The Spectator

Letters | 26 July 2008

Spectator readers respond to recent articles

Sensible scares

Sir: To be fair to the scaremongers (Another Voice, 19 July), at least some of the scares mentioned by Matthew Parris (al-Qa’eda, HIV) seem less frightening in retrospect not because they were always insubstantial but because the threats were taken seriously and action was taken to counter them. If the fuss over the threat of Aids in Britain now seems excessive, might that not be because it changed people’s behaviour? In other words, there is some social value to scaremongering from the press and public agencies.

Robert Bargery

London E1

Saint Pius XII?

Sir: Pope Pius XII was described by Golda Meir, the then Israeli foreign minister, as ‘a true friend of the Jewish people’ at the time of the Pontiff’s death in 1958. His consistent anti-totalitarian policy towards both the Nazis and their blood brothers — the communists — deserves better than the calumnies of Gerard Noel et al, who propagated the modernist Catholic myth of ‘bad old Church pre-1962’ (before Vatican II) and see Pius as the representative of that institution. Andrew Roberts (Books, 19 July) should be aware of the disgruntled ‘modernist’ Catholics who see their youthful 1960s radicalism being steadily undone by the present Pope, who is a worthy successor to Pius XII.

It is worth mentioning that when the chief Rabbi of Rome, Emmanuel Zolli, converted to the Catholic faith in 1948 he chose the baptismal name Eugenio in honour of Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) for all the assistance he gave to the Jews during the time of Nazi persecution. I look forward to the day when Pius XII is canonised.

Andrew Gray

Via email

Sir: Andrew Roberts’ acknowledgement that Pius XII failed to protest vigorously against the massacre of Serbs by the Croatian Ustasha regime evokes a wry smile from this Serb.

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