Pope Pius XII died 55 years ago. His incredible legacy is still with us; though, at times, obscured like a great mosaic with layers of dirt. For the unthinking general public, the holy pope is obscured - so the liars say - with at minimum doing nothing to save Jews; or, they embolden themselves and try to claim he was pro-Nazi.
Facts are indeed stubborn things, yet, a liar is even more so. Invariably, when one digs around these people who defame the pope, one quickly finds their real motivation: a hatred of Jesus Christ and His Church. I speak not of the simple-minded folk who parrot everything spewed out of our vile media, but the noisy ringleaders in this papal defamation circus.
But, for Catholics, Christians, religious Jews and men of good will, there is another layer that has been obscured, perhaps due to the fact that the Pope's words are quite disturbing. A few of these people still read and meditate on the holy man's words. For the rest, it would be of great benefit to be acquainted or re-acquainted with Pius XII. The uncomfortable reality is, that Pius was a bit of a prophet. A prophet being a man who truly and completely tells things like they are.
The great Jewish convert, Eugenio Zolli was one such man who led the way in recognizing the great gift that Eugenio Pacelli was to the world. The holy rabbi saw in the holy pope a man of God and acted accordingly. With the passage of time, and the new fantasy world of the 60s, Pope Pius fell out of vogue. It was - so they said - time dismiss the prophets of doom; it would be a time of "luv" and "strawberry fields"... but not forever.
By the late 60s, the fresh strawberries had rotted and Pope Paul would be lamenting a crisis of Faith. Quebec, the seemingly impenetrable fortress of Catholicism, detonated herself from within and the collapse of the "fortress" revealed to the world that perhaps the strength of Catholicism in Quebec had been greatly exaggerated. Thus it was, along with the wicked smear of the memory of the great war-time pope, that the writings of Pius XII became buried.
Yet, through it all, and through all the debates over the Second Vatican Council, one must surely concede that another great legacy of Pius XII has been his influence on the Second Vatican Council. One might suggest that the Council could be reading with the writings of Pius XII as the interpretive key. The fact is, that the Council, replete with Pian writings and references, is unintelligible without reference to Pacelli. Such a return could also solve a number of the most contentious passages - such as, the dichotomy within Dignitatis humanae - whereby the prologue seems to suggest something different than further contents. This, is as much admitted by Council peritus, Fr. Yves Congar (one of many). Any true hermeneutic of continuity would have to read the Council according to the mind of Pius XII.
Pius XII was also a great writer and promoter of family rights. His writings are incredibly far seeing; as well as promoting a completely integral culture of life. Pius saw the dangers of a false spirituality; he called for Catholicism to be lived in every aspect of one's life. He called for an end to poverty, for economic honesty and defense of the family. He fought for women's rights and dignity; he defended the value and leadership of fathers. He loved children, the oppressed, the ill, the elderly - all, without exception.
We could do well, in these uncertain times, to return and re-study in meditative manner the writings on the family by this incredible man. In fact, many of Pope John Paul II's more obscure writings become clearer when placed side-by-side with the holy pope. Pius remains the first pope to ever write so openly on specific topics pertaining to family life. Pro-lifers should take note, that the marginalized, the poor, the mentally ill etc. all come under the umbrella of human life to be audaciously and actively protected. Abortion is just one symptom of a culture of death. Pius XII was that great witness to life when the world was engulfed in a mad orgy of death. Yet, the orgy of death continues, but in a state of denial. May we take up once more this great pope's teachings, live them, and spread them to all those who will listen.
Venerable Pius XII, pray for us.
Venerable Pius XII, pray for us.