On This Day

Pius XII

260th Pope Pius XII

Full Name: Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli
Profession: 260th Pope

Nationality:
Italy
Italian

Why Famous: Pope Pius XII held his position as Bishop of Rome from 1939 to 1958. During his papacy, Pius was notable for the active role in foreign relations played by the Vatican. Some of this has been criticised, but he has also been praised for these 'Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs.'

Pius is particularly remembered for the Reichskonkordat, in which an agreement of neutrality was signed with Germany during World War Two. Yet also during this time, the Vatican under his control was involved in the German resistance and saved some thousands of Jewish lives.

He received an award from the World Jewish Council for this, "in recognition of the work of the Holy See in rescuing Jews from Fascist and Nazi persecutions." Still his relations with Germany during this period have been criticised and interpretations of his role remain controversial.

Throughout his papacy, Pius was strongly opposed to communism. Indeed, he went so far as to describe the fight against communism as a holy war and excommunicate all members of the Communist Party.

He saw communism as fundamentally opposed to Catholicism, and in political terms subscribed to a domino theory: "[if] the Communists win in Rome, in Italy, it will cast a shadow on the entire world: France would become Communist, and then Spain and then all of Europe."

Born: March 2, 1876
Birthplace: Rome, Kingdom of Italy
Star Sign: Pisces

Died: October 9, 1958 (aged 82)
Cause of Death: Heart failure

Historical Events

  • 1933-07-20 Vatican state secretary Pacelli (Pius XII) signs accord with Adolf Hitler
  • 1939-03-02 Eugenio Pacelli chosen as Pope Pius XII
  • 1939-03-12 Pope Pius XII crowned in Vatican ceremonies
  • 1939-04-01 US recognizes Francisco Franco's government in Spain at end of Spanish civil war. Pope Pius XII congratulates Generalissimo Franco's victory in Spain
  • 1939-10-20 Pope Pius XII publishes his 1st encyclical Summi pontificatus
  • 1939-11-01 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Sertum laetitiae
  • 1939-12-24 World War II: Pope Pius XII makes a Christmas Eve appeal for peace.
  • 1941-01-25 Pope Pius XII elevates the Apostolic Vicariate of the Hawaiian Islands to the dignity of a diocese. It becomes the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu.
  • 1943-06-29 Pope Pius XII encyclical Mystic Corporis (mystic body of Christ)
  • 1943-07-12 Pope Pius XII receives German ambassador baron von Weizsacker
  • 1943-09-30 Pope Pius XII encyclical on Divine spirit
  • 1944-04-09 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Orientals Ecclesiae
  • 1945-04-15 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical "Communium Interpretes Dolorum"
  • 1945-12-23 Pope Pius XII encyclical Orientals omnes, about Rutheense church
  • 1946-01-06 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Quemadmodum
  • 1947-03-21 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Fulgens radiatur
  • 1947-11-20 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Mediator Dei
  • 1947-12-18 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Optissima Pax
  • 1948-05-01 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Auspicia quaedam
  • 1948-10-24 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical In Multiplicibus Curis
  • 1949-04-15 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Redemptoris nostri
  • 1949-07-13 Pope Pius XII excommunicates communist catholics
  • 1950-03-12 Pope Pius XII encyclical "On combating atheistic propaganda"
  • 1950-07-19 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Summi maeroris
  • 1950-08-12 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Humani generis
  • 1950-10-30 Pope Pius XII witnesses "The Miracle of the Sun" while at the Vatican
  • 1950-12-06 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Mirabile illud
  • 1951-06-02 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Evangelii praecones
  • 1951-09-08 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Sempiternus Rex
  • 1951-09-15 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Ingruentium Malorum
  • 1952-12-15 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Orientales Ecclesias
  • 1953-05-24 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Doctor Mellifluus
  • 1953-09-08 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Fulgeno corona
  • 1954-03-25 Pope Pius XII encyclical "Sacra virginitas" (On consecrated virginity)
  • 1954-05-29 Pope Pius XII issues holy declaration
  • 1954-06-05 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Ecclesiae fastos
  • 1954-10-07 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Ad Sinarum gentem
  • 1954-10-11 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Ad caeli Reginam
  • 1955-06-16 Pope Pius XII ex-communicates Argentine President Juan PerĂ³n
  • 1955-12-25 Pope Pius XII encyclical on sacred music & popular music
  • 1956-05-25 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Haurietis aquas
  • 1956-10-28 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Luctuosissimi eventus
  • 1956-11-01 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Laetamur admodum
  • 1956-11-05 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Datis nuperrime
  • 1957-04-21 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Fidei Donum
  • 1957-05-16 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Invicti Athletae
  • 1957-07-02 Pope Pius XII publishes encyclical Le pelerinage De Lourdes
  • 1957-09-08 Pope Pius XII encyclical On motion pictures, radio, TV
  • 1958-07-14 Pope Pius XII publishes his 39th and last encyclical Meminisse juvat
  • 1958-10-13 Burial of Pope Pius XII on the 41st anniversary of the "Miracle of the Sun"

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