SHOULD POPE PIUS X11 BECOME A SAINT?

According to the Italian press, Pope Benedict has put the brakes on the canonization process for the wartime Pope, Pius XII. Apparently Benedict has set up a committee to review old documents from the Second World War period and study new ones that have recently come to light.

There is no question that Pius XII has become a very controversial Pope because of his attitude to the Holocaust. Some Jews have accused him (he reigned from 1939 to 1958) of being indifferent to the Holocaust and not speaking out against Hitler’s treatment of the Jews.

Some historians say Pius did not speak out publicly because of what happened in Holland. There the Catholic bishops publicly condemned Hitler’s Jewish policy. The Nazis responded ferociously. Many Catholics were killed and the Jews were not helped. The argument goes that Pius did not want that disaster repeated at the level of the universal church.

Pius’ supporters argue that he was a very holy man who worked behind the scenes to help Jews throughout Europe. In Rome alone Pius saved hundred of Jews by keeping them in safe places such as monasteries and convents. After the war no less a person that Albert Einstein praised the Vatican for its efforts to help Jews.

Because it was a moral issue should Pius have publicly denounced Hitler for his massacre of the Jews no matter what the consequences?

Would you like to see Pius XII become a saint?

39 Comments »

  1. 1
    Joe Agnost Says:

    Not being a catholic I really don’t care… They could saint every catholic that ever lived, I don’t see how that would affect my life.

  2. 2

    Joe:

    I take your point. The fact of the matter is that canonizations don’t mean much any more even to Catholics.

  3. 3
    Alex Thomas Says:

    Saintly is as saintly does. Perhaps the world might condemn Pius XII for not doing “enough” to stifle the actions of the Nazis. By the same token, perhaps John Paul II did not do “enough” to counter communism in Eastern Europe. Yet, both Nazism and Communism in Eastern Europe fell during their respective watches, and we may never know the true extent of each man’s contribution to those events. Does it matter? Sainst are not angels, or superheroes. They are simply people, who do what they can, where they can, when they can, with what they have.
    The triumph of evil requires nothing more than that good people do nothing. Are we so desperate that our saints be perfect, that anyone falling short of perfection cannot possibly be considered?
    Peter denied Jesus three times on the night that Jesus was arrested. He was fallible, weak and scared. Yet, upon that “Rock” was built Christ’s church. We call him St. Peter, don’t we? A married fisherman, who said that Christ belongs to everyone. A fallible, weak and scared man who shared Christ’s fate, in a fashion. If such a man can be considered a saint, let’s all think again, before we demand perfection of imperfect beings.
    My name is Alex Thomas. Shalom!

  4. 4
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    testing11

  5. 5
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Hello Neil,
    I’m back. Somehow the connection has been reestablished.
    I agree with Alex Thomas.
    It may not mean much for most people that anyone is declared a saint but for some it is an inspiration. Anyhow have we forgotten that in early Christianity saints were designated by the local congregations? That is how there are saints venerated only, for instance, in Germany or some obscure villages in France. Some we haven’t the faintest idea who they were and what they did. Some years ago the Church even demoted a few such as the mythical Christopher and George the dragon slayer.
    All the machinery and even politics involved in today’s canonization process has eroded the thing of it’s meaning: people recognizing one of their own as a worthy model for the next generation.

  6. 6

    Paul:

    You are a sight for sore eyes. Welcome back. I agree with you about the eroding of sainthood. And how few lay people and married couples make it.

  7. 7
    Chimera Says:

    Neil: I left a comment here. Did it go somewhere?

  8. 8

    Chimera:

    Sorry to have missed your comment. I can’t imagine where it went.

  9. 9
    Chimera Says:

    According to the info I got, it’s stuck in moderation. I can see it on my screen, but it’s tagged with “awaiting moderation.”

    Shall I resend it?

  10. 10

    Chimera:

    Yes, by all means.

  11. 11
    Chimera Says:

    Neil, did you find an anti-spam program for your comments? Or did you get someone to help you install a comment moderator? I’m going to see if I can get this to publish without the html tags or visible links:

    From December 20, at 3:54 pm:

    “I don’t know much about saints except for two things: my mother-in-law is one; and except for her, all the others are dead.

    “Seriously, it’s a long, involved process to canonization, with many hoops through which to jump and many petards on which to be hoist.

    “Most saints were controversial. And canonization didn’t necessarily stop the controversy, either. Some have been demoted over time, as further fact-finding found either flaws or lies in the original information. So if Pius XII gets canonized, and is later found to be not worthy, it’s a fairly simple (relatively speaking, anyway) error to fix.

