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tv   Pope The Most Powerful Man in History  CNN  December 24, 2018 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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still remains one of the most powerful men on earth. ♪ one of the most powerful men on earth holds a has existed for nearly 2,000 years. as the world changes, and faith evolves, his authority remains. what began with one apostle has become 1.2 billion followers under one man. he is the head of the catholic church. the pope. and there is his path to power.
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♪ >> in this episode, choices in the face of war leave an indel kbl mark on the papacy. while the world debates sainthood for one of those controversial popes of the modern era, history is forced to consider, did the catholic church do enough?
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♪ pope francis is the third sitting pope to visited a nazi death camp. on july 29th it, 2016, he makes a historic visit to auschwitz birkenau in poland. in this camp alone, the nazis put more than 1 million people to death. >> according to catholic teaching today, anti-semitism is a sin. jewish people are to be respected. they're not to be converted.
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they have their own relationship with god. but this was a christian society that will somehow was able to view jews as enough of an other an outsider that they could live with this. >> pope francis' visit to auschwitz immerses the pontificate at a harrowing time in both world and church history. faced with the haunting images of the holocaust, pope francis zillions confronted by the legacies of his predecessors. the question is, not what we you this the pope did during the second world war but what we think the pope should have done. >> pope pius the xii is a figure
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while others believe he could have done more. >> there's a controversial move to canonize piusxii to have him declared a saint. the real crux of the issue is whether the actions of hope to in the midst of one of the great tranl diz of human history, whether that's the stuff of the vicar of christ. is that the stuff of a saint? >> the controversy surrounding is piusxii begins long before skew ever becomes pope. from 1917 to 1929, the fudge pope p sy su sxii serves as a papal ambassador stationed in germany. >> he was tapped by the vatican to try to go to germany to bring an end to world war i. is he didn't bring an end to the war but he stayed in germany. he was helping displaced persons, injured persons, then
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soldiers come back. >> because of world war i and germany losing world war i, germany was in a state of chaos and as a result, there was political unrest. there was revolution. >> you've got a bunch of young men who don't have jobs and they feel like they were betrayed by their country and there's this is violence in the streets. they start forming these organizations that are eventually morph into the nazis. >> oppress stiv government regime asks across europe gained traction bill blaming outsiders, immigrants and jews for the post-war economic and political crisis. in 1922, bonito moussalini leads the nationalist party to a victory in italy. while hitler and the nazis rise
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to power in germ. >> new pope piusxi is faced with unprecedented unrest. >> and piusxi was an interesting pope. a diplomat, very experienced in international politics -- and he saw the ebola of naziism. >> the nazi party stands firmly as anti-religion putting jews and catholics in their crosshairs. alarmed by what he sees happening in nazi germany, p sy us xi implores boat chelly to put his eyes and ears on the ground. >> they're in munich at the same time. he sees hitler seizing power and he's reporting back to rome about what's going on.
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>> pious xi and bocelli had a unique relationship. poe chelly was critical in helping to steer much of the major decisions that piusxi made. he asked him to become his secretary of state. and so pachelli becomes the second most powerful man in the power of the church. >> as fash shix explodes all europe, catholics become enemies of the state. >> the thing about catholics in particular, catholics had a relationship, a devotion to something outside of government. >> there's going to be conflict over the status of catholic youth groups and whether these youth groups ought to be brought under the umbrella of fascist organizations. >> there are some catholic bishops who were beaten, who had
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their homes and their offices ransacked. >> the church of course, to be able to operate has to be physically secure. >> the vatican is faced with an extraordinary dilemma. because of his experience as a papal diplomat, pope pius xi enlisted pachelli helps to negotiate with the fascist italian government. the result is a treaty. >> italy and the vatican reach al agreement to allow the church to function, allow the pope to feel secure when he left the vatican itself. >> 1929 is really a milestone. the italian government at this point is a dictatorship in the hands of ba nit toe moussalini and the treat returns to the pope territorial sovereignty which meant independence. >> the latter and treaty made vatican city into an independent nation state. >> in exchange for vatican
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autonomy is, is pope agrees to halt all opposition to moussalini's regime. the 1929 agreement sets a precedent. the church is willing to negotiate with dictators in exchange for sovereignty. the new capital one savor card. earn 4% cash back on dining and 4% on entertainment. now when you go out, you cash in. what's in your wallet?
