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Soldier of Christ: The Life of Pope Pius XII par [Ventresca, Robert A.]
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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"This beautifully written biography will become the standard account of Pope Pius XII's life. In Ventresca's hands, this enigmatic Pope is neither lionized nor demonized. Instead, we see Pius XII as a soldier mired in the trenches, neither advancing nor wholly retreating into silence."--Charles R. Gallagher, author of Vatican Secret Diplomacy: Joseph P. Hurley and Pope Pius XII

"The definitive biography of the wartime pontiff... Soldier of Christ: The Life of Pope Pius XII is a splendid work." --Michael Coren,Catholic World Report, 31 January 2013

"Eugenio Pacelli, who acceded to the papcy in March 1939, was the first Roman pope since the early 1700s. His tenure, which lasted until his death in 1958, remains highly controversial. Robert Ventresca's book is an intervention in the Pius war" - the argument over Pius XII's seeming failure to defend European Jews from persecution by the Nazis." --NS Recommends, New Statesman, 18 January 2013

Présentation de l'éditeur

Soldier of Christ reveals a paradoxical figure: a prophetic reformer of limited vision whose leadership stimulated the emergence of a global Catholicism while sowing doubt and dissension among some of the Church’s most faithful servants. The Cold War and Pius XII’s manner of engaging with the modern world defined his pontificate, Ventresca argues.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2215 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 428 pages
  • Editeur : Harvard University Press (15 janvier 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00AVHT102
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.8 étoiles sur 5 13 commentaires
27 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A controversial pope 3 janvier 2013
Par Paul Gelman - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Pius the Twelfth is considered one of the most controversial popes who had ever sat on the Vatican's throne. The main reason is because of the ongoing debate regarding the pope's silence or indifference to the plight of the Jews and other victims during WW2.
According to this new book by Robert Ventresca, the pope was not indifferent or silent about the Holocaust. He did whatever he could and the proof for this is in the many ackowledgements he got after the war by various central Jewsih figures, among them the Chieff Rabbi of Jerusalem. Second, this was the way Pius worked and was trained to, while delegating much authority to his many nuncios in the various occupied countries in the war.
This very well and deeply researched biography is extremely interesting and it discusses in great detail the pope's education and his views viv-a-vis Fascism and Communism-the two evils which concerned Pius.
Although Ventresca makes many efforts to present the pope as a benevolent one when discussing at great length the pope's efforts to save many thousands of Jews, one feels that even Ventresca isn't quite convinced about this issue.
All in all, this is a fascinating read and highly recommended.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Nice public-career biography and a good step towards a fuller biography of the man 19 février 2014
Par Dalcassian - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
With all the debates about Eugenio Pacelli (Pius XII), one might think there would be a large number of basic biographical studies about him in English. But there isn't. This book, however, begins to fill that absence. "Begins to fill" is the operative phrase because Ventresca's work remains, like much other writing, more an examination of Pacelli's public career and decision-making than a deep look at, or engaging narrative about, the person himself.

But the book is still worth reading for its many strengths alone. Like any reasonable study of Pius XII -- outside the slander-leaning "Hitler's Pope" and such like -- it shows him to be a complex and even warm, kind-hearted person, yet still liable to be severely criticized for his actions and inactions especially throughout World War II. The book makes clear that while Pius/Pacelli was certainly hostile to Naziism and Communism for both religious and secular reasons, he was also overwhelmed by circumstances well beyond his control. He was additionally constrained by his diplomatic and preservationist instincts and governed by an overly intellectual temperament. And all that coincided with the fact that he held a weak hand as representative of an increasingly rejected Church, possessing limited and rapidly diminishing power in a modern warring world while his headquarters were more often than not surrounded by Axis security forces.

The buffeted Pacelli/Pius in this book comes across as either the right man at the wrong time or the wrong man at the wrong time. The heavy focus and research on the career of Pius XII means the reader is given strong material to use to decide which verdict he or she favors.

Missing, though, is an in-depth story of the actual man himself -- the OCD'd, possibly Aspergered brainy child, who was hyperdevoted to the Virgin Mary, and painfully introverted. Yet that was a person who would manage to go on to advance under and then govern, under fire, huge and competing bureaucracies, diverse personnel, and an enormous constituency. And he would do so under the constraints of shaky revenues and political uncertainty. Meanwhile, as well during all that time, Pius XII was nurturing and defining dogma, navigating global respect and disdain, shaping rituals, rules, and inter-faith relations for an ancient institution which was confronting a confusing and violent modernity, which was itself being battered by the storms of war, competing ideologies, scientific discovery, and secularism.

