia specifically?

            While Rome was in fascist hands during World War II, Pius gave public messages which merely lamented the evils of the war in terms so general that the Vatican could deny that these comments were targeted at Nazism if any Nazi diplomat made threats. He came closest in his Christmas 1942 message, which followed warnings from neutral Latin American Catholic countries that his silence was harming the papacy’s moral authority. In that message he condemned systematic murder on grounds of race, but failed to mention the Jews by name. You say that everyone understood he was condemning the Holocaust but most people didn’t know about it at that time.

          • Albert

            Anybody who stops reading his opponent in debate because he is unhappy with the number of paragraph breaks is likely seeking a way out.

            Or you could just show me the courtesy of writing in a sensible way. Your previous post included a single paragraph of 2000 characters. I don’t have the time for that. I think there is a reason why we moved beyond the Greek practice.

            How many times do I have to say that I am quoting the JP article for what it says about the Catholic church in wartime Croatia specifically?

            This is what you said:

            Had he spoken out against the Holocaust, had he called on German Catholics not to take part, what might have happened?

            You say:

            You say that everyone understood he was condemning the Holocaust but most people didn’t know about it at that time.

            But here we have contemporary evidence: from the Times:

            He condemns the worship of force in the suppression of national liberties and in the persecution of the Jewish race.

            And from the New York-based Jewish Telegraphic Agency the unqualified condemnation which Pope Pius XII heaped on totalitarian, racist and materialistic theories of government in his encyclical Summi Pontificatus caused a profound stir… Although it had been expected that the Pope would attack ideologies hostile to the Catholic Church, few observers had expected so outspoken a document…

            This is about a different document – one that the allies dropped 88000 copies of, onto Germany.

            Pius was treading a difficult line: to be clear, without endangering the Church’s opportunity to act. People at the time understood this. But then, they had the experience of the sheer difficulty of living under Nazi Germany – something we don’t. You seem to prefer him to risk people’s lives for sake of some kind of moral purity. I’d sooner save people’s lives – that after all, is the point of speaking up.

          • Anton

            “Your previous post included a single paragraph of 2000 characters. I don’t have the time for that.”

            Fine, don’t read it then. How much longer does it take to read because of the absence of two or three paragraph breaks?

            I am quoting the article for what it says about Catholicism in wartime Croatia. I chose to widen the discussion after a while to consider Pius, regarding which I made no reference to the article.

            If The Times was explicit at that time that Jews were definitely subject to systematic genocide rather than maltreatment then I shall certainly retract my claim that most people didn’t know. Please provide a quote and date.

          • Albert

            How much longer does it take to read because of the absence of two or three paragraph breaks?

            On the screen, at speed, while trying to do something else, finding the salient points in long unparagraphed prose is pretty difficult. Yes, if I had nothing better to do, I would bother going through it. But I have other things to do. If you want me to read your stuff, make it readable, and don’t you dare say I am looking for an escape because you will not show that courtesy.

            I chose to widen the discussion after a while to consider Pius, regarding which I made no reference to the article.

            So don’t criticise me for defending the Pope against your wider holocaust comments.

            Please provide a quote and date.

            For goodness sake! I’ve told you which paper it comes from. Do you want me to send you a non-facsimile original copy? It was the London Times, October 1st 1942. You can read it here, together with other contemporary sources – do read on to the next page.

            https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=FnDoBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA75&lpg=PA75&dq=He+condemns+the+worship+of+force+in+the+suppression+of+national+liberties+and+in+the+persecution+of+the+Jewish+race.&source=bl&ots=kWcKHeboEf&sig=n78ltO34qLv4FepDt7EsfTyBiXo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=E_UvVe3XFZblapaKgJgF&ved=0CDYQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=He%20condemns%20the%20worship%20of%20force%20in%20the%20suppression%20of%20national%20liberties%20and%20in%20the%20persecution%20of%20the%20Jewish%20race.&f=false

            Do you think that, if what you are saying is true, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, after the war would convert to Catholicism and take the Pope’s own name as his? I suppose it’s possible that you, from your computer, know more about what was done, and what could have been done than the Chief Rabbi of the time, but then I suppose as Rabbi Dalin says, by denying the testimony of Jews of the time, you might just be putting yourself in the same category as holocaust deniers.

          • Anton

            I don’t mind if you don’t read my stuff. And I remain convinced that anybody who grumbles about paragraph breaks is avoiding the issues.

            The Nazis had been “persecut[ing] the Jewish race” since 1933; there is no hint whatsoever of the systematised slaughter of the Holocaust in that Times quote.

            I believe that Pius was not anti-semitic and I doubt that he was afraid of martyrdom. Pro-Pietists tend to focus on what he did, anti-Pietists on what he didn’t do. I suspect that he was not willing to do anything that would put the Vatican and the headquarters of the Catholic church at risk and that this was his greatest concern, outweighing humanitarian considerations. But I can’t prove it and you can’t disprove it. God will know and he alone has the privilege and responsibility of judging.

          • Albert

            And I remain convinced that anybody who grumbles about paragraph breaks is avoiding the issues.

            Don’t be ridiculous. Do my posts look like I avoid the issues?

            The Nazis had been “persecut[ing] the Jewish race” since 1933; there is no hint whatsoever of the systematised slaughter of the Holocaust in that Times quote.

            The quote is from the Times, not from the Pope. It’s purpose is to show that, contrary to your unevidenced claim, people did understand that the Pope had spoken against the persecution of the Jews. That’s what you asked me to do. You really are almost like an atheist for irrationality. You forget what you’ve asked me to do, ignore the fact that I have done it, and then raise the bar so your own position cannot be falsified.

            I suspect that he was not willing to do anything that would put the Vatican and the headquarters of the Catholic church at risk and that this was his greatest concern, outweighing humanitarian considerations. But I can’t prove it and you can’t disprove it.

            Are you completely stupid? There were hundreds, if not thousands of Jews hidden in the Vatican itself. Do you not see that that put the Vatican at direct risk? Hitler had a plan to invade the Vatican and kidnap the Pope – the Pope knew this.

            Here are the contemporary words of those who are not consumed by your prejudice and hate:

            https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=FnDoBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA75&lpg=PA75&dq=He+condemns+the+worship+of+force+in+the+suppression+of+national+liberties+and+in+the+persecution+of+the+Jewish+race.&source=bl&ots=kWcKHeboEf&sig=n78ltO34qLv4FepDt7EsfTyBiXo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=E_UvVe3XFZblapaKgJgF&ved=0CDYQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=none%20of%20us&f=false

            Am I saying there couldn’t have been a better policy? No I am not. But it can hardly be claimed, without insulting the testimony of Jewish survivors, that the Pope had any kind of immoral motivation in this. Even from this vantage point, I think he did all that could be done. But you would have preferred him to cause Jews to be put more at risk, in order to make a gesture.

          • Anton

            Do you not worry that your personal insults as part of a written debate about history say more about yourself than about me?

            As I’ve said, Pius acted like a dutiful bishop rather than as Pope. The fact that everybody knew he meant the Jews but didn’t mention them by name was interpreted by the Nazis – correctly – as meaning he would not go so far as to instruct all Catholics not to take part in any actions against non-belligerent Jews. But O, what if he had? Pro-Pietists invariably dwell on the downside of such things, but counterfactual history cuts both ways. Could the final outcome have been any worse for the Jews than it was?

          • Albert

            Don’t be so pathetic. You have been arguing that a man who saved thousands of Jews in the Vatican and the churches of Rome, was more interested in preserving the Vatican than in saving lives. That point is so obviously wrong-headed that I am surprised you haven’t withdrawn it, instead of complaining about my condemnation of it.

            O, what if he had? Pro-Pietists invariably dwell on the downside of such things, but counterfactual history cuts both ways and I gave some examples above.

            Well you can argue it both ways, which policy would have been better? It’s a prudential judgement. I’ve made clear that I am not wedded to Pius’ policy. What you cannot argue, is what you have been asserting, namely that Pius allowed Jews to be murdered for immoral reasons.

            Could the final outcome have been any worse for the Jews of Europe than it was?

            Yes it could have been. Every life is precious. Had Pius provoked Hitler more, the round up (e.g. in Italy) would have been sooner, making it much harder to keep as many Jews alive. It could have resulted in the invading of the Vatican and the various churches where Jews were/would have been hidden, resulting in literally thousands more deaths. So yes, it could have been worse for the Jews. And your policy could also have resulted in others – innocent Catholics being rounded up.

            What you don’t seem to have any appreciation of is the difficulty of working within such a vicious dictatorship. It’s obvious that nothing is gained by going into open confrontation with Hitler – yes if you have an army the size of the Soviet Union, you can do that. But if you don’t you have to be skilful, and outflank him – this Pius was and did, to the infuriation of Hitler, and the condemnation of people like you.

          • Anton

            Actually you made a good point about Pius being as concerned for the Jews he was harboring as for the Vatican treasures, but you made it so rudely that I was unable to thank you for it, for which I apologise. I modify my views to say that he was concerned for both.

            I think that you do not understand the notion of spiritual power rather than physical power. I repeat, unapologetically, that if Pius had spoken out against the Holocaust, had he called on German Catholics not to take part, history might have been very different. You dwell on the increased persecution of Catholics and Jews by Nazis in the dioceses of Catholic bishops who spoke out, but ignore other plausible consequences. Nazi perscution of a Pope would have been likely to change the attitudes of previously friendly Catholic neutrals such as anti-British Ireland, fascist Spain and Latin America, all having strategically crucial coastlines that could have been made available to the Allies. The Pope, uniquely, could reach into the hearts of many of Mussolini’s and Hitler’s troops. Italy might have switched sides sooner. If the war had ended earlier then the Iron Curtain would have fallen further east, and fewer Jews would have perished in the Holocaust. Diplomacy is like poker, but the one man who might have influenced the course of the war by words alone made no declaration of that sort. Pius’ words and deeds rose only to those of a dutiful bishop – helping the local Jews – rather than the Papacy whose word could echo through the entire continent. Even the Latin American countries regarded him as Pius the Silent and had to prod him into that broadcast.

          • Albert

            Actually you made a good point about Pius being as concerned for the Jews he was harboring as for the Vatican treasures, but you made it so rudely that I was unable to thank you for it, for which I apologise. I modify my views to say that he was concerned for both.

            I’m sorry, but the accusation you were making was not light. It was made without evidence, and in the face of evidence. Apparently you did not know the evidence I cited, in which case, you were totally unjust in drawing the conclusion you did. Why you made such a horrible judgement of a good, if not necessarily right man, in the face of the evidence, is a question you can take up with your conscience. I’m glad my comments have, at length, brought you nearer to facing that reality.

            I repeat, unapologetically, that if Pius had spoken out against the Holocaust, had he called on German Catholics not to take part, history might have been very different.

            No, I don’t see that. I think you have no comprehension of three things: firstly Catholic policy against Hitler prior to the war. Prior to 1933, Catholics who joined the Nazi Party were excommunicated for it. If Protestants had voted for Hitler in the numbers Catholics did, Hitler would never have come to power. Certainly, things became more confused after Hitler came to power, as the Church tried to work out a policy within such a context, but no one could be in any doubt about Catholic teaching on the matter.

