(Richard King) Pope Pius XII (Kiltullagh)
Image by Fergal of Claddagh
excerpt from THE LIFE OF POPE PIUS XII
As soon as Cardinal Pacelli had been appointed Secretary of State he launched negotiations for a Concordat with the province of Baden, and continued his endeavours until the spring of 1932.
The Grand Duchy of Baden is situated in the south-western part of the German Republic, bounded by Switzerland, Alsace, the Palatinate, Hesse, and Bavaria. In 1932 it had a population of 2,125,000, two-thirds of whom were Catholics.
An incident that occurred in this province brings to mind the strange inconsistency of those who attack and oppose the Church and her divine mission. For three centuries before 1853, Catholics had been ridiculed and persecuted for offering Masses for the dead. Yet, in the year 1853, the Protestant government of Baden arrested Archbishop Hermann de Vicari of Freiburg for not saying Mass for the Protestant Grand Duke Leopold on the occasion of his death!
From the year 1530, relations between Baden and the Vatican had been badly strained. About the year 1850 there flared up between them open conflict which endured until 1932. Cardinal Pacelli’s achievement of an agreement between the two marks one of his most outstanding triumphs. The thought of the difficulties he had to overcome, the bigotry he had to break down, of the triumph that he finally accomplished, commands respect from the most indifferent of us.
The situation that confronted the Secretary of State as he worked for a solution of this tangled problem was this :
A series of constitutional decrees issued in the year 1807 abolished a great number of monasteries and charitable institutions, and led to the confiscation of others. In 1822, by order of the Grand Duke, Wanker a professor of theology in Freiburg, a candidate for the Archiepiscopal See was elected by free vote of the assembled deans. The Pope condemned the action and declared the act itself invalid. That dispute lasted until the year 1827, when the Pope’s choice, Archbishop Bernhard Boll, was consecrated and installed. In a Church Law passed in 1830, the State assumed an undue amount of power over the Church, and received a new and energetic protest from the Pope.
For a time, there was a definite religious persecution. In the face of it, the Bishops demanded that their priests be educated in seminaries without outside interference, and demanded, too, the right to conduct Catholic schools and establish religious societies. In 1853 some trivial concessions were made to the Bishops, but the main points were ignored. At the time of thisimpasse the arrest of Archbishop De Vicari for his refusal to say Mass for Duke Leopold was a signal for new attacks on the Church.
Following negotiations, a Concordat was finally signed on June 8, 1859, an( l ft went far to meet the just demands of the Church. In 1861, a radical government declared the Concordat null and void, and substituted laws inimical to the Church. In 1864, the Liberals then in power proposed a school bill that would entirely nullify the influence of the Church in education.
Three years later, the Government instituted state examinations for theological students, to be held before a civil commissioner. The Bishops ordered the seminarians to refuse to take the examinations. After the death of Archbishop De Vicari, in 1868, the Government refused seven out of a total of eight names submitted to it; since a free choice by the Holy Father was impossible, the See of Freiburg was vacant for eighteen years. Only then were measures taken to re-establish peace with the Church. These negotiations were followed by a static period.
Under ancient bulls, certain rights were reserved to the Archbishop of Freiburg. The Pope considered the bulls null and void; when the See became vacant during the reign of Pius XI, he proceeded to appoint a new Archbishop immediately the whole question was at issue again. In spite of the split in the Baden Landtag, Cardinal Pacelli carried out negotiations for the settlement of the whole problem of Vatican relations.
Of the points to be settled the Cardinal requested that the appointment of Bishops rest solely and absolutely with the Holy See; that each Bishop be free to name his parish clergy; that religious instruction rank as an ordinary subject in schools; that all rights enjoyed by the Church to give and control religious instruction and to protect it from danger be guaranteed for the future.
The adoption of the Concordat on October 12, 1932, was a miracle, for the Baden Landtag was split evenly: forty-four affirmative votes, and forty-four against. It was passed at its first reading only because the President, a Catholic, exercised his right to vote twice.
When one considers the tasks that confronted the Cardinal Secretary of State, the wisdom with which he overcame insurmountable difficulties and worked for the conclusion of pacts that gained much for the Church, it would seem that the only sane and wise thing to do would be to seek his advice as to the settlement of this present world conflict. His experience in diplomacy, his knowledge of men and nations, his understanding of their problems make him without doubt one of the wisest statesmen in the world. Is there any man or any soldier in any fox-hole who would now permit his bigotry to expose the world to another debacle of war?
