The BBC conceded it was false to describe the Church as being 'silent' in the face of Nazism
The BBC’s internal watchdog has found that a programme wrongly accused the Catholic Church of “silence” about the Holocaust.
After Pope Francis’s visit to Auschwitz in July, BBC One’s 6pm news bulletin carried a report which stated: “Silence was the response of the Catholic Church when Nazi Germany demonised Jewish people and then attempted to eradicate Jews from Europe.”
[...] According to the unit, the BBC reporter “did not give due weight to public statements by successive popes or the efforts made on the instructions of Pius XII to rescue Jews from Nazi persecution, and perpetuated a view which is at odds with the balance of evidence.”
Pope Pius XII, who was the pontiff during World War II, has been accused of silent acquiescence to the Holocaust, most famously by a 1999 book, Hitler’s Pope, which sparked a major controversy among historians. Its author, John Cornwell, has since backed down on some of his claims.
In a blog post criticising the BBC report, Lord Alton pointed out that several historians had praised Pius’s achievements in the fight against Nazism. The peer quoted Pinchas Lapide, a Jewish historian and Israeli diplomat, as saying that Pius XII “was instrumental in saving at least 700,000, but probably as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands.”
Through its diplomatic network, the Holy See under Pius XII helped Jews to travel safely out of Eastern Europe. It also issued baptismal certificates to Hungarian Jews to help them escape. Thousands of Jews were also sheltered in the Vatican itself.