was a meeting of men who in many ways were opposites—Pietro Gasparri, the small farmer's son but a born diplomat who knew all the " ropes " there were in the world; Eugenio Pacelli, the son of the city who even after a lifetime of diplomacy said "I was never meant for this."
There was the elegant, delicately sensitive young priest, and on the other hand the broad, short, wise man who maintained great dignity wearing clothes that should long ago have been given the rest due to old age and a rough life.
The one spent a daily hour walking in the Pincio Gardens, absorbed in his breviary; the other, on the rare occasions when he would get away from work, could be found in the countryside around Rome, not a bit interested in the scenery but with his eyes wandering over the ground, sizing up a field of growing onions, beetroots or some other crop, testing them with his fingers, comparing them perhaps with the crops on his brother's farm. where he used to spend his holidays.
Cardinal Gasparri—he had not then received the Red Hat— wanted the young priest for diplomatic service. He found he had a double treasure when one day (it was one St. Patrick's Day) Saint Pius X casually asked him if he thought it was possible in one lifetime to codify canon law, then in a chaotic condition, and, on receiving a possible " yes", told Gasparri: "Then do it." And, with the help of Don Eugenio, it was done—in about a sixth of a lifetime.
work of exchanging prisoners of war. moving the wounded to hospitals and of seeking information for the families of the missing soldiers, a work enormously developed by the Holy See in the second World War.
When the Papal Nunciature of Bavaria, which dealt with all questions pertaining to Germany, became vacant early in 1917. the Pope chose Mgr. Pacelli. appointed him titular Archbishop of Sardes and consecrated him in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican.
A few months after Archbishop Pacelli's arrival in Munich, Pope Benedict made his famous peace proposal, through which he sought not only to end the war but to assure lasting peace among peoples by means of a continuous reduction of armaments and by permanent agreements for the solution of international conflicts by pacific means and arbitration instead of war.
It was Archbishop Pacelli who personally presented the Pope's proposal to the Kaiser at Bad Kreuznach.