Mariology of Pope Pius XII

Mariology of Pope Pius XII

Mariology of Pope Pius XII explains the mariological concepts and initiatives of Pope Pius XII. Pope Pius XII, who placed his pontificate under the special patronage of the Virgin, [Munificentissimus Deus 42] was called the most Marian pope in Church history. [Bäumer, Marienlexikon:Pope Pius XII] His life and pontificate were clearly marked by his Marian veneration. His mariological views Dogma of the assumption high point but his mariological writings extend beyond that. He introduced a new Marian feast, Queenship of Mary and was the first Pope ever to call for a Marian year, a practice continued by John Paul II in 1998. Many of the saints canonized by Pius XII had strong Marian views. Marian research and the Marianum were strongly supported with the foundation or enlargements of several research centres in Rome in 1950 and 1958.

Marian veneration

As a young boy and in later life Eugenio Pacelli was an ardent follower of the Virgin Mary. Two pictures received special veneration of Eugenio, Madonna Della Strada, and Salus Populi Romani. His pontificate was placed under her protection.

Fatima and Lourdes


When Pope Benedict XV appointed Pacelli as papal nuncio to Bavaria on April 23, 1917, he consecrated him as archbishop in the Sistine Chapel on May 13, 1917, without knowing, the very day, Our Lady of Fatima is believed to have first appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. His remains were to be buried in the crypt of Saint Peter Basilica on the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, October 13, 1958).

His secretary of State, Cardinal Luigi Maglione stated that the Holy Father is deeply moved by the parallel of his episcopal consecration and the apparition in Fatima. [L Barthas, Il etait trios petit enfantes, Paris, 1945, in German, Freiburg, 1945] Pope Pius said about his episcopal consecration:

* "At the same hour when the Lord placed the concern of the whole Church on our shoulders, at the mountain of Fatima appeared for the first time the White Queen of the Holy Rosary, as if the Mother of Mercy wanted to indicate, that in the stormy times of our pontificate, in the midst of the great crisis of human history, we will always have the motherly and vigilant assistance of the great conqueress , who would protect and guide us." [Johannes M Höcht, Papst Pius XII und Fatima, Wien 1956, 58]

After saying this, one person yelled: "Long live the Pope of Fatima." Pope Pius turned to him, smiled and said quietly, yes, I am the Pope of Fatima. [ Höcht, 58] Cardinal Tedeschini, who was present at the consecration in 1917, added his view to the coincidence: "The pontificate of Pius XII is focused on Fatima, May 13. It was our Lady of Fatima, who connected with the person and future of Eugenio Pacelli, having him consecrated through the hands of Pope Benedict XV to the fullness of priesthood at the very day and hour, in which the Most Blessed Virgin with her messages first descended to Fatima. May 13 is engraved in all our hearts, how much more in the heart of this Pope. [Höcht 317]


On May 13, 1942, the 25th anniversary of the first apparition and, silver jubilee of the Episcopal consecration of Pope Pius XII, the Vatican published the Message and Secret of Fatima. On October 31, 1942, Pope Pius XII, in a radio address informed the people of Portugal about the apparitions of Fatima, consecrating the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin with specific mention of Russia. (See below) [AAS, 1942, 313] On December 8, 1942, the Pontiff officially and solemnly declared this consecration in a ceremony in Saint Peter Basilica in Rome. On May 13, 1946, Cardinal Masalla, the personal delegate of Pius XII , crowned in his name Our Lady of Fatima, as the Pope issues a second message about Fatima:

* "The faithful virgin never disappointed the trust, put on her. She will transform into a fountain of graces, physical and spiritual graces, over all of Portugal, and from there, breaking all frontiers, over the whole Church and the entire world" [AAS 1946 246.]

On May 1, 1948, in Auspicia Quaedam, Pope Pius requested the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of every Catholic family, parish and dioceses.

