The decision by Pope Benedict XVI to accelerate the process of making Pope Pius XII a saint has aroused the anger of many Jews as well as non-Jews who are disappointed with the failure of action by Pope Pius XII during World War II. Many Jewish scholars seek an opportunity to have access to Vatican archives in order to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of actions by Pope Pius XII toward the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler. Current scholarship suggests the Pope hesitated to confront Nazism in a direct fashion, and, in so doing failed to take actions that might have led to saving thousands of Jews from death. Pope Benedict XVI hails Pius for his “heroic virtues” during the course of his life.
Perhaps, Benedict can cite any of these “heroic virtues” which led to saving the lives of hundreds of priests who were killed by the Nazis. It would have been an act of virtue to walk in the streets of Rome when Germans rounded up Jews as did the King of Denmark, it would have been an act of virtue if Pius had gone to Nazi concentration camps where priests were held and refused to leave until they were freed. There are many virtuous acts Pope Pius could have done like going directly to Auschwitz and remaining in the area as a symbol of protest.