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the laterim treat an agreement
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with moussalini establishing autonomy with the church in exchange for political neutrality. >> it gave the church a hold on italian society. >> from the pope's perspective, it's a major victory but there's a price to be paid. i mean, mussolini gets something for having given something. >> part of the deal was that the church was to remain outside of politics. >> with church opposition out of the way, mussolini's fascist government flourishes. >> the latter there treaty is a major step in the consolidation of the fascist dictatorship. mussolini is able to show that he's made peace with the spiritual leader of the church. >> while mousse mussolini and the church mutually benefit from their peace in italy, adolph hitler is elected chance lore of
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germany and naziism becomes the law of the land. >> heil. >> jews were a target almost immediately. january 30th, adolph hitler becomes chancellor of germany. the first anti-jewish law is april 1st. and the nazi movement not only was anti-semitic. they were anti-communist, anti-socialist. anti-catholic. for catholics suddenly they couldn't join their youth group organization without fighting with the local nazi youth. their schools would be confiscated. day to day violence was an everyday occurrence from 1933 on ward. >> after the success of the treaty, pope pius 11th looks
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again to eugenio pa chelly to help him face catholics in the face of a troubling dictator. in july, 1933, pa chelly negotiates another treaty this time with the german government called the reichs concordant. >> it was a defense sib measure. the state said we will allow the church control over its affairs but the price to be paid is that the church is not to be involved in politics. it's a controversial agreement. some see it as a pact with the devil. it effectively takes the catholic church out of the political realm at the moment when opposition to an evolving dictatorship was more needed than ever. it was a fatal step back from confronting pure evil. >> all though the reichs concordant officially prevents the vatican from working against hitler, many german catholics
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refuse to stay silent. >> an anonymous woman in dusseldorf writes to the pius xi and says i'm walking along in the streets day to day and children are beating up their jewish neighbors. how can we be good catholic with this going on around us? >> despite the tenets of the agreement, nazi asks continue to interfere in catholic life. nuns and priests continue to be arrest and hitler passes sterilization laws which stand in diametric opposition to catholic doctrine. >> because of course, hitler was not a man you could ever trust. and, of course, you could never do a deal with hitler. >> and yet, the vatican just stays on course. we have a treaty. we have a treaty. we have a treaty. >> and so the oppression of the church went on. and it got worse.