    “But…just how useful are saints, anyway, except that they are pretty constant fundraisers for vendors of religious relics, however questionable their provenance?

    “On the other hand, having a full-time profession that carries on even after death — now, that’s job security!

    “Posted on December 20, 2007 at 3:54 pm”

  12. 12
    Chimera Says:

    Okay. That worked. I wasn’t able to get it to accept the links, though. That was my fourth attempt to get it pubbed.

  13. 13

    Chimera,

    Your comment came through fine We would not want to lose you. No comment moderator here.

  14. 14
    Chimera Says:

    Neil, you might not be intentionally moderating the comments, but whatever it is you’re doing to prevent spam is also preventing links from being published using html code. Oddly enough, it also seems to be preventing urls from appearing, as well, even without the html tags.

    Oh, well. You’re not going to lose me.

  15. 15

    Chimera:

    I hope not.

    Most of the technical stuff is beyond me.

  16. 16
    SUZANNE Says:

    The reason why canonization was centralized was that there was a huge racket in pilgrimages and relics, and every little hamlet wanted to have its own miracle-working saint so that people would undertake a pilgrimage and spend money in that town. That led to potentially unworthy (or non-existent!) saints being “canonized” by the locals. Plus, there were highly controversial and political “canonizations” such as that of Charlemagne, who is still, today, popularly known as “Blessed” in the calendar of saints I’ve seen (in spite of him being an adulterer), but as far as I know, the Church never officially bestowed that title. Same thing with Constantine (who killed his son). In defense of the populist canonization of the Emperor Constantine, the common people didn’t always know the details of the people they “canonized”.

    Trust me, centralization is way better. It takes longer and it’s centralized, but the undertaking is very rigrourous. If the locals did it, I can just see them screwing it up and going back to the political canonizations of the past.

  17. 17

    Suzanne:

    Welcome back.
    However canonization is done it seems it has become increasingly irrelevant in the modern world. Especially when you consider how few lay people – including married couples – are ever canonized.

  18. 18
    SUZANNE Says:

    The process of canonization involves developing a reputation for holiness. It’s easier to develop that reputation if you live a life of celibacy and do something “major” that attracts a lot of attention– like found a religious order, or engage in missionary work, or write books (yes, you can write books if you’re married, but you have fewer distractions if you’re celibate).

    Identity politics is rather irrelevant to pursuing holiness.

  19. 19
    Barbara Says:

    There are holy people in all states of life. Jesus found it difficult to convince the locals of his special relationship to the Father because he was just an ordinary person for all appearances. Much holiness is hidden.
    What it takes, besides holiness, is an army of followers with sufficient funds at their disposal to promote a cause. Heads of religious orders have a set of devoted lobbyists that ordinary folk cannot muster.

  20. 20
    Chimera Says:

    “What it takes, besides holiness, is an army of followers with sufficient funds at their disposal to promote a cause. Heads of religious orders have a set of devoted lobbyists that ordinary folk cannot muster.”

    Except for the “holiness” part, that sounds like Bush to me. Or Harper. Or Blair. Or any other world leader, including the ones like Kim Jong Il and Mussolini. I suppose that dedicating your life to a cause revolving around a religion of some sort might help. Otherwise, it could get crowded on that calendar!

    But…does not the pursuit of holiness — with the goal being canonization — tend to disqualify one for the title? Is this not a prize you can win only by not entering the contest?

    Sounds so very political to me.

  21. 22

    Chimera:
    Chimera:
    “Is this not a prize you can win only by not entering the contest?”
    What a great way to put it>

    Suzanne:
    You claim it’s easier to develop a reputation for holiness if one is celibate.
    Reputation in whose eyes? The leading male celibates, I suppose.

    Wouldn’t it be just marvellous if the former governor-general, Georges Vanier and his wife Pauline were made saints. Now that would make the country sit up and take notice.

  22. 23
    SUZANNE Says:

    But…does not the pursuit of holiness — with the goal being canonization — tend to disqualify one for the title? Is this not a prize you can win only by not entering the contest?

    Not really. It’s tough to aim for canonization though. Barbara is right that people who are in religious orders have “lobbyists”. I know of a young fellow named Gerard Raymond. When he died he was very young– I believe he was 17 years old (this was back in 1932). I think he should be canonized. The reason he was remembered is that he was an exceptional student at the Petit Seminaire du Quebec and he left a remarkable journal of his ascetism and religious thoughts. I think he is a really amazing person.

    Nobody seems to know about him. I bought a used copy of a summary of his journal– it dated from the 30’s or 40’s. He already has a cause for canonization on the books, but it’s not moving forward.

