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Rome & the World: archivist takes issue with American’s Pius XII book

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Pius XII archive

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 12/07/22

Also in today's headlines: Indians clash over liturgy, leading to cathedral being closed • And Vatican seeking to recycle technological waste

Every day, Aleteia offers a selection of articles written by the international press about the Church and the major issues that concern Catholics around the world. The opinions and views expressed in these articles are not those of the editors.

Wednesday 7 December 2022
1. Catholics in India barred from cathedral after liturgical dispute leads to clashes
2. Vatican archivist responds to book on Pius XII and the Jews
3. Agreement between the military junta and civilian groups in Sudan
4. The Vatican wants to recycle its technological waste
5. The Church in Italy will pray for peace on December 21

1Catholics in India barred from cathedral after liturgical dispute leads to clashes

Last Sunday, the parishioners of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ernakulam, Kerala, India, celebrated Mass outside. At issue was a liturgical controversy that has been agitating the Syro-Malabar community for several months. This Eastern Catholic church has 4.25 million members, the majority of whom are in Kerala. As reported by the American Catholic website Crux, the cathedral was closed after clashes involving faithful opposed to the unified liturgical reform of the Syro-Malabar rite. This reform envisages that the priest does not celebrate facing the people, which was the norm until 2021. The police had to intervene on November 27, as Archbishop Mar Andrews Thazhath was blocked from entering the church. In the archdiocese of Ernakulam–Angamaly, more than 300 parishes are refusing to follow the directives from Rome, which were also validated by the Synod of the Syro-Malabar Church. These opponents ask to maintain the pre-existing form and not to impose a uniformity of the rite.

Crux, English  

2Vatican archivist responds to book on Pius XII and the Jews

Vatican archivist and Flemish historian Johan Ickx has strongly criticized the book on Pope Pius XII published this year by American academic David Kertzer. In an exchange with journalists on Tuesday evening, he found it regrettable to use documents made available by the Vatican and then to make an erroneous account of them. David Kertzer’s book, “The Pope at War: The Secret History of Pius XII, Mussolini and Hitler” casts a highly critical light on the Vatican’s willingness to help Jews during World War II, claiming that the Vatican only helped baptized Jews. There are in fact many cases of non-baptized Jews who were saved thanks to the intervention of the Vatican Secretariat of State, said the Belgian historian, who once again defended the actions of Pope Pius XII, who led the Catholic Church from 1939 to 1958. According to Ickx, there are many of the Pope’s speeches during the Second World War, which could be perceived as too cautious, but they must be interpreted correctly. Already during his time as Secretary of State in the 1930s, Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli made it clear that as many Jews as possible should be helped. The Vatican Archivist affirmed his commitment to absolute transparency regarding documents related to the Second World War, stating that it is important to evaluate documents with caution and in context. He explains that rather than taking into account only the documents from one country, which could lead to erroneous conclusions, it is better to cross-reference sources, as documents from 30 to 35 countries concerning the war years are archived. During his pontificate Pope Benedict XVI (2005-2013) had made certain documents from Pius XII’s pontificate more accessible, as a result of nine years of preparation by the Vatican archives’ workers to help historians consult these materials. Then in 2020 Pope Francis fully opened the archives regarding this time period. All documents from the pontificate of Pius XII dating from 1939 to 1948 have thus been digitized and are accessible., German

3. Agreement between the military junta and civilian groups in Sudan

Political tensions in Sudan are easing. Military leaders and civil society representatives signed a framework agreement yesterday in an attempt to break the country’s impasse. However the decision did not meet the approval of the citizens, who continue to protest.

Vatican News, Italian

4. The Vatican wants to recycle its technological waste

The Holy See has signed an agreement with an Italian company to recycle its electronic waste using a technology that recovers precious metals, but without harming the environment and with little use of energy.

Alfa y Omega, Spanish

5. The Church in Italy will pray for peace on December 21

In front of the tomb of St. Nicholas, venerated by both Catholics and Orthodox, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, president of the Italian episcopate, will lead a prayer vigil for peace on December 21 in Bari, southern Italy. The “terrible escalation” of the war in Ukraine will be at the center of the intentions.

L’Avvenire, Italian 

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