'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
A crowd gathers around Pope Pius XII, his arms outstretched, during his inspection tour of Rome after a 1943 American air raid.   (AP Photo)
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(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.