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infinitely horribly worse. >> as the 1930s wear on, hitler's dictatorship becomes moran more violent. a litany of anti-jewish laws are passed including a boycott of all jewish businesses. enemies of the state including catholic priests are put on trains to labor camps. >> the concentration camp at dock call someone described it as the world's biggest seminary. at one point in time, there were thousands of catholic priests there. >> 2,500 catholic priests dies at dickau. not catholics. can priests. at this point is, there's no way
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that the church and the third reich are going to get along. >> the vatican writes more than 50 complaints to nazis about violations of the rick's concord dant but pius xi does not speak out publicly against hitler. >> laughter part of the 1930s, pius 11th began to prepare himself and the church for some kind of direct confrontation with the fascist regimes. >> he distrusted hitler. he was also opposed to racism. he was personally not very friendly to the jews. is he shared the very widespread christian belief that the jews as a people had been responsible for jesus' death but he thought that that didn't mean you had a right to invade their human rights. and in fact, wrote an encyclical condemning it. >> in 19. is, pius xi enlists pa chelly's help yet again drafting an
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encyclical regarding the situation in germany. >> an encyclical is the most formal statement from the vatican and it's the highest statement the pope can make. pope pius xi calls his german encyly cal with burning concern. in it, he condemns racism from a theological perspective. >> it was talking about how it's foolish to think that will god would lock all of what is great in humanity into a single race. >> with the nazis on high alert for any subversive activity, the vatican uses a secret career network to smuggle the encyclical into germany. >> it was read from the pulpits
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in catholic churches throughout germany on palm sunday that the only time that the whole of germany heard a denunciation of the regime from pulpits, an extraordinarily brave thick to do. >> but the papal risk is a measured one. although the encyclical deannounces racism, it fails to mention hitler or the nazi party by name. >> it's a document that bears can pa chelly's hand. he is ever mindful of the need and of the desire to try to maintain diplomatic relationship. >> so it's an interesting sort of doctrinal statement that perhaps lacks some of the political punch that that hour called for. >> regardless of its ambiguous language, hitler sends gestapo into every german church to confiscate the document. >> anyone who said it, printed it, repeated, possessed was getting arrested or getting beat
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up or their property was being seized. that will fear of retaliation, that's what's hitler played upon. >> in 1938, hitler's regime expands into austria. more anti-semitic laws are passed. more jewish homes and business are destroyed. and still, the vatican remains publicly neutral. but on the night of november 9th, 1938, germany will explode in violence marking a sinister shift in the nazi agenda that the world will not be able to ignore. i am all about living joyfully. the united explorer card hooks me up. getting more for getting away.
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♪ >> in the two years after pope pius xi releases his anti-racism encyclical, the vatican remains publicly silent about hitler's growing fascist regime. and on the eve of november 9th, 1939, nazi violence against the jews reaches a fever pitch. >> kristallnacht was the night of shattered is glass. it's the night when the nazis went to is the jewish businesses, the synagogues, and smashed everything. >> 30,000 jewish men were sent to a concentration camp.
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it was a very public, violent attack on jews and after that, it was game over. >> bishops from all over europe write to the vatican's secretary of state eugene know pacelli demanding a response to the violence in germany. >> is the primate of the catholic church in england wrote to pacelli and said we need to be clear that this is nazi terrorism against jews. can you make a statement? and pacelli writes back saying well, it's a difficult issue and what we need to do is just issue a statement of general love and concern and mercy for all in a universal way. >> in january, 1939, hitler makes a bone-chilling speech threatening the annihilation of the jewish race in europe.
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>> more men, women and children are sent to concentration camps. despite the vatican's neutrality treaties it, pope pius xi can no longer remain silent. >> it's quite clear when pius xi was dying, he was about to denounce fascism is quite explicit terms. >> pius the xi begins to draft on the human race, an encyclical in which he condemns anti-semitism but he dies before it is ever released. now with europe on the brink of another war, the cardinals must elect a new pope. >> the conclave in 1939 comes at a critical moment. it's very clear that nazi foreign policy is becoming increasingly aggressive so the election of a new pope garners a
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great deal of interest well beyond account catholic world. >> pius xi had clearly xwroomed pacelli to become the next pope. >> after a conclave lasting less than 24 hours, vatican secretary of state eugenio pa chel little is sworn in as pope. he chooses to call himself pius xii to honor his mentor. >> one of the things that made pacelli the right choice at this point in time was that all the rival parties the believed that he was in their camp. he was as it were all things to all men. >> he was widely recognized for his diplomatic skill. it was seen that given that the world was in a state of such tension that a diplomat pope and one who had considerable experience in international affairs is might be in order. >> as tensions in europe continued to rise, pope pius xii
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is faced with a daunting task. he must navigate the role of a religious leader in an increasingly secular world. >> i think it compels popes to ask themselves who they will represent. and for whom should they speak. >> pius xii was trained as a papal diplomat. he deeply internalized the doctrine that be the papacy functioned best as a neutral force but can a papacy really be neutral in the face of naziism? >> six months after his election, it the nazis invade poland. and world war ii is officially declared in europe. >> the nazi invasion of poland in september 1939 is the catastrophic for catholics. poland is a catholic country. polish catholics were dealt with
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very harshly. priests were often murdered right on the spot. women were raped. it was brutal and the vatican was receiving reports of this and cries for help. >> this was a war against religion, against jews, against catholics, against anything that was non-ger man. >> and pius xii is forced to re-examine his commitment to quiet diplomacy. with the church under attack, it is up to the pope to defend the faithful. ♪ bring all the gifts for under the tree. and while you're at it... bring the tree. ford f-150 best-in-class payload. best-in-class towing. built for the holidays. hurry! it's the final days to get 0% financing for 72 months on ford f-150. see your ford dealer today.
