From the London Times:
The Vatican has defended its moves towards beatifying Pope Pius XII, saying that they reflected the piety of the wartime pontiff and not his “historical importance”. Pope Benedict XVI sparked anger among Jewish groups on Saturday by bestowing the title “venerable” on Pius, criticised by historians for his silence in the face of the Holocaust. The honour is a necessary step towards beatification and eventual sainthood for Pius, who was pope from 1939 to 1958. But a spokesman for the German-born Benedict said in a note issued today that it did not drive from Pius's “operative choices” but his deep piety and “witness of Christian life”. Father Federico Lombardi Lombardi also insisted that the the decision was in no way “hostile” towards Jews, for whom Benedict felt “great friendship and respect”.
James Martin, SJ