            Secondly, you don’t seem to be aware of earlier papal pronouncements against the Nazis, such as MIT BRENNENDER SORGE or that encyclical I mentioned earlier that the allies thought so good they risked airmen’s lives to drop 88 000 copies of it on Germany (instead of bombs). The idea that German Catholics did not know that killing Jews was wrong is extraordinary, but particularly, when there had already been such clear teaching.

            Thirdly, you don’t understand how powerless people are when they are put to the proof in these situations. You don’t just risk your own life, but those of your family. What are you expecting? Some kind of Pilgrimage of Grace? That worked so well against Henry VIII, didn’t it! Why would Pius wish to draw attention to Catholics simply to tell them what they already knew, especially, when, as we have seen, Jews were actually asking the Pope not to speak out. So your argument looks without merit, even with the benefit of hindsight.

            Nazi perscution of a Pope would have been likely to change the attitudes of previously friendly Catholic neutrals such as anti-British Ireland, fascist Spain and Latin America, all having strategically crucial coastlines that could have been made available to the Allies.

            Seriously? They knew what was going on and knew it was wrong. The decisions they made about the war were based on other considerations – such as whether they could afford to be involved. It’s hard to see that any of these countries could have made any difference – you certainly haven’t given any reason for thinking so, anyway.

            the one man who might have influenced the course of the war by words alone made no declaration of that sort.

            Why do you say that, when we have already seen that isn’t true?

            Pius’ words and deeds rose only to those of a dutiful bishop – helping the local Jews

            But, that’s also not true, though I don’t have time at the moment to delve into material I read several years ago on this.

            Even the Latin American countries regarded him as Pius the Silent and had to prod him into that broadcast.

            Yes, they were concerned for the reputation of the Church. He was concerned for the lives of Jews.

            I think that you do not understand the notion of spiritual power rather than physical power.

            No, it is you who does not understand it – the power over individuals in this situation is terrible. And what does Jesus say on the matter? Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. You do seem to have moved from impugning Pius’ morality to questioning his judgement. I’m not so worried about the latter, but I would say that even now you are yet to present an argument commensurate to the case you are defending.

          • Anton

            I did know that Jews were sheltered in the Vatican; I hadn’t put two and two together. But I am not retracting the assertion that desire to protect the Vatican treasures and archives was probably a significant factor in Pius’ choices; do you think so? I am now saying that the Jews probably were too. When someone makes an error of this sort you will find that it is most effective for him as well as for readers if you are forensic rather than abusive. Abuse says more about the abuser than about his target.

            Which Jews were asking Pius not to speak out? The Jews of Rome or the Jews of Europe? Do you not know that Jewish leaders begged Churchill to bomb Auschwitz no matter how many Jews the bombs would kill? (Churchill didn’t; I don’t recall the reasons.) Your comments are strange coming from a man who, as a Catholic, would look at John Paul II’s triumph over communism and recall Stalin’s hubristic rhetorical question about how many divisions the Pope had. John Paul understood the wielding of spiritual power in the political realm better than Pius, who had to be prodded by Latin Amreican Catholics into his Christmas 1942 statement, which did not even mention the Jews. I am well aware that Pius was closely involved in the drafting of Mit Brennender Sorge for his predecessor.

          • Albert

            I think your judgements are actually wicked. I think you need to shocked into seeing that – just as Jesus condemned those who were wicked. That did not reflect on him. You are persisting in thinking the Pope was thinking of treasures, and yet you have literally no evidence for thinking that. It is therefore a nasty belief. I will not speculate on its provenance.

            Which Jews were asking Pius not to speak out? The Jews of Rome or the Jews of Europe?

            What difference does it make, given that the result of his speaking out would have harmed Jews everywhere – as the Dutch bishops had already discovered.

            Do you not know that Jewish leaders begged Churchill to bomb Auschwitz no matter how many Jews the bombs would kill?

            I cannot see the relevance of that.

            Your comments are strange coming from a man who, as a Catholic, would look at John Paul II’s triumph over communism and recall Stalin’s hubristic rhetorical question about how many divisions the Pope had.

            I don’t think the circumstances were at all similar. Brezhnev was not Hitler. But yes JPII might have handled things differently, and it might have been disastrous. If that had been the case, people would have been point scoring by saying that the pope thought of the reputation of the Church rather than the lives of Jews. That fact alone shows how hard the call was.

            Pius, who had to be prodded by Latin Amreican Catholics into his Christmas 1942 statement, which did not even mention the Jews.

            I have addressed that already (without response from you) and will add that the Jews were mentioned since they were included under a major premise.

            I am well aware that Pius was closely involved in the drafting of Mit Brennender Sorge for his predecessor.

            The point is that the papacy had repeatedly condemned Nazism. There seems to be some bizarre idea that popes have to say everything again. Hitlerism had been repeatedly condemned by the popes, there was therefore no need to condemn it more in the war, and much to be lost by so doing – like people’s lives and the Church’s capacity to help – oh and art treasures, for those who think that way.

          • Anton

            You have not changed my opinion that your personal – and continuing – abuse of me over a matter of history reflects on you rather than me; and thankfully you are not my judge. But you ducked my question: Do you think that desire to protect the Vatican treasures and archives was likely a significant factor in Pius’ choices?

            The Jews sheltered in the Vatican would probably have preferred Pius not to speak out, whereas the Jews of Europe would probably have preferred it if he did. Just like the Jews of Europe wished Churchill to bomb Auschwitz, but the Jews of Auschwitz probably would have preferred not.

            “yes JPII might have handled things differently, and it might have been disastrous.”

            But it’s all “might”, isn’t it? I have given reasons why it might have worked out better. Where the wisdom of man runs out the wisdom of God begins, and Christians are to do what he says and leave the larger outcome to him. I don’t think Pius did. I’m not sure that many men would have, but at some times in history a great position demands to be occupied by a great man.

          • Albert

            You have not changed my opinion that your personal – and continuing – abuse of me over a matter of history reflects on you rather than me; and thankfully you are not my judge. But you ducked my question: Do you think that desire to protect the Vatican treasures and archives was likely a significant factor in Pius’ choices?

            Absolutely not. You have given no evidence to support that position, and I cannot see why it should be held. Here you have a good man – one who saved thousands of Jews, and risked his life (you’ve conceded that, I think). You have a full and sufficient explanation of why he did not want to risk an invasion of the Vatican, and yet you still persist – without evidence, it appears, in impugning him and thinking he did so also for immoral reasons. Unless you have evidence, it is not a matter of history, it is a matter of judgement (ironic, you make something of that). If you have a sufficienct explanation of why he did what he did, then does not the principle of parsimony itself teach you to look no further? But no, you insist on impugning his conscience on no evidence whatsoever. No that is not history, it is wicked.

            The Jews sheltered in the Vatican would probably have preferred Pius not to speak out, whereas the Jews of Europe would probably have preferred it if he did.

            That makes no sense. How could Pius’ words help them? This is what you need to show. But could he make matters worse for Jews? certainly.

            I have given reasons why it might have worked out better.

            They are speculative and implausible – I simply do not see how anyone who understands the kind of regime was running Europe could think your suggestions would work – in the very least, you have to accept that he made a reasonable call. You have no reason to condemn his conscience.

            Where the wisdom of man runs out the wisdom of God begins, and Christians are to do what he says and leave the larger outcome to him.

            Where has he failed to do what Christ says? Jesus said “Love your neighbour” Pius did that, he saved thousands of people, some of whom are still alive. You seem to think that “Love your neighbour” means “Endanger his life”. It doesn’t.

          • Anton

            You are determined not to see what I am saying that the problem is not what Pius did, but what he didn’t do; that history called at that time for a man capable of rising to the position he occupied. The Pope’s word was the one thing capable of reaching into the hearts and minds of Hitler’s most trusted, Bavarian, troops. Hitler consequently feared his word and successfully, over the course of the war, manoeuvred and bullied him into never uttering the kind of words that could have made a difference. You are doing your utmost to say they wouldn’t have done, but I have outlined several plausible ways and you can’t know. One should follow the way of Christ in the place He has put you, and leave the greater matters to Him. That is why I am unhappy that Pius behaved merely like a bishop although he was Pope, a position carrying greater responsibilities. He had no trouble declaring some of his words infallible when the heat was off.

            I asked: “Do you think that desire to protect the Vatican treasures and archives was likely a significant factor in Pius’ choices?” You replied: Absolutely not. You have given no evidence to support that position… What would you accept as evidence (NB either way)? He was a professional ecclesiocrat, after all.

          • Albert

            You are determined not to see what I am saying that the problem is not what Pius did, but what he didn’t do

            No I’m not. I perfectly see that. What I don’t see is that you have done anything to defend your grotesque claim – and the burden of proof rests on you.

            You are doing your utmost to say they wouldn’t have done, but I have outlined several plausible ways and you can’t know.

            So somehow you win the argument because I cannot know what would have happened in a counter-factual. Are you serious? All we can do is what the Pope did – make a judgement. I do not see that someone actively involved in the holocaust would suddenly give it up and become a paragon of virtue because the Pope made some comment about it. And yet for your argument to work, you need loads of people to do that. It doesn’t make sense. You’ve also made peculiar comments about coastlines – I have to say, I really don’t understand all that. I cannot see that you have set out a plausible position. So no, I don’t think you have met the burden of proof, and so I think your argument fails and you should withdraw your allegation.

            One should follow the way of Christ in the place He has put you, and leave the greater matters to Him.

            You seem to think that Christ calls us to irresponsibility with other people’s lives – did he not ask us to love him with all our minds, and to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves? And what else does Jesus say:

            For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
            saying, `This man began to build, and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace.

            If the Pope is to put innocent people’s lives at risk, he had better be sure before he does so that he is able to protect them.

            He had no trouble declaring some of his words infallible when the heat was off.

            And there of course the game is given away. Your position is not motivated by evidence, but prejudice against Catholicism.

            What would you accept as evidence (NB either way)?

            Well you cannot prove a negative – which is what you are apparently trading on. The only thing one can do is to say the evidence is sufficiently explained without your hypothesis and that therefore your hypothesis is irrational by the standards of Ockham’s Razor. As for evidence that I would expect it would need to be primary evidence, not speculation, linking the factors in such a way that Pius’ desire to preserve the treasures can be seen as a rationally sufficient explanation. Are you able to do that? If so do, if not, withdraw your horrible claims, and stop winging that I am being nasty to you, while you, from the comfort of your computer impugn a man who saved thousands of lives at the risk of his own.

          • Anton

            “So somehow you win the argument because I cannot know what would have happened in a counter-factual.”

            That’s hypocrisy from someone who claims to know what Hitler would have done had Pius spoken out. Hitler was sufficiently wary of what Pius might say that he stopped short of grabbing the Jews in the Vatican, didn’t he? If I can’t know, you can’t either. “Burden of proof” is not a mature argument in historical dialogue seeking to determine the truth.

            “You’ve also made peculiar comments about coastlines – I have to say, I really don’t understand all that.”

            I wrote that Nazi persecution of a Pope would have been
            likely to change the attitudes of Catholic neutrals such as anti-British Ireland, fascist Spain and Latin America, all having strategically crucial coastlines that could have been made available to the Allies as Brazil’s eventually was. If you don’t understand the crucial role of the availability of ports in a naval war such as the Battle of the Atlantic, which Churchill said was the one thing that kept him awake at night during the war, you would do well to read a basic primer on warfare and on World War II.

