make note before the tides of time wash away the footsteps
There are two outstanding accomplishments of Pius XI that argue for his sagacity, if not his sanctity. Let’s take the Shroud first. As a young man, Achille had climbed the Alps with with another young adventurer, Paul Vignon. Vignon suffered a physical and nervous breakdown. While recuperating who took of painting and later worked as a assistant to the famous French biologist Yves Delage. Delage asked Vignon to investigate the authenticity of the Pia photographs and the rest is history (covered in my manuscript in Chapters Five (Maelstrom) and Six (Resurrection of the Shroud).
It was as Pius XI, that he requested the 1933 exposition of the Shroud and it was at that exhibition a young Turinese seminarian, Peter Rinaldi encountered both Paul Vignon and future giant of Shroud studies Pierre Barbet.
Perhaps Pius XI most acclaimed act occurred during his dying days in 1938 when working with an American Jesuit priest he prepared an encyclical denouncing the Nazi’s for the their incipient Jewish pogrom and the neo-paganism which they represented. His secretary of state of Cardinal Pacelli who became Pius XII was not pleased. He has been also proposed for sainthood by Vatican clerics but since I can not say anything good about him, I’ll remain silent.
Peter Rinaldi after graduating from the seminary came to America. He publicized the Shroud in an article published in US Sign Magazine while he was still in seminary. His article created a firestorm of interest in the United States and led directly to the formation of the Hold Shroud Guild in the US. I will simply state that without Rinaldi’s tireless leadership and encouragement there might not have been a film Silent Witness and there certainly would not have been a STURP scientific investigation of the Shroud in 1978. It was his unique position as a priest in the US with connections in Turin that was instrumental but most instrumental perhaps was his gift for finding funds to finance both the STURP and Silent Witness.
* So one cataract is gone and in that eye, through the miracle of mutilfocal plastic implants, I now have 20/20 vision without glasses and can read without glasses. The other eye will be done next week and I will be a teenager all over again.