REUTERS: Pius XII sainthood process not stalled

This just in from Reuters.

Pius XII sainthood process not stalled – Vatican
Mon Feb 18, 2008 11:47pm IST

By Phil Stewart

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican’s top saint-maker [What a ghastly phrase.] said on Monday he was moving ahead with the cause of wartime Pope Pius XII, and defended him against accusations he was silent about the Holocaust.

Some critics accuse Pius, who reigned from 1939 to 1958, of being indifferent to the Holocaust and not speaking out against Hitler. His supporters consider him a holy man who worked behind the scenes to help Jews throughout Europe.

Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins denied that the sainthood process had been halted over the controversy, as a newspaper report last year suggested.

"It has not been staggered, much less stopped," Martins, who heads the Vatican department that oversees the sainthood process, told reporters.

But he left the timing of any progress on the case unclear, and confirmed there would be renewed research into the late Pope on the 50th anniversary of his death.

Last May, the Vatican’s saint-making department [What a ghastly phrase.]  voted in favour of a decree recognising Pius’s "heroic virtues", a major hurdle in a long process toward sainthood that began in 1967.

But Pope Benedict has so far not approved the decree, meaning that the process is effectively stalled and that Pius cannot move on to beatification, or the last step before sainthood.

Martins said people should not read too much into that.

"Some people [Like writers for Reuters…] talk about problems that in reality don’t exist, I believe. Many say: ‘It’s not going forward because he is famous for his silence in condemning Nazism, that he didn’t condemn Nazism," he said.

"This is not historically accurate. Instead of silence, I would speak of ‘prudence’. There was not silence."

The Vatican maintains Pius did not speak out more forcefully against the Holocaust because he was afraid of provoking Nazi reprisals and worsening the fate of Catholics and Jews.

Supporters say Pius ordered churches and convents in Rome to take in Jews after the Germans occupied the city in 1943.

Various Jewish groups, foremost among them the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League, have often asked the Vatican to suspend the entire sainthood process until the Vatican declassifies all of its World War Two-era archives. [Right.  Because they should have a say!]

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15 Responses to REUTERS: Pius XII sainthood process not stalled

  1. Jason in San Antonio says:

    “writers for Reuters”

    Now there’s a phrase.

  2. Paul says:

    He was a wonderfully holy man who did more than anyone in Europe to protect the Jews. Did Hitler
    not say that only one man had ever dared stand up to and defy him – that man was Pius XII? The various groups speaking out against his cause have ulterior motives and the Church should just ignore…or even better condenm them.

  3. Tim Ferguson says:

    All that the Vatican needs to say to the Jewish critics (not that it really needs to say anything) is, “We took the declarations of Golda Meir and Israeli Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog at their word that Pius XII was a ‘righteous gentile’ in the eyes of the Jewish people. If individual Jews have difficulties with these pronouncements by their leadership, they are welcome to make their concerns known to them.”

  4. Richard says:

    Rabbi David Dalin has made the point, in debunking the case against Pius XII’s efforts to help the Jews during the Holocaust, that most of the most visible critics are in fact not Jews, but erstwhile Catholics – and that what may really be going on is the use of this argument as proxy for fundamental disagreements with Church teaching – if Pius XII can discredited, then diminished too is his (likewise “conservative”) successor – first John Paul II, and now benedict XVI.

    I don’t oppose opening up the archives, barring any confidential information about persons still living. But the evidence is ample enough already that Pius XII did more than just about anyone other notable figure in Europe to help Europe’s Jews – not even Raoul Wallenberg or Oskart Schindler notwithstanding.

  5. Frank says:

    The Anti-Defamation League seems so preoccupied with attacking and criticizing the Catholic Church as personified by Pius XII and Benedict XVI that it appears almost wilfully blind to the fact that today the greatest enemies of the Jewish people are not to be found in the Church but elsewhere. Open your eyes, guys!

  6. Frank says:

    The Anti-Defamation League seems so preoccupied with attacking and criticizing the Catholic Church as personified by Pius XII and Benedict XVI that it appears to be wilfully blind to the fact that today the greatest enemies of the Jewish people are not to be found in the Church but elsewhere. Open your eyes, guys!

  7. Let us hope this saintly pontiff is beatified soon. It would be very appropriate for him, a man who knew Germany inside out and who in reality courageously stood up to the Nazis, be raised to the altars by his Bavarian sucessor.

  8. Jamie says:

    Frankly, I don’t care what anyone says – in or out of the Church – Pius XII is a Saint. What happened to the days of not needing a declaration from the Church? Saint Hildegard Von Bingen was not canonized but she is still a saint – the same is true of Saint Christina the Astonishing. Pius XII must be in heaven – he was the last of the great popes before liberalism took over and he defended true Catholicity as well as doing everything in his power to protect the Jews in the best way possible without causing damage to us. I think we should simply refer to him as a saint as so often was done in the past! St Pius XII pray for us!

  9. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    Since the Jews were the main focus of the Nazis’ murderous hysteria, then frankly — yes — they do have a say about the release of materials which are relevant to their massacre.

    The Pope recently waived the five-year waiting period for Sr. Jacinta of Fatima . . . but, can’t find any rationale for completely opening up the Vatican’s archives on World War II?

    What does Jesus say?

    “[W]hoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God,” John 3:21

  10. Cephas says:

    Since the Jews were the main focus of the Nazis’ murderous hysteria, then frankly — yes — they do have a say about the release of materials which are relevant to their massacre.

    The Pope recently waived the five-year waiting period for Sr. Jacinta of Fatima . . . but, can’t find any rationale for completely opening up the Vatican’s archives on World War II?

    What does Jesus say?

    “[W]hoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God,” John 3:21

  11. Kiran says:

    Ummm…. Pius XII may be (I believe he is) a saint in the sense that he is in heaven, and one is allowed to (I do) have a devotion to him and ask for his intervention. But the decree of Urban VIII, last I checked, was still in force. The case of certain medieval saints is not necessarily pertinent here. One can have a cultus for a long time before the Pope makes an infallible declaration of canonization. Among others, St. Albert was about 6 centuries in coming.

    And then there is the case of obviously holy people for whom there is no public cultus, Henry Edward Manning being one obvious example.

  12. ioannes says:

    Negative Matthew. Neither the Jews nor anyone else for that matter have any say in whether a person is in Heaven or not. That alone belongs to God, and the declaration of whether a person is in heaven is confirmed by the Church alone after very careful review. The Church\’s official recognition of sanctity implies that the persons are now in heavenly glory. No amount of controversy can revert that fact. If Someone is in Heaven – there they are, and there they stay.

  13. Gregor says:

    A cause that has been stalled, however, is that of Archbishop Romero, see http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=11821.

  14. Habemus Papam says:

    Hang on Pope Pius! Noop, sorry, you can’t put one foot in Heaven until the Vatican publishes all of its World War II archives. Yup, thats the way it goes.

  15. Kiran says:

    Keep in mind: There is a difference between being in heaven and being a canonized saint. In the second instance, there is a declaration that somebody has lived a life of heroic virtue, and is worthy of public devotion. As such, it is infallible. I have nothing against devotion to Pope Pius XII. I have a devotion to him myself. BUT he isn’t canonized until he is. I think he should be subito as they say.