12/21/2009, 00.00
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Mumbai’s Carmelite monastery: John Paul II and Pius XII, defenders of life and promoters of peace

by Nirmala Carvalho
Sister Mary Joseph, a cloistered nun, speaks about Pius XII’s rescue of the Jews, and John Paul II’s fight against abortion and euthanasia. Now the nuns hope that they “shall soon be able to say ‘Saint Pius XII and Saint John Paul II; pray for us’.”
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – John Paul and Pius XII were each “relevant to their own times” protecting “life” and promoting “peace”, said Sister Mary Joseph, a Carmelite nun from the cloistered monastery of Andheri East in Mumbai who is full of “joy and gratitude” to God for the recognition on Saturday of the two pontiffs’ heroic virtues.

Speaking to AsiaNews, the nun said that whilst a “culture of death is gradually permeating modern society, the two popes promoted a culture of life and defence of its sacredness: Pope Pius XII in defending and rescuing the Jews and [. . .] Pope John Paul II” in speaking “out against the evils of abortion, euthanasia and all that opposed life itself.”

“We, cloistered Carmelites, have been praying constantly and insistently for our late Pius XII, the Pope who led the Church during the Second World War, this great pope who saved the lives of so many Jews, who “had to suffer calumny and the injustice of being falsely accused of not having done enough for the Jews.”

In view of the renewed controversy in the Jewish world over the proclamation of Pius XII as venerable, Sister Mary said, “It is an established truth that during the period of the Nazi-Fascist regime  Pope Pius XII directed the greatest rescue program in the history of the Catholic Church during World War II and served as a beacon of hope throughout his pontificate (1939-1958). Through his diplomacy rather than confrontation, he saved hundreds of thousands of Jews and Christians from death in the concentration camps. Thanks to our Blessed Mother (Mary) for this great honour and justice bestowed on our Pope Pius XII.”

Speaking about John Paul II, she said he loved cloistered monasteries and “even had” one “built inside the Vatican,” and “made fervent appeals for our material needs.”

For the discalced Carmelite, the two venerables “upheld justice and human rights as relevant for their own times. Pope Pius XII’s motto, Opus justitiae pax, indicated that peace was the fruit of justice and often repeated that ‘peace, gift of God, [is] desired by all upright men, and is the fruit of love and justice.”

“John Paul II, through his staunch support of workers’ rights, was instrumental in the collapse of the Communist regime in Poland where he defended the dignity of the human person and supported human rights.”

Now that Pius XII and John Paul II have been proclaimed venerables, “we pray that we shall soon be able to say ‘Saint Pius XII and Saint John Paul II, pray for us’.”

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