            You are free to speculate about my motives; I am writing solely about Pius. That he was the one Pope since 1870 with the hubris to use the absurd doctrine of papal infallibility – regarded as absurd by all non-Christians, protestants, Eastern Orthodox and half of Catholics according to one poll – says much about him. As for your mode of reasoning, if you won’t state what you would accept as evidence for motive even on your side of the debate, let alone mine, then whatever I say you will be free to blithely dismiss, so why should I bother?

          • Albert

            That’s hypocrisy from someone who claims to know what Hitler would have done had Pius spoken out.

            But we already know that Hitler had a plan to invade the Vatican and kidnap Pius, so we do know what would have happened, just as we already have evidence from the Dutch bishops of what happens when people spoke out in favour of the Jews. We also know, from Dalin p. 79 that Jews outside of Italy were asking for the Pope not to speak out. We know that as early as 1942, the Vatican knew that when the Pope made protests the treatment of prisoner worsened. So I have every reason to defend Pius from speaking further than he already had, but your position is utter speculation – and I still haven’t seen a viable description of how it is supposed even to work, let alone the evidence on which it is supposedly based.

            Burden of proof” is not a mature argument in historical dialogue seeking to determine the truth, by the way.

            This isn’t a dialogue, it’s a kind of tribunal you have set up. You have impugned a man’s character, who has saved thousands of people’s lives and you need to provide evidence to defend that. You haven’t.

            If you don’t understand the crucial role of the availability of ports in a naval war such as the Battle of the Atlantic, which Churchill said was the one thing that kept him awake at night during the war, you would do well to read a basic primer on warfare and on World War II.

            Ships were travelling from the US to Britain, ports in South America are therefore of less use, as to use them would be extend the sailing time. Besides, as these countries were neutral, I assume we could use their ports.

            That he was the one Pope since 1870 with the hubris to use the absurd doctrine of papal infallibility

            And that of course, is the real issue here – that why you don’t want to have to face the burden of proof – this is not about history.

            As for your mode of reasoning, if you won’t state what you would accept as evidence for motive even on your side of the debate, let alone mine, then whatever I say you will be free to blithely dismiss, so why should I bother?

            This is just bizarre, for here is what I wrote:

            As for evidence that I would expect it would need to be primary evidence, not speculation, linking the factors in such a way that Pius’ desire to preserve the treasures can be seen as a rationally sufficient explanation.

            So why would you accuse me of not setting out the standard of proof? Isn’t it because you haven’t got any and rather than admit you can resort to saying “Well, you won’t accept my evidence anyway.”

            The Jews themselves sem to take the bigger picture that I advocate, for Pius is conspicuous by his absence from the Righteous Among the Nations at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum.

            Who are you to speak for the Jews? At Yad Vashem, the caption about Pius has been changed, in the meantime, a few comments from Jews who lived through the period, and weren’t disconcerted by communist black propaganda. I’ve already mentioned the Chief Rabbi of Rome. Here are some other sources:

            In 1946 the Conference on Jewish Relations said: “never has the papacy spoken in such unmistakable terms against racism and anti-Semitism as in the words and deeds of the present pope, Pius XII.”

            Pius XII “was the only one who intervened to impede the deportation of Jews on October 16th 1943, and he did very much to hide and save thousands of us. It was no small matter that he ordered the opening of cloistered convents. Without him many of our own would not be alive.” Michael Tagliacozzo – Roman Jewish survivor.

            Documents recently released from the Vatican Secret Archive, include documents from Jews praising Pius for saving them. For example:

            While in nearly all the countries of Europe we were persecuted, imprisoned and threatened with death because we belong to the Jewish people and profess the Jewish faith, Your Holiness not only sent notable and generous gifts to our camp through the apostolic nuncio…but also showed your fatherly interest in our physical and spiritual well-being…(You) intrepidly raised your universally venerated voice against our enemies – still so powerful at that time – to openly support our rights to human dignity. When in 1942 we were under the threat of deportation to Poland, Your Holiness extended your fatherly hand to protect us and prevented the deportation of the Jews imprisoned in Italy, thereby saving us from almost certain death.

            Letter dated October 1944

            Golda Meir, Israel’s foreign minister sent a message to the Vatican when Pius died: “We share in the grief of humanity…When fearful martyrdom came to out people in the decade of Nazi Terror, the voice of the pope was raised for the victims.”

            Jewish conductor Leonard Bernstein called for minute of silence “for the passing of a very great man, Pope Pius XII.”

            The Jewish Post said no other leader “did more to help Jews in their hour of greatest tragedy than did the late pope.”

            And yet you dare to impugn, on no evidence, the character of this man. Here’s what Rabbi Dalin says of that:

            “To so deny and delegitimize their collective memory and experience of the holocaust…is to engage in a subtle yet profound form of Holocaust denial.”

            Dalin complains that Pius-bashing is always really about something else (as you have shown here).

            He says, people “hijack” the Holocaust and “exploit the tragedy of the Jewish people…to foster their own political agenda.”

          • Anton

            Hitler had a plan to invade the Vatican but who can say if he would have enacted it? He stepped back for destroying British forces at the 11th hour at Dunkirk. Dictators are unpredictable. Catholic rightwing neutrals might have informed him of the consequences if such an invasion appeared imminent.

            If you want to downplay the importance of coastline and port access in a war at sea, I can’t stop you; but you are at variance with naval experts. Neutral countries routinely deny access to warships of belligerents.

            My interest is Pius. That is why I widened to infallibility. I would not have done so for any other Pope, but he had the hubris to invoke it.

            I asked what evidence you would accept because without knowing that I might have gone to a lot of trouble and then faced blithe dismissal.

            “Who are you to speak for the Jews?”

            Where did I do that? I simply pointed out that Pius is conspicuous by his absence from being one of Yad Vashem’s “Righteous among the nations”. I made no mention of what Yad Vashem did say about him; you brought that up. The Jewish national Holocaust Museum is the definitive place to look for the Jewish view of Pius in overall regard to his activities during World War II. Of course the Jews of Rome are going to express gratitude to him, and rightly so. But perhaps you ought to enquire of Yad Vashem their reasons.

          • Albert

            Hitler had a plan to invade the Vatican but who can say if he would have enacted it? He stepped back for destroying British forces at the 11th hour at Dunkirk. Dictators are unpredictable.

            Well actually, Karl Wolff who was the SS man in charge in Rome testified to have been given the order by Hitler to kidnap Pius and occupy the Vatican, this was because, said Wolff, Hitler thought Pius was “a friend of the Jews.” But I think your point is just bizarre. What you are saying is that dealing with dictators is not an exact science. Well exactly. Given then that Pius was sheltering thousands of Jews, and that his and others’ comments against the holocaust had resulted in more suffering for the Jews, it surely follows that Pius was reasonable in stopping empty gestures and instead, rolling up his sleeves and sheltering Jews. I find it extraordinary that without evidence and in the face of the evidence you persist in attacking him. I think that says more about you than him – as Rabbi Dalin points out.

            If you want to downplay the importance of coastline and port access in a war at sea, I can’t stop you; but you are at variance with naval experts. Neutral countries routinely deny access to warships of belligerents.

            So you need to demonstrate 4 things:

            1. That these particular neutral ports were important.

            2. That they were denied by the allies.

            3. That the Pope saying more than he had would be likely to bring these countries into the war.

            4. That Pius could reasonably see that all this would bring about more good than the evident risk of extra harm to the Jews (and others).

            I cannot for the life of me see how you can possibly do that – but by all means produces the evidence if you have it. Personally, I think there is almost a contradiction between 2 & 3. If these countries are denying even the use of their ports, they were not sufficiently close to declaring war as to make 4 plausible. Furthermore, if the Vatican could have helped in some way, we would expect to find diplomatic papers asking the Vatican for precisely this kind of help. So it’s easy to see what sort of evidence you would need. Have you got it?

            I asked what evidence you would accept because without knowing that I might have gone to a lot of trouble and then faced blithe dismissal.

            Yes, and I had already given an answer to this – which you blithely ignored and then accused me of not having done so.

            Where did I do that? I simply pointed out that Pius is conspicuous by his absence from being one of Yad Vashem’s “Righteous among the nations”.

            I’m not sure that that tells us much, though. Given the level of controversy – whether it is fair or not – it would be extraordinary for Yad Vashem to make him “righteous among the nations.” The Vatican will not actually canonise him, for the same reason. So the lack of accolade tells us nothing much except that there is still controversy. Secondly, it is not obvious that Yad Vashem is the arbiter of the historical realities – they had changed they caption on Pius, because they were aware that their history (which was negative) was open to challenge. Thirdly, I pointed out that your position is gravely contrary to that of a huge number of Jews who lived through the period.

            Look: I’m not asking you to say that Pope in the end chose the right path. I’m simply asking you either to provide evidence that his motives were mixed with immoral ones or to withdraw the charge.

          • Anton

            I wrote: “Hitler had a plan to invade the Vatican but who can say if he would have enacted it?” You replied: Karl Wolff who was the SS man in charge in Rome testified to have been given the order by Hitler to kidnap Pius and occupy the Vatican. As it didn’t happen, what conditions did Wolff or anybody else say needed to be fulfilled for it to happen? And how do you know that Hitler might not have added other conditions after reflecting on the number of Catholics in his armies and diplomats from neutral Catholic countries?

            I might need to satisfy your four demands to change your mind but you are of course setting the bar impossibly high, and my own interest is in making a case that I believe readers of these words will find convincing. Look at any detailed history of World War II for the fact of denial of neutral coastlines and ports to warships of belligerents. That is standard practice, because as soon as a warship is permitted to be provisioned then its home country starts packing the neutral in question with shells and other naval ordnance, and the ‘other’ belligerent then threatens the neutral country.

            Yad Vashem is the Jewish National Holocaust Museum and is going to reflect the principal Jewish view. The Jewish nation has repeatedly shown that it is prepared to disagree with other nations over major diplomatic matters so the controversy over Pius is scarcely going to influence them, and they pointedly do not regard him as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.

            You have said that you understand my point that pro-Pietists highlight what he did whereas anti-Pietists highlight what he didn’t do. In that case it is futile to demand evidence of the kind that you are demanding.

            I’m going away for a few days so, if you respond, please make no inference from my silence.

          • Albert

            As it didn’t happen, what conditions did Wolff or anybody else say needed to be fulfilled for it to happen?

            The conditions were met. It didn’t happen because Wolff didn’t do it – indeed he warned the Pope about it, who asked for evidence of his good faith by releasing prisoners, which Wolff did. Could Hitler have added further conditions? Yes, but then should Pius have taken that chance? He had hundreds, but probably thousands of lives in his care, is it really reasonable for him to say “Yes, but perhaps Hitler will change his mind”? especially when, he already had evidence that a bolder condemnation would only make matters worse, not better. You see, you keep altering your counter-factual to accommodate the evidence, but at some point, you will suffer from anomaly overload.

            And how do you know that Hitler might not have added other conditions after reflecting on the number of Catholics in his armies and diplomats from neutral Catholic countries?

