Monday, January 7, 2008

Christmas Reflections of Pope Pius XII

Pope Pius XII often made Christmastide the occasion for making powerful statements about violations of human rights. According to the NOR:
Pius XII's 1941 Christmas Eve broadcast, "Christianity and the World Crisis," served as a reaffirmation of Christianity's central role in society both in terms of promoting and maintaining justice as well as in calling for a new order founded on moral principles. Pius XII also saw the opportunity to single out and attack those policies of Nazi Germany that he believed were the cause of the war, as well as methods by which society might correct them.

Pius XII begins by remarking that many nations in Europe had "fashioned Christianity to their liking, a new idol which does not save, which is not opposed to the passions of carnal desire nor to the greed for gold and silver which fascinates, nor to the pride of life; a new religion without a soul or a soul without religion, a mask of dead Christianity without the spirit of Christ."

While Pius XII did not name Germany in particular, he is here reaffirming his predecessor Pius XI's attack on this method of Nazi rule, that is, replacing the Church with a new religion of the State. Pius XII held that the de-Christianization of many of Europe's institutions had led to the moral decay that allowed systems such as Nazism to spring up. It is this moral decay that Pius XII sought to reverse, for only then can society rid itself of the hate and dehumanization that marked Nazism.

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