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January 14, 2022 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

Q. Are archaeologists still looking for the original pieces of Christ’s Cross? – J.B., Pennsylvania.
A. No, the true Cross was found by St. Helena in Jerusalem in the fourth century, and pieces of this holy relic can now be found in many churches and shrines throughout the world. Helena was sent to Jerusalem by her son, the Roman Emperor Constantine, who had made Christianity legal in the Roman Empire in 313 and was baptized shortly before his death in 337.
According to reports, Helena found three crosses at an excavation site, but it was not until all three had been touched to the body of a dying woman that the true Cross was identified as the one that restored her to good health. She brought a considerable portion of the Cross to Rome and had erected in its honor the Basilica of the Holy Cross. According to St. Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386), the Cross “has been distributed fragment by fragment from this spot and has already nearly filled the world.”

Q. Every Pope since 1958 has been canonized or beatified, except Pope Pius XII (1939-1958), who was a hero to me. Having read the book Hitler, the War and the Pope, by Ronald Rychlak, I must ask why Pius XII, a man of exceptional courage and wisdom and holiness, has not been beatified or canonized? Could the disgusting and totally fictitious 1963 play The Deputy possibly be responsible for this glaring failure? – D.M., Virginia.
A. Just for the record, one Pope, John Paul I, has neither been beatified nor canonized, but of course he sat on the Chair of Peter for only one month in 1978.
There is no doubt that The Deputy, written by a Communist to discredit Pius XII, started the smear campaign against the Holy Father by alleging that he had done little to help the Jews during World War II. This is one of the biggest lies of this or any other century. That it has gained traction is more evidence of the insidious ability of the media to turn history upside down.
For the truth is that when Pius XII died in 1958, he was acknowledged by Jewish leaders as a hero for his efforts on behalf of persecuted Jews during World War II. Future Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, for example, said at the time that “during the ten years of the Nazi terror, when our people went through the horrors of martyrdom, the Pope raised his voice to condemn the persecutors and to commiserate with their victims.”
Israeli diplomat Pinchas Lapide, in his book Three Popes and the Jews, credited Pius XII with saving the lives of some 860,000 Jews. The chief rabbi of Rome, Israel Zolli, converted to the Catholic Church at the end of the war and took Eugenio, the Pope’s name, as his baptismal name to demonstrate his high regard for the Pontiff.
And The New York Times, in editorials in 1941 and 1942, called the Holy Father “a lonely voice in the silence and darkness enveloping Europe this Christmas” and praised him for putting himself “squarely against Hitlerism.”
Or consider this statement in Time magazine (December 23, 1940) from Jewish scientist Albert Einstein:
“Only the [Catholic] Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I had never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am thus forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.”
Not only was Pius XII not a supporter of Hitler, as Ronald Rychlak so convincingly demonstrates in his book Hitler, the War and the Pope, he was even involved in a plot to assassinate Hitler! The details can be found in Mark Riebling’s 2015 book Church of Spies: The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler. The main premise of the book, said Riebling, “is that Pius opted to resist Hitler with covert action instead of overt protest. As a result, he became involved in three separate plots by German dissidents to remove Hitler.”
The Pope himself did not try to kill Hitler, said Riebling, but he was “a key cog in conspiracies to remove a ruler who is a kind of Antichrist because good people ask for his help, and he searches his conscience, and he agrees to become an intermediary for the plotters — their foreign agent, as it were — and, thereby, he becomes an accessory to their plots.”
None of the plots succeeded because Hitler had “the luck of the devil,” said Ronald J. Rychlak, professor of law at the University of Mississippi. He said that Hitler “canceled speeches without knowing that snipers were in position and ready to take him out. He missed parades where bombs were set to explode. Plotters attempted to kill him by blowing up his plane, but the bomb didn’t go off. By shifting a meeting from a concrete bunker to a wooden barracks, Hitler evaded another attempt, memorialized in the movie Valkyrie.”
So why has the much-deserved canonization of Pius XII been so long delayed? Probably because Church authorities fear the outcry that will follow such a decision after a decades-long smear campaign against the late Pontiff.

Q. How do you evaluate private revelations and pious legends? Many people I know, good Catholics, go running after healers, visionaries, hagiography, apocryphal “gospels,” etc., with more enthusiasm than they show for the liturgy or Church teachings. What are your thoughts? – C.E., California.
A. First, we would quote what Pope St. John Paul II said in 1996:
“Some members of the People of God are not rooted firmly enough in the Faith, so that the sects, with their deceptive proselytism, mislead them to separate themselves from true communion in Christ. Within the Church community, the multiplication of supposed ‘apparitions’ or ‘visions’ is sowing confusion and reveals a certain lack of a solid basis of the faith and Christian life among her members.”
Second, the late Fr. Benedict Groeschel advised Catholics to keep all claims of heavenly revelations in perspective. In his book A Still, Small Voice, Fr. Groeschel said that “private revelations are not the most important things in the world. The consistent and authentic pursuit of a holy life leading to a loving union with God is the most essential element of true religion….It is important to keep clearly in mind that private revelations have no significance apart from the public revelation of Sacred Scripture, interpreted by the traditional teaching of the Church” (p. 24).
Later in the book, he said that one general principle to be followed is that “private revelation by definition is personal and therefore must be carefully applied by those for whom it was meant and only within the limits of ordinary human prudence and never in an unreasonable way or against the teaching of the Church. It must never be considered an infallible guide in any situation” (p. 35).
Fr. Groeschel also expressed concern about the “revelation addicts,” those people who “avidly collect all reports of visions and revelations and are generally willing to be guided by the Church in most matters, except for the authority of these visions” (pp. 86-87).
He said further (pp. 87-88) that “there are groups of good souls who make themselves sitting ducks, as it were, for the possibility of deception by false revelations. They are too curious. They are addicted to possible revelations. Instead of spiritually imbibing the gentle but strong message of Scripture and even of approved revelations, they weekly or monthly find new ones.
“I suspect that now and then they may come across an authentic private revelation, but they never have the chance to learn anything from it because they just move on, seeking desperately for some other sign to reassure themselves. They must represent in the contemporary world the same group of people whom our Lord admonished when He spoke of those who said of the Messiah, ‘Here he is, there he is….He is in the desert’ (Matt. 24:23-26).”

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