            Hitler was someone who invaded Russia and declared war on the US. He’s not the kind of person who worries about provoking Ireland into allowing Britain to use its ports – especially as, by the time the kidnap plot conditions were met (June 1944) the availability of those ports would have mad little difference. But the key thing is, could Pius have predicted Hitler would worry about provoking Ireland? It didn’t stop him murdering Catholic priests – 95% of priests in the clergy wing were Catholic.

            I might need to satisfy your four demands to change your mind but you are of course setting the bar impossibly high

            My demands are not impossibly high, you claim is impossibly implausible – it is the complexity of your claim that makes the demands of evidence so difficult. All four of those things are necessary for you to know what you are saying is true. If you think that such evidence is not likely to be got, then that is because your position is irrational. What sort of evidence do you think should be available to make your case? Explain that, and give it. Moreover, you have not given any evidence whatsoever for your own position, but I have given abundant evidence for mine and demonstrated that the evidence provides a sufficient explanation of Pius’ actions. In the absence of more evidence from you, which would need to be accounted for, the Principle of Parsimony renders your position irrational – again.

            That is standard practice, because as soon as a warship is permitted to be provisioned then its home country starts packing the neutral in question with shells and other naval ordnance, and the ‘other’ belligerent then threatens the neutral country.

            Well, if you are going to go for so many counter-factuals, how about assuming the neutral country does not allow its ports to be so provisioned. But you need to show which ports you are talking about, whether having such use would have made the kind of difference that could have saved Jewish lives and whether Pius could have reasonably made that calculation. I cannot for the life of me see where you have begun to do that.

            Yad Vashem is the Jewish National Holocaust Museum and is going to reflect the principal Jewish view. The Jewish nation has repeatedly shown that it is prepared to disagree with other nations over major diplomatic matters so the controversy over Pius is scarcely going to influence them, and they pointedly do not regard him as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.

            It’s actually really Israel’s museum, and does not claim to speak for all Jews. Moreover, it is a place that does not accept your view: unlike you it has been prepared to modify its opinions on the basis of the evidence. My position does not entail or predict that Pius would be so recognized – more research is needed, not least through the opening up of the Vatican Archives. You also need to consider that really emminent Jewish historians of the period, like Sir Martin Gilbert take my side of the debate. Have a look for yourself:

            http://www.biserici.org/index.php?menu=CU&code=15082&criteria=letter&quick=Y&radio=e&order=START_DATE

            The question is not whether Pius was right, the question is whether your position is justified by the evidence. In the complete absence of evidence – despite seemingly endless posts, I can say confidently not.

          • Anton

            Wolff claimed that Hitler commanded him to invade the Vatican and kidnap Pope Pius but that he refused to do so. I don’t believe this statement as it stands, because Hitler would have had Wolff executed or at the very least demoted, and commanded someone else to do it. Perhaps plans had been drawn up but I do not believe that Hitler gave an order to execute them. Wolff went public with his claims at the Nuremberg trials, and given that he wrote a letter that incriminated himself in the Holocaust in 1942 (see his Wikipedia page), it is not hard to understand why he would wish to paint himself in a favourable light there and to the Catholic church that partly maintained the ratlines to South America. A Jesuit priest-scholar, RA Graham, has written that “Historians have yet to uncover a single piece of contemporary evidence indicating that Hitler, Himmler, Bormann, or any other authority had any serious intention, let alone plan, to invade Vatican City and carry out Pope Pius XII. As for all the smoke, the recollections are post-war and suspiciously self-serving.”

            Rightly or wrongly, Hitler was not frightened of Stalin, or else he would not have invaded Russia. Stalin was outside. But the Pope could reach inside the hearts and minds of many of Hitler’s most loyal troops. Hitler would have been wary.

            Of course Yad Vashem does not speak for every Jew on the planet, but it has unique moral authority to speak on behalf of the Jewish people regarding the Holocaust. I am aware that it softened – but did not desist from – its criticism of Pius XII, but I am talking about its obviously pointed refusal to denote him as one of the Righteous Among the Nations even though he protected the Jews of Rome. This refusal is clearly for what he didn’t do rather than what he did so – exactly as I have been contending.

            I repeat, regarding the availability of Atlantic ports to the Allies, take the trouble to read a history of WW2 at sea. And now I am off for a few days; I wish you well.

          • Albert

            It may be that the Wolff story was not true – but that does not mean Wolff did not go to the Vatican to tell it, which is what counts.

            Stalin was outside. But the Pope could reach inside the hearts and minds of many of Hitler’s most loyal troops.

            I just don’t think that you get the level of control within wartime Nazi Germany. You need to conceive of a situation in which Pius’ words could have made such a difference, and you need that to be so clear that Pius was unreasonable not to go further than he did.

            I am aware that it softened – but did not desist from – its criticism of Pius XII

            And Gilbert says the criticism is factually and demonstrably wrong. That’s quite a comment and it undermines the authority of the claim.

            I am talking about its obviously pointed refusal to denote him as one of the Righteous Among the Nations even though he protected the Jews of Rome. This refusal is clearly for what he didn’t do rather than what he did so – exactly as I have been contending.

            Yes, but it is equally consistent with my view too, so it demonstrate nothings. Remember: you need to be able to show Pius was partly motivated by immoral considerations. The failure of the YV to call him RATN, hardly does that, especially when we are aware that YV’s claims are not sound.

            take the trouble to read a history of WW2 at sea.

            Well I’ve read Churchill’s own memoirs. Good enough?

            I wish you well

            And I you. Enjoy!

          • Anton

            “It may be that the Wolff story was not true – but that does not mean Wolff did not go to the Vatican to tell it, which is what counts.”

            What point are you making here?

            “You need to conceive of a situation in which Pius’ words could have made such a difference, and you need that to be so clear that Pius was unreasonable not to go further than he did.”

            I take it that by “need” you mean in order to convince you. But I am aiming to convince only the reader of this exchange. And, No, Churchill’s memoirs, if they do not mention the point at issue between us, are not enough, because he will assume knowledge of the conventions of the era.Those neutrals who had signed up to the standard treaty on naval warfare, the 13th Hague Convention (I’ve not checked the signatories) were constrained by these words:

            http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hague13.asp

            It is well known that the Republic of Ireland denied its ports to the Allies.

          • Albert

            What point are you making here?

            The point is that, if you are to judge Pius justly, you need to see these things from Pius’ perspective. The issue is not whether Hitler really did order the invasion of the Vatican, but whether Pius reasonably could have expected it.

            I take it that by “need” you mean in order to convince you.

            No, I mean in order to show your position is rational and not just a prejudice. You are making claims about another man’s motivation. That sort of claim is always hard, but you have done so without producing any evidence whatsoever to defend your claim, and you have maintained it in the face of a sufficient explanation which does not need your claim. Thus you now need to present some evidence to substantiate your claim or your position is irrational, and therefore your keeping of your position is itself in need of a further explanation.

            You said,

            take the trouble to read a history of WW2 at sea

            and now you are saying the Churchill’s six volume history is not enough. As you are demanding such a high evidential bar from me, I wonder that you are able to grant yourself an evidential bar so low. All I remember is Churchill wondering whether invade Ireland (or part of it) so as to have use of the ports. He didn’t do this, not least, I think, because Irish ports were not as necessary in WWII. Perhaps you should read a little more.

          • Anton

            I’m sorry but I don’t “need” to do what you tell me. I need to jump through your hoops in order to convince you, but I now seek to advocate my position mainly to readers of this exchange, whom I regard as more reasonable. Your “need” phrases are an attempt to act both as referee and as one side of our exchange, which is improper just as it would be in any court.

            Why did you ignore my citing of the Hague Convention on war at sea?

          • Albert

            I’m sorry but I don’t “need” to do what you tell me

            Indeed not. But rational standards do require certain things – i.e. certain things are needed for claims to be reasonable.

            You have made a claim. You have offered no evidence to defend that claim. I have offered evidence to the contrary. This is eivdence from a range of sources: all Jewish primary sources from the time and later, observations from leading Jews, and the comments of the leading historian of the issue – himself Jewish. All this evidence, in the absence of any rebuff from you, explains by itself Pius’ behaviour.

            Now if your position is reasonable, you need to provide reason for it. That follows as a matter of logic. I have asked for this evidence and reason again and again, and it is never forthcoming. Put the matter another way, I cannot answer your case, because, evidentially, it does not exist.

            But if you think there is another standard by which things can be reasonable please say so. What do you think you need to do in order for your position to be reasonable?

            Why did you ignore my citing of the Hague Convention on war at sea?

            Because until you are able to demonstrate which ports in neutral Catholic countries were needed but denied to the allies, your argument cannot even get off the ground. Thus I answered your case by pointing out that the one set of ports (Irish ones) weren’t as important. Which others then?

          • Anton

            You are not the sole judge of what is rational. I am content to leave it at this point to readers to take the point you won’t – and they may wish to ponder why – that if the pro-Pius party cites what he did whereas the anti-Pius party cites what he didn’t do then evidence is going to be of differing sorts. Conclusions are permitted to be drawn from silence in courts. Telling me what I “need” to do is an attempt to set you up as my examiner, which you are not. I consider that it is only in your head that my argument does “not even get off the ground”.

          • Albert

            Actually, in your attempt to set yourself up as a victim, you seem to be forgetting that it is you that is putting a particularly nasty charge against a man whom, we know, was personally responsible for saving the lives of literally thousands of Jews.

            It is true that I am not the sole judge of what is rational. But in saying that, if you make such a charge against anyone, you do need to come up with evidence in defence of the charge, otherwise it is hard to see how it is rooted in history. You have come up with literally no evidence to defend your charge. This despite the fact that your position plainly contradicts that of various statements from the time and after of Jewish eyewitnesses, the statements of august Jewish personalities who lived through the period, and indeed of two Jewish historians, one at least of whom must be regarded as one of the greatest authorities in the world, of the period to which your accusation belongs. Your accusation also flies in the face of the evidence that has been brought to light, which, I have argued (without response) sufficiently explains the behaviour of the Pope.

            Nevertheless, you are right, I am not the sole judge of what is rational. This is why I said in my last post:

            But if you think there is another standard by which things can be reasonable please say so. What do you think you need to do in order for your position to be reasonable?

            So you are unjust in caricaturing me as presenting myself as the sole judge of rationality. Why would you do that? Why not simply defend your position by either providing evidence to defend your position, or setting out the standards of rationality that you think are relevant?

            This is not the only caricature around here. You write:

            that if the pro-Pius party cites what he did whereas the anti-Pius party cites what he didn’t do then evidence is going to be of differing sorts.

            That is not the whole truth is it? For actually most of what I have done is to use evidence not only to show what Pius did, but also to explain what Pius did not do. I cannot see that you have provided anything like an alternative explanation.

            Telling me what I “need” to do is an attempt to set you up as my examiner, which you are not.

            I find it extraordinary that someone who impugns the integrity of a dead man can play the victim simply because his interlocutor asks for evidence of his accusation. As I have said on several occasions now, if you do not think you need to provide evidence, set out the rational standards you do think you need to work towards, and explain, why, in a historical debate you do not need to cite historical evidence.

            I consider that it is only in your head that my argument does “not even get off the ground”.

