Did he change the Canon of the Mass? No. John XXIII did.
Did he change the Mass? No. Paul VI did.
Did he go to Mosque, Synagogues, Pagan Temples, etc? No.
Did he profess heresies? NO.
John Paul II did. Benedict XVI did. Francis does.
Pope Pius XII is being criticized for his liturgical reforms.
Now when Pius XII created his liturgical laws, he either did or did not foresee how the modernists would use his reforms as an excuse to destroy the liturgy.
500 million Catholics lived under Pope Pius XII’s liturgical reforms and there was not a single case of a bishop, priest and faithful complaining that the reforms were unlawful and harmful.
They argue that Popes cannot make any modifications in the Liturgy. Then how can one explain the nearly two thousand years of various liturgical changes? How about the liturgical changes introduced by Pope St. Pius X? So how can they attack the liturgical changes introduced by Pope Pius XII on the grounds of lack of perpetuity when they themselves don't follow liturgical laws established in perpetuity? This is a position of contradiction.
And popes did in fact change some of the provisions of Quo Primum, even before Vatican II. In 1604, for instance, Pope Clement VIII issued new regulations for the Blessing at Mass, and in 1634 Pope Urban VIII changed the wording of the Missals rubrics and hymn texts.
When Trent anathematized the idea that the sacramental rites of the Church could be changed by “any pastor whomsoever”, or new ones could be drawn up, it obviously did not mean to include the Pope himself, the Supreme Legislator, who is not a pastor “of the churches” but of the Church.
With this distinction in mind, we turn to the very Council of Trent:
“It [the Council] declares furthermore that this power has always been in the Church, that in the administration of the sacraments, preserving their substance, she may determine or change whatever she may judge to be more expedient for the benefit of those who receive them or for the veneration of the sacraments, according to the variety of circumstances, times, and places. Moreover, the Apostle seems to have intimated this in no obscure manner, when he said: “Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God” [1 Cor. 4:1]; and that he himself used this power is quite manifest in this sacrament as well as in many other things, not only in this sacrament itself, but also in some things set down with regard to its use, he says: “The rest I will set in order when I come” [ 1 Cor. 11:23].”
~ Council of Trent, Session 21, Chapter 2; Denz. 931
It was also during the reign of Pope Pius XII that Archbishop Antônio de Castro Mayer became a Bishop.
In short, without the help of Pope Pius XII, we will not have these Traditional Bishops.
How can we judge his effectiveness anyway? The oath against modernism was required by all priests ordained under his reign, the seminaries trained in Thomism, all of the seminary books were traditional theology and philosophy. The Church was actively converting the world, missionaries were everywhere from China to Africa, etc. The Holy See was actively working, and dealing with all sorts of current issues. If you read the Canon Law Digest or the Acta through Pope Pius XII's reign, you will see that the Holy See was actively dealing with a wide array of issues.
Pope Pius XII wrote lengthy encyclical letters, on so many topics, he was actively fighting modern error as seen by Humani Generis. He defined clearly the correct matter and form of Holy Orders and the Consecration Rite for bishops. He defined the essence of the Church. He dealt many other modern errors.
In total, Pope Pius XII promulgated 46 encyclical letters, he defined the Assumption of the Blessed Mother, and he continually gave speeches, many of which were published in the Acta. He approved canonizations of numerous saints and declared them such in public ceremonies. He guided the Church through World War II, the most vicious and far reaching war in the history of the world. He approved the Fatima Apparition and consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In short, this holy pope should be commended and admired.
This Holy Pontiff should be defended, admired, respected and will always be remembered in happy memory. In our times, Pope Pius XII has become the "whipping boy" of many "traditionalists." The criticize him without evidence, they attack his lawful revisions of the Church's disciplinary laws, as thought he consented to modernism, they allege that his revisions were part of what led to the Novus Ordo, etc. These allegations should be offensive to any Catholic.
“Pius IX declared that it is insufficient to be united to the Holy See in faith and dogma, but that Catholics must be subject to the Roman Pontiff with regard to ‘rites and discipline.’ ”
~ Fr. McManus, The Sacred Congregation of Rites, 1954, p. 11
Pope Pius XII was a certain pope. The liturgical reforms instituted by him were all lawful. These liturgical laws bound all Latin Rite Catholics.
Between the years 1951 and 1958 Pope Pius XII enacted a number of liturgical reforms.
The Commission he set up to advise him on these matters had two radical modernists in it (Rev. (later Cardinal) Ferdinando Antonelli, O.F.M., and Rev. (later Archbishop) Annibale Bugnini, C.M.), who after Pius XII’s death, successfully implemented their modernist reforms to such an extent that the new liturgy ceased to be Catholic.