    So who is going to move his case forward? He is not well-remembered. Almost no one knows he existed or about his journal. He was not a member of an order, so there’s a lack of “motivation” to spread it (it’s always prestigious to have another saint in one’s order). His family? His descendants are probably all secular by now. The diocese? They’re the most likely people. I don’t know what they’re doing about it.

    See, those are the obstacles lay saints face. They manage to attain a high level of holiness. Mind you, this kid decided that he wanted to be a priest. Maybe he doesn’t really “count” as a lay person. In any event, it’s a tough, uphill climb. You have to leave evidence of your holiness, and people have to “pick up” on you. You need some kind of “publicist”. That’s what “developing a reputation for holiness” means in real world terms.

  23. 24
    Alex Thomas Says:

    What exactly did Pius XII DO that constituted “holiness?” What extraordinary contribution to the welfare of his fellow man stands out as his legacy? What miracles have occurred in his invocation? His successor, Angelo Roncalli, that is, John XXIII (interesting that John, “Great Gift of God” in Hebrew, is the most common name for the Popes throughout the ages) “baptised” a number of Jewish children, right under the noses of the Nazis, in order to spare them transport to the ovens. Now THAT stands out in my mind, BIG TIME. Did Pius support that action, or did he reprimand Roncalli after the fact? “Johnnie Walker”, so named because he insisted on hard leather soles on his papal slippers, so that he could go outside, blew open the windows of the Church, to let in fresh air. It appears that the fondest wish of the Catholic conservatives would be to close those windows, shade them over, and go back to wishing Vatican II never happened.
    Jesus was nailed to the Cross for being a RADICAL, for preaching outrageous, politically and socially upheaving IDEAS. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set ye free.” Ignorance is NOT bliss — it is oblivion. Exactly what did Pius XII DO in that spirit to earn his saintly ID? Enlighten us, Suzanne, if you will.
    My name is Alex Thomas. The end of questioning is the death of freedom. Never, never, never give up.

  24. 25
    SUZANNE Says:

    I am not well acquainted with his cause. But I think the fact that he hid 700 Jews in the Vatican should be worth something. He also ordered monasteries and convents to be refuges for Jews. He was very much an opponent to the Nazis.

    I am really happy Vatican II happened. I liked how it reaffirmed such radical ideas as the right to life from the womb, papal infallibility, moral absolutism, Sacred Tradition, and all those really radically Catholic ideas.

    It did not preach moral or dogmatic relativism. It did not preach rejecting age-old Catholic doctrines.

    In being faithful to Catholic tradition, it’s quite radical that way. Jesus would be proud of our radicality. Because the Church did not and does not give in to political correctness.

    Unfortunately, many people misunderstand Vatican II and think it was about something else entirely. It surely wasn’t about rejecting Catholic doctrine.

  25. 26
    Alex Thomas Says:

    How old is the Catholic Church, as we know it? Not that old. It really did not take hold as a force for social change until Constantine saw the burning cross in the sky and figured, “Whoa! Got me a symbol for all the wastin’ and burnin’ I got in mind! Way cool!” The Masonic Lodge is an older organization. Judaism, for all that Christianity was supposed to supplant it, is still ekeing out a bare subsistence somehow. Papal infallibility, as doctrine, is relatively new. Age-old? Somebody was born last night, I see.
    In any event, my point here is not to trash the Catholic Church. After all, it is not the Church which is meant to be worshipped and emulated, it’s the guy who came up with the idea, who told some scared Jewish fisherman, “You da man! You gonna get dis ting up and runnin’! And da gates o’ Hell won’t stand a hope in…well, you get da pikcha, bro.”
    Catholic doctrine has only one purpose: to teach otherwise lazy, selfish, greedy, ignorant, impatient, envious, egotistical, what’s-in-it-for-me humans to treat each other somehwat better than our reptilian brains would dictate. That is how I would measure Catholic doctrine. BTW, isn’t the original meaning of the word “Catholic” meant to be “universal”. As in, “not apart from, but a part of” humanity. As God was supposed to be, eh?
    To love Jesus, love your fellow human being. We are all family. Like Abu Ben Adam (may his tribe increase!)
    By all means, let’s canonize Pius XII (has he been considered as a Righteous Gentile yet?), for his acts of heroism, John XXIII, for his hurricane of fresh air throughout the Church, Paul VI, for not burning advocates of Vatican II at the stake (yay!) John Paul I, for his angelic smile, and John Paul II, for doing the most to bring about reconciliation of the distant cousins of The Church.
    My name is Alex Thomas. FIAT LUX! FIAT AMOR! FIAT PAX!

