Fiftieth Anniversary of Death of Pius XII

And the beginning of a new era within the Church, one that is still very much at its early stages some fifty years later. Today Pope Benedict on Pius XII, from the International Tribune:

Pope Benedict said on Thursday he hopes his controversial wartime predecessor Pius XII, who some Jews have accused of turning a blind eye to the Holocaust, can proceed on the road to Roman Catholic sainthood.

In a homily commemorating the 50th anniversary of Pius’ death in 1958, Benedict also said Pius worked “secretly and silently” throughout the war to “avoid the worst and save the greatest number of Jews possible.”

Some Jews maintain Pius did not do enough to save Jews while the Vatican says he worked behind the scenes to help because more direct intervention would have worsened the situation.

Last year, the Vatican’s saint-making department voted in favour of a decree recognising Pius’ “heroic virtues,” a major hurdle in a long process towards possible sainthood that began in 1967. But Pope Benedict has so far not approved the decree.

In his homily, Benedict said he prayed that the process leading to Pius’ beatification, the last step before sainthood, “can proceed happily.”

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