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six months after eugene know pacelli is elected pope, the nazis invade poland, catapulting europe into world war ii. despite pressure from allied forces, including u.s. president roosevelt, pius xii's statements remain measured and neutral. meanwhile, hitler's agenda only grows in scope and horror. the nazis started a program to eliminate the people with mental and physical disabilities. that eventually morphed into the
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final solution. >> there was a decision to exterminate every jewish man, woman and child anywhere in europe. >> in the 1930s, nazis had sent jews, outspoken catholics is, communists and the handicapped to concentration camps. but in 1940, hitler opens auschwitz birkenau. the first and most lethal of what will be eight nazi death factories. camps engineered for the systemic mass murder of jews. by the end of the war, more than 1 million jews will parish in auschwitz alone. >> news, letters and cables of exactly what the nazi regime was doing went to and from from the vatican daily by the hundreds. >> many of his own reliable sources are telling him that the nazis are engaging in a
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particularly cruel and unique campaign against jews. he receives one memo from a military chaplain that begins simply the jews period. a dreadful situation. which dates to 1942. the vatican knew precisely what was going on. there was no bet irinformed organization in europe than the vatican. >> as the horrific images from germany and poland spread across the globe, the devout looked to the pope for guidance. but ever the diplomat did, pius xii worries that action against hitler might provoke more violence against catholics. >> if the pope spoke out, would it make things worse for polish catholics? well you can actually hardly make things worse for polish catholics. as he himself says, i have to watch what i say because i want to avoid a greater evil. but what he can do he will do. and a great example of the way
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pius xii dealt with this question comes in the christmas address of 1942. [ speaking foreign language ] >> in this christmas address broadcast internationally on vatican radio, pope pius xii makes one of his only public statements about the war. in it, he speaks for human rights. and against racism. but he fails to mention hitler, the nazis or the jewish people by name. >> he made a very generalized statement about the rights of people. they'll thought was all he needed to say about the jewish question. >> the bottom line was, even after violence against jews, is the decision in rome was we're not going to name the nazis and
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we're not going to name jews. we're just going to however universal love and charity. so it's another opportunity that was missed and a critical one. >> he worried a lot about the consequences of speaking out. one wonders did he ever really wonder about the consequences of not speaking out. >> despite pius xii's public neutrality, hitler's march toward world domination reaches the pope's doorstep. in september of 1943, hitler invades rome. >> it was a situation where the pope thought that they had al operating agreement, did not think this was going to happen but about 2,000jews were rounded up. >> the day of the roundup, the pope says he doesn't want to have to come out and condemn explicitly nazi behavior. it's obviously a veiled threat to do precisely that but he says he doesn't want to do it. so the threat of a public con tem nation is dangled which
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tells us in fact that he and his men understand the power and the value of the pope's words. >> and repeatedly consistently, even as people are being rounded up he declines to utter that clear word. >> as the war rages outside the vatican walls, pius xii becomes a target. rumors fly about a nazi plan to kidnap the pope. hitler actually got a general and told him to draw up plans to invade the vatican. he gathered everyone together and essentially released them if this he wanted to leave but he also submits a letter that was his resignation that said if i'm captured i resign is the papacy so they will not capture the pope, they will capture eugenio pacelli but not the pope. >> as bombs go off, and jews are
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rounded up right under the pope's windows, pius xii must take stock. his diplomatic efforts have failed and the vatican is now directly in nazi crosshairs.
