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Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII 260th Roman Catholic Pontiff 1939-1958

260th Pontiff (1939-1958)

Eugenio Pacelli was born in Rome on March 2, 1876, into a family of papal nobility.

After obtaining a degree in theology from Gregorian University, Eugenio Pacelli was ordained a priest at the age of 23, elevated to cardinal on December 16, 1929, and elected pope on his sixty-third birthday, March 2, 1939, taking the name Pope Pius XII.

In the years prior to  World War II, Pope Pius XII shared harmonious relationships with Bavaria, Prussia, Austria, and Germany, and made diplomatic visits throughout Europe. In 1936, when he was a cardinal, Pope Pius XII made an extensive visit to the United States.

Prior to and throughout World War II, Pope Pius XII kept the door to peace open. On December 24, 1942, and June 2, 1943, Pope Pius XII passionately denounced the extermination of peoples because of their ethnicity or race. Pope Pius XII made himself available  as contact for both sides during World War II, placing himself at considerable risk, for had Hitler been overthrown or killed, the pope could have been implicated, and Catholics across Europe would have been at risk.

Calling on Catholics around the world to share with the needy, Pope Pius XII operated a vast program of relief to the victims on both sides of World War II.  After the fall of the Italian government, Pope Pius XII opened the Vatican to Jewish refugees who found safety in the tiny Papal State.

Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII headed a vast underground of priests, religious, and laity throughout Italy to serve as a pipeline to save Jews and Gentiles alike from the Nazi government. It is believed that Pope Pius XII aided more than 1,500,000 refugees, including Jews, throughout the war.

After World War II,  Pope Pius XII continued to highlight the need for a just peace.  Pope Pius XII understood the intense difficulties faced by the United Nations and encouraged good works to advance international understanding.

Pope Pius XII

The phrase "Pope of Mary" is credited to Pope Pius XII because of his great devotion to the Mother of God. In his prayer to Our Lady of the Assumption, Pope Pius XII asked her to turn her eyes toward this world which was being held in the clutches of war, persecution, and oppression.

Pope Pius XII consecrated Russia and the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942 as requested by Our Lady of Fatima in 1917, established the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1945, promoted the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and announced the Centenary of the Apparitions of Our Blessed Lady to Saint Bernadette at Lourdes.

To make it easier for Catholics to receive Holy Communion, Pope Pius XII greatly relaxed the rules governing Mass times and the fast necessary to receive Holy Communion.

Pope Pius XII 260th Roman Catholic Pontiff 1939-1958Well known for his writings, Pope Pius XII simplified the Breviary.

Pope Pius XII embarked on the theological preparations for Vatican II almost a decade before it was convened under his sucessor, the Venerable Pope John XXIII.

Throughout his papacy, Pope Pius XII was regarded as a saintly man, a scholar, a man of peace, and a compassionate defender and protector of all victims of genocide and World War II. Western nations paid tribute to his efforts on behalf of the oppressed, and Jews expressed gratitude for his benevolence during the Holocaust.

Pope Pius XII died at Castel Gandolfo on October 9, 1958. He lay in state on an enormous bier at Saint Peter's Basilica for four days.

Pope Pius XII was temporarily buried at Saint John Lateran. His final resting place is in the Vatican Grottos.

Catholic Pontiffs' Main Page

L'Osservatore Romano
Pope Benedict XVI prays at the crypt of Pope Pius XII on the 50th anniversary of Pope Pius XII's death on October 9, 1959

On October 9, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI prayed at the crypt of Pope Pius XII on the 50th anniversary of his death

 

 

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