            If you are going to claim that Pius should have acted differently, because he should have realised that him speaking up again would cause neutral Catholic countries to open up their sufficiently vital ports that their permitting of the allies to use their ports would shortened the war, such that Pius could reasonably have taken the risk with the lives of the Jews in his protection, because he could see he could save more Jews, then it seems a little off for you not even to name those ports (and then to moan that I ask for such names). (BTW, there is a moral problem with this argument, since it can be argued that one has greater moral duties to those who are directly in one’s care than to those who are not.)

          • Anton

            Where did I seek to position myself as your victim? I don’t feel bullied but am calling your rhetorical attempt to position yourself as both one side of this debate and also as judge of it, which is illegitimate.

            You have provided one explanation for Pius’ actions and inactions. That does not mean it is the only one or the dominant one. When I asked whether you thought that Pius was influenced also by concern for the Vatican’s treasures and archives you first failed to reply to the question and then when I repeated it you answered No. At that point I am happy to leave it to readers to decide between us.

            The Jews of Rome are of course going to be grateful to Pius, and rightly so. Moreover there are millions of educated Jews and some of them are going to share that position. But others, including Yad Vashem which has unique moral authority to reflect the position of the Jewish people over the Holocaust, share the critical view of the Latin American Catholic nations over Pius’ silence. Those nations had to prod him into his Christmas 1942 broadcast and even then it didn’t mention the Jews by name. It didn’t instruct Catholics who were part of the Holocaust murder machine to refuse orders. Hitler took from Pius’ hesitancy to mention the Jews the belief that Pius was not going to trouble him, and he was right. That is the point: once fighting broke out, the Pope never troubled Hitler at all. Viewed from Berlin, all that Pius did was save a few thousand Jews while millions more were put to death. Hitler would have rejoiced if he had known that fact in advance. It would be excusable only if Pius was utterly, absolutely powerless. If you really believe that the head of the Roman Catholic church had no power whatsoever during World War II then you are grossly misunderstanding the nature of power.

          • Albert

            It seems to me that what you want to do is to make historical judgements, without evidence, and then hermetically seal your judgement from critique. Forget any criticism of you. Let us focus on the case against Pius, and the case against the case against Pius. If we do that, do you produce any more evidence?

            You have provided one explanation for Pius’ actions and inactions. That does not mean it is the only one or the dominant one.

            So what is flawed about it?

            That does not mean it is the only one or the dominant one. When I asked whether you thought that Pius was influenced also by concern for the Vatican’s treasures and archives you first failed to reply to the question and then when I repeated it you answered No.

            I can’t remember precisely, but I thought that was one of the numerous occasions in which you proceeded as if I hadn’t answered, when in fact I had. Are you going to produce any evidence for the claim? If not, why do you hold it?

            But others, including Yad Vashem which has unique moral authority to reflect the position of the Jewish people over the Holocaust, share the critical view of the Latin American Catholic nations over Pius’ silence.

            Did you even read Martin Gilbert’s comments on this? He did not say that Yad Vashem was misinterpreting the evidence, he said it was factually wrong. As for the Latin Americans, they were more concerned to preserve the Church’s teaching authority than with the welfare of the Jews (to be fair, unlike you, they did not know what Pius was doing for them). If Pius had spoken out more and made matters worse for the Jews, then people would have said he gambled with their lives to save papal authority.

            Hitler took from Pius’ hesitancy to mention the Jews the belief that Pius was not going to trouble him, and he was right. That is the point: once fighting broke out, the Pope never troubled Hitler at all.

            That is factually false. We know from Ribbentrop’s own papers that is not true.

            Viewed from Berlin, all that Pius did was save a few thousand Jews while millions more were put to death.

            You just ignore all the evidence that statements from the Pope and other bishops made matters worse for those Jews outside of Italy. Why?

            If you really believe that the head of the Roman Catholic church had no power whatsoever during World War II then you are grossly misunderstanding the nature of power.

            I think you have no idea what it is to live under people like Hitler. Catholics knew what was going on was wrong. The Pope had already told them. They didn’t need him to tell them again. When Catholic leaders did speak up it made matters worse for the very people they were trying to save. Why do you keep ignoring all this? In the end why don’t you come out with the reasons you hold the position you do?

          • Anton

            Martin Gilbert was correcting Yad Vashem over the words in their exhibit. I am speaking, as you will be aware from many posts above, about YV’s pointed refusal to grant him the status of Righteous Among the Nations.

            I wrote: “If you really believe that the head of the Roman Catholic church had no power whatsoever during World War II then you are grossly misunderstanding the nature of power.” You reply that I have no idea what it is like to live under people like Hitler. So you are saying that the Pope had no influence to wield during World War II beyond the city of Rome?

            In the end why don’t you come out with the reasons you hold the position you do?

            O, do tell me what I believe!

          • Albert

            If the historical accuracy of YV can be be shown to be wrong, then it’s authority on historical matters cannot be relied upon. VY’s refusal, can in any case be explained while subscribing to my interpretation and without subscribing to your theory.

            So you are saying that the Pope had no influence to wield during World War II beyond the city of Rome?

            No, I am not saying that. I am questioning your claim that he could do more good than harm with the things he said.

            O, do tell me what I believe!

            As I understand it, your claim is that Pius’ reasons for not speaking out more included the following: he was concerned to protect the Jews in the Vatican and to protect the art treasures etc. of the Vatican. I am challenging any idea that the latter motivated him. I await the evidence for that claim, with interest, although I think that if you had any, you might have produced it by now – I’ve been waiting for over a week now.

          • Anton

            OK, go to the Jews and tell them not only that Yad Vashem made a factual mistake but that its moral authority to pronounce on the Jewish experience of the Holocaust is therefore questionable.

            “I am questioning your claim that [Pius] could do more good than harm with the things he said.”

            By 1943 it was obvious, appallingly, that millions more people were going to die in World War II; the questions by then were how many, and how it would all work out a generation after the fighting had ceased. Only God knows the answer to such questions; the Christian task, for both Pope and pauper, is to follow the way of Christ. That Pius never wielded more power than that of a good diocesan bishop during the whole of WW2 is lamentable, because as Pope he had more power – power of the sort that John Paul II understood. That things always work out better in the end for the wielding of godly power is a matter of faith, nothing more.

            “your claim is that Pius’ reasons for not speaking out more included the following: he was concerned to protect the Jews in the Vatican and to protect the art treasures etc. of the Vatican. I am challenging any idea that the latter motivated him.”

            Then challenge it. Prove that it didn’t. That will impress readers more than a retreat into burden-of-proof catcalling.

          • Albert

            OK, go to the Jews and tell them not only that Yad Vashem made a factual mistake but that its moral authority to pronounce on the Jewish experience of the Holocaust is therefore questionable.

            This is an interesting pattern. I made an observation that something ad YV was factually wrong. You have taken it to mean that I was therefore pronouncing on YV’s moral authority. That doesn’t follow, and it is the same mistake you make with Pius.

            By 1943 it was obvious, appallingly, that millions more people were going to die in World War II; the questions by then were how many, and how it would all work out a generation after the fighting had ceased

            That’s my point! It was evident that the holocaust machine was running like, well, a machine. Nothing that was said was likely to make it better, only worse. Therefore, Pius asked himself how many people could he save, and what was the best way to achieve that.

            Only God knows the answer to such questions; the Christian task, for both Pope and pauper, is to follow the way of Christ.

            Yes, and I say plainly that saving life, rather than risking it is the way of Christ.

            That Pius never wielded more power than that of a good diocesan bishop during the whole of WW2 is lamentable

            You should not state your own opinions as facts – especially when you are so lacking in evidence.

          • Anton

            “It was evident that the holocaust machine was running like, well, a machine. Nothing that was said was likely to make it better, only worse. Therefore, Pius asked himself how many people could he save, and what was the best way to achieve that.”

            You know what was going on in his mind and his motivations? You know exactly how much his decision was based on the welfare of the Jews he was sheltering and how much was based on concern for the Vatican treasures and archives? If I believed you then I’d be impressed.

            Any such decision is based on human wisdom at best, and God’s wisdom far exceeds that, which is why we are all to live the way of Christ and leave greater matters to him. That is not putting him to the test in the way he deplored; it is asking him to do what is in his nature and what he has promised.

            “What I have done however, using reason and evidence, is to exclude the necessity of your position”

            You are fond of pontificating about what you claim to have shown, and what I “need” to show. But all of that is in your own eyes, and I am happy to leave such judgements to readers. It is ironic, though, that you also say, “You should not state your own opinions as facts”!

          • Albert

            You know what was going on in his mind and his motivations? You know exactly how much his decision was based on the welfare of the Jews he was sheltering and how much was based on concern for the Vatican treasures and archives? If I believed you then I’d be impressed.

            I am simply making an inference from the evidence. There is plenty of evidence to support what I have said, but over a week into this discussion, none has been forthcoming to support your view.

            which is why we are all to live the way of Christ and leave greater matters to him.

            You seem to think that it is obvious what the way of Christ is in this situation. I would have thought the complexity and seriousness of the situation makes that implausible.

            That is not putting him to the test in the way he deplored; it is asking him to do what is in his nature and what he has promised.

            No, it is putting him to the test, I think. He told us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

            You are fond of pontificating about what you claim to have shown, and what I “need” to show. But all of that is in your own eyes, and I am happy to leave such judgements to readers.

            I don’t think I am alone in thinking historical claims should be supported by evidence. It would be a strange reader who takes your side on this before you actually produce any evidence, but personally, I doubt anyone else is reading it!

          • Anton

            If you too have reached the point of appealing to readers having set out your view and claims and reasoning to your satisfaction then we might as well stop.

          • Albert

            Actually, I didn’t – after all, I said I thought no one else was reading it. But yes, I do find I am just repeating myself, and I am still at a loss to see what evidence supports your viewpoint and so we don’t seem to be getting anywhere.

            Thanks for the discussion.

          • Cressida de Nova

            In 1942 when the Jews were rounded up in Paris, 10,000 of them were hidden at the risk of death to themselves and their families by brave Parisians who were mainly Catholic.

          • Albert

            Quite, and how many of Rome’s Jews were hidden by the Church on the orders of Pius XII?

          • Athanasius

            Now you’re getting where Anton is coming from, Jack. Same place as the JP.

          • Well, yes. He’s a ‘non conformist’ Christian who, personally and corporately, is unblemished by all the past sins and failings of the Church over 2000 years. He has a bowl with water in it and towel at his side.

          • Anton

            But for your last sentence that is an excellent description. Thank you, Jack.

          • Never committed any serious sin, Anton? Guess that might ‘entitle’ you to condemn others. However, if you have ever sinned, then you should exercise caution in throwing personal judgement around about others, especially when you’re not in possession of the facts.

          • Anton

            God bless you and the same to you, Jack. I am a sinner saved by grace but I am not responsible for the sins of others and I take pains to join a church that has no blood on its hands. Call that handwashing if you wish.

          • There you again, Anton, condemning the “others”. Collectively, Christianity has blood on its hands.

          • Anton

            You are quick to disassociate yourself from certain forms of Christianity and refuse to share in communion with many others. Now, when it suits you for rhetorical purposes, you emphasise the unity. Some would call this hypocrisy, but I simply ask for consistency.

        • Albert

          The article will not open. Personally, I think the Church should be clear on what was done, and by whom, and then say something appropriate about it.

