Since the premiere of Rolf Hochhuth's play The Deputy in 1963, there has been no shortage of voices excoriating Pope Pius XII for his alleged moral failures during the Holocaust. Critics have repeatedly pointed out that Pius did not issue an emphatic condemnation of the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany, the Croatian Ustasha, or other Axis allies. Jacques Kornberg adds to the chorus of criticism, but with a set of arguments as critical of earlier scholars and authors as of the Pontiff himself.

Kornberg argues that the Pontiff's ecclesiology underlay his “moral failures,” not his callousness, venality, affinities for fascist regimes, or admiration for Germany as a bulwark against “Bolshevism”—charges hurled at him by earlier critics. Pius XII's decisions were instead guided by the prevailing Church theology, a theology the Pontiff shared with his predecessors on the throne of St. Peter. The Church's...

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