  26. 27
    Alex Thomas Says:

    Abou Ben Adhem

    Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
    Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
    And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
    Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
    An angel writing in a book of gold:—
    Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
    And to the Presence in the room he said
    “What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head,
    And with a look made of all sweet accord,
    Answered “The names of those who love the Lord.”
    “And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
    Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
    But cheerly still, and said “I pray thee, then,
    Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”

    The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
    It came again with a great wakening light,
    And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
    And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.

    James Henry Leigh Hunt

    My name is Alex Thomas. I just like the poem – so sue me! 😉

  27. 28
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    Sainthood, in my view is when a person reaches heaven. Jesus “came to save the whole world” and not just you and me. Unless He was a failure, we are all saved. Its not so much what we do in life that counts, its who we are, Gods children.

  28. 29
    Dylan Says:

    I hope so because I love him so much and I am from a catlioc school it is Serra Cathlioc School.

  29. 30
    husayn I aflaq Says:

    yes I know pope pious should be Ihave proof I dont have the time western powes assasanted him may allah have mercy on him and grant him jenneah and G–d willing a graden a libary a hotel and bank, I have proorf there is exit a conspracy secular western atheist culture in the

  30. 31
    payl lickorish Says:

    Yes Pope Pius X11 should be canonised because he was extremely holy and dealt with the time of the holocaust with as much help as he could in very difficult times.

  31. 32

    payl lickorish:-

    Certainly those are good reasons to canonize Pius X11. Many thanks for your comment.

  32. 33
    Margaret Murphy Says:

    Neil,
    I have read the above comments in relation to whether Pope Pius X11 should be cannonised or not.I do not pretend to be knowledgeable on the subject of this Pope, I was only a small child when he died and I suppose I grew up with the memories of the Catholic trauma surrounding the impending death and the grieving that subsequently ensued.I can remember my mother telling me of the saintliness of Pius, his “visions” and that I should pray for him, that he deserved to go to Heaven.Photographs of him were almost etherial and he looked “other worldly” or was that my childish interpretation of those images?Yes as a child I was in awe.It was only many years later that I learned more about Pius, particularly his questionable relationship with the Nazis.Quite honestly,I dont know what to believe as there appears to have been considerable propaganda in Pius’favour and against him.He certainly did not come across as a man of the people, unlike his successor.Pius appeared aloof and sequestered or was he just a private and even shy person?There again perhaps he was a consumate manipulator.As to holy,I really do not know how to interpret the idea.Does it mean the performance of good works or someone who his inately pure of spirit or someone who is observed to pray a great deal?Call me naive if you like. However it is very difficult for the lay person to get a handle on Pius. Times were different then.Media glare was not so apparrent.Access to information about his life is still relatively secret, so how are any of us, unless we are one of those rare individuals who devote their life to indepth investigation and have access to the inner sanctums of the Vatican and it’s archives,in any position to make comment as to Pius’ eligibility for cannonisation?Quite obviously Pope Benedict sees the need for further investigation and he has access to whatever material and testament is available. Until, I know much more, I will hold my own counsel.

  33. 34
    Richard Says:

    Nothing the man could have done would have been enough for some people . He probably did all that he could under the circumstances.He was surrounded by enemies of the RC Church,he was elderly and ill and maybe frightened.

  34. 35
    arlene kucan Says:

    Does it really matter if Pope Benedict canonize Pope Pius X11. If God saw fit; Pius X11 was a saint the day he entered eternal life.

  35. 36
    Alice Says:

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  36. 37

    I feel defenately Pope Pius X11 should become a Saint because he helped the Jews and Our Lady came from the Jews. Our Lady being the Mother of God, and Saint Jockem and Saint Anna, were definately Jews as well as being Our Lady’s parents. I have always wanted to be friends with Jews because of Our Lady. I tried one day to talk with them but they snubbed me. If only they had known the reason, why I wanted to talk with them, maybe they would love me just as much as I still love them.
    I love Our Lady so much, I will always love the Jews, because of Our lady. I love Pope Pius because he helped the Jews. I want to help them, but I don’t know how, so I will love them always, even when they do not want to talk with me.
    It really hurt me, as deep down I wanted to tell them thank you for Our Lady.
    Karen

  37. 38
    lxavmxmh Says:

    Hi, I like this site. Credit you inasmuch as tips. I organize these tips somewhat helpful. But I got another question: where to accept admissible and shoddy conspirator products?

  38. 39
    Fran Says:

    Yes, he should if he meets criteria of the church.


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