Pope Pius XII
The Silent Pope
Feast Day: October 9
Pius XII was born as Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli on March 2, 1876 in Rome. He died on October 9, 1958 in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. Pius XII died of hiccups. His hiccups were caused by throat cancer.
He was Head of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City from March 2, 1939 until his death in 1958. Before his election as Pope, he was Secretary of the Department of Ecclesiastical Affairs, Papal Nuncio in Germany and Cardinal Secretary of State, in which capacity he served to conclude treaties with European and Latin American nations, such as the Reichskonkordat with Nazi Germany.
During his reign as Pope, the Papacy faced the ravages of World War II (1939-45), the abuse of the Nazi, Fascist and Soviet regimes, the horrors of the Holocaust, the challenge of post-war reconstruction and the threat of the communism and the cold war. Considered an ascetic and "saint of God" by his admirers, Pius was criticized by others for his alleged "public silence" in the face of genocide and his seemingly contradictory policy of impartiality during World War II, but staunch anti-communism during the post-war period. .
On December 19, 2009, the Vatican reports that Pope Benedict XVI has declared his predecessor Pius XII "venerable". This has been solemnly proclaimed by the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints. This could have brought the beatification of this previous pope one step closer. Pope Benedict XVI has postponed the beatification of his predecessor Pius XII for the time being. According to Father Peter Gumpel, postulator for the beatitude of Pius XII, because he does not want to disturb the good relationship with the Jewish community.
On March 2, 2020, the Vatican opened the secret archives of this controversial pope. He is accused of not taking a stand against the Nazi regime during the Second World War. About 200 scientists have access to the 16 million documents. Jan De Volder, church historian at KU Leuven, is one of the researchers who will soon be looking at the archives.
Pius XII personally saved at least 15,000 Jews and learned about the Holocaust early on, says German historian Michael Feldkamp, who provides evidence of his findings in the Vatican's archives. He says Pius XII sent a report on the Holocaust to the US government shortly after the Wannsee conference, but they did not believe him.
Pope Benedict XVI has postponed the beatification of his predecessor Pius XII for the time being. According to Father Peter Gumpel, postulator for the beatitude of Pius XII, because he does not want to disturb the good relationship with the Jewish community.
His successor was John XXIII.