The last public words spoken by Pope Pius XII were published last week in L'Osservatore Romano. On Sunday morning, three hours before he suffered the first of his two strokes, he had insisted on appearing in the courtyard of Castel Gandolfo.
Speaking in French, he told the International Congress of Public Notaries:
"Laws in themselves are not absolute.
They must yield to the just and well-trained conscience, and one recognizes the true man of the law . . . by his skill in interpreting legal texts with a view to ward the higher welfare of...