Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Dear Bishop, have you painted anything of interest since your portrait of Pius XII last year? Laura

I have been quite busy in the interim, but the picture recently completed that I would like to share is given the title Transsubstantiatio, which, when looking at the images, is self-explanatory. The medium, as most frequently used, is oil on canvas.

Pius XII was very much still alive when I was investigating Catholicism as an Anglican choir boy many years ago in the last days of the pre-Vatican II era, and I therefore have immense affection for him. That notwithstanding, I harboured some concern over how my portrait would be received when it was exhibited last year and shared online with other Christians. I need not have worried. It was overwhelmingly appreciated by most who saw it. The symbolism and hopefully transcendental quality with which I attempted to imbue this posthumous portrait appear to have been understood by almost everyone who viewed what is in effect a purposely primitive treatment on a large canvas. I am also very aware that sometimes symbolism can eclipse the more subtle aspects of a subject, but I hope and trust I have found the right balance with these two pictures.



  1. This pope has been demonised after World War 11--and I glad to say that the truth about this great pope is at last coming to light, and all he did has at last been appreciated.

  2. The canonisation process of Pope Pius XII dates to shortly after his death. He was declared a Servant of God in 1990 and Venerable in 2009.

    Father Peter Gumpel is currently the relator of Pius XII's cause for canonisation; a cause which I thoroughly support and have done for years.

  3. I may join it as I feel Pope Pius X11 is a great pope, but because he unfortunately was around in ww11, he has been demonised by ignorant people. I read the book about him called The Hound of Hitler. I had to take someone to task recently for having a go at him. If he had made a great to do about Hitler he would not have been able to do all he did, and he also would not have allowed the Church to end up as is has done since Vat 11.

  4. With profound and sincere devotion, we humbly request that the cause for the beatification of Pius XII proceed without delay. Pius XII’s virtuous life speaks for itself and is supported by an abundance of incontestable documentary evidence. The truth regarding his service to the Church and the World, as a diplomat and during his pontificate, prior to and throughout the Second World War period, is also historically established. He has been the victim of an unjust smear campaign for half a century. We urge that you honour holy Pius XII, who warned against many evils, by petitioning the incumbent holder of the Petrine Office.

    The authenticity of St Malachy’s prophecy concerning the popes to come after his time is often questioned and indeed denied outright; yet was it not a pope who replied Stultorum infinitus est numerus when asked to comment on the labours of those who busy themselves in finding fair interpretations for the cryptic mottoes of the prophecy? Whatever may be held concerning the genuineness of the document that dates from at least the year 1590, there can be no questioning, no denying the appropriateness of the title there attributed to Pius XII: the title or motto of Pastor Angelicus, Angelic Shepherd; for it is the feeling of all who adhere to tradition that this was the last pontiff of the traditional Catholic Church which is much missed, and that all who had the privilege of audience, public or private, with him discovered something more than mere coincidence in the title. They came away so overwhelmed with an awareness of having been in an angelic presence. All the while there was too, of course, deep admiration for the extraordinary gifts of mind and heart of Pius XII, but the impression above all that abides is one of the angelic priest and pastor, of the man of prayer and burning charity. The whole Catholic world mourned the passing of a very great man whose place, it seemed, no one on the horizon could fill when he died in 1958. Darkness inevitably followed.

    Pius XII was ordained priest on Easter Sunday, 2 April 1899, in the private chapel of the ordaining prelate, Archbishop Cassetta, Patriarch of Antioch and Vicegerent of Rome. He celebrated his first Mass the following morning in the Borghese chapel of the Basilica of St Mary Major where is venerated the Byzantine Madonna that legend suggests was painted by St Luke the Evangelist. If it were to be enquired with what Pius XII would be primarily associated with it has to be his work for peace. Indeed, his surname “Pacelli” is a name of peace. The first words of Pius XII when he became pope in 1939 were about peace.

  5. In his first Easter homily Pius XII spoke words that must be studied carefully:

    “But today, more perhaps that at any other time, it is the words of Jeremias that best describe the situation, who portrays for us men crying Peace, Peace: and there was no peace. On all sides, indeed, we turn our gaze, it is a sad sight that greets us. For in every part of the world we can descry great numbers of men greatly disturbed, anxious as to their fate, tormented with fearful misgivings, that seem to hint at still more frightful things to come. A fearsome anxiety possesses the souls of men, as though worse dangers yet were hanging over them in direct menace.

    “And yet, how can there be real and solid peace while even men with common nationality, heedless of their common stock and common fatherland, are torn apart and kept asunder by intrigues and dissensions and the interests of factions? How can there be peace, we repeat, while hundreds of thousands of men, millions even, lack work? For work is not only, for every man, a means of decent livelihood, but it is a means through which all those manifold powers and faculties with which nature, training and art have endowed the dignity of the human personality, find their necessary expression, and this with a certain natural comeliness. Who is there, then, who cannot see how, in such crises of unemployment as those our own time experiences, huge multitudes are created, through this very lack of work, of men utterly wretched, whose unhappy condition is worsened by the bitter contrast it presents with the pleasures and luxurious living of others altogether unconcerned about these armies of the needy? Who does not see how these poor men fall an easy prey to others whose minds are deceived by a specious semblance of truth, and who spread their corrupting teaching with ensnaring attractions?

    “Moreover, how can there be peace, if there be lacking between the different states that common, equitable judgment of reason and consent of minds, which have been the power guiding the nations of the world along the shining road of civil progress? When, on the contrary, solemnly sanctioned treaties and pledged faith are stripped of that force and security which plighted faithfulness implies and by which it is strengthened, if this force and security be taken away it becomes every day more difficult to lessen the increase of armaments and to pacify the minds of men, twin desires today of all men everywhere.

    “We therefore exhort all, as this fearful storm approaches, to make their way back to the King of Peace, the Conqueror of Death, from whom we have heard the comforting words, ‘Peace be to you.’ May He bountifully grant us that Peace He promised, His own peace, which the world cannot give, that peace which alone can calm and allay the fears and the confusion of men’s minds. My peace I give you; not as the world giveth do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled nor fear.”