Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein of South Africa has accused Pope Francis of “primitive pacifism” and repeating the “sins” of Pope Pius XII during the Holocaust for his stance against Israel’s just war of defending itself against the terrorist group, Hamas, and Iran.
Goldstein beseeched Francis to “repent for sins past and present.”
Goldstein made the remarks in a video essay posted Tuesday, further saying that Francis is “surreptitiously colluding with the forces of evil who seek to annihilate the Jewish people.”
Goldstein said Francis is taking the same approach to conflict in the Middle East as Pope Pius XII took toward the Nazis during WWII.
Pius was accused of idly sitting by while 6 million European Jews were exterminated by the Nazis — a notion that many people, Catholics and Jews alike, denounce as a lie.
Even after the Vatican in early 2020 opened a trove of previously secret documents from Pius’ era to shed light on his reign, the matter remains the subject of scholarly debate.
Historian David Kertzer wrote a book, “The Pope at War: The Secret History of Pius XII, Mussolini, and Hitler,” based on the documents.
In a 2022 interview, Kertzer said his research showed that Pius was neither “Hitler’s Pope” nor a leader who did everything in his power to save Jews during the war.
“I think neither one is really accurate. They’re both extremes,” Kertzer told PBS “Newshour.”
Goldstein was reacting to Francis reportedly having told Israeli President Isaac Herzog that it is “forbidden to respond to terror with terror.” Goldstein cited a Wall Street Journal column that said Francis was engaged in “primitive pacifism” despite the Catholic Church having birthed the theory of the just war, established by St. Augustine in the 4th century.
Goldstein said he has previously laid out “beyond reasonable doubt” that Israel is fighting a just war against Hamas “as prescribed by the accepted international laws of armed conflict.” He asserts that Israel Defense Forces have “done more in this war and previous wars to minimize civilian casualties.”
Yet, the Pope’s position toward Israel “undermines the right to self-defense, the cornerstone of the laws of war” and gives “a decisive advantage to terrorists and rogue states,” read the WSJ op-ed.
“Pope Francis, I turn to you and say God has given you an historic opportunity to atone for the sins of Pope Pius and the Catholic Church during the Holocaust,” Goldstein said. “Now there are forces that seek a second Holocaust.”
Goldstein accused Iran of being the “Nazi Germany of today” and yet, he asserted, Francis has yet to condemn Iran and instead is a “passive bystander,” just like Pope Pius XII before him.
“So Pope Francis, take this time on the eve of the new year to reflect on how you can repent for the sins of Pope Pius during the Holocaust and how you can protect your congregations all over the world today. May God guide you to the path of atonement for sins past and present.”
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