In the latest edition of America, Austen Ivereigh has written an article on the comments, retractions and "fallout" caused by Mordechay Lewy's very cautious remarks at the ceremony to recognise Gaetano Piccinini as "Righteous Among the Nations". The Israeli ambassador to the Holy See seems destined to remain in the media spotlight for a while longer.
I think the negative reaction to Lewy's comments has been enough. The man can hardly be accused of a rash statement. It was a guarded and cautious statement that could be interpreted in a number of ways. I find nothing of concern in what he said.
I don't agree with everything in Ivereigh's article, especially the reference to Pius ordering the religious houses open, and then the reference to Benedict XVI as his support! I've highlighted that part in red. I find his sense of disappointment at Jewish reactions to Lewy's statements a little frustrating. The depth of unresolved pain and hurt, which Pope Benedict knows well after his visit to the Rome shul in 2010, is a reality in any discussion about Pius XII. And while it should not dictate the historian's role in searching and researching the truth, it should be kept in mind and treated with respect.
Austen Ivereigh is well known in the English-speaking Catholic world as a former deputy editor of The Tablet and spokesperson for the Archbishop of Westminster, and in his current role as founder of the Strangers into Citizens campaign based in London.
Israel's Vatican ambassador silenced after praising Pius XII
Monday June 27, 2011