Let governments judge him objectively, or even from the viewpoint of their own self-interest : his single-heartedness, his entire lack of ambition (both because there is no such failing inherent in his character, and because he now occupies for life the highest station open to man), proclaim him to the world a priest and diplomat of complete integrity. What follows accentuates this.
The duplicity and hypocrisy of the German Reich, told in the story of the Concordat with the Holy See, is unequalled in the long history of the Church. Its negotiations and signature occasioned the fulfilment of Pope Pius XFs famous statement that he would work with the devil himself if the good of the Church demanded it; he was forced to deal with satanical men in Germany.
For a clear picture of the whole situation, let us first consider the leader and his policies; secondly, the perfidious statements of Hitler in the time before the Concordat; thirdly, the Concordat itself; and finally, its violations and the Pope’s fearless denunciation of the violators and their aims.
As to Hitler and his policies, we say that it was unfortunate that such guileless men as Pius XI and Cardinal Pacelli had to deal with such a person as the petty, bourgeois corporal and former house painter. Fate had nevertheless decreed that he be jockeyed into power at that time by the compromising von Hindenburg.
President von Hindenburg had defeated Hitler in the election of the year 1932. In spite of his dislike for his opponent, he invited Hitler to be Chancellor in 1933. That was the opportunity Hitler had sought^ Now he could complete his domination of Germany through revolution. The middle class became the nucleus of his movement. His natural flair for oratory and the conservative peasants’ hatred for Socialism and Communism drew legions to his standard. Note, once again, that the scourge of atheistic Communism aided the rise of Hitler and Naziism, as it did Mussolini and Fascism.
That the threat of Communism was real there can be no doubt. This familiar couplet was heard everywhere in Germany :
Hitler, give us bread Or we will go Red.
Concrete proof of Russia’s intentions to Sovietize Europe, and particularly Germany, is found in this excerpt from The Fifth Congress of the Communist International, in an abridged report of the meetings held at Moscow, June-July, 1924:
"The Third International was founded by Lenin and, in spite of all difficulties; it will force its path from Russia through Europe and through the whole world. Under the symbol of Lenin, we shall defeat the bourgeoisie of the whole world and the Red flag will fly not only over Moscow, but over Berlin and over the whole globe. Leninism will bring the victory of the world revolution."
Anyone could have rallied the German people in those days, under the guise of any crusade against Communism. It was Hitler’s chance, and he made the best of it for his own evil ends.
Hitler’s policies followed a familiar pattern the pattern of all dictators. Freedom of speech, or organization, and freedom of the press were abolished. In the field of religion, a "new Christianity" was insinuated, which intended the abolition of the Old Testament as a Jewish document.
The Jews were marked down for persecution unprecedented in barbarity, which all decent men have witnessed with fury. They were not permitted to attend church services with Gentiles. Sterilization of incurables and defectives was decreed in a measure to ensure the stupid doctrine of Nordic superiority and supremacy. Hitler blamed the Jews for the inauguration of Communism in Germany, and he branded all as traitors. While it was true that some of the Communists were Jews, it was a diabolical lie to say that all Jews were Reds. As to the charge that they were traitors, the best answer is found in the statistics of casualties in the Great War. On the basis of percentages, there were more German Jews killed -fighting for Germany in World War I than there were German Gentiles.
Regarding the Concordat between the Holy See and Germany, let it be stated here that it was Germany, not the Vatican, which made the first overtures. Pope Pius XI indicates not only the fact that Germany sought the Concordat, but, what is more important, explains just why the Concordat was really signed :
When . . . at the request of the German Government, We resumed negotiations for a Concordat on the basis of the proposals worked out several years before, and to the satisfaction of you all, We concluded a solemn agreement. We were moved by the solicitude that is incumbent in us to safeguard the liberty of the Church in her mission of salvation in Germany and the salvation of the souls entrusted to her and at the same time, by the sincere desire to render an essential service to the peaceful development and welfare of the German People.
Neither Pope Pius XI nor Cardinal Pacelli (whom he had appointed as plenipotentiary to act for the Holy See opposite Franz von Papen, the wily representative of the German Reich) was hoodwinked. Both were sceptical. They both sensed that there was political expediency and chicanery behind the whole business. Pope Pius said that "in spite of many serious misgivings" he entered the negotiations and signed the Concordat. Why he did it is clear from the following: "By Our act We wished to show all that, seeking only Christ and the things that are Christ’s, We refuse none who does not himself reject it the hand of peace of Mother Church."