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upper respiratory tract infection and headache may occur. tell your doctor about your medicines and if you're pregnant or planning to be. otezla. show more of you. in september, 1943, nazi troops invade rome. an imminent attack on the vatican looms. and more than 2,000 roman jews
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are rounded up for deportation to erm termination camps they would mere blocks from st. peter's basilica. but despite is the atrocities unfolding right at his doorstep is, poem pius xii remains publicly silent. >> takes the path of diplomatic caution in terms of his public pronouncements but it's not that the pope was inactive. there is a view that the pope worked behind the scenes to try to put an end to the roundup. there is some evidence in fact, that that actually worked. >> they got several jews released primarily because they were married to a catholic or they invoked the concordant to help some of them avoid deportation. >> he says let's do what we can to alleviate suffering on the
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grounds. >> there were some vatican trucks that would go around and take food and blankets and try to bring additional supplies to where it was needed. some believe that will pope pius xii's silence is a cover. that will throughout the war, he is secretly involved with covert operations with the allies. >> the pope did secretly tape his conversations during the week of his election in 1939 is, the vatican's tapes show quite clearly that he opted for public acquiescence with the nazis and at the same time deciding that they must be resisted behind the scenes. >> pius xii received information from a vatican spy in germany and he passed this information onto the western allies. >> some historians seen speculate about papal involvement in a plan to assassinate hitler. >> the key figure in the german
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resistance to hitler was admiral wilhelm, the head of german military intelligence whom as it happens pacelli had met in the 1930s when he was in germany. he reached out to his old friend pacelli and said help me and help germany get rid of hitler. kennaris then had access to explosives. >> between 1940 and 1944, there would be three failed attempts to assassinate adolph hitler. information about these plots is still shrouded in conspiracy theory and documented proof of pius xii's role is almost nonexistent. >> for a long time it wasn't known about because the pope knew if he kept written records, it would get people cleared. >> to be really clear, the pope is not involved in any of the details. he does help to facilitate these contacts plotting to help remove
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adolph hitler and that's important. it was risky. it was something that he kept from his closest advisers and it shows us that for all of our understanding of him as very cautious and maybe too cautious, he could at times take some very bold and even risky actions. >> despite the uncertainty surrounding any papal involvement in a plan to kill hitler, the church's role in hiding jews during the war is undeniable. >> there's good reliable evidence that church institutions, religious houses were used to rescue and house jews. >> there is even evidence that jews were hidden on vatican-owned properties. >> there's some fascinating photographs where you see people not only sleeping on floors in churches not only in the hallways but even on the staircases up and down the staircases three across. close to 6 million european jews
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perished during world war ii. but nearly 80% of the 12,000 roman jews survive. >> a large percentage of jews in rome survive in large part because of the actions of many of these religious houses. >> the debate around that is was there a central order to do this? did pius xii remain silent during the actual roundup? but secretly issue an order that as many jews should be hidden as possible? and we've never found an order from pius xii to shelter and heidi tallian jews and there were even some case whereas he was displeased because it put that will particular religious order or religious house at risk. >> despite more than 70 years of retrospect, the uponfy tiffee cat of pius xii is still veiled in mystery. who was? >> he and does he deserve to be
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♪ there's no place likargh!e ♪ i'm trying... ♪ yippiekiyay. ♪ mom. ♪ to be canonized a saint is to be recognized as one who shares an eternal life with god in heaven. in the last 1,000 years, only seven popes have been made
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saints. reigning for nearly two decades, many catholics see pius xii as responsible for shaping the modern church. but as the world debates canonization for the wartime pope, we are forced to consider the holiness of his actions during one of the most turbulent times in world history. >> the heart of the controversy really is whether his diplomatic caution saved lives. those who advance his cause see that as an argument to make him a saint. >> pius xii is often excused for not having condemned the extermination of the jews because as he, himself, said, had he done so, it wouldn't have done any good, and it might have made things worse. but i think it's hard to avoid the feeling that there was some kind of moral failure.
