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Pius Xii

Pius XII

Religious leaders of the Catholic Church are often the focus of research papers for religion courses. Pius XII is an interesting figure in the Church and the writers at Paper Masters will explain his role in a custom paper written exactly as you need it to be.

Born in Italy in 1876, Eugenio Pacelli entered the priesthood in 1899. The majority of his career in the Catholic Church was centered within the administrative hierarchy of the Vatican until 1917, when, as a Bishop, he served as nuncio to Bavaria. He spent the next two decades serving in various capacities throughout Germany and Prussia. As cardinal, Pacelli negotiated with the Nazi government after it gained control of the country. Pacelli was named Pope in 1939, the first Roman candidate in two centuries.

Throughout the tumult of World War II, Pius XII sought to retain open communications with all of the nations involved in the conflict, even if their wartime policies overtly contradicted the principles set forth in Church doctrine. Pius took the position that maintaining a diplomatic and political relationship with all governments was more expedient than severing ties in symbolic protest. Although Pius was largely praised for his actions during this period, future generations have been less sympathetic to him. In recent years, the reassessment of Pius' legacy has been the subject of heated controversy among the following groups:

  • Catholics
  • World War II Historians
  • Jews
  • Members of the general public

Hitler's Pope

Essentially, by choosing to concentrate much of the authority of the world's most powerful religious institution in one individual, the Catholic Church ceded its purported commitment to ensuring moral political and diplomatic relationships. Whenever the decision-making scope of an organization is reduced, the potential for error increases exponentially. In the case of Pius XII, the combination of Pacelli's personal anti-Semitism, pro-Germanic sentiment, and power hunger, paired with the overarching trend of the Vatican towards centralized authority, resulted in a devastating loss of human life.

John Cromwell's Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII represents one of the most controversial historical texts of the nineties. Reviewed in periodicals from Newsweek to The Humanist, this work has sparked the criticism and acclaim only a groundbreaking work deserves. Among articles criticizing Cromwell's work are the following:

  • Cromwell's Cheap Shot at Pius XII
  • Anti-Papal Whoppers (Royal 1999)
  • Libeling a Dead Pope (Grace 1999)

The strong reaction to this book concerns Cromwell's allegation that Pope Pius XIII:

Betrayed an undeniable antipathy toward the Jews, and that his diplomacy in Germany in the 1930's had resulted in the betrayal of Catholic political associations that might have challenged Hitler's regime and thwarted the Final Solution.

Identification of one of the world's most prominent religious figures as an accomplice to the Holocaust is nearly as horrific as the policy itself. John Cromwell, however, uses carefully documented research to show that Pope Pius XII traded his silence on the Holocaust for solidification of the Vatican's role in Central Europe.

This book is a combination of biographic and historical investigation writing styles.Cromwell begins the book by describing Eugenio Pacelli's (Pius XII) childhood and early years in the Catholic Church. When Cromwell begins describing Pacelli's activities as a papal nuncio (diplomat), it is evident he is laying the groundwork for his thesis. Pacelli, an attorney himself, dedicated his life to "[develop] a super concordant that would impose the full force of canon law equally on all Catholics in Germany." This concordant would restore the Vatican to the level of power it desired by removing all state control from areas such as right to worship and education and marriage law.

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