'Hitler's Pope' Closer to Sainthood

Benedict XVI prepares to beatify controversial Pius XII

By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 10, 2008 1:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – The most controversial pope of modern times may soon be a step closer to sainthood, reports Der Spiegel. Pius XII—known by many as "Hitler's Pope" because of his lack of action during the Holocaust or criticism of the Nazis—is about to be beatified, despite decades of dispute. Beatification is the final step before sainthood is declared. Pope Benedict XVI claims Pius worked "secretly and silently" to save Jews.

The progress toward sainthood is disturbing several scholars, who want the Vatican to open its files on Pius XII. "I wish they'd spend a higher percentage of their time in efforts to open the archives, and less spinning what they're selectively presenting," said a spokesman for the Jewish Anti-Defamation League.

A crowd gathers around Pope Pius XII, his arms outstretched, during his inspection tour of Rome after a 1943 American air raid.
A crowd gathers around Pope Pius XII, his arms outstretched, during his inspection tour of Rome after a 1943 American air raid.   (AP Photo)
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a mass to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII.
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a mass to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII.   (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Pope Pius XII. His actions during the Holocaust have been a source of dispute for decades.
Pope Pius XII. His actions during the Holocaust have been a source of dispute for decades.   (AP Photo)
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