The debate about Pope Pius XII in London this month will be an education.
As evidence continues to mount purporting to show the “Pius Wars” moving in favour of the wartime pontiff and his record in saving Jewish lives during World War II, a forthcoming London debate promises to be timely, compelling and, above all, educational.
Hosted by Intelligence Squared, a popular and unique forum of “Oxford-Style” debates, four leading debaters will meet at the Royal Institution on November 14th to debate the motion “’Hitler’s Pope’: Pius XII did too little to save the Jews from the Holocaust”.
Speaking for the motion will be two well-known British personalities: John Julius Norwich, the accomplished historian and author of “The Popes: A History”. In the book, Mr Norwich draws on the work of John Cornwell, author of “Hitler’s Pope”, to describe Pius as “the odiously anti-Semitic Pius XII to whom the beloved Pope John XXIII came as such a welcome contrast.”
He will be joined by Geoffrey Robertson QC, a United Nations human rights lawyer and author of “The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse.” Mr Robertson, an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church, gained notoriety in the run-up to Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Britain in 2010 when he drew up plans for the Pope’s arrest and trial at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.
Speaking against the motion will be two respected American historians, both masters in the history of Pius XII and his record in saving Jewish lives during World War Two. William Doino is a writer specializing in religion, history and politics who has written numerous articles on the subject, and contributed to an extensive work published in 2010 called “The Pius War: Responses to the Critics of Pius XII.”
He will be joined by Ronald Rychlak, professor of law at the University of Mississippi and author of “Hitler, the War, and the Pope.” Mr Rychlak has also co-authored with a former Romanian intelligence chief a forthcoming book called “Disinformation” which promises to disclose evidence of how the KGB led a campaign to frame Pius as a Nazi sympathizer. Earlier this year, he shared some of his findings which can be read here.
As is usual with these debates, the audience will have a chance to vote either for or against the motion, both at the beginning and again at the end of the debate, thereby giving an idea of which side proved the most convincing.
The debate will begin at 7.15pm November 14th at the Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London,W1S 4BS. Tickets are £25 and can be purchased online at Intelligencesquared.com.