A Pope Speaks: Pius XII on something the #PBC2019 summit didn’t discuss. AUDIO

Two things drive this post.

First, the Roman “summit” rammed a major aspect of The Present Crisis into a smaller box than reasonable people allow.  They excluded many things that could have been addressed.  One of them is the devolution of morals and the lost of the sense of purity.

Second, most people today have heard and would recognize the voices of recent Popes. Who can forget the great bass with the Slavic tinge of John Paul II and his particular cadences? However, most of us have not had a chance to hear the voices of Popes of deeper into the last century.

Both of those issues come together in this snippet from the sermon Pius XII gave for the canonization of St Maria Goretti.  Pius, from about 1950 onward, seeing what was going on in society called for greater purity.  What would he think about today?

Here is a snippet of Pius XII, the last Roman Pope.

The place: St. Peter’s Square, completely jammed
The date: 24 June 1950
The occasion: the canonization of St Maria Goretti

Full text HERE.


What you hear Pius XII say in the recording:

Perchè, diletti figli, siete accorsi in così sterminato numero alla sua glorificazione? Perchè, ascoltando o leggendo il racconto della sua breve vita, così somigliante a una limpida narrazione evangelica per semplicità di linee, per colore di ambiente, per la stessa fulminea violenza della morte, vi siete inteneriti fino alle lacrime? Perchè Maria Goretti ha conquistato così rapidamente i vostri cuori, fino a divenirne la prediletta, la beniamina? Vi è dunque in questo mondo, apparentemente travolto e immerso nell’edonismo, non soltanto una sparuta schiera di eletti assetati di cielo e di aria pura, ma folla, ma immense moltitudini, sulle quali il soprannaturale profumo della purezza cristiana esercita un fascino irresistibile e promettente : promettente e rassicurante.

Why, beloved children, have you rushed in such boundless numbers to her glorification?  Why, hearing or reading the account of her brief life, so much like a pristine gospel narrative for the simplicity of its line, for the painting of its setting, for the very flaming violence of the death, were you touched even to tears?  Why has Maria Goretti conquered your hearts so quickly, even to the point of becoming your favorite, your darling?   Thus, there is in this world, manifestly overwhelmed and sunk into hedonism, not only a sparse crowd of the chosen, thirsting for heaven and pure air, but a throng, but an immense multitude, upon which the supernatural fragrance of Christian purity works an irresistible and promising allure: promising and encouraging.

Some visuals to go along with the sound.

Maria Goretti was murdered in the course of an attempted rape, which she resisted to the point of being mortally wounded.  The Church teaches that those who die bearing witness to Christ, to the Faith, or to some virtue or quality inseparable from the Faith, in that moment manifest the virtues in a heroic way and are, therefore, able to be proposed even for elevation to our altars.  Something about St. Maria Goretti captured the imagination of the Catholic faithful in the early 20th c., as did, for example, St. Therese de Lisieux.  Their lives show us that we can, in fact, try – with the help of grace – to be clean in a world that is fallen and fallen far.  It is not hard to understand why even some Catholics react with strong negativity about Maria Goretti.  They’ve gone the way of the world.

Also, my contact with exorcists informs me that St. Maria Goretti is a mighty intercessor and a serious terror of demons, surely after the heart St. Joseph… known for his purity.   Joseph most chaste… Guardian of virgins… Solace of the wretched… Patron of the dying… THE Terror of demons.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Gaetano says:

    That was the most energetic papal address I have ever heard. Nothing like even JPII in his early days.

    I also noted that Pius XII really trilled his r’s. Does that reflect a particular regional accent or speech pattern to adapt to radio/amplified voice?

  2. LeeGilbert says:

    This brings me to tears, and I don’t even know why. The contrast between that time and this time? The cesspool into which we have fallen? The contrasting beauty of that saint’s purity and the squalor of our age?

    Pope Pius’ emphasis on purity brought to mind an allocution of his on Radio and TV, in 1949, in which he quotes the pagan poet Juvenal, “Nothing impure in the home!” Now, to our shame, we need a pope to cry out, “Nothing impure in the home, nothing impure in the rectory, nothing impure in the chancery, nor in the curia, nor in the papal palace, not in the presbyterate, not in the episcopate, not in the college of cardinals, not in our episcopal synods, not in our monasteries or convents, not in our universities and colleges, not in our coming and going, nor in our lying down and rising up, not in our speech or our writing, not in our minds or immortal souls!” So far have we been overthrown that all this needs to be said. . . and done. St. Maria Goretti, pray for us!

  3. JeffC64 says:

    Pope Pius XII was quite the animated speaker:

  4. JeffC64 says:

    Here is some video (that I left out of my previous post)

  5. FrAnt says:

    Today our pope calls faithful Catholics followers of Satan. My have things changed.

  6. FrCharles says:

    Thanks for this. His cadences are brilliant. «non soltanto una sparuta schiera di eletti assetati di cielo»

  7. For those who are not familiar with Maria’s story

    Her murderer, Alessandro, was a porn addict and had pornography hanging all over his walls.

  8. Lusp says:

    A few years ago I read something about St Maria Goretti in a lefty Catholic blog. I was shocked to see the comments from supposed Catholics mocking her and anyone that had devotion to her because “it’s not a sin to be raped,” so she didn’t need to die for her purity. It was a real eye-opener for me and just remembering the comments enrages me as I type this. This video reminded me of how much she was and is loved. Thank you Father!

  9. William says:

    Lusp wrote:

    “A few years ago I read something about St Maria Goretti in a lefty Catholic blog. I was shocked to see the comments from supposed Catholics mocking her and anyone that had devotion to her because “it’s not a sin to be raped,” so she didn’t need to die for her purity. It was a real eye-opener for me and just remembering the comments enrages me as I type this. This video reminded me of how much she was and is loved. Thank you Father!”

    I came here to make the same basic comment. I wonder if we read the same post. (If only there were one post with such madness!)

    I interpret this as saying: St. Maria Goretti should have, in the words of Clayton Williams, relaxed and enjoyed it.

  10. Unwilling says:

    Hands off my body! The feminist conception of rape is merely materialistic. St Maria is not (only) protecting her body, she is protecting her obedience to God. That is why from a Catholic perspective there is no irony in using a fragment of her body (cf the 1st Class relic) to honour her martyrdom.

  11. MaggieD says:

    I loved hearing this spirited statement from the pope of my childhood and the wonderful rolled rrrs that went with it. It reminded me strongly of my graduate years, when I took a class on reading Italian medieval and renaissance documents with the archivist of Florence. I remember him talking about the rolled rs as being native to Tuscany. However, as Pope Pius was a Roman I guess it wasn’t limited just to Tuscany. Lovely to hear.

  12. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Arghhhh. If a guy threatens your virtue and your life at the same time, especially with a knife, and after a long period of stalking like this guy, the chances are not great that he is going to be satisfied with just your virtue. And in a country like Italy at the time, the chances were very good that the rapist would have just claimed to have “discovered her body.” Must have been some random wanderer.

    I mean, let us be realistic and true-crime here. So if she had not been a strong agricultural twelve year old who was able to fend her rapist off long enough to get stabbed but not raped, she still would have been a saint, and a virgin who defended her virtue — she just would not have lived long enough for us to know about it, or to know about her extraordinary forgiveness.

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