April 2nd, 2005


The death of Pope Pius XII

The death of the Pope today reminded me of an incident in 1958 when Pius XII died.

I was in my MIT dorm room in Baker House listening to the radio which was playing many fine masses. Mr Arsennian, the night watchman, walked by and since I often chatted briefly with him about something or other, I said "well, the good thing about the Pope's death is that there is lots of good music".

He replied emphatically: "There is absolutely nothing good about the Pope!" We talked a bit more and it turned out that he had been in a concentration camp for about a year. That Pope's reputation about ignoring the mistreatment of Jews was well known so it was clear that this kind man's feelings about the Church and its now dead Pope were full of dismay and disdain.