The Slow Beatification of Pius XII

Source: FSSPX News

In the evening of June 19, Fr. Federico Lombardi, spokesman for the Holy See, declared that Benedict XVI must “be left completely free in his evaluations and his decisions.”

He made this in reference to his decision whether or not wish to speed up the cause of beatification of Pius XII (1939-1958). “Concerning the statements reported by news agencies about the cause of beatification of Pius XII, the head of the Press Office of the Holy See, said again that the signature of the decrees concerning the causes of beatification belong to the sole competence of the pope.” “If the pope thinks that research and reflection upon the cause of Pius XII must still been carried on further, his position must be respected without some trying to interfere by means of unjustified and untimely interventions,” Fr. Lombardi concluded.

That same day, a little earlier, during a press conference organized in Rome, German Jesuit, Peter Gumpel, postulator of the cause of Pope Pacelli, had stated that Benedict XVI would have chosen not to sign the decree of beatification of Pius XII lest he compromise the relationships between the Catholic Church and the Jews. The pope had been “impressed” by the stands taken against this beatification by representatives of the Jewish community, Fr. Stumpel explained, quoted Italian press agency ANSA. According to him, “representatives of Jewish organizations made it clear to Benedict XVI that if he were to do something in favor of Pius XII, the relationships between the Catholic Church and the Jews would be permanently and definitively compromised.” Yet, Fr. Gumpel clearly specified that the pope was “absolutely not” against his predecessor during the Second World War, that “he admires and esteems him especially for what he did in favor of the Jews,” but that he wanted to do “the most he could to improve relationships with the Jews.”

Already in October 2008, the postulator of the cause of Eugenio Pacelli had reacted to the publication of new documents about Pius XII and his action during World War II which were coming from English and American archives. At the time, Fr. Gumpel had denounced “a smear campaign”, and had spoken against the caption of the photo of Pius XII displayed in the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem. “As long as this caption (…) will remain in the museum, Benedict XVI will not be able to go to Israel because it would be a scandal for Catholics,” he had stated.

Fr. Federico Lombardi had then officially stated that the cause of beatification of Pius XII was the “object of further research” on the part of Benedict XVI. Affirming that the pope “wished” to go to the Holy Land, he had invited others not to make “any pressure bear” upon him. In fact, Benedict XVI went to Israel from May 11 to 15 of this year.