Monday, May 22, 2017

The Pope vs the Nazis

From The National Catholic Register:
In modern times, many seem eager to believe anything and everything negative regarding the Catholic Church, regardless of how bizarre the legend or conspiracy theory may be. One such theory is the supposed complicity of the Vatican and other influential Catholics toward Hitler’s Nazi regime. Of course, such a position completely collapses under the weight of solid historical investigation performed in such books as The Myth of Hitler's Pope: Pope Pius XII and His Secret War Against Nazi Germany by Rabbi David G. Dalin; Hitler, the War, and the Pope by Ronald Rychlak; and Bearing False Witness: Debunking Centuries of Anti-Catholic History by Rodney Stark.

In word and deed, both Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII were devastating opponents of Nazism, and the issuance of Mit brennender Sorge—largely written by the future Pius XII and issued during the reign of Pius XI—was the philosophical hallmark of that opposition to Nazism. By 1937, Pope Pius XI wanted to address the situation directly to German Catholics. Since this would be completely impossible, he did the next best thing. He issued this encyclical, whose title translates into English as “With burning anxiety.”

There were a number of unique aspects of the encyclical. First, its unique and original authorship in German was a sign of solidarity with faithful Catholics in Germany and as a reminder of exactly who the encyclical was holding in contempt. Second, Mit brennender Sorge exhibited something rarely seen in papal documents: anger. Consider the following passage:

The experiences of these last years have fixed responsibilities and laid bare intrigues, which from the outset only aimed at a war of extermination. In the furrows, where We tried to sow the seed of a sincere peace, other men - the ‘enemy’ of Holy Scripture — oversowed the cockle of distrust, unrest, hatred, defamation, of a determined hostility overt or veiled, fed from many sources and wielding many tools, against Christ and His Church. They, and they alone with their accomplices, silent or vociferous, are today responsible, should the storm of religious war, instead of the rainbow of peace, blacken the German skies.
(Read more.)

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