Pope Benedict has moved two of his predecessors one step closer to sainthood, including a wartime pope dogged by criticism that he did too little to stop the Holocaust. Benedict declared Pius XII and John Paul II to be "venerable," the first of three steps to sainthood. The latter was widely expected—John Paul died only four years ago, but he's being to be fast-tracked to the honor. Pius XII is a different story.
Jewish groups had asked the Vatican to hold off on the process until the full record of his WWII writings could be examined. The Vatican archives are fully accessible only through 1939, reports the London Times. Opponents say he remained largely silent about the plight of Jews and Hitler's atrocities.
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