          But notice the difficulty, and the injustice of your post. You say: People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. When is the Catholic church going to apologize for the slaughter of over half a million Serbs during WW2?

          So the comparison is with the Armenian genocide. This was organised by the Ottoman government, on its own initiative. So, if your argument works, then it follows that the killing of Serbs was done by the Vatican on its own initiative.

          Would you care to defend that? Because if not, you will have to apologize yourself, not only for the unjust comparison, but also for, as it would appear, using the murder of Serbs to advance one of your own prejudices, while undercutting the Catholic Church’s efforts to help put right and support the poor Armenians.

          While you’re thinking about that, you might like simply to look at the following quotation from Holocaust historian Martin Gilbert:

          “Stepinac, who in 1941 had welcomed Croat independence, subsequently condemned Croat atrocities against both Serbs and Jews, and himself saved a group of Jews in an old age home”.

          Indeed, if you simply go to the wikipedia page on the question, you will see, that while the events were not as one would hope, the situation is not at all as you have presented it here.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_clergy_involvement_with_the_Usta%C5%A1e#Catholic_hierarchy

          So how are you going to respond?

          • Anton

            Why should he respond when you haven’t read his link? It opened for me. Try again with another browser.

          • Albert

            It opened for me.

            Well done – it’s still being a problem for me. Does that mean I don’t get to say that he needs to defend his claims? I really cannot see how. I have read a book which went into some detail on this question. Does that mean no one else gets to comment on this because they haven’t read that book?

            Why should he respond when you haven’t read his link?

            I think it is pretty obvious. He has made quite a startling comparison. He needs to defend it according to the standards of that comparison. I have simply set out the criteria for that defence. If the JP helps then he can quote it, but clearly, he will need to ensure that what he quotes is correct and balanced.

          • Anton

            Funny that people on this thread seem to comment on this article without having read it.

          • Albert

            I didn’t comment on the article, but on the claim drawn from it.

          • Athanasius

            Wasting your time, Albert. You’re a convert, aren’t you? That fact implies an enquiring mind willing to listen. In consequence, you give a credence to the bona fides of quote miners like Anton where Cradle Catholics like me, through long experience, know better. If you remain in the Church long enough, you’ll realize that we really ARE at war with the world and, more to the point, it is at war with us.

          • Albert

            we really ARE at war with the world and, more to the point, it is at war with us.

            Contra mundum! I think I’m beginning to see why you are called Athanasius!

            Please God, I will remain in the Catholic Church until death!

          • Anton

            If “quote miner” means someone who knows his sources when challenged, I take that as a compliment. I know what it is to change belief system too. I know of an era when Roman Catholicism was the world and people like the Lollards and the Waldenses were the church.

          • IanCad

            Not ignoring you Albert, but time has got me by the throat.
            Usually, I try to respond to your thoughtful posts with the same courtesy and attention you present them with. That will not be happening this time as more study is needed.
            Chalk it up as another one for you.
            Ian

          • Albert

            That’s kind of you to say Ian. Unfortunately, Anton seems determined to defend positions that fly in the face of evidence…ho hum.

        • domy

          “. [i]t now appears that a vast international conspiracy involving Marshal Josip Broz Tito… [and] the United Nations, some Vatican officials and even
          Jewish organizations strove to keep the Jasenovac story buried
          forever..”

          you do not need anything else to understand the value of this article.

  • Athanasius

    I suspect that what has happened between John Paul’s speech and Francis’ is that Turkey has become a lot more radicalized towards Islam, and the salient feature of Islam is the incredible thinness of its skin. Still, this kind of carry-on should finally knock all that nonsense about Turkish entry to the EU on the head. Looks like westerners will have to look elsewhere to find people to do all those jobs that are beneath their own dignity to do.

    • The Explorer

      The Turks got rid of Christians. Doesn’t that make them ideal EU citizens? Bring ’em on.

      What’s that? The Turks don’t like secular humanists either? Cancel that… Too late….

  • The Explorer

    Since the Armenians were infidels, what is there for the Turks to be angry about? The Turks were simply being virtuous by the precepts of their religion.

    IS is destroying, or maybe has destroyed by now, the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud that had survived for millennia. UNESCO say IS is guilty of a war crime. But why? By the precepts of their religion, IS dynamiters, chisel wielders etc are simply being virtuous. Nimrud belongs (or belonged) to the time of darkness before Islam: to preserve it was a temptation to return to the bad old ways before Islam. Presumably we may anticipate, at some unspecified date in the future, the dynamiting of the Houses of Parliament?

    • Anton

      It nearly happened in 1605…

      The Armenians were regarded by the Turks as being in the Islamic category “people of the book” (Jews and Christians) rather than outright infidels.

      • The Explorer

        ‘People of the Book’ seems to have gone these days doesn’t it? I think it was always pretty ambiguous anyway: the good Jews and Christians were the ones who saw the error of their ways and became Muslims. Judaism and Christianity were simply less bad than other religions because they had distorted their original revelations from Allah, but at least had a glimmer of the truth. Hinduism was another matter.
        But there’s that surah about telling the rocks and bushes to move aside so good Muslims can kill the Jews hiding behind them. Not much about people of the book there. And what about IS killing Christians? If that’s where we’re at., the modern Turks should be applauding the actions of their ancestors.

        • Anton

          The trouble is that one Muslim can call a Christian a “person of the book” but another can say that the Christian is worshipping a man (Jesus) who is not divine according to the Quran, and is therefore an idolater.

          The labels tend to come in that order, between which the Christian is fleeced of his money under a protection racket known as the jizya tax.

          • The Explorer

            If you can get tax out of Christians, it makes sense to keep them alive. It’s like the problem the Mexicans have in California. Some of them want to get rid of the gringos altogether. Others realise that if you get rid of the gringos, who will there be to pay the welfare?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Frankly, I do not give a fig if someone knocks down a building – I care about the people they are massacring, and those they are leading into perdition by their spiritual lies.

      • The Explorer

        There are those photos of the Soviets dynamiting churches. Presumably they believed they were eradicating the symbols of an ancient evil. IS believe they are doing the same. So did the Taliban, when they destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Is that why they despise Christianity. Because it predates Islam?

      • The Explorer

        It infuriated Muhammad when critics said he had simply pinched ideas rom Judaism and Christianity and put his own gloss on them. The way round it was to say that Islam came first. Thus, Islam was the first revelation given to the Jews and Christians. Both groups distorted it in different ways; so Muhammad was sent to give the original message once more.
        Muslims who believe this will believe that their religion is older than Christianity. They despise Christianity for distorting the Islamic message. (The fact that there is absolutely no documentary evidence for their version may mean that deep down they know the truth.)
        The darkness is the time of ignorance before Islam. The non-Islamic part of Britain is still in the state of darkness. Hence my reference to blowing up Parliament: symbolically destroying the evil of democracy that is part of that darkness.

  • Uncle Brian

    The Turkish foreign ministry reacted as expected to the Pope’s words but, as far as I can see, that seems to be about the full extent of the repercussions within Turkey. The main news out of Turkey today is something completely different: the opening of the trial of mining company executives facing charges of manslaughter arising from last year’s disaster in which 301 miners were killed.

    http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/04/13/turkey-mine-idINKBN0N40PB20150413

  • Have you actually checked what the Turks said and did, or didn’t say or do, in 2001? They have a long history of strong reactions to the genocide word. The difference may only be in what the western media report.

  • Owl

    As HG says, the Pope just quoted the “genocide” term.
    Nobody seems quite sure whether the suicide bombers should be sent in or not.
    Thank God, the Pope is not into satire or it would be a done deed.
    How long do we have to put up with these thin skinned cultural w*k*rs!

  • Dominic Stockford

    I am with the man who coined the word ‘genocide’ in the first place – directly as a result of the massacre of Armenians in 1915 by the Turks. The most recent ‘Protestant Truth’ magazine contains an article about Gallipoli which brings this matter up – strangely it didn’t upset anyone, even though we did say it was genocide. can’t think why not…

  • Uncle Brian

    Hurriyet’s English-language website has posted an interesting comment under the title, Will Obama use the word ‘genocide,’ like the Pope? A couple of snippets:

    There are a number of countries that have recognized the 1915 atrocities as genocide, but the real aim of Armenia and the Armenian diaspora around the world is to make the United State recognize it formally, not only because of its political and psychological effect, but also because of its legal consequences, like reclaiming land and properties.

    President Barack Obama … avoids using the word “genocide” in order to not cause
    legal consequences that could corner its NATO ally Turkey, possibly triggering
    adverse reactions from Ankara. …

    Obama’s evasion of the word genocide has similarities to the evasion of Pope
    Francis. Obama and Francis both find an exit by citing their predecessors: Francis cited John Paul and Obama has cited George W. Bush.

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/will-obama-use-the-word-genocide-like-the-pope-.aspx?PageID=238&NID=80940&NewsCatID=409

  • The Explorer

    I’m confused, as I invariably am whenever Islam is involved. Hope others will bear with me as I air my confusion.

    1. An attempt to define ‘Genocide’. The elimination, or attempted elimination, of a particular group because of its ethnicity. Ethnic cleansing is genocide when it seeks to remove a particular ethnic group from the Earth, rather than shifting them from Point A to Point B. Thus the Trail of Tears whereby the Cherokee were moved from North Carolina to Oklahoma was not genocide as such; although a third of the Cherokee died in the process. Serious genocide would have been just to kill them where they were.

    2. The Armenian deaths weren’t the result of genocide: the Armenians died in their civil war with the Turks. I’m unclear whether the unarmed Armenian women and children who died knew that it was a civil war they were engaged in when they were rounded up.

    3. ‘Genocide’ is a bad word for the Turks because it is forbidden in Islam to kill people for their ethnicity. (I think.) On the other hand, to kill people for wrong religious belief is a good thing to do. So it wasn’t the Armenian genocide; it was the Armenian religious cleansing. Problem solved?

    4. Well, no. Then the knotty problem remains of whether the Armenians qualified as Christians, and whether Christians should have had protection as people of the book. People of the book status certainly seems to have been abrogated in the case of Jews. So the question with Christians is whether it’s better to a) keep them alive as dhimmis and tax them, or b) kill them for heresy. IS seem to have so much wealth from plunder, that they can afford to go straight for Option b. Whether the Turks were in the same financial situation in 1915 I rather doubt: the country was bankrupt. Something else was at stake. Maybe the Turks really did see it as a civil war: threatened by an alien religious group in their midst.

    • Uncle Brian

      Explorer

      3. ‘Genocide’ is a bad word for the Turks.

      Yes, but it’s not just Mohammedan thinskinnery. There are material interests at stake. The Turkish government clearly feels compelled to act in the national interest, to ward off the possibility of international action aimed at forcing it to pay compensation to the Armenians or to hand back land and property that was confiscated from them. Please take a look at the Hurriyet article that I linked to earlier.

      • Shadrach Fire

        I work with some Bulgarians and they tell me how they hate Turkey because of what Turkey did to their people over hundreds of years.

        • Linus

          And I used to work with some Irish Americans who told me how much they hated Britain because of what Britain did to their people hundreds of years ago.

          Turkey does not have an impeccable record of treating its conquered territories well. But guess what, neither do you! Who invented the concentration camp in South Africa during the Boer War? The Turks? Nope…

          • Leacock

            The concentration camp worked, it ended the war. Had Kitchener put a little more effort into ensuring they were fed properly it would have been an entirely excellent policy.

