Outrage as Pope nudges Pius towards sainthood

By Ruth Ellen Gruber, December 23, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to move controversial wartime Pope Pius XII closer to sainthood has provoked outrage in the Jewish world.

On Saturday, the pope signed a decree certifying Pius’s religiously defined “heroic virtues”, a move that paved the way for his beatification. Critics have long accused Pius of having turned a blind eye to Jewish suffering in the Shoah and have asked the Vatican to open its WWII archives to clarify the issue.

Benedict is to visit the main synagogue in Rome on January 17. Reports said it may now be under review. But on Tuesday, Ester Mieli, the spokeswoman for Rome Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni said that — “as of now” -— the visit was still on.

Last updated: 1:16pm, December 24 2009