* "“It is our wish, consequently, that wherever the opportunity suggests itself, this consecration be made in the various dioceses as well as in each of the parishes and families."" [Auspicia quadam 21] [AAS 148, 171]

On May 18, 1950, the Pope again sent a message to the people of Portugal regarding Fatima: "May Portugal never forget the heavenly message of Fatima, which, before anybody else she was blessed to hear. To keep Fatima in your heart and to translate Fatima into deeds, is the best guarantee for ever more graces” [AAS 1951, 780] In numerous additional messages, and in his encyclicals Fulgens Corona (1953), and, Ad Caeli Reginam (1954), Pius XII encouraged the veneration of the Virgin in Fatima.


Le Pelerinage de Lourdes, an encyclical which includes warnings against materialism, was issued on the centenary of the apparitions at Lourdes July 2, 1957 The encyclical represents the strongest pronouncement of the papal magisterium on Marian apparitions in the history of the Catholic Church. Pius recalls pleasant memories of the pilgrimage to Lourdes which Pope Pius XII undertook as Papal delegate at the Eucharistic and Marian Celebrations in 1937. The Pope reminds the faithful of France, that every Christian land is a Marian land and that” there is not one nation redeemed in the blood of Christ which does not glory in proclaiming Mary its Mother and Patroness” [Le Pelerinage de Lourdes 5] He then recalls the history of Marian veneration, the history of Lourdes and the contributions of the Popes to her veneration in Lourdes." In the school of Mary" one can learn to live, not only to give Christ to the world, but also to await with faith the hour of Jesus, and to remain with Mary at the foot of the cross. Wherever providence has placed a person, there is always more to be done for God's cause. Priests should with supernatural confidence, show the narrow road which leads to life. Consecrated and Religious fight under Mary's banner against inordinate lust for freedom, riches, and pleasures. In response to the Immaculate, they will fight with the weapons of prayer and penance and by triumphs of charity.

Christian families must remain faithful to their vital mission in society, and , consecrate themselves in this jubilee year to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. For married couples this consecration will be a valuable aid in their conjugal duties of chastity and faithfulness and keep pure the atmosphere in which children grow up. Families inspired by devotion to Mary, are living centers of social rebirth and apostolic influence. [Le Pelerinage de Lourdes 54]

Professional and civic affairs offer a vast field of Marian action. Gathered at the Virgin's feet, and open to her teachings, self- searching will uproot any false judgments and selfish impulses. Christians of every class and every nation will try to be of one mind in truth and charity, and to banish misunderstanding and suspicion. The quest for social and political peace among men is, above all, a moral problem, because no reform can bear fruit, no agreement lasting without a conversion and cleansing of heart. In this jubilee year the Virgin of Lourdes reminds all men of this truth [Le Pelerinage de Lourdes 55 ]

Pius XII teaches, that Mary looks upon some of her children with a special affection, the lowly, the poor, and the afflicted whom Jesus loved so much.

* "Go to her, you who are crushed by material misery, defenseless against the hardships of life and the indifference of men. Go to her, you who are assailed by sorrows and moral trials. Go to her, beloved invalids and infirm, you who are sincerely welcomed and honored at Lourdes as the suffering members of our Lord. Go to her and receive peace of heart, strength for your daily duties, joy for the sacrifice you offer." [Le Pelerinage de Lourdes 57]

The Pontiff states, that the Immaculate Virgin knows the secret ways by which grace operates in souls. She also knows also the great price which God attaches to sufferings, united to those of the Savior. These sufferings can greatly contribute. The encyclical closes with a quote of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux:

* "Amid dangers, difficulties, and doubts, think of Mary, invoke Mary's aid.... If you follow her, you will not stray; if you entreat her, you will not lose hope; if you reflect upon her, you will not err; if she supports you, you will not fall; if she protects you, you will not fear; if she leads you, you will not grow weary; if she is propitious, you will reach your goal" [..Second Homily on the Missus est: PL CLXXXIII] , [Le Pelerinage de Lourdes 70-71] .

