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Pope Pius XII (portrait by Yousuf Karsh)

It seems to me that since the publication of “Hitler’s Pope” in 2000, there seems to have been a great deal of controversy concerning one of the most saintly Popes of our times, Pope Pius XII. Although many articles and books have been written in support of the Pope since, one of the best books on him was published shortly before his death in 1954: “Crown of Glory: The Life of Pope Pius XII” by Alden Hatch and Seamus Walshe.

This book, a popular bestseller in its day, is a popularly written biography of Pope Pius XII. It chronicles his life from his early days a boy in Rome to his death. Along the way, the authors examine his work as the Secretary of State for the Vatican, as Papal nuncio to Germany during the Second World War and the Weimar Republic as well as his nearly 20 year ponitificate.

The portrait it paints of Pope Pius XII is not of a man who coldly ignored the suffering of millions, but of one who suffered with them and helped as many of them as he could with his own means. Indeed, this books makes clear that Pope Pius XII was clearly suited for the title of “Pastor Angelicus” (Angelic Pastor) that was written in the Prophecy of St. Malachy.

One thing that stands out above all in this book is how well it manages to convey Pope Pius XII’s character. In a way that has been unequalled since his death fifty years ago, Pope Pius XII was able to meld the roles of Pope and statesman into one. Indeed, he was the Vatican’s Secretary of State for the last few years of his ponitificate, while he worked tirelessly against the Communists and in the struggle to rebuild post-war Europe.

As a book, “Crown of Glory” is an excellent portrayal of one of the greatest Popes the Church has ever seen. It not debunks many myths that have arisen about the man since, but it truly shows him as who he was and not what revisionist historians see him as.

NOTE: This book is currently out of print, but copies can be had at amazon.com by clicking here: http://www.amazon.com/Crown-Glory-Life-Pope-Pius/dp/B000HZF332/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1213405898&sr=1-1

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