The Vatican's silence in the face of Nazi atrocities remains one of the great controversies of our time. History has accused wartime pontiff Pius the Twelfth of complicity in the Holocaust and dubbed him "Hitler's Pope". But a key part of the story has remained untold.
Pius ran the world's largest church, smallest state, and oldest spy service. Saintly but secretive, he skimmed from church charities to pay covert couriers and surreptitiously tape-recorded his meetings with top Nazis. When he learned of the Holocaust, Pius played his cards close to his chest. He sent birthday cards to Hitler - while secretly plotting to kill him.
Church of Spies documents this cloak-and-dagger intrigue in shocking detail. Gun-toting Jesuits stole blueprints to Hitler's homes. A Catholic book publisher flew a sports plane over the Alps with secrets filched from the head of Hitler's bodyguard. The keeper of the Vatican crypt ran a spy ring that betrayed German war plans and wounded Hitler in a briefcase bombing.
The plotters made history in ways they hardly expected. They inspired European unification, forged a US-Vatican alliance that spanned the Cold War, and challenged Church teachings on Jews. Yet Pius' secret war muted his public response to Nazi crimes. Fearing that overt protest would impede his covert actions, he never spoke the "fiery words" he wanted.
Told with heart-pounding suspense, based on secret transcripts and unsealed files, Church of Spies throws open the Vatican's doors to reveal some of the most astonishing events in the history of the papacy. The result is an unprecedented audiobook that will change perceptions of how the world's greatest moral institution met the greatest moral crisis in history.
©2015 Mark Riebling (P)2015 Random House Audio
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"Pius XII Vindicated"
Every Catholic, Protestant, and Jew who has any interest in World War II and the Holocaust must listen to this amazing story of heroism. This is the story not only of how much Pius XII did for the Jews and for Europe in general, but also of the many Catholic priests, Protestant ministers, and Christian laymen of all kinds who sacrificed so much for the good of mankind.
"The pope won peace"
Before any one criticises the pope for any role he did or didn't play in the war against Hitler. Needs to listen to this book. POPE PIUS humbly accepted insult knowing that he was the main mediator of every angle of peace between the resistance movements, the British and all others against Hitler. Catholic resistance movement was strongest of all because of its already established organizational structure. It is so obvious why the pope worked behind the scenes instead of loudly denouncing Hitler at the height of his power. No one shouts where there friends are hiding to the enemy, nor do u yell ar kidnappers who hold a gun to your childs head. Knowing this would only agitated the kidnappers to shoot your child. U talk nicely agreeing to their terms as u creep in the back door, only disarming when they don't see u coming.
The rest of the story, behind the illusion that the Catholic Church collaborated with the Nazi 3rd Reich. A "must read."
"Very well done..and lots of research"
enjoyed the book. ..telling us behind the veil struggles against the principalities of darkness (one we seem to be on the abyss of again)...Well done Mr. Riebling , well done Joey Ox ..Well done Pope Pius...and well done martyrs for the faith standing up for truth in a darkened world!...
"Church of Spies - Background for Film Valkyrie"
I enjoyed this book because is touched on the difficult decisions leaders had to make in WWII about publically supporting groups at risk in Nazi Germany. Speaking out may have not been the correct decisions since it only drew more attention to the groups attempting to subvert the Third Reich and who were assisting Jews and Christians out of the SS and Gestapo view. Even the decision of the FDR to push for unconditional surrender pf Germany may have prolonged the war versus getting the sympathetic leadership to assassinate Hitler and sue for peace if they thought that Germany would be portioned and horribly punished for Hitler's action. Finally, it showed that Germany was not a monolith culture of Nazism. As in all conflicts, the range of people in Germany went from true Nazi believers to people doing their duty to the Fatherland to neutrals and fence sitters to the those of the underground resistance.
"Reads like a spy thriller"
Fascinating story of how Pius XII and others ran Europe's most extensive spy network. Amazing that this is a true story! Only critique is that the reading is a little dry, sounds a bit like a Kindle bot.
"WWII from a Different Perspective"
A great book that casts light on a little known part of history in WWII.
"Fascinating, in-depth expose of war and religion"
This was a brilliant book, narrated clearly and excellently. The examination of Christian values under the pressures of WW2 within the context of Catholic action make for fascinating reading for anyone interested in church or European history. It makes an excellent companion piece to Eric Metaxas' Bonhoeffer.
"History, espionage, faith it's all here."
Whether you enjoy history or a spy story or WWII from a new perspective or new info about the Catholic Church, A good read/listen can be found here.
"An incredible story told adequately."
History buffs, Christians and anyone interested in another perspective on Hitler's evil Reich ought to read this book. The history here is so compelling that it practically needs no help from the author.
The narration is adequate; strangely underwhelming.
Given some of the heavy subject matter and dramatic twists and turns, one has to wonder if the narrator forgot his cup of coffee. I suspect the book would have read better with a more emotionally involved narrator. In fairness, depictions of a holocaust may have made it difficult. I'm only mentioning this because occasionally the story's prose itself sounded a bit awkward, but it was hard to discern if the way the narrator was reading the passage was the way the author intended.
No matter, I do not regret purchasing this book.
If you can't read it, listen to it.
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