      • The Explorer

        Thanks, yes. The Turks are touchy also about Northern Cyprus. Not a good place for Brits to buy property: from a Greek viewpoint it doesn’t belong to the Turks to sell.

  • Inspector General

    This is spiffing news, what!

    It should keep several million Young Turks away from the UK for a bit longer. But remember chaps, Turkey is in constant negotiation with joining the EU. The principle of membership seems to be already accepted. All they need to do now is to twist their fiscal books to show they are worthy. That won’t be difficult, the EU will show them how!

    Make no mistake, they are coming. With a standard of living one third of ours, and bleak prospects at home, you’d be with them if you were Turks! And our government’s response to this forthcoming demographic disaster?

    It has to be UKIP influenced, men. The Conservative can no longer be trusted after the Romanian influx, and the other two will most likely welcome the blighters in…

    • Linus

      We should let them in. We need a Muslim majority country to counterbalance the nefarious influence of Catholic Italy and Poland. They might stop yapping quite so loudly for official recognition of their religion if there was a Muslim country doing the same. And the Turks are, after all, Europeans. Or at least many of them are.

      • Inspector General

        One does believe you probably mean that…

      • The Explorer

        Absolutely. Richard Dawkins is banned in Turkey, and they’re red hot against same-sex marriage.

        • Linus

          As I’m not planning to live in Turkey, I can live with Turkish homophobia and religious prejudice just as I currently live with Polish and Italian homophobia and religious prejudice.

          Gay Turks can always come and live in France or the UK. The more the merrier…

          • The Explorer

            I was thinking more of the Pim Fortuyn factor. Continued influx of Muslims into the Netherlands would start to impact on social freedoms, including the freedoms of his own gay lifestyle. So he called for restrictions. So they killed him.
            80 million plus more Muslims in the EU could start to impact on your lifestyle. You would not have to move to Turkey; they could bring Turkey to you.

          • Linus

            Scaremongering really is your speciality, isn’t it? Apparently Muslims don’t migrate as individuals but only ever in multiples of millions. And every single one of them is just itching to kill all the gays. And all the Christians too. And anyone else you want to scare into supporting your racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, xenophobic agenda.

            I live in a country with a large Muslim minority. As with all minorities there are integration issues and difficult individuals, but by and large Muslims are as law-abiding as anyone else. I find the sort of racially motivated hatred that you and Marine Le Pen want to stir up deeply offensive and I will vote against any party that targets minorities and tries to diabolize them.

          • Anton

            It’s not racially motivated, it’s religiously motivated. Check what Sharia says. Having your head in the sand is your speciality.

          • The Explorer

            Absolutely; I’m making it all up. Pim Fortuyn wasn’t really murdered. Neither was Theo van Gogh. Ayaan Hirsi Ali wasn’t forced to leave the country. Geert Wilders’ family aren’t really forced to rotate from one safe house to another, and he isn’t under 24-hour guard. The gays aren’t really fleeing Amsterdam. Bruce Bawer is a gay alarmist. There weren’t really any Swedish riots, and the rape of Swedish women is ludicrously exaggerated. If I’d been alive in 1943 I’d probably have been scaremongering with the ridiculous slander that the Nazis were running death camps. There now, I’ve got all my illusory fears out of my system. Thank you, Linus, for pointing out to me that what I had thought were facts are simply fallacies.

          • Phil R

            Very good answer, one to remember!

          • Linus

            What, you mean not all Muslims are peaceful,
            fluffy bunny rabbits? Well that’s a shock! Let’s punish them all for the misdeeds of the few, shall we? Kick ’em all out because if one of them commits a crime, they must all be guilty.

            That’s basically what you’re saying. It’s what ignorant and deeply malevolent populists always say. It’s what the BNP and the FN say. And even Ukip says it every other day when their latest hastily chosen pig-ignorant candidate is let loose on the world and immediately reveals himself to be a racist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, or whatever other species of blind prejudice and hatred motivates his political engagement.

            Most of them are Christians, of course. If this is what Christianity does to people, turning them into blind and raging bundles of hatred desperate to vent their spleen all over anyone who dares to be different, I thank your imaginary god for the fact that I’m not a Christian. I also thank him for ensuring (well, as he’s imaginary he can’t ensure anything, but let’s humour you like the nasty spiteful little children you are) that his followers are a tiny, talentless and increasingly powerless minority that can’t change anything.

            I mean similar numbers of gay people have managed to transform society in just a couple of generations. But no matter how much Christians shriek and wail and tear their hair, they just can’t seem to make any kind of difference.

            Why is that? The “truth” you’re fighting for seems incapable of making any kind of headway. If god is on your side, he doesn’t seem to be a particularly useful ally. The way things are going you’d be better off giving up the fight and waiting for Christ to come in glory and sweep all before him. And while you’re waiting (and waiting, and waiting…) you might try putting some of those Christian precepts into practice. You know, the bit in the bible where it tells you to love your neighbour rather than turning him into a scapegoat and campaigning to have him deported.

          • The Explorer

            Whether this farrago of nonsense is even worth responding to… However, not to do so might be interpreted as acceptance…
            Note: Pim Fortuyn, Theo van Gogh, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bruce Bawer, Geert Wilders. All concerned about the impact of Islamic immigration on the Dutch way of life. None, as far as I know, a Christian.
            Muslims. You seem obsessed with kicking them all out. Secret fantasy? Show me where I have ever suggested this as a solution. On the other hand, why make the task of assimilation harder by inviting another 80 million of them into the EU? That is a position I stand by.
            As I’ve said on an earlier thread, I’m an amilleniialist. There will be a falling away from the faith before the end. Telling me there are fewer Christians is to tell me what I expect to happen. Remember, before Christ comes in glory, there’s tribulation.
            Remember also, there are two rules for a Christian: 1. love God, 2. love your neighbour as yourself. That means as well as yourself, not instead of. Your neighbour’s rights don’t supersede your own. If your neighbour tells you to deny your God there isn’t a crisis as there is with competing PC claims for victimhood. Rule 1 comes first. It trumps the requirements of Rule 2.
            None of this will have the slightest effect on Linus who will simply re-jig the wording a little before his next tirade. I hope, though, that it will clarify my position for other readers.

          • Inspector General

            “there are integration issues”

            We have those in the UK too. The best way to avoid them is to be rather choosy about who you let in. Makes sense, but since when did the Labour party do sense..

          • Linus

            You haven’t been choosy though. And now you have to deal with what you’ve got.

            Even Nigel Farage admits that foreigners who are already in the UK can’t be kicked out. You’ve made your bed and now you have to lie in it. So shrieking about “bloody foreigners” isn’t going to solve anything. They’re there. They’re not going anywhere. And you have to work out how you’re going to live with them.

            Of course that prospect will make an entire generation of Colonel Blimps and their tweedy wives collapse with a collective fit of apoplexy, which would be a solution of sorts. If nature suddenly incapacitates the diehard Little Englanders then perhaps the rest of the population will just shrug their shoulders and get on with their lives.

          • Inspector General

            We can’t keep ALL the recent immigrants. That would be silly. They’ll have to make a case for staying on an individual basis. Many of them are low life itinerants from Eastern Europe. Best sent back. When their benefits are cut off, they’ll make the move…

          • Linus

            So you’ll just wave your magic wand and off the undesirable element will trot, eh?

            You really do live in cloud cuckoo land, don’t you? Any attempt to get rid of legal immigrants will be bogged down in appeals for years with no guarantee that many or even any expulsions will follow. And of course illegal immigrants won’t pay any attention to your new rules at all.

            Your only way to get rid of them will be to suspend democratic freedoms and arrest and deport foreigners by force, without appeal. Good luck getting a government with that as a manifesto promise elected. And good luck finding the money, manpower and infrastructure needed to cope with large-scale deportations.

            Still, as it’s only going to happen in your dreams, you can just dream those obstacles away, can’t you? It’s a seductive place this cloud cuckoo land. You can be as omnipotent as you like and reality never gets in the way…

          • Inspector General

            Oh, we’re going to be allowing appeals, are we? How bloody naïve of you. You really are a child at the nipple of a ‘caring’ state, aren’t you…

          • Linus

            And you’re a relic from the fascist past.

            The right of appeal is a basic part of the democratic process. What you want is a dictatorship where you get to dispense justice according to your definition of it, and nobody else gets to argue with you.

            Get real. Those days are gone. They goose-stepped into history along with Hitler and Mussolini. The rights of due process and appeal are fundamental to our way of life. Try to suppress them and you’ll have a revolution on your hands.

          • Inspector General

            You have no idea what a fascist is, despite your French ancestry and ‘les collaborators’ of the 39 45 war.

            Anyway, it’s easy enough. The immigrant is called to present their case. They are told to get EVERYTHING together as there will be no right of appeal. Straight forward enough. Not exactly Draco, is it?

          • Linus

            You’re making it up as you go along. What party is proposing the suspension of the appeals process? The Monster Raving Loony Inspector Party, perhaps? What are their chances of winning the election?

            Like I said: get real. Your next government will either be Tory or Labour/SNP. Look at their manifestos and read what they say about immigration. Then forget your dreams of mass deportations and start dealing with the reality of living with immigration. It’s really your only choice unless you’d rather retreat into a fantasy world of your own making where you’re King Canute (bloody foreigner!) and you can turn the tide back merely by commanding it…

          • The Explorer

            Actually, that wasn’t Canute’s point. By indicating that he couldn’t control the tide he was demonstrating the limitations of his power.

          • Linus

            Yes, I know the story of King Canute. I was twisting it as an illustration of how the Inspector would view himself if possessed of regal power. He wouldn’t be a realist like King Canute. He’d be absolutely convinced that his will was law, even unto the tide. That’s the sort of person he is: ruled by his prejudices and fantasies. Which of course means he’s never exercised any real power in his life or he would know just how dismally incapable any of us are of effecting real change.

          • Inspector General

            You really believe that this man would behave like that? Linus, after all we’ve been through, has this man’s attempt to make you see sense been in vain?

          • Inspector General

            We are heading towards ‘a new realism’. You’ll get used to it, though it will be far from left wing. One is rather glad he’s lived long enough to see the shoots emerge. You see, when Tracy Emin and her literal ‘fucking bed’ came on the scene, this man thought you crowd had won. But thankfully, with the help of the fear of Islam and the disgust of homosexuality, we’ll come back and we won’t go away….

          • Linus

            Dream on old fascist. Easy enough for you to do because you don’t have much time left, so you can pontificate to your heart’s content safe in the knowledge that you’ll be dead before anyone can say “I told you so” as your prophecies fail to materialize. You’ll be spared the humiliation of having to eat your words. So rant away and put the world to rights in your own imagination. Only there will it ever resemble your dreams.

          • Inspector General

            Has anyone ever mentioned to you that you post like a wet old woman?

            It’s all up for grabs, is it not? And the silent majority has a vote, though that would annoy you pure types…

          • bluedog

            ‘Your next government will either be Tory or Labour/SNP.’

            Do keep up. Even Labour can see that by indulging the demands of the SNP they will completely alienate what remains of their English constituency. Read the comments by Ed Balls, who clearly has a much more astute political mind than his leader.