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>> the crux of the debate lies in the character of pope pius xii. who was he, and why did he make the decisions he did? >> there are those who see in his reluctance to identify the suffering of jews in particular -- some see in that the strains of anti-semitism. >> pacelli's time in germany as a papal diplomat is critical to his formation, his thinking about germans and germany, and one could argue his thinking about jews. he describes meeting with jewish officials who he describes as dirty communists with slanted eyes. we can see his negative stereotypes about jews in his writings, and i'm not convinced they ever really exited his thinking.
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>> the whole of pius xii papacy is dominated in our memory by questions. it seems a bit simple to say that there are evil people, good people, because most of us aren't actually one or the other. we're a mixture. it's much more complex. >> but the complexity of pope pius xii are yet to be unraveled. questions about what he did and did not do during the holocaust remain unanswered. >> we don't yet have access to all of the wartime archive. so we don't really have a full historical record for pius xii. >> once they are available and scholars can make a determination of exactly what he did or didn't do, then we can say definitively what the record of pius xii was. and before we can do that, it would be premature to move forward with sainthood.
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>> until the records are released, the world can only speculate. polarized opinions color the emotional debate over the canonization of a deeply controversial historical figure. >> if, in fact, he wanted to protect his own church and his own co-religionists in the face of the holocaust, that decision had consequences. i think pius xii was a human being who made mistakes, and maybe he didn't make the right decision in this case. and maybe that's a lesson for this church, that sometimes we don't make the right decision, and we need to atone, and we need to correct ourselves, and we need to do better in the future.
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>> in 2016, as pope francis walked through the shadows of auschwitz, he must face the legacy of his predecessors. he prays for the mistakes he has inherited and for the lessons that will carry the church forward. >> pope francis is a radically different kind of pope than the catholic church has seen for a long time. he has the rule of love. that's it. love your neighbor. and if you're doing that, then you're a good catholic. >> modern popes engage in politics at the highest level, regularly meeting with world leaders and taking meaningful stands against atrocity and injustice. john paul ii works tirelessly to end communism and helped the african continent heal in the
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wake of colonialism and apartheid. pope francis continues in that brave legacy, a champion for human rights, unafraid to fight for the freedoms of the oppressed. >> francis, john paul ii, they have moved us on very significantly. they opened the door. now the vatican, he's actually a player in politics, particularly in humanitarian aspects. and that's been an enormous aspect of his ministry. >> during the second world war, there was this sense that the church was very different from the world. the pope was isolated. >> i'm a lifelong practicing catholic who has worked for 17 years at the holocaust museum, and i'm an historian. and so it's difficult to just look clinically at a document where a ukrainian catholic
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shooter is taking a jewish child by the neck and shooting them while their mother watches and then going to church the following sunday. to see that catholics have the capacity to set their faith to one side and be part of the holocaust that destroyed 6 million families, and to this day, these families come to the museum, and you can see that it goes generations deep. it makes one question what is the point of my faith at all? what is the point of a pope leading a church where love and mercy is not paramount? and it makes you wonder. >> in times of tragedy, humanity continues to wrestle with faith.
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the world looks to the pope for guidance and comfort. and in the darkest of times, lessons of the past must light his way. one of the most powerful men on earth holds a position that has existed for nearly 2,000 years. as the world changes and faith evolves, his authority remains. what began with one apostle has become 1.2 billion followers under one man. he is the head of the catholic church, the pope, and this is his path to power.

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