This 1939 silent newsreel was originally made for private home viewing, and sold in American department stores. The film shows the process by which Pope Pius XII was selected, and features footage of many of the Cardinals who participated in the process including American George Cardinal Mundelein and Dennis Cardinal Dougherty.
Pope Pius XI died on 10 February 1939. Several historians have interpreted the conclave to choose his successor as facing a choice between a diplomatic or a spiritual candidate, and they view Pacelli's diplomatic experience, especially with Germany, as one of the deciding factors in his election on 2 March 1939, his 63rd birthday, after only one day of deliberation and three ballots. He was the first cardinal Secretary of State to be elected pope since Clement IX in 1667. He was one of only two men known to have served as Camerlengo immediately prior to being elected as pope (the other being Pope Leo XIII). According to rumours, he asked for another ballot to be taken to ensure the validity of his election. After his election was indeed confirmed, he chose the name Pius XII in honour of his immediate predecessor.
His coronation took place on 12 March 1939. Upon being elected pope he was also formally the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, prefect of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Churches and prefect of the Sacred Consistorial Congregation. There was however a Cardinal-Secretary to run these bodies on a day-to-day basis.
Pope Pius XII (Italian: Pio XII); 2 March 1876 – 9 October 1958), reigned from 2 March 1939 to his death in 1958. Before his election to the papacy, Pacelli served as secretary of the Department of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, papal nuncio to Germany (1917–1929), and Cardinal Secretary of State, in which capacity he worked to conclude treaties with European and Latin American nations, most notably the Reichskonkordat with Nazi Germany, with which most historians believe the Vatican sought to protect the Church in Germany while Adolf Hitler sought the destruction of "political Catholicism". A pre-war critic of Nazism, Pius XII lobbied world leaders to avoid war and, as Pope at the outbreak of war, issued Summi Pontificatus, expressing dismay at the invasion of Poland, reiterating Church teaching against racial persecution and calling for love, compassion and charity to prevail over war.
While the Vatican was officially neutral during the war, Pius XII maintained links to the German Resistance, used diplomacy to aid the victims of the war and lobby for peace and spoke out against race-based murders and other atrocities. The Reichskonkordat of 1933 and Pius's leadership of the Catholic Church during World War II remain the subject of controversy—including allegations of public silence and inaction about the fate of the Jews. After the war Pius XII advocated peace and reconciliation, including lenient policies towards Axis and Axis-satellite nations. The Church experienced severe persecution and mass deportations of Catholic clergy in the Eastern Bloc. Pius XII was a staunch opponent of Communism and of the Italian Communist Party. Pius XII explicitly invoked ex cathedra papal infallibility with the dogma of the Assumption of Mary in his 1950 Apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus. His magisterium includes almost 1,000 addresses and radio broadcasts. His forty-one encyclicals include Mystici corporis, the Church as the Body of Christ; Mediator Dei on liturgy reform; and Humani generis on the Church's positions on theology and evolution. He eliminated the Italian majority in the College of Cardinals in 1946.
Pius XII suffered from the shadow of ill health in 1954 which would continue until his death in 1958. He was made a Servant of God by Pope John Paul II in 1990 and Pope Benedict XVI declared Pius XII Venerable on 19 December 2009.
Pius XII was the subject of a controversial book entitled "Hitler's Pope" by author John Cromwell, that explores the charge that he assisted in the legitimization of Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime in Germany, through the pursuit of a Reichskonkordat in 1933. The book is critical of Pius' conduct during the Second World War, arguing that he did not do enough, or speak out enough, against the Holocaust.
This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com