Join us for a conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Kertzer about his new book The Pope at War: The Secret History of Pius XII, Mussolini, and Hitler. Professor Marie Griffith, director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, will discuss with Kertzer his research based on newly opened Vatican archives. There will also be time for audience Q&A.
If you are unable to join us in person, please register for the livestream via Zoom here: https://wustl.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iWmRS3qcTL-6Y5AxGAtUVg.
When Pope Pius XII died in 1958, his papers were sealed in the Vatican Secret Archives, leaving unanswered questions about what he knew and did during World War II. Those questions have only grown and festered, making Pius XII one of the most controversial popes in Church history, especially now as the Vatican prepares to canonize him.
In 2020, Pius XII’s archives were finally opened, and David Kertzer—widely recognized as one of the world’s leading Vatican scholars—has been mining this new material ever since, revealing how the pope came to set aside moral leadership in order to preserve his church’s power.
Based on thousands of never-before-seen documents not only from the Vatican, but from archives in Italy, Germany, France, Britain, and the United States, The Pope at War paints a new, dramatic portrait of what the pope did and did not do as war enveloped the continent and as the Nazis began their systematic mass murder of Europe’s Jews. The book clears away the myths and sheer falsehoods surrounding the pope’s actions from 1939 to 1945, showing why the pope repeatedly bent to the wills of Hitler and Mussolini.
Sponsored by the Michael and Barbara Newmark Institute for Human Relations at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum, St. Louis Jewish Book Festival, the Office of Peace & Justice of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, St. Louis County Library, St. Louis University Division of Mission and Identity, and the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics.
This event is free and open to all. Graham Chapel is open seating and doors will open at 6:00 p.m. for this event.
Local independent bookseller Left Bank Books will be on site for purchase of Professor Kertzer’s book.
Please register at email@example.com or 314-935-9345 so we can appropriately plan.
About the speakers
Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Kertzer is the Paul Dupee University Professor of Social Science at Brown University. He is the author of The Pope Who Would be King (Random House, 2018) and The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe, (Random House, 2014), which won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 2015 and the American Historical Association prize for best book in Italian history. Kertzer’s previous books include Amalia’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 2008), Prisoner of the Vatican (Houghton Mifflin, 2004), and The Popes Against the Jews (Knopf/Vintage, 2001). Kertzer’s The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara (Knopf/Vintage) was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1997. Kertzer is an authority on Italian politics, society, and history; political symbolism; and anthropological demography. He is co-founder and served for many years as co-editor of the Journal of Modern Italian Studies. In 2005 Kertzer was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 2006 to 2011, he was the Provost of Brown University.
Professor Marie Griffith, the John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, is currently the director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics and the editor of the Center’s journal, Religion & Politics. Her research focuses on American Christianity, including the changing profile of American evangelicals and ongoing conflicts over gender, sexuality, and marriage. Griffith is the author or editor of seven books. Her first, God’s Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission (University of California Press, 1997), examines the practices and perceptions of contemporary evangelical women; while Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics (Basic Books, 2017) traces conflicts over sexual morality, feminism, and gender in American religion and politics.