Pacelli Pius XII

Does the name Pacelli ring a bell to you? Pacelli brings back to me a horde of souvenirs of my childhood. I still can see in my mind’s eyes, up to now, the copies of Paris Match magazine clued to the wall of the class room in the attic of my primary school where I used to attend classes with Monsieur Laval. There was this picture of Pope Pius XII born Pacelli in company of the famous celebrities of the day and head of states. He was dressed up with his papal tiara and seated on his throne.

With great pomp and reverence, Monsieur Laval told us that the pope had passed away and we were given the details there of and procedures that had to be followed by the church for the election of the new pope. I must have been very impressed by his story as up to now I can relive this moment vividly and with very great details. The cardinals will be assembled in a conclave in Vatican to pray, to discuss, and vote for a new Pope. After each meeting, if no consensus was reached a dark smoke will be released from the chimney of the Vatican. White smoke would be released only if the new Pope was elected.

There are many reasons to my very special interest to the life of Pope Pius XII:

-Pope Pius XII was born on the same date as I did: 2nd March;

-He was made Pope on the 2nd March 1939;

-The Pope of my early childhood and post 2nd world war reconstruction;

-He moved for the church to allow the moral use of family planning through the rhythm method;

-and was an energetic proponent of the theory of the Big Bang.

Pope Pius XII leadership of the Catholic Church during World War II and the Holocaust remains the subject of continued historical controversy. Before election to the papacy, Pacelli served as secretary of the Department of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, papal nuncio and cardinal secretary of state, in which roles he worked to conclude treaties with European nations, most notably the Reichskonkordat with Germany. After World War II, he was a vocal supporter of lenient policies toward vanquished nations, including amnesty for war criminals. He also was a staunch opponent of communism.

Pius is one of few popes in recent history to exercise his papal infallibility by issuing an apostolic constitution, Munificentissimus Deus, which defined ex cathedra the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. He also promulgated forty-six encyclicals, including Humani Generis, which is still relevant to the Church’s position on evolution. He also decisively eliminated the Italian majority in the College of Cardinals with the Grand Consistory in 1946. Most sedevacantists regard Pope Pius XII as the last true Pope to occupy the Holy See.


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