The other day Roman and I agreed that Pius XII is our favourite 20th century Pope. He is certainly a Pope who has been misunderstood. A great site that I found this afternoon is this:
This has an amazing range of newsreel footage of Pius XII. I have only seen a couple of videos. After my Masses today, I relaxed at home watching Pius going over to Santa Maria Sopra Minerva to preside at Mass in honour of St Francis of Assisi and St Catherine of Siena.
At the end of Mass he ascended the pulpit to preach a sermon - and what a sermon! This is the first time I had seen or heard him preach. My elementary Italian allowed me to understand about two-thirds of it, but I just love the drama with the hand gestures (very Italian) and by the look of it no microphones!!
Have a look - if you scroll down you will find "Pius XII: Mass". That is the one.
Personally, I did find Santa Maria Sopra Minerva itself a little disappointing. Like most Roman churches the "ironing board" (I like to call it the "picnic table") was out in front of the High Altar. However the advantage was that they allowed the public to ascend the steps of the High Altar to visit the shrine of St Catherine. It shows up in the video clip quite well. We lit a couple of light bulbs (votive candles apparently violate EEC fire regulations these days) and prayed to St Catherine.
On the opposite side of the square is THE pilgrimage site for ecclesiastical fashionistas; Gamarellis, Papal tailors since 1798. There is not much to see - it is obviously the sort of place where they come to you not you go to them, but you could see autographed photos of their previous clients on one wall: Pius XI, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II. Pius XII did not use them - he used another tailor. I am not sure about Benedict.