On January 31, 1933, one day after Hitler became Chancellor of the Reich, he issued a Proclamation to the nation: "It [the National Government] will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality and the family as the basis of national life."
On February 15, 1933, Hitler said: "I do not merely talk of Christianity; no, I also profess that I will never ally myself with the parties which destroy Christianity."
Again, on March 23, 1933, he asserted: "The Government of the Reich, which regards Christianity as the unshakable foundation of the morals and the moral code in the nation, attaches the greatest value to friendly relations with the Holy See and is endeavouring to develop them."
The records show that exactly two weeks later he laid bare the depths of his machinations: "The religions are all alike. No matter what they call themselves. They have no future certainly none for the Germans. Fascism if it likes, may come to terms with the Church. So shall I, why not? That will not prevent me from tearing up Christianity root and branch, and annihilating it in Germany."
In this quotation from a speech made to his party followers, he voluntarily showed himself to be an incarnate liar :
"I am willing," he said, "to do anything to facilitate the success of my policy. I am prepared to guarantee all frontiers and to make non-aggression pacts and friendly alliances with anybody. It would be sheer stupidity to refuse to make use of such measures merely because one might possibly be driven into a position where a solemn promise would have to be broken. Anyone whose conscience is so tender that he will not sign a treaty unless he can be sure he can keep it in any and all circumstances is a fool. Why should one not please others and facilitate matters for one’s self by signing pacts if the others believe that something is thereby accomplished or regulated? I shall make any treaty I require. It will never prevent me from doing at any time what I regard as necessary for Germany’s interests."
Note the familiar sameness of attitude toward truth and morals in atheistic Communism as in Nazism. Lenin said: "We must be ready for sacrifices of any kind and even, if need be, to practice everything possible: ruses and tricks; illegal methods; be ready to be silent and hide the truth * ; in short, it is from the interests of the class war that we deduce our morality."
The Concordat itself, signed on July 20, 1933, ratified on September 10 of the same year, runs along the general lines of the others with its threefold significance: political, juridical, and social. It was remarkable inasmuch that never, since the Protestant Revolution, had the Church entered into a formal agreement which would regulate the condition of Catholicism throughout Germany.
"The trouble with Communists [1943 brand] is that they have dual-purpose minds. They tell you one thing and mean another." Herbert Morrison, British Labour Party leader, quoted in New York Times June 18, 1943.
An examination of the thirty-four articles of the Concordat reveals on the one hand, the clear statement of the rights of the Church; on the other, several Papal concessions, calculated to be of advantage to the government of the Reich.
There were the usual guarantees that there would be freedom to profess and practice publicly the Catholic religion. The Church would enact her own laws for her members ; the Holy See would enjoy freest liberty to correspond with the Bishops and laity; ecclesiastics would be equal to State officials insofar as the law protects them in the execution of their offices ; clerics should be exempt from public office and jury service ; the present division of dioceses would hold good for the future. Further, although the Holy See was to be free in all ecclesiasticalappointments, incumbents must be G.erman citizens; the German State would be consulted before the publication of the names of those appointed to the rank of Bishop, and these men would take a special oath of loyalty to the state before taking possession of the See. Religious instruction would be treated as an ordinary subject in elementary, professional, and higher State schools; religious orders were authorized to found private schools ; Catholic Action Associations, whose end is exclusively religious, cultural, and charitable, were to be protected by law. Liturgical prayers were to be said on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation for the prosperity of the Reich and the German people.
The historic document came to naught. When Franz von Papen was in the Eternal City during the next year, he had the extreme audacity to request an audience with Pope Piux XI. He got it one he will never forget. It is alleged that not in the memory of Vatican officials had any visitor been spoken to as the fearless Pope spoke to von Papen. He minced no words in telling him what he thought of leaders and nations whose word is unreliable. Finally, he walked from the room, leaving Franz von Papen standing there, properly rebuffed.
Depravity only can make a leader affirm one thing and act another. Hitler, in a radio speech delivered on June 20, 1933, said in part: "National Socialism has always affirmed that it is determined to take the Christian Churches under the protection of the State." And in referring to the Concordat on the same occasion: "The German Concordat which now has been signed is a second equally clear step in this sphere. It is my sincere hope that thereby for Germany, too, through free agreement there has been produced a final clarification of spheres in the function of State and the Church."
