Wartime Pope takes step toward sainthood

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ROME -- Pope Pius XII, the wartime pontiff who some have accused of remaining largely silent in the face of the Holocaust, has taken another step toward possible sainthood, the Vatican said Wednesday.

A panel of bishops and cardinals at the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints approved a declaration on Pius' virtues Tuesday and passed it to Pope Benedict XVI, according to a Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini.

If Benedict signs the document, it will be the first major step toward possible beatification for Pius. The Vatican would then have to confirm a miracle attributed to Pius' intercession for him to be beatified, and another miracle for him to be made a saint.

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