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Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli

Eugenio Pacelli was Papal Nuncio in Munich from 1917 to 1925, and in Berlin from 1925 to 1929, when he was made Papal Secretary of State to Pope Pius XI. In one letter to his brother Francesco, the future pope recounted the 1919 occupation by communist revolutionaries of the Nuncio offices in Munich. "On that occasion, Pius was threatened with a pistol pointed to his head," Pius biographer Andrea Tornielli said. The violence and anti-clericalism that surrounded the establishment of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic in 1919, is said to have influenced Pius' strong anti-communism leaning -- a feature of his papacy which lasted from 1939 to his 1958 death. Cardinal Pacelli's contributed as Vatican Secretary of State to the "With burning Concern," the 1937 encyclical issued by his predecessor Pius XI in which totalitarianism and anti-Semitism are condemned.

Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli was a Germanophile who maintained his neutrality throughout the course of World War II. Underlying papal policy for the past hundred years had been the settled conviction that a strong militaristic and authoritarian Germany was essential for the continuance of the Roman Catholic Church's pre-eminence in Christendom.

What Pope Leo XIII tried to make plain to Kaiser Wilhelm II was that the Holy Roman Empire would have to be restored by force of war, as alone it could be. Such a war would be fought to attain two objectives: (1) the ousting of Protestant British and Masonic influence from Europe in the West; and (2) the federation of all central European states as an impregnable bulwark against Russian and Slavic invasion from the East.

These were also Hitler's avowed objectives, testified to in the USA by none other than the Jesuit Edmund Walsh, Director of the Jesuit School of Diplomacy in Washington, DC. The New York Times (February 17th, 1940), reported the following statement of his in a public speech in the nation's capital: "The German war aims were outlined tonight as a re-establishment of the Holy Roman Empire by Doctor Edmund A. Walsh, regent of the Foreign Service School of Georgetown University. Dr. Walsh said that he heard Adolf Hitler say that the Holy Roman Empire, which was a German Empire, must be re-established." As late as October 9th, 1943, the New York Post reported that this same Father Edmund Walsh and his co-instructors of the Jesuit School for Foreign Service were teaching US Army classes that "a revival of the Holy Roman Empire was the only solution of the German problem".

No one understood this more clearly than Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli. His pro-Germanism was openly admitted by his official Catholic biographer, Kees van Hoek. "Cardinal Pacelli", he said, "has always been known for his strong German leanings". Viscount d'Abernon, Britain's first ambassador to the Weimar Republic, in his memoirs calls Cardinal Pacelli "the best informed man in the Reich". Pacelli knew and studied Hitler and his Nazi party at first hand, and was in Munich when Mein Kampf was first published there. Within six months of Hitler's accession to power in 1933, he signed the Vatican Concordat with Hitler's Third Reich.

The British Annual Register of 1933 (p. 169) attributed Hitler's rise to power in large part to "the gigantic swing-over of the Catholic middle class in west and south Germany to the Nazi Party". Liberal Catholic elements in Germany gave vent to their displeasure with Hitler's regime and objected to the Vatican tie-up with him. But the Catholic Revue Dies Deux Mondes (January 15th, 1935), reported that orders were sent to the German bishops who, at their annual conference at Fulda, issued their pastoral letter, which declared in part: "There is no need to speak at length of the task which our people and our country are called upon to undertake. May our Fuehrer, with the help of God, succeed in this extraordinarily difficult work . . ."

Again in August, 1940, with France and most of Europe under Hitler's heel, the German bishops drew up anothei pastoral letter at Fulda which according to a dispatch from Berlin to the New York Times (August 27th), containec "a solemn pledge of loyalty to Chancellor Hitler". Sine* a Hitler victory at that time seemed to the bishops tc promise an early end to the war, this pastoral letter wai directed to be read from all Catholic pulpits. Forty-five o the forty-eight bishops of Germany were present on tha occasion, together with Msgr. Orsenigo, Papal Nuncio V Nazi Germany.

Fritz Thyssen, Catholic steel magnate, in his book I Paid Hitler, published in the United States in 1940, stated that the whole plan of Hitler's National Socialism (as he understood it) was to establish a confederation of Central European countries under a Catholic monarch. When he went to Switzerland in 1940, Thyssen published an article in the Swiss Arbeiterzeitung entitled "Pius XII, as Nuncic Brought Hitler to Power". "The idea," he wrote, "was t have a sort of Christian Corporate State organised accorc ing to the classes, which would be supported by th Churches - in the West by the Catholic, and in the East by the Protestant - and by the Army."

This plan for the restoration of the Holy Roman Empire was propagandised in the United States by prominent Catholic spokesmen shortly after Hitler forced Austria an Czechoslovakia into his "Greater Germany". Justice Herbert O'Brien, writing in the New York Herald Trihune (March 29th, 1938), applauded Hitler's conquests as "natural readjustment in Europe," and warned the United States against any attempt to join with England and France to stop it. A war for this purpose, he declared, would be unjust, since its object would be "to oppose certain political adjustments and change confederations which had existed for generations before the great [first] world conflict". He went on to say: "The opposition to this adjustment of the German peoples with some of the groups of the old Austrian Empire . . . comes from England and France. These two nations have expressed their bitter resentment over these changes as a disturbance of the "balance of power" in Europe, and are fearful that Germany, in union with a re-united Austria, will place the German peoples in the ascendancy with ample force to maintain the position, and by alliance with Italy, terminate Britain's sole supremacy in the Mediterranean and directly affect its future control of India and Egypt and the African British colonies."

In his book, Church and State in Germany, which was widely distributed in the USA by the German Library of Information, Frederick F. Schrader reproduced the official text of the Vatican-Hitler Concordat and quoted the conclusion of a review of it from Germania, the most influential Catholic newspaper in Germany, as follows: "It was reserved for the constellation of Adolf Hitler, Franz von Papen, and Cardinal Pacelli to renew the old bonds between the Reich and the Church." This Vatican-Hitler Concordat was the first overall agreement between the Roman Catholic Church and Germany for over 100 years. These bonds could not have been renewed if a democratic government had been in power in Germany, since they tied together an authoritarian State and an authoritarian Church.

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Page last modified: 05-08-2011 20:02:40 ZULU