Thursday, 9 October 2008

Pius XII

Today is the 50th anniversary from the death of the Servant of God Pius XII. It is sad that this leader of the Church is surrounded by so much controversy some of it fuelled by people who are not friends of the Church or admirers of Christianity. This Pope was leading the Church in extremely troubled times when international relations were put under pressure as never before. What was happening was also unprecedented. The Nazi party was fuelling hatred and murdering Jews just because they belonged to this ancient Chosen People of God. Hatred was the order of the day. Pius XII was terrified at the insecurity which so many people faced. He united himself with Christ, refused to leave the Vatican when it was suggested to him that he should be in a more secure place. Pius XII intervened many times in silence and in secret. This experience led him to become an ascetic many times openly seen as aloof.
Pius XII is a precursor of Vatican II; many of his writings are extensively quoted in the Conciliar documents.
In the encyclical Mystici Corporis he outlined the unity between all baptised and Christ the Eternal Word of God. In another encyclical, Divino Afflante Spiritu he opened up an academic study of Sacred Scriptures, indeed a movement came out of this from which we still reap the benefits in the biblical field. In another encyclical called Mediator Dei he gave a new impetus to the Liturgical Movement. It was he also who in 1950 proclaimed to the Church and to the world the teaching about the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary as received by the Church everywhere and down the ages.
A Papal Mass was just held of which I could follow snippets through EWTN. The sermon of Pope Benedict is well worth reading. It is available here. As we commemorate the passing of Pius XII half a century ago we pray for justice, mercy and peace. We ask God never to allow such hatred to destroy his glorious creation and we pray that as servants of Christ we keep on working for peace in the full knowledge that peace starts from within our hearts, the seat where the kingdom yet to come is already present.

No comments: