Pope Pius XII: A Force for Good

Pope Pius XII was born Eugenio Pacelli on March 2,1876 in Rome, Italy into devout, pious Catholic family. On Easter Sunday, April 2,1899, he was ordained a priest and celebrated his first mass the following day in Borghese Chapel of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome at the altar of “Salus Populi Romano”. In 1908, he served as a Vatican representative on International Eucharistic Congress. He accompanied Rafael Merry del Val to London and met Winston Churchill, the future Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. On April 23,1917, he was appointed an nuncio to Bavaria by Pope Benedict XV. During his time as nuncio to Bavaria, he met important German leaders such as King Ludwig III of Bavaria, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollwegg, Paul von Hindenburg, Gustav Stresemann, among others. During his time as nuncio to Bavaria, he witnessed Germany’s defeat in World War I, the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II, the fall of Munich Soviet Republic crushed by Freikorps and Reischwehr soldiers, the hyperinflation in 1923, and the Beer Hall Putsch attempt by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi followers during November 8 to November 9,1923. In 1929, he was created a Cardinal by Pope Pius XI and in 1930, he was made Vatican Secretary of State. During his time as Vatican Secretary of State, he oversaw the Reichskonkordat between Nazi Germany and the Vatican. When Nazi Germany violated the Concordat, Pacelli filed objections but were ignored by Nazi officials. On February 10,1939, Pope Pius XI died. On March 2,1939, which happened to be Pacelli’s 63rd birthday he was elected Pope. He chose the name Pius and became Pope Pius XII. His coronation took place on March 12,1939. During World War II, Pius XII helped save 897,000 Jews from the Nazis during World War II. He was a staunch anti-Communist, he approved of a measure that any Catholic with Communist affiliations was to be excommunicated. He stated that the war against Communism was a holy war and excommunicated Catholics who were members of the Communist Party. In 1950, he defended the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. Pope Pius XII died on October 9,1958 in Castel Gandolfo, Italy. He is currently in the process of beatification by the Catholic Church.

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