Who was this man? The book doesn't really say.

Moreover, the person of Eugenio Pacelli was guided in his career by a unique tight set of trusting and trusted intimates -- his predecessor Pius XI and his German confidante Mother Pascalina, among others -- about whose influence and relationships too little is given.

A full biography in English exploring the complete person -- the ecclesiastic and private individual that was Eugenio Pacelli and Pope Pius XII -- is not to be found here. Perhaps it is yet to come or to be found elsewhere. But Ventresca's book still stands strong and praiseworthy in the public biography and many personal details about its subject, and the book should prove very useful for the engaged lay or specialized reader.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 An Overall Excellent Biography 9 août 2013
Par Randy Rousseau - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Euegnio Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII, has been the subject of intense debate and scrutiny since his pontificate ended in 1958. Namely was he "The Silent Pope" who stood idly by while Europe's Jews were slaughtered during the Second World War?

This biography walks a rather fine line, mostly, in attempting to present a complete picture of both man and times in context. However, there are a couple of instances where the author's obvious personal opinion slips in and he faults the Pope for failing a certain moral obligation to be more outspoken against Hitler. This is unfortunate as it, in my opinion, diminishes an otherwise very fine book.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Scholarly work on controversial pope 13 juin 2013
Par Efrem Sepulveda - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Robert Ventresca presents us with a balanced presentation of life of Eugenio Pacelli who went on to become Pope Pius XII who held the office from 1939 to 1958. When I state that it was balanced, I mean that the book finds a middle ground between those who spoke glowingly of the pope's stands during World War II and the Cold War and those, especially Jews who were bitterly disappointed that the pope did not do nearly enough to prevent the horrors of the Holocaust. In any event, the book traces the life of Pacelli from birth and early life in Rome, through his time as nuncio in Germany to becoming the Vatican Secretary of State under Pius XI, an office he would hold until his elevation to Pope.

Under Pacelli's watch, he negotiated concordats with both Italy and Germany that would establish relations between the Vatican and the two countries. In the case of Italy, it would settle the many disputes over land and money that were in limbo from the time after the fall of the Papal States in 1870 until the pact's ratification in 1929. The pact guaranteed Vatican sovereignty of Vatican City. As for Germany, the Reichskonkordat, as it was known, was shaky even after the ink was dry on that document. Pacelli constantly protested to Berlin about the many times the pact was violated. Protestations included the harassment of Catholic clergy and the intimidation of Catholic youth into forsaking their church organizations to join the Hitler Youth. Despite hearing the Vatican's concerns over these incidents, Hitler brushed off the leadership in Rome as he was his way to obtaining total power in Germany.

The author maintains that throughout the Nazi buildup and during the crises in World War II, the Pope tried to maintain diplomacy and was cautious by not engaging in heavy criticism fearing that taking too strong a stand against Hitler would caused even greater pain for Catholics and Jews alike. In hindsight, we can see that this was mostly unsuccessful. However, Ventresca maintains that the Pope was not tone deaf to the plight of the Jews. He did what he could behind the scenes to get as many Jews away from the Germans as he could. In the end, the author concluded that Pacelli was a man like us who made errors in judgement and was not wise in some of his dealings.

Other events dealt with in this book included the Pope overseeing the rise of the church in Africa, his handling of crises of the church in the communist world and coming to grips with new technologies. The book was well-researched using archival sources from around the world and contains numerous end notes. It had a short index as well. Highly recommended for those who want to understand modern Roman Catholic church history. Five stars.
8 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A quality biography that treat Pius XII as a complete person 2 mai 2013
Par Michael B. Lamothe - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Ventresca has written the best biography of Pius XII yet available. He treats the whole person. Pius is placed within the context of a Catholic Church which was extremely rigid and rife with anti-Judaism as opposed to anti-semitism. Pius was himself anti-Judaism but Ventresca makes a good case that he was not anti-semitic. He gives Pius wide latitude in his approach to the Nazis and Fascists but makes a judgment that Pius carried his silence too far to be considered even handed in his approach to the belligerents of World War II. At the same time he notes the irony of Pius' aggressive approach toward the Stalinist regime but notes the church had little in the way of infrastructure in Russia. This book makes the most complete use of sources now available including the documents and testimony compiled for Pius' cause for sainthood. Until more Vatican archives are opened to the public this will be the source one will turn to if not interested in polemics for or against Pope Pius XII
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