Dedication to the Immaculate Heart

The Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary took place on October 31, 1942 just before major turning points in World War Two. Pope Pius consecrated to Mary not only the Church but the whole human race, as “Father of Christianity” as representative of Christ, who has all power in heaven and on earth” [Math28,18] The solemn consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was pronounced at a critical phase of [World War Two] on October 31 [1942] . At that time, German troops under General Rommel had conquered strategic parts of North Africa and were advancing towards the Suez Canal. In the Pacific, following Pearl Harbor, the Imperial Japanese forces occupied ever increasing territories, and in Russia experienced an ever expanding German invasion. In this situation, Pope Pius XII, like his predecessors, put his trust in prayer. On October 31,1942, he called for a prayer crusade to the "Queen of Peace", and dedicated the whole human race and especially Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.


The 1854 dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Pius IX defined the Virgin conceived without sin, as the mother of God and our mother. Pope Pius XII built on this in Mystici Corporis, which summarizes his mariology: Maria, whose sinless soul was filled with the divine spirit of Jesus Christ above all other created souls, "in the name of the whole human race" gave her consent "for a spiritual marriage between the Son of God and human nature." [Office for Holy Week] , thus elevating human nature beyond the realm of the purely material. She who, according to the flesh, was the mother of our Head, became mother of all His members. Through her powerful prayers, she obtained that the spirit of our Divine Redeemer, should be bestowed on the newly founded Church at Pentecost. Pius XII, Enc. Mystici Corporis Christi, 110] She is Most Holy Mother of all the members of Christ, and reigns in heaven with her Son, her body and soul refulgent with heavenly glory.

Dogma of the assumption

On November 1 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the dogma of the assumption:

:"By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." [ AAS 1950, 753 ]

The dogma of the bodily assumption of the Virgin Mary, is the crowning of the theology of Pope Pius XII. In 1950 Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary as being an article of faith for Roman Catholics. This was the first (and to date only) ex cathedra exercise of papal infallibility since Vatican I. It was preceded by the 1946 encyclical Deiparae Virginis Mariae, which requested all Catholic bishops to express their opinion on a possible dogmatization. In this dogmatic statement, the phrase "having completed the course of her earthly life, " leaves open the question of whether the Virgin Mary died before her Assumption, or, whether she was assumed before death; both possibilities are allowed. Mary's Assumption was a divine gift to Mary as Mother of God. As Mary completed her race as a shining example to the human race, the perspective of the gift of assumption is offered to the whole human race.

Mariological Writings

On September 8 1953, the encyclical Fulgens corona announced a Marian year for 1954, the centennial of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception . [AAS 1953, 577] Pope Pius XII left open the Mediatrix question, the role of the Virgin in the salvation acts of her son Jesus Christ. In the encyclical Ad caeli reginam he promulagated the feast, Queenship of Mary [AAS 1954, 625] . Pius XII, who was consecrated on May 13, 1917, the very day, Our Lady of Fatima is believed to have first appeared, consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942, in accordance with the second "secret" of Our Lady of Fatima. (His remains were to be buried in the crypt of Saint Peter Basilica on the feast day of Our Lady of Fatima, October 13 1958)

In 1950 and in 1958 he authorized institutions for increased academic research into the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary (see below). In 1953, Pope Pius ordered a Marian year for 1954, the first in Church history. The year was filled with Marian initiatives, in the areas of mariology, cultural events, charity and social gatherings [Bäumer 534] In his encyclical Fulgens Corona and Ad Caeli Reginam he presented a synthesis of the mariology of the Church and warned against excesses and timid under-representation of the Catholic faith.

New Marian Feast

In 1953, Pope Pius introduced the feast day Queenship of Mary In several encyclicals and apostolic letters to the people of Poland and other countries behind the Iron curtain, he expresses certainty, that the Blessed Virgin Mary will triumph over her enemies. [ add encyclicals ]

Assumed into heaven, so Pope Pius, Mary is with Jesus Christ, her divine son. Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood of Jesus Christ, her only son,, but also because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of our eternal salvation. The encyclical argues, that Christ, because He redeemed us, is our Lord and king by a special title, so the Blessed Virgin also (is our queen), on account of the unique manner in which she assisted in our redemption, by giving of her own substance, by freely offering Him for us, by her singular desire and petition for, and active interest in, our salvation." [Ad caeli reginam, 37]

