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The First Martyrs of the Church of Rome
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Opening the Holy Door, 1950

His Holiness

circa 1950: Surrounded by members of the Papal Family the Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, is carried by the highest dignitaries of the court at the Vatican City. (Photo by Von Matt/Three Lions/Getty Images)

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 12/07/15

Here’s a fascinating moment from another time: Pope Pius XII beginning the Jubilee Year in 1950, from a Pathé newsreel.

Among other things, it not only shows a stark contrast with the papacy of today—no sedia gestatoria, or throne for being carried—but it also offers a glimpse at media coverage from another age. If you think the Church faces problems now, well,  they thought things were pretty bad back then, too.

“Never has the Church faced greater problems,” the narrator intones. “Persecuted in the East, its priests driven underground, its prelates jailed, the Church’s teaching opposes the materialistic, atheist teachings of Communism. May the new year bring about a change in the hearts of men!”

Meantime, read more about the “Holy Doors” here. 

Photo: Getty Images

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