Pius XII maysoon be a saint

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY AN­SHEL PF­EF­FER

POPE BENE­DICT is ex­pected to an­nounce the be­at­i­fi­ca­tion of con­tro­ver­sial war­time pope Pius XII within the next year.

Con­ser­va­tive Catholic groups have been pres­sur­ing the Vat­i­can to canon­ise Pius for decades, but ma­jor Jewish or­gan­i­sa­tions have tried to op­pose such a move since he has been ac­cused of re­main­ing si­lent over the ex­ter­mi­na­tion of the Jews.

In 2000, then Pope John Paul II con­ferred the ti­tle of Ven­er­a­ble on Pius, the first ma­jor step to­wards saint­hood. His suc­ces­sor has yet to pro­ceed with the next stage, be­at­i­fi­ca­tion, af­ter which all that is needed for canon­i­sa­tion is ev­i­dence of two mir­a­cles con­nected with the can­di­date.

The con­tro­versy over Pius’s con­duct dur­ing the Sec­ond World War is far from be­ing re­solved. Some his­to­ri­ans be­lieve that his ha­tred for Com­mu­nism turned him into a si­lent col­lab­o­ra­tor with the Nazis, while oth­ers main­tain that in his quiet way, the pope helped save thou­sands of Jews.

Pope Bene­dict did not use the op­por­tu­nity of a spe­cial mass on the 50th an­niver­sary of Pius’ death, to an­nounce his be­at­i­fi­ca­tion, but he did say that “he acted fre­quently, se­cretly and silently, due to the com­plex sit­u­a­tion, he felt that only in th­ese ways could he avert the worst of all and save a large num­ber of Jews.”

Vat­i­can in­sid­ers be­lieve that with state­ments like th­ese, Bene­dict is paving the way to be­at­i­fi­ca­tion.

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