Rome, Italy, Feb 1, 2010 / 16:01 pm
Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini, the 93-year-old president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Health Workers, spoke with CNA on January 28 about his personal experience with Pope Pius XII and how his example moved him to save Jews during World War II. He expressed his "great joy" and "satisfaction without limits" at Pope Benedict's recent declaration of Pius XII as Venerable.
In what he called the "dawn" of his priesthood, during "the Great War," Cardinal Angelini lived through the bombings of Rome as an assistant pastor in a Roman parish, a position that gave rise to his first contact with Pope Pius XII.
"Among the living and the dead, in the midst of the rubble, that is how I found him for the first time," the cardinal told CNA. "There he was. The Holy Father approached and I admired immediately the greatness of his character, the greatness of his spirit, of a pastor not only endeared, but tied to the souls of the entire world, but in that moment present to his Roman faithful."
The Pope had left his Vatican residence that day to survey the damage of Allied bombardments on the Nazi-occupied city and to be present among the people. He did so, added the cardinal, "before the sirens had ceased," thus risking being caught in the middle of another air raid.