NEWS: In the past Popes both smiled and were nice to babies

One of you readers sent a link to a video of a clip from a 1958 movie called “Embezzled Heaven”. In it there is footage from a real audience with Ven. Pius XII. Some of it is obviously staged.

It might surprise some people that in the past Popes both smiled and were nice to babies.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Robbie says:

    If something like this happened today, the MS Winters fainting couch would get quite the workout! I imagine the media would be, for once, initially speechless at such an amazing sight.

  2. SKAY says:

    A Protestant friend sent me this opinion piece by Maureen Dowd who thinks Pope Francis is the coolest Pope ever except for one little thing. It is all about bringing the Church into the 21st century
    for Maureen.

    Thank you for posting the video of Pope Pius XII, Father.

  3. CPT TOM says:

    I am amazed at the emotionalism over the Pope. I don’t get it. Especially on Facebook, phrases like “his gentle smile melts my heart.” or “he’s a breath of fresh air for the Catholic Church.” It puzzles me. It seems so contrary to the Catholic tradition of Rational thought, and comes across as so shallow. The danger of a cult of personality is a real danger. Is this really what the New Evangelization is about?
    Finally, I have been left with the impression, the Holy Father doesn’t seem to care much for priests. He is very critical of them, and I think he is forgiving of sinners but, boy is he into tough love for his priests and bishops.

  4. Elizium23 says:

    SKAY, that Dowd piece is exactly what Fr. Z has been telling us all along. The liberal media turning on Francis. Taking heed of his album title, “Wake Up!” they have awoken to realize that the Pope is, after all, Catholic.

  5. taffymycat says:

    i am underwhelmed by the Pope. no words on abortion—but boy, he was eager to talk about human life in terms of capital punishment. its amazing to me that he squanders his authority as spiritual leader of the world talking about climate change which is not even a proven science. however the church will survive despite this weak pope- the church has survived anti semitic popes, murdering popes, and sinful popes i guess francis seems like an angel compared to pope alexander of the borgias

  6. capchoirgirl says:

    CPT TOM: Yup. I feel the same way. And everyone saying he’s so “humble.”
    To quote the Princess Bride: “I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  7. Gerard Plourde says:

    Dear Capt. Tom,

    It occurs to me that priests and bishops are sinners too. Ordination does not innoculate them from temptation and sin. We could even say that it is precisely because of the status we afford them that the clergy may be subjected to special attack by Satan and his minions. Even the greatest of saints were sinners who struggled and were granted grace to endure to the end (to paraphrase St. Paul). The best and most holy priests we know struggle, like the rest of us, with temptation and, like us, on occasion fall. And, because they are of the human race and subject to the consequences of Original Sin, there are priests and bishops who have gone seriously astray. We have seen a number of examples over the course of history and are living in a time when there have been all too many examples. When these sin (and especially when they sin publicly and in a manner that justly draws disdain) the fact of their status within the Church casts a cloud on the entire Church. It is for this reason that priests and bishops especially need our prayers.

  8. CPT TOM says:

    I never said they were without sin. Yes, they are sinners, like anyone else. In fact Satan hunts them. So shouldn’t they be given the same mercy the Pope gives to the fringe? In fact, since he is their spiritual father, he should give them MORE support and prayers not just chastisement to strengthen them. Pope Francis has been very critical of the priests and bishops, harping in fact. Certainly not publicly praying for them. In the Army they taught us as officers to apply not only a kick in the backside, but also to apply talcum powder and praise…leadership is knowing when and how much. I think this is an area that the Pope could use some improvement and is at odds with his merciful attitude he has normally extols. God’s peace to you.

  9. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Fr. Z , and the observant reader, thank you! So the cover-photo on my copy of Franz Werfel’s Der veruntreute Himmel (which I have yet to read…) is of Annie Rosar from Ernst Marischka’s film (which I had never heard of till now, but which I see opened 57 years ago next week – exactly a week before the death of the Venerable Pius XII). I see too that the whole film is in one of the places one might think to look, I am not sure how legally…

    It would be fascinating to know more about this scene – it looks like excerpts from an actual audience are intercut with sections featuring the actors. That pan from the Holy Father greeting the cardinals (as I take it) to Annie Rosar behind the barrier is striking – it looks like she was really present at the audience. I wonder how much of the sound-track is added independently, too? Was the Hallelujah chorus (in English!) already so popular in Catholic circles for formal occasions? (In the opening credits is the acknowledgement that “Through the benevolence of His Holiness Pope Pius XII it was possible to film an audience in St. Peter’ s Basilica and the Apostolic Apartments of the Vatican”.) I can’t get every word of the Pope’s greeting in German to the dear sons and daughters of Austria: what is it about the last 200 years, exactly?

  10. marcelus says:

    Not this again…People may think soemone is getting jealous. If Francis attracks this amount of joy, hteen good for him and for the Church. Unfortunately other Popes have not…..

  11. edm says:

    And he could even smile and bless babies while wearing ermine!

  12. AnnTherese says:

    John Paul II was also a “cult personality” pope, as I recall. Mother Teresa drew that kind of popularity, as well. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is using Pope Francis to touch hearts and draw people to God, as those two did.

  13. Venerator Sti Lot says:


    A striking Pope St. John Paul II example in this context:

  14. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    marcelus ends, ” Unfortunately other Popes have not…..” Well, it looks from the clip like at least the Venerable Pius XII did, too! It is interesting to consider the Pre-Vatican II combination of traditional and modern aspects in that clip (note the microphones) – and in his appeal, in reading Prince Constantine of Bavaria’s book about him from the early 1950s, translated into various languages (the English one was called The Pope: A Portrait from Life).

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