Pius XII "heroic", cardinals conclude
Cardinals from the Holy See's Congregation for the Saints have voted to recognise the "heroic virtues" of Pius XII, opening the way for Pope Benedict to declare the controversial World War II pope "venerable".
Catholic News reports that the the 30-member panel voted Tuesday was not unanimous with some cardinals having reservations and urging "prudence".
The decree now goes to Pope Benedict for a final green light. Then, before the beatification ceremony can go ahead, the Vatican must approve a miracle attributed to Pius's heavenly intercession.
Born into a noble Roman family, Eugenio Pacelli has frequently come under attack for not speaking out more forcefully while Hitler was hunting down and exterminating European Jews.
Supporters have also pointed out that, under the pope's orders, convents, monasteries and other Catholic institutions threw open their doors to Jews who were hidden and protected there. Many were also hidden in the Vatican.
But the BBC notes that Pope Pius XII also abstained from signing the Allied declaration condemning the extermination of the Jews and throughout the war maintained a neutral position.
However, the Vatican has always contended that the wartime Pope led quiet diplomacy that saved the lives of thousands of Jews.
Panel of Cardinals recognize heroic virtues of Pope Pius XII in procedure for beatification (Catholic News, 9/5/07)
Wartime Pope on path to sainthood (BBC News, 9/5/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Pius XII (Wikipedia)
Pius XII (Vatican)
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Vatican boycotts Holocaust ceremony over "offensive" photo (CathNews, 13/4/07)
Pius XII an "enemy of Third Reich", documents show (CathNews, 4/4/07)
"Incredulity" at Israel cancellation of Vatican meeting (CathNews, 28/3/07)
Israel apologises over cancelled Vatican meeting (CathNews, 30/3/07)
KGB smear campaign against Pius XII exposed (CathNews, 30/1/07)
Vatican's secret archives now open to scholars (CathNews, 19/9/06)
Vatican to release Pius XI's secret archives (CathNews, 3/7/06)
Hitler plot to kidnap Pius XII revealed (CathNews, 17/1/05)
Catholics join latest debate on Pope Pius XII (CathNews, 7/1/05)
10 May 2007