By Menachem Z. Rosensaft
Adjunct professor of law at Cornell Law School

The question Roman Catholics throughout the world should be asking themselves is why Miep Gies was never made a saint.

Miep Gies, who died in Amsterdam at the age of 100, was one of the small group of Christians who risked their lives to hide Anne Frank and her family in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam for more than two years until they were betrayed to the Gestapo. Anne Frank and her sister Margot perished at Bergen-Belsen. Their mother died in Auschwitz. When Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam after the war, the sole survivors of his family, Miep Gies gave him his daughter’s diary which she had safeguarded after Anne’s deportation.

Miep Gies was born a Roman Catholic in Vienna. She surely exemplified the highest values of Christianity. She was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, honored by Yad Vashem, Israel’s official authority for the commemoration of the Holocaust, and the German government. Her heroic attempt to save eight Jews surely qualifies as miraculous, as does her preservation of her young Jewish friend’s diary. Why, then, has the Vatican not deemed fit to put her on the road to sainthood? Why and how is she any less worthy than Pope Pius XII whose record with respect to the annihilation of European Jewry during the Holocaust remains shrouded in controversy? And yet it is Pius, not Miep Gies, whom Pope Benedict XVI wants to fast-track to sainthood.

While Pope Benedict maintains that Pius “secretly and silently” worked to save Jews, there is documentary evidence that the wartime Pope knew of the deportation of more than 1,000 Roman Jews in 1943 and made no effort to rescue them. He certainly did not publicly intercede on their behalf or, for that matter, on behalf of the millions of Jews who were being persecuted and murdered throughout Europe.

Contrast Pius’s silence with Miep Gies’s heroism. Which of them is the true saint?

Pius’s defenders argue that his failure to speak out was a matter of necessity, that confronting the Nazis directly would have been too dangerous. This puts him among the millions of bystanders, hardly a virtue or a badge of honor.

“As long as the archives of Pope Pius about the crucial period 1939 to 1945 remain closed, and until a consensus on his actions – or inaction – concerning the persecution of millions of Jews in the Holocaust is established, a beatification is inopportune and premature,” declared World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder. “While it is entirely a matter for the Catholic Church to decide on whom religious honors are bestowed, there are strong concerns about Pope Pius XII’s political role during World War II which should not be ignored.”

During the summer of 1942, a number of Jews approached Archbishop Jules-G