Pius XII and Sixtus V

No doubt an impressive "Franciscan": Pope Pius XII, "Pastor Angelicus".

Every Roman with a bit of interest in his own tradition knows some anecdote (more often, legend) about Sixtus V, Er Papa tosto (“the tough Pope”) as they say in the somewhat coarse, but beautifully sounding Roman parlance.

One of the (many) anecdotes regarding Sixtus V is that he dressed as a simple friar and went around Rome to hear what people thought of the Pope. Apparently he didn’t refrain from places of license and triviality, like taverns and the like.

Stuff for novels or TV series, you would think, but scarcely realisable in more modern times. Unexpectedly, it turns out none other than Pius XII recurred to the same expedient during World War II, going around Rome incognito during the German occupation to see what was going on there in daily life or to try to help the one or other oppressed, to save the one or other Jew.

This is what CNA reports about those years (kudos to Father Z for pointing out to this).

The source seems believable, as “Pave The Way” is a very reputable organisation, about which I have already reported on this blog. Unfortunately, the vast material amassed from them to – in the eyes of the misinformed, many of the Jews – “rehabilitate” Pope Pius XII is not easily available online anymore, but we can be sure that the work continues, and will be made public in a more accessible manner in the years to come.

Dear reader, if you have read this blog for some time you will know that its author is an enthusiastic supporter of this great and saintly Pope, and if you had some doubts some clicking around or just looking at the pics on the left of the screen should take every doubt away.

I do think that Pope Pacelli’s excursions in Rome are, whilst a sign of great courage – we knew that already – a small thing compared to all the Pastor Angelicus has done for the sake not only of Catholicism, but of oppressed people of whichever religion. Still, I thought this colourful anecdote would please most of you as we imagine the Pope – dressed as a lean Franciscan – and his secretary (the future Pope Paul VI) dressed as a priest as they wander through occupied Rome trying to get a first-hand impression of the situation on the ground, and of what it is best to do.

Thank God for this great, great Pope.

Mundabor

Posted on November 4, 2011, in Catholicism, Good Shepherds and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Pius XII and Sixtus V.

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