DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     September 22, 1999     vol. 10, no. 180

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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BEATIFICATION IN 2000 UNLIKELY FOR POPE PIUS XII

        VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The cause for the beatification of Pope Pius XII is proceeding on a normal schedule, but he will not be beatified in the year 2000, according to the relator for his cause.

        Father Peter Gumpel, a German Jesuit, has been charged by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints with the task of compiling the documentation on the cause of Pope Pius. He told the Roman news agency I Media that the process "is not far enough advanced" to allow for beatification in 2000.

        Father Gumpel said there are no particular roadblocks to impede the process, but "it is a tremendous amount of work," because the pontificate of Pius XII lasted 19 years, and the beatification process entails a thorough study of the Vatican records during that complex period. Pope Pius XII also wrote a great deal, and his writings must be collected and studied. Observing that Pope Pius XII wrote 13 encyclicals, Father Gumpel adds that "he is the individual most frequently cited in the documents of the Second Vatican Council."

        An Italian Jesuit priest, Father Molinari, is the postulator for the cause of Pius XII. He is currently editing a "positio," or synthesis of the case for beatification. The first two volumes of that work is now being printed, Father Gumpel reported; but another two volumes are anticipated. When that work is complete, a team of nine theologians will study the several thousand pages involved, and submit their judgment to the cardinals and bishops on the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. They in turn will submit a judgment to the Pope, who-- on their advice-- could authorize the Congregation to issue a decree recognizing the "heroic virtue" of the candidate for beatification. Once such a decree is issued, there is an additional step prior to beatification: the approval of a miracle attributed to the candidate's intercession. "While it is difficult to predict how much time this all will take, at a minimum it would be two years," Father Gumpel reported.

        On the other hand, the German Jesuit said that the cause for Pope Pius XII would not be affected by the renewed controversy over allegations that he did not do enough to stop the Nazi Holocaust. The Vatican Congregation, Father Gumpel said, "is not impressed by publications that have no historic validity." That was a clear reference to the new book, Hitler's Pope, in which author John Cornwell resurrects old charges that Pope Pius XII aided the growth of the Nazi regime. Father Gumpel said that the Cornwell book ignores the historical evidence, which clearly shows that those charges are baseless. Cornwell, he charged, displays an ignorance of both German and Vatican history, and a weak understanding of international negotiations.


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September 22, 1999       volume 10, no. 180
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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