Pius XII

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Pius XII,

1876–1958, pope (1939–58), an Italian named Eugenio Pacelli, b. Rome; successor of Pius XI. Ordained a priest in 1899, he entered the Vatican's secretariat of state. He became (1912) undersecretary of state and, after becoming a bishop, was appointed (1917) nuncio to Bavaria. He stayed in Germany until 1929 and concluded concordats with Bavaria and Prussia. He was made cardinal in 1929 and papal secretary of state in 1930, succeeding his teacher, Cardinal Gasparri. He negotiated the concordat with Nazi Germany in 1933. Elevated to the papacy in 1939, Pius was the first papal secretary to be elected in centuries and the first Roman pope since 1730. In his first encyclical (Summi pontificatus, 1939) Pius made a general attack on totalitarianism. During World War II, however, he believed that the Vatican could best work to achieve peace by maintaining formal relations with all the belligerents. He was later much criticized for not speaking out against the Nazi persecution of the Jews and accused of not doing enough to protect them within Italy. After the war Pius was alarmed by the resurgence of Communism in Italy and fostered the growth of Catholic Action groups to strengthen the Christian Democratic party. In 1949 he excommunicated Italian Catholics who joined the Communist party. In retaliation for the political persecution of the church in Communist Eastern Europe, Pius excommunicated the political leaders of Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Poland. Pius issued his main directives in encyclical form; their subjects included the doctrine of the mystical body of Christ, i.e., the church (Mystici Corporis Christi, 1943); biblical studies (Divino afflante spiritu, 1943); the 14th centenary of St. Benedict (1947) and the liturgy and practices surrounding it (Mediator Dei, 1947); and the future of Africa (Fidei donum, 1957). He continued Pius XI's educational pontifical universities in South America (at Lima, Medellín, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago de Chile), and he favored the appointment of native hierarchies in overseas dioceses. In 1950, in the papal bull Munificentissimus Deus, the pope defined the dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. He reformed (1956) the Holy Week liturgy, relaxed the rules for fasting, and increased the hours during which Mass may be said. Pius had only one secretary of state, Cardinal Luigi Maglione; after his death (1944) the pope acted as his own secretary of state. He was succeeded by John XXIII. Pope Pius was widely venerated during his lifetime, and proceedings for his beatification were begun in 1965.


See his Guide for Living, ed. by M. Guinlan (1960); biographies by K. K. Burton (1958), T. J. Kierman (1958), J. H. L. Smyth (1958), F. J. Coppa (2012), and R. A. Ventresca (2012); C. Falconi, The Silence of Pius XII (tr. 1970); J. Cornwell, Hitler's Pope (1999).

Pius XII

original name Eugenio Pacelli. 1876--1958, Italian ecclesiastic; pope (1939--58): his attitude towards Nazi German anti-Semitism has been a matter of controversy
References in periodicals archive ?
As Pope Pius XII in 1947, Pacelli ignored some Vatican objections, and encouraged Catholic countries to vote in favor of the United Nations vote to partition Palestine.
The Vatican and Pope Pius XII have endured a half-century of sustained criticism for failing to combat the Nazi horrors.
Everything we have found thus far seems to indicate the known negative perception of Pope Pius XII is wrong," the paper quoted Elliot Hershberg, the chairman of the Pave the Way Foundation, as saying.
Foss had nothing but unending praise for Pope Pius XII, and I never forgot that.
Katz does not hide his clear interest in the role played by Pope Pius XII during the occupation of Rome and, as this topic remains the subject of intense historical and broad public debate, it is the most intriguing sub-theme in what is a riveting and beautifully written account of this nine-month period.
Raphael Contoni, a hero of Italy's Jewish Assistance Committee, said that many more Jews would have died had it not been for the intervention of Pope Pius XII.
Previously, she authored "Yours Is a Precious Witness: Memoirs of Jews and Catholics in Wartime Italy," Paulist Press, 1997; "Pope Pius XII: Architect for Peace," Paulist Press, 2000; Consensus and Controversy: Defending Pope Pius XII," Paulist Press, 2002, "Shepherd of Souls: A Pictorial Life of Pope Pius XII," Paulist Press, 2003; "Man of Peace: Pope Pius XII," Paulist Press, 2003; and "Pope Pius XII," ECncora Editrice, 2003.
Rose is the inspirational story reveling the truth behind the myth of "Hitler's Pope" and what actualities grant Pope Pius XII the prestigious role he has taken on as the pope guiding millions of Catholics.
Many believe Pope Pius XII (1939-58), supported Hitler's "Final Solution" - a claim strongly denied by the church.
As a direct result of this play, scholarly and semi-scholarly works burgeoned, dealing favorably and unfavorably with the conduct of Pope Pius XII and the Vatican before and during the Holocaust.
1) Goldhagen condemns Pope Pius XII as an anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer who sat by as six million Jews went to their deaths.
The release is the Vatican's response to demands by Jewish groups for access to the archives dealing with Pope Pius XII, the Second World War pope.