Thursday, June 05, 2008

The last years of Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli 1951-58)


  1. Such a great film. Thank you.

    Did you notice what beautiful hands he had??

    And.............he was just so darn Italian

  2. Fascinating!! How old is this film? Did you hear the music?

    Say, maybe you might know this. In this video - as well as in the film the Shoes of the Fisherman - the Pope says "we" instead of "I" or "me." I think I know the answer to this, but maybe you can elaborate.

  3. BTW, I love the Latin text of the plaque bearing his name and years on earth (shown at the end of the clip). It seems timeless yet ancient, final, and ready for eternity.

  4. In the first instance the pope uses first person plural in the same manner royalty uses it. With the Holy Father, I think the deeper understanding is that he speaks as Vicar of Christ - he speaks with and for Christ, hence, "We". Then of course, I think he uses it to remain impersonal, emphasiing it is the Pope who speaks, and not Eugenio Paccelli - I may be wrong on that. (The Queen continues to use the first person plural, but I cannot recall a Pope using it since Paul VI.)

    Beyond that, some religious and holy people use "we" as well, to emphasize their union with Christ, and their religious state. In convents and monasteries, the first person plural was used to emphasize communal ownership of place and things - for instance a tool, or a writing intrument was "ours" - not mine, and so on. It was connected to the vow of poverty and humility and all of that. Carmelite nuns still talk like that.

    It often sounds pretentious to modern, U.S. ears.

    When I use it, it is in reference to me and the cats, for instance, "We will process out to the garden for our tea now kittiess." I'm actually kidding about that.

  5. Michael11:03 AM

    Interesting video on many levels. I was born in his pontificate, and it's great to see this footage. The segment beginning around 2:45 is a bit strange, with the Holy Father rehearsing poses and gestures. It makes one wonder, doesn't it? How much of it is posed and how much of it is real? It really makes me wonder about the film maker. Also, the narrator makes some comments towards the end that imply that P. Pius had lost his mental faculties. Perhaps it's more the fault of the translation? "Let's have a look at these images. They show us how much he was confused" (@ 5:25) Listen to that very very weird music.

  6. Michael - I noticed that too - it was weird.


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