If I told you that Pius XII spent the war years peeking into a crystal ball or shuffling tarot cards in order to divine the future, you might say something like, “What a nutcase!” And you’d be right, I suspect. So what’s the difference when John Cornwell tells us – citing beatification testimony of Pius’ own nephew – that:
…the Pope was in the habit during the war of conducting a form of exorcism to cast out the devil that he assumed inhabited the soul of Hitler – which he did in the dead of night in his private chapel in the papal apartments.
That’s not nuts? Ooga-booga, the Pope communing with the spirits in a private seance (true, one wonders how his nephew knew this) in his most private of Holy Holies? The valiant Pius wrestling with angels for the soul of the world, while Satan stalks the heart of Europe in the form of the Third Reich. Apparently, a papal encyclical would have been wasted on mortal eyes; ditto a radio broadcast in condemnation of Hitler. Pius XII produced nothing of the kind for the duration of the war.
But he wrestled with the Children of Darkness in his private chapel at midnight. How spiritually elevated of him.
I fell for it again. I bought Corriere della Sera today because they have a new promo, “Classics of Freethought;” for one euro you get a thin volume of Voltaire, Rousseau etc…provided you buy the newspaper. So I did.
And on the front page is an article telling me the Vatican has already prepared an official prayer for the beatification of Pius XII, that stone-faced, humorless pope who never spoke a word against the Nazi atrocities during the entirety of World War II.
The prayer begins, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, we thank You for having given to the Church Pope Pius XII, that faithful teacher of Your truth and our angelic pastor…”
Barf. Does “introspection” have an entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia? Or is it taboo, like “relativism?”