Hudson County Community College to Present Exhibit, “Pope Pius XII: Consensus or Controversy?”

Posted: 12/1/2015
Jennifer Christopher (201-360-4061, jchristopher@hccc.edu) or Roger Jones (201-200-1080, rj@j-a-c.com)

November 25, 2015, Jersey City, NJ – Hudson County residents and others will be afforded the opportunity to explore the many facets of the consequential and controversial papacy of Pope Pius XII through the exhibit, “Pope Pius XII: Consensus or Controversy?” The exhibit will be displayed in the Hudson County Community College Benjamin J. Dineen, III and Dennis C. Hull Gallery, which is located on the sixth floor of the College’s Library Building at 71 Sip Avenue on the Journal Square Campus. The exhibit will commence with a grand opening reception at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 8, 2015; it will be open to the public from that afternoon through Thursday, January 14, 2016. The Gallery will be closed December 22, 2015 through January 3, 2016.

Born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli, Pius XII shepherded the Roman Catholic Church from 1939 until his death in 1958, a period that included the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust, as well as the challenges of rebuilding post-war Europe. The exhibit includes engravings, lithographs, photographs, contemporary news accounts and magazines (Life, Look, Colliers, Time and others) that provide a biographical look at Pius XII through all periods of his life. Artifacts such as his shoes, zucchetti (skull caps) and handkerchiefs, as well as commemorative medals, coins, stamps and plates from his papacy, are also included, as is film footage of him of his life and career. Antique reliquaries, an altar and bishop’s chair are included in the exhibit, which was curated by Hudson County Community College’s Clifford J. Brooks and Dr. Andrea Siegel.

Most of the documents, artifacts and media in “Pope Pius XII: Consensus or Controversy?” are from the Pius XII collections of Sister Margherita Marchione, MPF (Religious Teachers Filippini), who worked for decades on Pius XII, and has consequently earned access to Popes and other important world leaders. Sister Margherita’s archives of thousands of items in several languages are housed at the Mazzei Center, Villa Walsh in Morristown, NJ. The extensive collection also includes Sister Margherita’s unpublished, personal research that offers a first-hand account of the dealings of seven Popes and their papacies. Sister Margherita has authored more than 60 books, 12 of which relate to Pius XII.

To provide perspective, the College has scheduled two lectures by noted American historians who are experts on the Pius XII papacy. Both will be held at 11:00 a.m. in the Benjamin J. Dineen, III and Dennis C. Hull Gallery.

Dr. David G. Dalin, an American conservative rabbi and historian, will deliver the first lecture, “In Defense of Pius XII,” on Wednesday, December 9, 2015. Dr. Dalin is the author, co-author or editor of 10 books on American Jewish history and politics, and Jewish-Christian relations, including The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis. He is currently a professor of History and Politics at Ave Maria University in Florida. Previously he served as associate professor of American Jewish History at the University of Hartford, a visiting professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and a Taube Research Fellow in American history at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Dr. Dalin was also a visiting fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.

Dr. Susan Sessions Zuccotti, an American historian specializing in studies of the Holocaust, will deliver the second lecture, “In Critique of Pius XII,” on Thursday, December 10, 2015. Dr. Zuccotti, who holds a Ph.D. in Modern European History from Columbia University, won the National Jewish Book Award for Holocaust Studies, and the Premio Acqui Storia - Primo Lavoro for Italians and the Holocaust. In addition, she was the recipient of a National Jewish Book Award for Jewish-Christian Relations, and the Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Prize of the German Studies Association in 2002 for her book, Under His Very Windows.

The exhibit, “Pope Pius XII: Consensus or Controversy?,” is open to the general public and there is no charge for admission. The Benjamin J. Dineen, III and Dennis C. Hull Gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Additional information on this exhibit, and arrangements for group visits, may be obtained by contacting the Humanities Division at (201) 360-4650 or email to gallery@hccc.edu