For Berlin, Pius XII Was a Subversive

Radio Operator´s Experience of Spreading Papal Christmas Message

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PARIS, MAY 14, 2002 (Zenit.org).-Protestant pastor Francois de Beaulieu revealed to the French weekly "Reforme" the experience he endured in 1942 as a radio operator secretly spreading Pius XII´s famous Christmas radio message against Nazism.



The news coincides with the French cinemas´ exhibition of Constantin Costa-Gavras´ controversial film "Amen," concerned with Pius XII´s alleged silence in face of Nazism.

Despite his surname, Francois de Beaulieu is a German, descendent of a Huguenotic family of Rheims, which emigrated to Germany in the 17th century. Today he is a pastor in Morbihan, France, but in 1942 he was a sergeant radio operator stationed in Zossen, near Berlin, at the headquarters of the Wehrmacht,.

Beaulieu was arrested as he left the Wehrmacht headquarters with a German translation of Pius XII´s 1942 radio Christmas Message, a document that was to be destroyed, not preserved.

Beaulieu said that before his arrest, he succeeded in copying and dispersing the message in Berlin, leaving an impression on his friends. In the message, Pius XII mentions the extermination of innocents because of their race or nationality.

Beaulieu appeared before a military tribunal on April 16. Thanks to the testimonies of his immediate superiors, he was spared the death penalty; but he was sentenced to prison for spreading a "subversive and demoralizing document." He was also accused of having a critical view of the war and of being "spiritually attracted to Jewish environments and sympathetic toward Jews."

Pastor Beaulieu wished to publish these facts explaining that Pius XII was not silent, that he spoke clearly in his Christmas Message, although the latter only reached Berlin in a few clandestine copies.

"The Pope could not do much more. He would have had to set himself on fire in front of the Vatican to awaken consciences worldwide. Many political leaders knew that there were extermination camps in Hitler´s time. Of what used would it have been for the Pope to set himself on fire in front of the Vatican? What was needed was the revolt of all priests and Protestant pastors in Germany. Why think that the Pope alone would have had the power to stop Hitler when priests and pastors, Bishops and Archbishops, in a word, all Christians, did not do so?"