Pius XII Walked Path of True Hope, Says Pope
Pope Pius XII was one Pope who was popular with birds. The only way I could get a little sparrow or chaffinch to come and rest on my hands so mired in sin, is if it were dead and I sellotaped it on to my finger. When little birds fly onto the hands of a Pontiff you know we have a truly great one. Below is a Zenit article on Pope Pius XII whose cause for beatification is going very well.
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 9, 2008 (Zenit.org).- During the difficult and dark years of the Second World War, Pius XII continued to follow a path that lead to Christ, "the true hope of man," says Benedict XVI.
The Pope said this today during the homily he gave at a Mass said in St. Peter's to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Pius XII.
The German Pontiff reflected on the source of Pius XII's "courage and patience in his pontifical ministry during the troubled years of World War II and the following ones, no less complex, of reconstruction and difficult international relationship of history called 'the Cold War.'"
Benedict XVI said the Italian Pontiff's attitude was always to "abandon oneself in the hands of the merciful God."
He noted that Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli was the apostolic nuncio to Germany until 1929, where he "realized from the beginning the danger of the monstrous Nazi-Socialist ideology with its pernicious anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic root."
He was then created a cardinal and worked as Pius XI's secretary of state for nine years during "a time marked by totalitarianism: Fascist, Nazi and Soviet Communism."
The German Pontiff reflected that during the hardest moments of Pius XII's pontificate, he made the effort "to belong to Christ, the only certainty that never sets."
The word of God, then, became "the light of his path," said the Pope: "A path in which Pope Pacelli had to comfort the homeless and persecuted persons, dry the tears of suffering and the crying of so many victims of the war.
"Only Christ is the true hope of man; only entrusting the human heart to him can it open up to love that overcomes hate."
Cardinal Pacelli was elected to the Pontificate in 1939, "a ministry that began when the menacing clouds of a new world conflict grew over Europe and the rest of the world, which he tried to avoid in all ways," Benedict XVI noted. "He called out in his message on the radio on Aug. 24, 1939: The danger is imminent, but there is still time. Nothing is lost with peace. Everything can be lost with war."
"The war highlighted the love he felt for his 'beloved Rome,'" said the present Pope, "a love demonstrated by the intense charitable work he undertook in defense of the persecuted, without any distinction of religion, ethnicity, nationality or political leanings."
Benedict XVI noted that when Rome was occupied by the German Nazis, Pius XII refused to leave: "I will not leave Rome and my place, even at the cost of my life."
"His relatives and other witnesses refer furthermore to privations regarding food, heating, clothes and comfort," continued the German Pope, "to which he subjected himself voluntarily in order to share in the extremely trying conditions suffered by the people due to the bombardments and consequences of war."
The Holy Father also remembered Pius XII's 1942 Christmas radio message of December 1942: "In a voice breaking with emotion he deplored the situation of 'the hundreds of thousands of persons who, without any fault on their part, sometimes only because of their nationality or race, have been consigned to death or to a slow decline,' a clear reference to the deportation and extermination of the Jews."
"Pius XII often acted secretly and silently," added the Pontiff, "because, in the light of the concrete realities of that complex historical moment, he saw that this was the only way to avoid the worst and save the largest possible number of Jews."
Benedict XVI noted the "expressions of gratitude from the highest authorities of the Jewish world" that Pius XII received.
The current Pontiff highlighted the words of Israeli Foreign Minister Golda Meir, who wrote upon Pius XII's death: "During the 10 years of Nazi terror, when our people went through the horrors of martyrdom, the Pope raised his voice to condemn the persecutors and commiserate with their victims."
She added, "We mourn a great servant of peace."