          • Pubcrawler

            “Ed Balls, who clearly has a much more astute political mind than his leader.”

            Damning with faint praise…

          • The Explorer

            The UK can follow France’s lead, since France has been so successful in selecting who it allowed to immigrate and does these things so much better than we do. Very keen to see you dismantle every zone sensible, and integrate all the inhabitants into the French mainstream. Show us the secret of your success; we’re watching.

          • Linus

            You’re living in the past. You want to take diverse communities and make them all the same. Indeed you won’t be satisfied until everyone is just like you, or at least just like your standard of what British or English should be. Homogenization and conformity rule your thinking: different is BAD, different is SCARY.

            Different is neither of these two things. Different is just different.

            The only thing I require from “integration” is respect of the right of each community to live according to its lights within the common framework of our constitutional rights.

            What les zones sensibles need is access to jobs and education. Religious fundamentalism prospers in hard times, so the best way of countering the effects of hardline Islam is to provide employment for parents and good schools for their children.

            Our current government is struggling to do this because its socialist dogma prevents it from recognizing the need to realign the French economy towards a free market social democratic model. So things may well get worse in the zones sensibles before they get better. But when the penny (or the centime) finally drops and the dead hand of state intervention is finally lifted from our economy, prosperity will return and with it a new era in relations between our different communities.

          • CliveM

            Linus

            Regards the last paragraph, you’d better get a move on. The longer these communities don’t integrate, the more generations come and go alienated from the state, the harder it will be to fundamentally change attitudes later. Hatred and bitterness harden. To be honest your last paragraph seems a tad over optimistic.

          • The Explorer

            So different is good. Excellent. So it follows that:
            1. There is no undesirable immigration. Britain was right not to be choosy. France was wrong: too little difference among those selected.
            2. Leave the unemployed unemployed. It makes them different from the employed, and that’s a good thing.
            3. Keep the poor poor. It makes them different from the rich, and difference is good.
            4. Retain the traditional definition of marriage. It involves two different sexes, and difference is a good thing.
            5. No wonder Derrida invented he word ‘differance’. He just wanted to be different. (Or differant.)
            I could continue, but you get the drift.
            PS: Does integration mean making everyone the same; or just making sure no one’s left out? I mean, you can have a well-integrated sports team that’s still made up of many different talents.

          • Linus

            I never said different was good. I simply said it was different.

            Something that is not bad is not necessarily good either. It can simply be morally neutral.

            By all means twist what I said and create absurd situations out of it. But they’re your situations, not mine. They exist only in your fevered imagination as a sort of fantasy punishment for anyone who rejects the conformity and homogeneity you worship. A bit like the hell you threaten us all with. A figment of your own fertile imagination fed by ancient myths and legends.

            The reality of the situation now is that the homogenous and conformist societies of our youth (or my youth at least, and probably at least the early adulthood of most contributors here) no longer exist. Not in isolation at least. They’re just one element in an increasingly diverse society. All groups have to live with each other therefore we must all respect each others’ differences.

            You may think that’s good or bad or completely neutral. I suppose Christians are horrified by it because anything that disputes their divine right to lord it over everyone else is beyond their capacity to bear. But bear it you must because there’s no other way to make a diverse society function. The only other solution is for one group to take control and force the others to conform, or leave. Could that be what you want? An autocratic Christian theocracy? Western Europe as a Christian version of Saudi Arabia?

            If so, you’d better start working on your numbers. There just aren’t enough of you to make any kind of coup a workable proposition.

          • The Explorer

            You credited me with a fertile imagination. Linus, you complimented me! I trust it was inadvertent?

          • Linus

            Having a fertile imagination is neither good nor bad. It just is.

            By all means take it as a compliment, but the value judgment is yours, not mine.

          • The Explorer

            Thank you for clarifying that; I feel deeply relieved. Does the same go for fertile soil?

          • bluedog

            ‘They’re just one element in an increasingly diverse society.’
            In practice all these groups live in silos, perpetuating their own ancestral myths, jealousies and feuds under the umbrella of the tolerant state.

            But tolerance between the groups is limited, in fact they hate each other.

            A severe recession with high unemployment and reduced benefits could be a social catastrophe in any multi-cultural EU state. However, the political elite have discovered quantitive easing, an economic tool that is managed by an independent (read: unaccountable) agency outside the scrutiny and sanction of the Parliament. QE allows the political elite to create the illusion of wealth and prosperity at will, although those foolish enough to believe that the state has an interest in sound money will be impoverished. Only the heavily indebted will prosper as the principal of their loans is diminished by inflation. Very few the migrants will understand the mechanics of this process, so they will remain a racially determined underclass with a negligible share of the national wealth.

          • Inspector General

            Excellent, Explorer

          • The Explorer

            Thank you. Linus is arguing he didn’t say difference was good, but I think he’s just trying to wriggle out of it.

          • Inspector General

            I say Linus, what do you think of the latest proposal that will require gay men to take out health insurance that will pay out to the NHS if and when you become HIV positive. To alleviate the heavy financial burden of treating you fellows who so love to recklessly indulge…

          • Linus

            Unsurprising in a free market economy. One assumes that smokers will have to take out special insurance too. And the obese. How about the elderly? They cost the health service far too much money and don’t pay their fair share. Insurance premiums should skyrocket in proportion to age.

            I don’t mind a risk-based insurance premium system, as long as all risks are taken into account and everyone pays their fair share. If that means gay men won’t be able to afford health insurance, we won’t be alone. Nobody over the age of 60 will be able to afford it either.

            On the bright side, there’ll be no need to legalize euthanasia. People won’t live long enough to need it.

          • bluedog

            ‘On the bright side, there’ll be no need to legalize euthanasia. People won’t live long enough to need it.’
            A profound truth. There are clearly two solutions to the problem of an ageing population: an increased birth-rate and an increased death-rate. An enlightened ban on abortion and contraception will ensure the first outcome. Judicious social Darwinism, such as encouraging smokers, drug addicts and homosexuals to continue with unsafe practices will assist with a satisfactory outcome in the second case. Let Marianne show us the way.

          • Linus

            Contraception and abortion are not banned in France. Smoking largely is now. Drugs are illegal. But we’re allowed to have sex with whomever we choose, apart from a few exceptions centered around the incest taboo, which all agree should be maintained.

            The same situation prevails in the UK, so I don’t know why you think France needs to show you the way. You’ve already found it on your own.

          • bluedog

            Well, if you actually read and understood my post you will see it suggests the reverse of the status quo, somewhat tongue in cheek.

          • Linus

            Tongue in cheek, eh? Careful. That counts as sex in the Catholic faith. Or at least masturbation. A mortal sin requiring penance in the form of a novena to Our Lady The Perpetual Sucker (nothing sexual intended of course … more a comment on her noted credulity … sucker as in credulous, easy to dupe). A deeply onerous and repetitive form of contrition designed to irritate the poor woman into interceding on your behalf.

            One can almost imagine her up there in heaven with her hands over her ears shouting “Alright, already! Stop with all the loudHailing, you’re giving me a headache! Look, I’ll speak to the old guy upstairs if you’ll give it a rest but you’ve really got to promise you won’t sin again, OK?”

            Of course you’ll say yes and of course, she’ll believe you. And then be ever so disappointed when, like the typical Catholic you are, you fail to honour your promise. You’d have thought now she’s on her second or third billionth intercession, she might be starting to get a little bit suspicious that perhaps her efforts are in vain. She’s clearly not French or she’d have come out on strike long ago…

          • bluedog

            ‘And then be ever so disappointed when, like the typical Catholic you are….’. Woops! I’m not.

          • Linus

            According to Catholic doctrine everyone is a Catholic whether they know it – or accept it – or not. So although you may not admit to being a Catholic, deep down you know you are, even if pride and hubris prevent you from acknowledging that fact.

            That’s how the “one true faith” works, by blithely ignoring reality and making up a story that puts its claim to be ultimate truth beyond rational discussion.

          • bluedog

            Apologies for a late reply. Heartening indeed to learn that I am seen as a Catholic after all, even if severely lapsed. It appears that the Holy Father has yet to pass the word to His Grace’s most Catholic communicants. Yours in protest, bluedog.

          • Your evidently thinking with the wrong part of your anatomy here, Linus.

    • Phil R

      The Germans will not let the Turks into the EU for the foreseeable future.

      I cannot see the French agreeing either.

  • Inspector General

    For what it’s worth, the Inspector offers you a suggestion of how the targeted cold blooded killings were allowed to take place…

    It is now self evident that the races that embrace Islam are an unpleasant lot who have little if any empathy with those who are not as they are, and for whom killing the outsider is absolutely no problem at all. We know that regimes unlucky enough to have large Islamic populations need to run these people with an iron fist. One suggests that by 1915, this Ottoman fist was somewhat compromised by the upheaval of war, and the people took the opportunity open to them.

    It was going to happen in the same way IS is happening now. In Turkey, maybe it will happen again (if there’s anyone left who isn’t Islamic), maybe it never will. Let us hope that as we get rid of our nuclear weapons (if our naïve fools get their way), Turkey doesn’t acquire any…

    • The Explorer

      Sultan Abdul Hamid II was probably insane, and certainly paranoid. He was twitchy about the criticisms made by the Young Turks. When Armenians in Europe and America made comments about the status of the Armenians in the Empire, Abdul saw a seditious group, and acted accordingly.
      The Armenians in the cities, and involved in finance, seem to have suffered less than the peasants. The Cathedral at Urfa, where 3000 Armenians had taken refuge, saw the worst atrocity: after being doused with petrol, it was set on fire.

      • Inspector General

        Let’s be careful not to blame one man, Explorer, when the blame lies with the Turks themselves. The grandfathers and great grandfathers of those there who have taken umbrage now.

        • The Explorer

          That was just the start: this was the 1894-6 purging I was talking about. It laid the ground rules, so to speak for what followed in 1915, after the Sultan had been deposed.

          • Inspector General

            Understood, old chap.

  • David

    Some years ago I visited Bulgaria, as a mere “cultural tourist”, looking at history and architecture and what have you. The medieval church paintings were stunning, but more to the point was what I learnt concerning Bulgarian history.
    It was very clear that the Bulgarians still felt the great rejoicing experienced by their ancestors when they were liberated from the heavy, tyrannical yoke of the Ottoman Turks.
    We were told that the Turks stole promising strong young boys to make into soldiers, or clever ones to turn into eunuchs, and attractive young girls for their harems – all disgusting stuff !
    The tale, as I remember it spoken to us, goes that like this…….. a spark of injustice in a village led to an uprising and and a general attempt to throw off the Islamic rule. But their tiny forces would have been crushed had not their co-religionists, the Orthodox Russians come, literally marching over the hill. They have not forgotten this. It is my opinion that anti-Turkish feelings of Austria, and similar areas geopolitically, will hopefully, keep Turkey outside the EU.
    The foolishness of the Cameroons is another topic I ‘d better not start upon…..

    • bluedog

      Recommended reading: The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark. An excellent book on the immediate causes of the Great War which covers the preceding Balkan Wars in which the Bulgarians came close to investing Constantinople. One can safely predict that the forthcoming ‘celebrations’ of the 100th year anniversary of the Dardanelles campaign will take place in a historical vacuum that omits all precursor events.