Canonizations with Marion emphasis

Pope Pius canonized several persons with very strong Marian faith and spirituality, and, sometines visions, such as Louis de Montfort,Peter Chanel Jeanne de Lestonnac Pope Pius X Catherine Labouré Anthony Mary Claret and Gemma Galgani

Mariological Research

Pope Pius supported or rewarded mariological research of scholars like Gabriel Roschini, Raimondo Spiazzi, Otto Faller and Sebastian Tromp. Roschini was named head of the Marianum, Spiazzi and Tromp were asked to participate in his encyclicals, Faller received a papal medal for his work. He also promulgated mariology …..within the circles associated with the Holy See took a major step forward between during the Holy Year in 1950 and in 1958 based on the actions of Pope Pius XII who authorized institutions for increased academic research into the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

* Academia Mariana Salesiana He granted the foundation of the Academia Mariana Salesiana which is a part of a papal university. The Academy supports Salesian studies with the aim of furthering the veneration of the Blessed Virgin in the tradition of Saint John Bosco. [Bäumer, Marienlexikon, 534]

* Centro Mariano Montfortano Also in 1950, the Centro Mariano Montfortano was moved from Bergamo to Rome. The Centro promulgates the teachings of Saint Louis de Montfort, who was earlier canonized by Pius XII. It publishes the monthly Madre e Regina which promulgates the Marian orientation of Montfort. [Bäumer, Marienlexikon, 535]

* Marianum was created in 1950 and entrusted to the Order of Servites. It is authorized to grant all academic degrees including a doctorate in theology. Since 1976, every two years the Marianum organizes international conferences to find modern formulations which approximate the mystery of Mary. [Bäumer, Marienlexikon, 535]

* Collegamento Mariano Nazionale (1958) was the last Marian initiative of Pope Pius XII. It coordinates activities of Marian centres in Italy, organizes Marian pilgrimages and Marian study weeks for priests. In addition it started Marian youth gatherings and publishes the Journal “Madonna”. [Bäumer, Marienlexikon, 534]

Of these organizations, the Marianum is the most active marilogical centre in Rome. [at Viale 30 Aprile- 6, 00153, Rome] This Pontifical Catholic institute was founded by Father Gabriel Roschini (who then directed it for several years) under the direction of Pope Pius XII in 1950. At the Marianum, one can get a Master's degree in Mariology (2-year academic program) and one can also get a doctorate in Mariology. This Mariological facility has a library with more than 85,000 volumes on Mariology and a number of magazines and journals of theological and Mariological concern. Marianum is also the name of the prestigious journal of Marian theology, previously founded by Father Roschini in 1939. [Bäumer, Marienlexikon, 535]


* Pope Pius XII, Mariological encyclicals and bulls
** [ Encyclical "Fulgens Corona" on the Vatican website]
** [ Encyclical "Ad Caeli Reginam" on the Vatican website]
** " [ Encyclical "Deiparae Virginis Mariae" on the Vatican Website] "
** [ Encyclical "Ingruentium Malorum " on the Vatican website]
** [ Encyclical "Le Pelerinage de Lourdes" on the Vatican website]
** [ Encyclical "Mystici Corporis Christi" on the Vatican website]
** [ Apostolic Constitution "Munificentissimus Deus" on the Vatican Website]


* Michael Schmaus, Mariologie, Katholische Dogmatik, München Vol V, 1955
* K Algermissen, Boes, Egelhard, Feckes, Michael Schmaus, Lexikon der Marienkunde, Verlag Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg, 1967
* Remigius Bäumer, Leo Scheffczyk (Hrsg.) Marienlexikon Gesamtausgabe, Institutum Marianum Regensburg, 1994, ISBN 3-88096-891-8 (cit. Bäumer)
* Stefano De Fiores, (Marianum) "Maria, sintesi di valori. Storia culturale di mariologia." Cinisello Balsamo 2005;
* Stefano de Fiores, (Marianum), "Maria. Nuovissimo dizionario." 2 Vols. Bologna 2006;

* Mariology Society of America

* The Marian Library at University of Dayton

* Acta Apostolicae Sedis, referenced as AAS by year.

* Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Constitution
** [ Apostolic Constitution "Ineffabilis Deus"]

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