But while Hitler was publicly proclaiming his hopes for the fulfilment of the Concordat, Herr Rauschning says, in his book, that Hitler was telling his party followers at a rally that "the Church was something big. Now we are its heirs. We too are a Church. Its day is gone. It will not fight. As long as youth follows me, I don’t mind if the old people limp to the confessional. But the young ones they are different. I guarantee that. I promise you," he concluded, "that if I wished to, I could destroy the Church in a few years. It is hollow and rotten and false through and through. One push and the whole structure would collapse."
What a fool Hitler was to think the Church would not fight! He woefully underestimated the intrepid spirit of Pius XI and the innate courage of the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pacelli. No sooner had the ink dried on the Concordat than official letters poured into Cardinal Pacelli’s office, relating immediate violations.
Hitler definitely showed his traitorous hand in January, 1934, when he appointed the notorious Alfred Rosenberg to the post of cultural and educational leader of the Reich, and Adolf Wagner, to be Minister of State. You can judge Wagner from these expressed sentiments, "In the days that lie immediately ahead of us, the fight will not be against Communists or Marxists, but against Catholicism. Everyone will find himself faced with a serious question German, or Catholic?"
On April 2, 1934, at the exact time Franz von Papen was in Rome trying to explain away the action of Baldur von Schirach in disbanding the young people’s organizations, Pius XI sent this message to the Catholic youth of Germany:
Despite all the hardships through which Providence is leading you and in the face of propaganda working with allurements and with pressure for a new outlook on life which points away from Christ and back to paganism, you have kept your pledge of love and loyalty to the Saviour and His Church.
Three times more in that same year the Pope repeated his condemnation of the new paganism with mounting emphasis. At the same time he lashed out at the persecutors of the Jews :
Abraham is called our Patriarch, our ancestor. Anti-Semitism is not compatible with the sublime reality of that text : it is a movement which we Christians cannot share. . . . No, it is not possible for Christians to take part in anti-Semitism. We are Semites spiritually.
It is inevitable that any time we abandon the life of the Gospels, human lives perish. Toward the Israelites we are not only extremely anti-Christian and anti-civil, but inhuman. For them the misery of exile and outlawing is not enough; it goes on to pillory, beatings, wounding and death.
Propaganda against Jews assumes, wherever it is organized and led, proportions -unworthy of twenty centuries of Christian civilization.
In the light of the Pope’s denouncement of anti-Semitism, it is not surprising to hear, a few years later, a member of that persecuted race, Dr. Cecil Roth, of London, speaking before the Zionist Forum at Buffalo, say :
Only in Rome has the colony of Jews continued its existence since before the beginning of the Christian era, because of all the dynasties of Europe the Papacy not only refused to persecute the Jews of Rome and Italy, but through the ages Popes were protectors of the Jews.
Some Jews have the feeling that the Papacy has a policy of persecuting Jews. But you must remember that English history is definitely anti-Catholic and your views of Catholicism may have been coloured by English history. We Jews, who have suffered so much from prejudice, should rid our minds of prejudice and learn the facts. The truth is that the Popes and the Catholic Church from the earliest days of the Church were never responsible for physical persecution of the Jews and only Rome, among the capitals of the world, is free from having been a place of Jewish tragedy. For this we Jews must have gratitude.
Nor were the German Bishops afraid to condemn the new paganism being launched in their beloved country. On August 27, 1934, the German Bishops issued a Pastoral Letter condemning neo-paganism. They reproved the German National Church, saying it was "the invention of man, subject to human fallacy." They called it a "rebellion against Christ," and said, further :
Nor can we keep silent when a book, extremely radical in form, which makes use of innumerable disfigurements and seeks to undermine Faith in God, and the Christian religion, and respect for the authority of Christ and the Church, is spread freely in the schools, among the teaching personnel, in the "courses for leaders/* and in the employment camps, and which it is wished to make the basis of a new conception of the world, of a new code of ethics intended for an entire nation. When such writings are publicly recommended and an attempt is made to force them upon the faithful, we in the fulfilment of our watchful duty must proclaim loudly that this is a grievous sin and that, consequently, it is forbidden to read these writings which attack Christianity and undermine the foundations of Christian religion and morality.
