Category Archives: Pope Pius XII

Pius XII’s anniversary of election

Pius xiiToday is the anniversary of election of the Cardinal Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli to the service as sovereign pontiff. He took the name of PIUS XII. He served as Pope of the Holy Roman Church for 19.5 years. Today, is also the Pontiff’s birthday. He died on 9 October 1958.

Born in Rome, priest of the Diocese of Rome, and Bishop of Rome. Venerable Servant of God.

Let us pray.

God, Who, in Thine ineffable providence, didst will that Thy servant Pius XII should be numbered among the high priests, grant, we beseech Thee, that he, who on earth held the place of Thine only-begotten Son, may be joined forevermore to the fellowship of Thy holy pontiffs. Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Pius XII defended by Pope Francis

Pope Francis is comfortable speaking to the press as we know. Today, the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia published their interview with Pope Francis, who spoke about the legacy of Pope Pius XII and murder of the Jews, among other things. The Holy See has been increasingly working to restore the good name of Pius who has been maligned for his seeming lack of concern for the Jews during WWII. Historical evidence, however, shows that in fact, Pius did do much to assist the welfare of the Jews fighting for their freedom and dignity. Here is a translation of the interview. Notice how direct, some say strong, Pope Francis is…

[La Vanguardia:] One of your projects is to open up the Vatican archives on the Holocaust.

[Pope:] They will bring out much light.

[La Vanguardia:] Are you concerned with what may be found?

[Pope:] In this theme, what concerns me is the figure of Pius XII, the pope who led the Church during the Second World War. Everything has been thrown upon poor Pius XII! But it has to be recalled that, before, he was seen as the great defender of the Jews. He hid many in the convents of Rome and of other Italian cities, and also in the summer residence of Castel Gandolfo. There, in the Pope’s room, on his very bed, 42 babies were born, Jewish children and of other persecuted people who were sheltered there. I do not mean to say that Pius XII did not make mistakes – I myself make many – but his role must be viewed according to the context of the time. Was it better, for example, that he did not speak so that more Jews would not be killed, or that he did? I also want to say that at times I feel a kind of existential rash [urticaria existencial] when I see that all gather together against the Church and Pius XII, and they forget the great powers [United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom]. Did you know that they knew perfectly well the rail network used by the Nazis to take the Jews to the concentration camps? They had the photographs. But they did not bomb these rail lines. Why? It would be good if we spoke a little bit about everything.

Pius XII’s previously unpublished letter to FDR

The Zenit.org news agency gave its readers a previously
unpublished letter sent by Pope Pius XII to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
on Aug. 30, 1943, after the Allied Forces bombed Rome. The letter surfaced from the archives of the Knights of Columbus given that it has worked in Rome since 1920. The KofC has recently opened a retrospective exhibit of its work for the Church and humanity in Rome. An unexpected gifts. Why? Because the letter to Roosevelt shows that Pope Pius did advocate for the needs of the defenseless in a dark period of history and that neither Italy nor the Church were free to freely act. Also, the exhibit shows the kind solicitude the KofC has had and continues to have for the work of Christ and the Church.

Your Excellency,

Recent
events have naturally focused the world’s attention for the moment on Italy, and
much has been said and written on what policy she would or should now follow
for her own best interests. Too many, we fear, take for granted that she is
entirely free to follow the policy of her choice; and we have wished to express
to Your Excellency our conviction that this is far from true. Of her desire for
peace and to be done with the war, there can be no doubt; but in the presence
of formidable forces opposing the actuation or even the official declaration of
that desire she finds herself shackled and quite without the necessary means of
defending herself.

If under such circumstances Italy is to be forced still to
bear devastating blows against which she is practically defenseless, we hope
and pray that the military leader will find it possible to spare innocent civil
populations and in particular churches and religious institutions the ravages
of war. Already, we must recount with deep sorrow and regret, these figure very
prominently among the ruins of Italy’s most populous and important cities.

But
the message of assurance addressed to us by Your Excellency sustains our hope,
even in the face of bitter experience, that God’s temples and the homes erected
by Christian charity for the poor and sick and abandoned members of Christ’s
flock may survive the terrible onslaught. May God in His merciful pity and love
hearken to the universal cry of his children and let them hear once more the
voice of Christ say: Peace!

We are happy of this occasion to renew the
expression of our sincere good wishes to Your Excellency.

From the Vatican,
August 30, 1943

Pius PP XII

Under the Roman Sky, Benedict says, shows Pius XII living Charity

Last week at the pope’s retreat house at Castelgandolfo,
The Holy Father attended a screening “Under the Roman Sky,” a film on Pius XII.
Yes the pope watches movies! 


Following the film Benedict expressed his gratitude for being among the first to watch a screening of a film “which shows the fundamental role played by Venerable Pius XII in saving Rome and many persecuted people between 1943 and 1944. The primacy of charity, of love, which is the commandment of the Lord Jesus, is the principle and the key to understanding all the work of the Church, and in the first place that of her universal Pastor. Charity is the reason for all actions, for all interventions. It is the basic motive that moves thoughts and concrete actions, and I am happy that this unifying principle also emerges in this film. This is the interpretation I would suggest, in the light of the authentic witness shown by that great master of faith, hope and charity who was Pope Pius XII.”

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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