Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks...
Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.
The New York Times editorial, December 25, 1942 (Late Day edition, p. 16):
This Christmas more than ever he is a lonely voice crying out of the silence of a continent... Pope Pius expresses as passionately as any leader on our side the war aims of the struggle for freedom when he says that those who aim at building a new world must fight for free choice of government and religious order. They must refuse that the state should make of individuals a herd of whom the state disposes as if they were lifeless things.
The Economist, Dec 9th 2004, "The Papacy: For God's Sake":
Devil's advocates were supposed to be fair-minded, and in the past Mr Cornwell, a prolific writer on Catholic matters, has at times been anything but. As he admits, “Hitler's Pope” (1999), his biography of Pope Pius XII, lacked balance. “I would now argue,” he says, “in the light of the debates and evidence following ‘Hitler's Pope', that Pius XII had so little scope of action that it is impossible to judge the motives for his silence during the war, while Rome was under the heel of Mussolini and later occupied by the Germans.”
Chastened by this experience, Mr Cornwell is now a better biographer. In this life of John Paul II, he celebrates his subject's achievements as well as deploring the mistakes. The pope's heroism is affirmed. As a young would-be priest in occupied Poland, Karol Wojtyla was not intimidated by Nazi efforts to liquidate the Catholic clergy. A priest under Communism, he was again courageous. When the Soviet system imploded, “few would dispute that the inexorable and bloodless process had been initiated by the Polish pope.”