Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII (Italian: Pio XII), born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (Italian pronunciation: [euˈdʒɛːnjo maˈriːa dʒuˈzɛppe dʒoˈvanni paˈtʃɛlli]; 2 March 1876  9 October 1958), was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958. Before his election to the papacy, he served as secretary of the Department of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, papal nuncio to Germany, and Cardinal Secretary of State, in which capacity he worked to conclude treaties with European and Latin American nations, such as the Reichskonkordat with Nazi Germany.[1]

Pope Venerable

Pius XII
Bishop of Rome
Pius XII c.1951
Papacy began2 March 1939
Papacy ended9 October 1958
PredecessorPius XI
SuccessorJohn XXIII
Ordination2 April 1899
by Francesco di Paola Cassetta
Consecration13 May 1917
by Benedict XV
Created cardinal16 December 1929
by Pius XI
Personal details
Birth nameEugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli
Born(1876-03-02)2 March 1876
Rome, Kingdom of Italy
Died9 October 1958(1958-10-09) (aged 82)
Castel Gandolfo, Italy
Previous post(s)
MottoOpus Justitiae Pax ("The work of justice [shall be] peace" [Is. 32: 17])
Coat of arms
Venerated inCatholic Church
Title as SaintVenerable
Other popes named Pius
Ordination history of
Pope Pius XII
Priestly ordination
Ordained byFrancesco di Paola Cassetta
Date2 April 1899
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecratorPope Benedict XV
Co-consecratorsAgostino Zampini
Giovanni Battista Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano
Date13 May 1917
PlaceSt. Peter's Basilica, Rome
Elevated byPope Pius XI
Date16 December 1929
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Pope Pius XII as principal consecrator
Michel-Joseph Bourguignon d'Herbigny29 March 1926
Giuseppe Pizzardo27 April 1930
Luigi Centoz14 February 1932
Francis Joseph Spellman8 September 1932
Albert Levame4 February 1934
Saverio Ritter11 August 1935
Maurilio Silvani13 September 1936
Eugène-Gabriel-Gervais-Laurent Tisserant25 July 1937
Francesco Benedetto Cialeo29 October 1939
Carlo Confalonieri4 May 1941

While the Vatican was officially neutral during World War II, the Reichskonkordat and his leadership of the Catholic Church during the war remain the subject of controversy—including allegations of public silence and inaction about the fate of the Jews.[2] Pius employed diplomacy to aid the victims of the Nazis during the war and, through directing the Church to provide discreet aid to Jews and others, saved hundreds of thousands of lives.[3][4] Pius maintained links to the German Resistance, and shared intelligence with the Allies. His strongest public condemnation of genocide was, however, considered inadequate by the Allied Powers, while the Nazis viewed him as an Allied sympathizer who had dishonoured his policy of Vatican neutrality.[5] After the war, he advocated peace and reconciliation, including lenient policies towards former Axis and Axis-satellite nations.[citation needed]

During his papacy, the Church issued the Decree against Communism, declaring that Catholics who profess Communist doctrine are to be excommunicated as apostates from the Christian faith. The Church experienced severe persecution and mass deportations of Catholic clergy in the Eastern Bloc. He explicitly invoked ex cathedra papal infallibility with the dogma of the Assumption of Mary in his Apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus.[6] His magisterium includes almost 1,000 addresses and radio broadcasts. His forty-one encyclicals include Mystici corporis, the Church as the Body of Christ; Mediator Dei on liturgy reform; and Humani generis, in which he instructed theologians to adhere to episcopal teaching and allowed that the human body might have evolved from earlier forms. He eliminated the Italian majority in the College of Cardinals in 1946.

After he died in 1958, Pope Pius XII was succeeded by John XXIII. In the process toward sainthood, his cause for canonization was opened on 18 November 1965 by Paul VI during the final session of the Second Vatican Council. He was made a Servant of God by John Paul II in 1990 and Benedict XVI declared Pius XII Venerable on 19 December 2009.[7]

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