Tag Archives: Pope Pius XII

Papal twittering has a history

The real history of papal tweeting.
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Pius XII’s previously unpublished letter to FDR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unpublished letter sent by Pope Pius XII to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt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,

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.

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


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.”

From hatred to defense of Pope Pius XII, Gary Krupp tells his story

Gary Krupp.jpgIn some places you will get shouted down for supporting Pope Pius XII and his cause for sainthood. For some, Pius is a lightening rod and no amount of reasonable-ness will quiet their anxiety. I find this is especially true for the New York area. Undaunted by the challenge of the truth, Gary Krupp, founder of the Pave the Way Foundation, is working to get the truth of what Pope Pius XII did and didn’t do into the public forum. He’s trying to clear the air. For many the conversation is hard and painful but truth needs to be told and told with clarity, charity and firmness. 

Read the article on Gary Krupp and his work.

Pius and Jewish opinion

Members of The World Jewish Congress, among others, have made their opinions about Pope Benedict’s acknowledgement of his predecessor’s heroic virtues, step two of four with the goal of being recognized a saint. Pope Pius XII was head of the Catholic Church (1939-58) during the Second World War and falling asleep in the Lord in 1958. The WJC thinks Benedict was wrong in moving Pius closer to sainthood. BTW, a pope does not have the power to make saints because he doesn’t have absolute power; that would make him more powerful than God. For the record, God makes saints, the church’s process recognizes what God has done.

This step of saying Pius XII (and others) lived a life of heroic virtue allows for a scientific and theological investigation into the miracles purported to have been wrought through their intercession. A misconception is that a saint causes miracles to happen. Only God has the power to do miraculous things. Catholics believe that miracles are done only by God’s power. The purpose of Jesus’ miracles was “to bear witness to the fact that the Kingdom is present in him, the Messiah. (Compendium of CCC, 108). Hence the saint, while not God, does intercede on behalf of humanity before the Throne of Grace to do something for humanity to build faith and to advance the kingdom of God. Miracles are not magic.
The WJC and other interested parties want access to the Vatican archives of the Pius pontificate and then they want consensus as to what is there. Their request is fair request because the historical record ought to be known. But with 16 million documents from the Pius pontificate it takes lots of time and money to catalog such an archive. Would Jewish groups consider contributing to the archival work with manpower and money? Nevertheless, it is not for Jews or anyone else to determine matters of faith, as WJC pointed out but other Jewish groups don’t think the same, like the Chief Rabbi of France who continues to put forward the thesis that Pius was too silent in the face of evil and should not be considered as a possible saint. And Shira Schoenberg uses materials written by those who oppose the sainthood process of Pius (not surprising) and neglects evidence that contradicts her thesis. Her conclusions to me are mainly due to flawed scholarship and cliche.
I am curious as why the secular Jews follow so closely matters of Catholic faith. They’ve virtually abandoned their own and they want Catholics to listen to their opinions as to what should and should not happen viz. Catholicism. It is one thing to speak about historical matters but it is another to address matters of faith. I don’t know many reasonable-minded Christians telling Jews what to believe and how to live their faith. Perhaps more work needs to be done on the liturgical texts of the birkat haminim, the daily prayers of the synagogue. The birkat haminim is the 12th benediction of 18 which calls for the downfall of various groups of people who harm or detract (apostates) from the Jewish communion. Historically this malediction is oriented toward Christians, according to Jewish liturgical scholars. Perhaps Catholics should have an open protest of these prayers?
Calvin Freiburger’s post on his blog is fair-minded but I think he could be brave enough to openly call a spade a spade: I think Mr. James Carroll is a disingenuous and his work is purely revisionist with the sole purpose to discredit the Catholic Church. Carroll’s own credibility is lacking when it comes to analyzing known evidence on what Pius did and didn’t do. In my opinion Carroll is doing nothing less than to stir up controversy where there is none and to scandalize people where there is no scandal.
One final thought here: no doubt that lives lost during WWII is reprehensible. The Jewish and Christian holocaust of WWII was a failure for humanity. Christians and non-Christians across the world didn’t do all they could to save lives threatened and exterminated; allied governments didn’t do enough to pressure the Nazi regime to change their behavior. Even that some Christians exhibited anti-semitic sentiments is discouraging. Pope Pius XII has not gotten a fair historical review of his work as Supreme Pontiff viz. WWII. A failure to put aside the smear campaign of the Communists is regrettable for the scholars because it is dishonest.

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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