And now we pass to another picture. While paganism is spreading its petulant propaganda, our Catholic press no longer has the freedom to discuss the great problems of these times in the light of Catholic doctrine on faith and morals, or to parry assaults upon Christianity and the Church.
Sunday, the day of God and of the family, has become so filled with routine celebrations and excursions ordained by organizations recognized by the State that no time is left for devotional participation in divine service and for the fostering of Christian family life. Narrow regulations hamper the work of our Catholic organizations and societies in the service of Church and Fatherland. In many localities Catholic youths are being persecuted for nothing more than giving public evidence of their faith in Christ and loyalty to the Church societies, protection for which was solemnly assured by the State.
We are only fulfilling our pastoral duty if, vigilant, we lift up our voices in admonishment against the seducers and the heresy which threatens destruction to the salvation of souls entrusted to us and the true happiness of our people.
You have heard and read that when one dons the uniforms, one ceases to be Catholic or Protestant. To this proposition we, your Bishops, say that even though one must practice in the service what good comradeship and mutual consideration demand religious conviction is not a coat, to be peeled off during service hours and hung on a nail. Religion is the soul of our souls, it is a sacred duty in all places and at all times ; religion, even in professional service and in the service of one’s country, is a source of strength and a most precious element of moral personality. Do not let yourselves be seduced by superficial phrases in the foolish belief that in the service one is any less Catholic.
You have heard and read that one can believe in a positive Christianity without believing in Christ, the Son of the living God, or in the Gospels. But we, your Bishops, say to you that there is a positive Christianity only when one does believe in Christ, the Son of God made Man, and accepts His Gospels and observes His Commandments.
On October 26, 1934, Michael Cardinal Faulhaber denounced publicly and fearlessly "the group of Freethinkers, new and old, who proudly declare themselves pagans, under the pretext of the ‘cult of race’ and deny the God of Christianity." He openly defined the "miserable substitute the new paganism would be for Christianity" and called the leaders "apostates."
While treating of the foreign policy of the Church regarding Nazism, we will give the whole story here. Cardinal Pacelli, who was to play such a big part in the exposition of the Nazi persecution of religion in Germany, recalled a speech Hitler had made in the very city where he himself had once resided : "If a people is to become free, it needs pride, self-will, defiance, hate, hate, and once again hate." Again, "There are two things which can unite men : common ideals and common criminality." That was some fourteen years before the massed evidences of persecution filled his files and left Pius XI and himself no choice but to proclaim to the German nation and the world at large that Nazism and Catholicism were diametrically opposed to one another.
Pope Pius XI and Cardinal Pacelli collaborated in the writing of the now famous encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge, which is one of the most fearless condemnations of Naziism ever written. No student of modern history can afford to miss reading it in its entirety. The following excerpt will show how comprehensive and direct it is :
If the tree of peace planted by us with pure intention in German soil has not borne the fruit We desired in the interests of your people, no one in the whole world who has eyes to see or ears to hear can say today that the fault lies with the Church and her Supreme Head. The experience of the past years fixes the responsibility. It discloses intrigues which from the beginning had no other aim than a war of extermination. In the furrows in which We had laboured to sow the seeds of true peace, others like the enemy in Holy Scripture (Matt. xiii. 25) sowed the tares of suspicion, discord, hatred, calumny; of secret and open fundamental hostility to Christ and His Church, fed from a thousand different sources and making use of every available means. On them and on them alone and on their silent and vocal protectors rests the responsibility that now on the horizon of Germany there is to be seen not the rainbow of peace but the threatening storm clouds of destructive religious war.
Whoever transposes Race or People, the State or Constitution, the executive or other fundamental elements of human society (which in the natural order have an essential and honourable place), from the scale of earthly values and makes them the ultimate norm of all things, even of religious values, and defies them with an idolatrous cult, perverts and falsifies the divinely created and appointed ardour of things, such a man is far from true belief in God and from a conception of life in conformity to it.
Only superficial minds can fall into the error of speaking of a national God, of a national religion, and of making a mad attempt to imprison within the frontiers of a single people, within the pedigree of one single race, God, the Creator of the world, the King, and lawgiver of the peoples before whose greatness the nations are as small as drops in a bucket of water.
