On Thursday at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, gave a speech at a Congress on the 50th anniversary of the death of the Servant of God, Pius XII, and recalled that his cause for canonization is a religious act that demands respect from all and is the exclusive competence of the Holy See.
The cardinal pointed to “many signs” that indicate that the debate about the life and work of the late Pontiff is “increasingly more calm and balanced” and that the importance and greatness of his pontificate is more recognized, despite the controversies that have become “increasingly less understandable and above all have little to do with history.”
Cardinal Bertone noted that in Pius XII’s first encyclical, he denounced not only “the horrors of war but he also recalled the great works of charity that the Catholic Church carried out during the years of the conflict—charity that was dispensed to all without any distinction.”
“Proof of this,” he said, “are the more than three and a half million documents of the Vatican’s Office of Information about prisoners of war, which was instituted by Pius XII immediately after the war, as well as a section of Vatican archives up to the year of 1947 and that are available for research but are not used. Evidently some people only care about history if it can be used as a weapon,” the cardinal added.
The portrayal of Pius XII as indifferent to the victims of Nazism or as “Hitler’s Pope,” “besides being insulting, is above all unsustainable from an historical point of view, as is the image of a Pontiff subject to the Americans and ‘chaplain of the West,’ which was spread by the Soviets and their supporters in the European democracies during the Cold War.”