A film shows the essential role of Pius XII in Rome in 1943

Source: FSSPX News

On the evening of April 9, in Castel Gandolfo, Benedict XVI attended the first screening  of the film on Pius XII entitled Sotto il cielo di Roma (Beneath the Roman sky), “which depicts the essential role played by Pius XII in protecting Rome and many persecuted people between 1943 and 1944”.  This sort of artwork, the Pope declared, has “particular value especially for the younger generations.  Films like this one can be useful and stimulating and can help someone who has studied certain events in school, or perhaps has heard of them, to become acquainted with a period that is not so distant in time, even though the never-ending stream of events in recent history and a fragmented culture may cause some to forget them.”

At the end of the screening, the Holy Father underscored the essential role of Pius XII, “the pope who, like a father for all, presided in charity in Rome and in the world, particularly during the difficult period of the Second World War”.  Pius XII, “the pope of our youth…, knew how to speak to the people of his time, showing the way of truth by his teaching,” Benedict XVI added, speaking to members of the Secretariat of State and representatives from the Italian television network RAI, which produced the film.  In conclusion he called Pope Pius XII a “great master of faith, hope and charity” and noted that “with great wisdom he was able to orient the Church toward the horizon of the third millennium.”

Released in Italy, Sotto il cielo di Roma takes place in Rome during World War II, under the Nazi occupation, when 10,000 Jews had taken refuge in the churches and convents of Rome, after the 1943 round-up in the ghetto of the Italian capital.

On March 25 the Vatican announced the online publication of official documents dating back to World War II, during the pontificate of Pius XII (1939-1958).  Thus thousands of pages are now available at the official website, www.vatican.va, for the express purpose of contributing to “research and information on the history and activities of the Holy See”, since the position of the pope at that time is the subject of controversy.  A note from the Press Office of the Holy See translated into six languages explains that “these texts represent a documentary resource of inestimable value that is now at the disposal of scholars and all interested persons, free of charge.  It is a great contribution to research and information on the history and activities of the Holy See.”

Accessible until now in printed form, these thousands of documents in Latin, French or Italian can now be found on the website of the Holy See in the “Resource Library” section; they can also be accessed from the homepage of the website under the heading of Acta Sanctae Sedis.  Furthermore the Vatican website recommends the 12 volumes of the Actes et documents du Saint-Siège relatifs à la Seconde Guerre mondiale [Acts and documents of the Holy See relating to the Second World War], which were collected from the secret Vatican archives and edited by four Jesuits:  Fathers Pierre Blet, Angelo Martini, Robert Graham and Burkhart Schneider at the request of Paul VI (1963-1978).  The volumes had been published serially between 1965 and 1981.

The decision to post these materials on the Internet, which was deliberately publicized by the Vatican, occurs at a time when some Jewish leaders are continuing to demand that the Holy See open its archives from the period of the pontificate of Pius XII, after the decision of Benedict XVI last December to allow the beatification of his predecessor to advance by acknowledging his “heroic virtues”.  (Sources : apic/imedia/VIS vatican.va - DICI no. 216 dated June 5, 2010)