Seeing the ultimate objective of these modernists, some Catholics feel justified in rejecting the reforms of Pope Pius XII altogether, believing that these were the primal seeds of a bad tree.
The 1950s liturgical legislation introduced these things here and there, and on a limited basis. Taken individually, none was evil in itself. They were not harmful laws. In fact, it is the common teaching of the Church that a true pope could not issue harmful liturgical laws to the universal Church:
“As if the Church, which is ruled by the Spirit of God, could have established discipline which is not only useless and burdensome for Christian liberty to endure, but which is even dangerous and harmful…”
~ Pope Pius VI, Auctorem Fidei, Errors of the Synod of Pistoia, August 28, 1794
We must be careful not to lose sight of the fundamental purpose of liturgy - the worship of God. All of the religions of the world claim that they all worship God, but we Catholics know that God rejects these multiple forms of worship because they are done contrarily to His ordinances; they are the inventions of men. If one hopes to truly render worship to God, it must be done according to His dictates, and no other. Now it is of faith that the true worship of God can only be found in the Catholic Church.
Many of them who rejected Pope Pius XII’s liturgical reforms are “cherry pickers.” They pick and choose which liturgical laws to follow and which ones not to follow. I call them as "Rejectionists."
The rejectionists believe that the Pope is not allowed to make changes in the Liturgy. One of them argues that Popes are bound by the infallible declaration of the Council of Trent:
“If anyone shall say that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church accustomed to be used in the solemn administration of the sacraments may be disdained or omitted by the minister without sin and at pleasure, or may be changed by any pastor of the churches to other new ones: let him be anathema.”
~ Council of Trent, Session 7, Canon 13; Denz. 856
They assert — without any serious evidence — that “any pastor of the churches” includes the Pope himself. The Pope, of course, is not simply “any pastor of the churches” but the Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church, and there is really no reason why the Pope should not be able, allowed, or sufficiently competent to make changes to the liturgical rites of the Church, as long as such changes are not in themselves harmful, dangerous, heretical, or somehow impious; in fact many Popes have made changes to the liturgical rites after Trent and after Quo Primum, including Clement VIII, Paul V, St. Pius X, and Pius XII.
In 1953, Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Constitution, Christus Dominus, relaxed the laws concerning the Communion fast. He further relaxed them again in 1957 in his Motu Proprio, Sacram Communionem,to just 3 hours for solid food, 1 hour for non-alcoholic liquids, and no time limit on water.
This was quite a novel change, since we know from St. Augustine that the traditional fast from all food and water from midnight was already the universal law of the Church since at least the early 400’s. Pope Pius XII, in granting this historic change to the Communion fast, also “earnestly exhorted” those who were able, to continue to observe the traditional Communion fast. The new Communion fast introduced a relaxation that was permitted, but nevertheless, discouraged.
The rejectionists criticize Pope Pius XII's reforms. But would you expect the rejectionists to hold fast to the tradition of fasting from midnight? You would be wrong. The rejectionists embrace this particular reform of Pope Pus XII. Why is that?
The Catholic Church is one in authority, one in doctrine, and one in worship (liturgy). It is to safeguard unity that Popes have reserved to themselves the authority to regulate liturgical laws. Liturgical divisions will end when liturgical obedience reigns. The scent that you smell in the 1950’s liturgical reforms is that of a true Vicar of Jesus Christ, because the reforms belong to him and to no other. This Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth had the power to bind in Heaven and on earth, and in fact, did so bind his liturgical reforms. It is for popes to command, it is for us to obey.
“The Church has further used her right of control over liturgical observance to protect the purity of divine worship against abuse from dangerous and imprudent innovations introduced by private individuals and particular churches… It follows from this that the Sovereign Pontiff alone enjoys the right to recognize and establish any practice touching the worship of God, to introduce and approve new rites, as also to modify those he judges to require modification. Bishops, for their part, have the right and duty carefully to watch over the exact observance of the prescriptions of the sacred canons respecting divine worship. Private individuals, therefore, even though they be clerics [bishops are clerics], may not be left to decide for themselves in these holy and venerable matters, involving as they do the religious life of Christian society along with the exercise of the priesthood of Jesus Christ and worship of God… no private person has any authority to regulate external practices of this kind, which are intimately bound up with Church discipline and with the order, unity and concord of the Mystical Body and frequently even with the integrity of Catholic faith itself.”
~ Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947
He died at the age of 82, and this elderly Pontiff, the Most holy Lord of the Catholic Church guided the flock of Christ through all this turmoil in the elderly years of his life. Most men are living out their retirement on golf courses at that age or vacationing and resting. Not Pope Pius XII, he was actively teaching, governing and sanctifying the Church.