It was, however, one thing to write the encyclical in Rome and another thing to get it into the hands of the Bishops in Germany. The resourceful Cardinal Pacelli found a way. Certain trustworthy clerics and laymen, during a pilgrimage to the Holy See, were entrusted with copies which they smuggled into Germany. Each Bishop received a copy and each in turn had it secretly printed. Then finally, one Sunday, it was read in every Catholic Church in Germany, to the astonishment and wrath of the infamous Gestapo.
The German Government retaliated by closing twelve printing offices which had published the encyclical. Religious periodicals which reproduced its text were banned for three months.
All the copies the police could lay hands on were confiscated. Men or women who had transcribed or circulated it were arrested, and Hitler himself struck back by putting a thousand more clerics on trial for alleged sexual crimes.
If there is any doubt as to just what the position of the German Hierarchy was, and is, regarding the character of Nazism, an examination of their Pastoral Letters and speeches yield an unqualified answer.
Take, for instance, the speech of Cardinal Faulhaber, Archbishop of Munich, delivered on July 4, 1937, to the Men’s Sodality. Protesting the arrest of Father Rupert Mayer, S. J., he pleaded with his hearers not to demonstrate publicly for fear of further reprisals. "We can," he said, "afford no greater satisfaction to the State police than to give them the occasion through demonstrations to proceed with rubber hose and arrests, with censures and dismissals against hated Catholics, who are now more hated and persecuted than the Bolshevik."
The Austrian Hierarchy issued a joint Pastoral Letter on September 4, 1938, objecting to severe restrictions on Catholic education and the instruction given to Catholics as to their obligations regarding the Sacrament of Marriage. "We deeply deplore, and the Catholic people as much as we, the fact that the right to teach and to educate has been withdrawn from Catholic establishments."
On the same day, a joint Pastoral Letter from the Bishops of Bavaria was read in all Catholic churches; immediately after, the offices of the Bishops were searched by Secret Service men, who confiscated typewriters, multi-graph machines, etc.
The letter which’ roused such opposition begins: "To the bitterest affliction and persecution that our Church must suffer in our German land, belongs the banishment of the Catholic Orders from the field of education and instruction."
Again in August, 1943, the German Bishops issued a joint message in which they denounced the Nazi warfare against religion :
Unfortunately it is with profound sorrow that we must note that even now the struggle is being continued against the heritage of our Christian faith, against the faith of Jesus Christ ; that education and the school to a great extent are being used to de-Christianize the people, above all, youth ; that boys sent into the country or in camps, at boarding schools and colleges, are being refused religious instruction ; attendance at Mass and reception of the Sacraments are being hindered and sometimes made impossible ; that the constant pressure being maintained on the consciences of many Christians that are in Warthegau amounts to a complete suffocation.
With profound grief we must deplore the fact that even today in many localities the performance of religious functions is being rendered impossible or hindered so that Holy Mass after a night raid alarm is prohibited by law, and that on Christian feast days, the religious feast is subject to oppressing limitations.
How sad it is that these and other attacks on the right and liberty of Christian religion, disturb and impede the international peace and harmony of the German people even in these grave times. May God grant that in the end every oppression of the Church and of Christianity may cease and that we may be united as a German Christian people to face difficulties and dangers.
The Bishops then struck fearlessly at the deification of the State and Race, saying: "An appeal is directed to those who are formulating a god according to their own idea and desire, or a god that exists only for their own nation and their own race."
The Pastoral Letter was dated August 19, and signed by Cardinals Bertram, Faulhaber, Innitzer, and twenty-six Conference Archbishops and Bishops, as well as by six Delegates from the Warthegau Protectorate. It was one year earlier that the German Bishops made this joint protest: "We German Bishops shall not cease to protest against the killing of innocent persons [hostages]. Nobody’s life is safe unless the Commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is observed."
And Hitler had thought the Church would not fight! How he underestimated the fearless Pius XI and his courageous Secretary of State and the dauntless German Hierarchy 1 What a fool he was to think they would remain silent when such a one as Julius Streicher hurled blasphemy such as this at the Son of God:
"It is only in one or two exceptional points," he said obscenely, "that Christ and Hitler stand comparison, for Hitler is far too big to be compared with one so petty. . . . Christ mixed a good deal with women. I believe that he stayed with one who was an adulteress so I have heard."
What awful retribution waits that nation whose leaders utter such blasphemies: "And you rose up against me with your mouth and have derogated me by your words ; I have heard them. Thus saith the Lord God, when the whole earth shall rejoice I will make thee a wilderness."