This is the cover of "Soldier of Christ: The Life of Pope Pius XII" by Robert A. Ventresca. CNS photo

Pius XII book earns honour for King’s prof Ventresca

  • November 22, 2014

A Canadian has captured the first ever American Catholic Historical Association prize for biography.

Robert Ventresca, a professor at London, Ont.’s King’s Univer-sity College, captured the 2014 Msgr. Harry C. Koenig Award for Catholic Biography for his 2013 book Soldier of Christ: The Life of Pius XII.

The award committee called Soldier of Christ “a fair account that gives the best insight into one of the longest pontificates in the 20th century.”

The newly inaugurated award is to be given once every other year to a new Catholic biography in English. Ventresca will accept the $1,500 prize at the Jan. 2 to 5 annual conference of the ACHA in New York.

“Rob Ventresca brings to the controversial personality of Pope Pius XII just what is needed — a calm, expert and balanced as-sessment,” said Michael Marrus, a leading Jewish scholar of the Holocaust, in an e-mail to The Catholic Register.

Ventresca’s book sets a high standard for the prize because his book is unimpeachably fair and objective, said the University of Toronto scholar.

“Rather than repeating partisan views, his book follows the evidence, guided by the author’s intimate feeling for the culture of the Vatican in a time that few can now remember,” Marrus said. 

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