One of the most admired, despised and entirely controversial Christians of modern times was Pope Pius XII. Many people adore Pius XII for his courage in the face of tyranny, defense of Catholic traditions and condemnation of international aggression. Others attack him endlessly on charges of being "soft" on the Nazi persecution of Jews. There is definitely no shortage of opinions on Pius XII. I firmly believe that, at some point in the future, historians will divide the history of the modern Church into two eras: one before the reign of Pope Pius XII, and one after. No matter what opinions you may have, few people could really deny that the Church has changed considerably from what it was before his time compared with today.
Whenever enemies of the Church speak about Pius XII their favorite tactic is pointing out the lack of a specific Papal condemnation of the genocide against the Jews. Although it has been given wide publicity by the liberal press it is very easy to refute. Pope Pius XII did more than any other world leader to help the suffering people of World War II. He did not need to make speeches or write letters on the subject, he made his feelings known by taking action. It is also important to remember that his predecessor, Pope Pius XI was condemning Fascism back when President Roosevelt was refusing asylum to Jews and calling Mussolini a gentleman. Pope Pius XII issued Vatican passports to Jews to get them out of Nazi-controled areas. Jews were hidden in Papal property where Axis forces could not reach them. The Pope even gave sanctuary to many Jews in the Vatican itself. After the war the Jewish leaders themselves said they had no greater friend than the Christian Pope and the chief Rabbi of Rome converted to Christianity and served the Church devotedly for many years thereafter.
Throughout his reign Pope Pius XII was a voice of peace and reason, of tradition and freedom for the peoples of the world. He was enemy to Communism, Nazism and modern humanist trends. When his pontificate ended in 1958, extremely large shoes were left to fill.