The front page of the Sept. 4, 1942, issue had several headlines, but one very large feature. It was an image of a certificate to the JN from the United States Treasury Department for “distinguished services rendered in behalf of the National War Savings Program.” It is good to know the JN did its part to achieve victory in World War II.

There were, of course, other war-related headlines on the front page as well as stories on the same topic inside. One brief item was about a subject still controversial today and a source of great debate among historians. An editorial argues that the conclusion from “reliable diplomatic and religious sources” was that Pope Pius XII had taken a firm stand against “atrocities perpetrated by the Hitlerites.” In the editorial, it was reported that the Pope had threatened to remove his nuncio, or representative, from Germany.

Pope Pius XII maintained formal diplomatic relations with all the Axis powers during the war and provided clandestine support for the opponents of the Nazis as well as for their victims. He was in a tough spot, to be sure. When the Church openly supported a group of rabbis in Poland early after that nation was occupied, those particular rabbis were rounded-up by the Nazis and sent to concentration camps.

But the question remains and is debatable — did he do enough? As a world religious leader, should the pope have taken a stronger stand? Or would this have resulted in even more deaths? Was he better off working behind the scenes? Rabbis in Italy thanked him for his efforts. I am not an expert in this historical field, but I know that I certainly would not want to have been in his position.

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