Thursday, November 15, 2007

From the La Salette Journey Archives...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Long before the Second Vatican Council, when Nazism reared its ugly head and the Jewish People were dehumanized and sent to death camps as part of Hitler's "Final Solution," Pope Pius XI raised his voice:

"Pius XI responded by issuing in 1937 the encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge condemning the Nazi ideology of racism and totalitarianism and Nazi violations of the concordat. Copies had to be smuggled into Germany so they could be read from the pulpit. As the extreme nature of Nazi racial anti-Semitism became obvious, and as Mussolini in the late 1930s began imitating Hitler's anti-Jewish race laws in Italy, Pius XI made his position clear, both in Mit Brennender Sorge and in a public address in the Vatican to Belgian pilgrims in 1938: "Mark well that in the Catholic Mass, Abraham is our Patriarch and forefather. Anti-Semitism is incompatible with the lofty thought which that fact expresses. It is a movement with which we Christians can have nothing to do. No, no, I say to you it is impossible for a Christian to take part in anti-Semitism. It is inadmissible. Through Christ and in Christ we are the spiritual progeny of Abraham. Spiritually, we [Christians] are all Semites."(Source:

His successor to the Chair of Peter, Pope Pius XII of happy memory, stood with the Jewish People during their painful trial, and rescued anywhere between 800,000 and 1.5 million of the Jewish People. The Historical Record: What Pius XII Did for the Jews:

The anti-Semitism of the Saint Benedict Center and other "traditional Catholic" groups in no way represents the mind of the Church.

"Being a lover of freedom, when the Nazi revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom: but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. Only the Catholic Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing the truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised, I now praise unreservedly."

- Nobel Prize winning Physicist Albert Einstein, a refugee from Nazi Germany.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Melanson, good for you. This is something we don't hear in my country of the Philippines. Thank you my friend in Christ. Salamat.

JayG said...

Again, great work Paul.
As Jesuit Father Peter Gumpel, the postulator of Pius XII's cause, said in a Zenit Interview March 3, 2004:

"Pius XI and Pacelli thought the propositions were not very effective, so they decided that an encyclical [Mit Brennender Sorge] was better...
The publication of "Mit Brennender Sorge" was kept secret for security reasons. The Nazis discovered it only on the afternoon of Saturday, March 20, 1937, shortly before it was read and distributed in churches.

The Nazis were informed by an employee of the press that was printing the copies of the encyclical. "Mit Brennender Sorge" was read and distributed in all churches during the Mass on Sunday, March 21, 1937.

For a while, the Nazis considered intervening in the churches, but they would have run the risk of a civil war. The Hitler regime was caught totally unawares.

French intellectual Robert D'Harcourt, who was in Germany at the time, wrote in Etudes/Revue Catholique d'Interet General, of May 5, 1937, that the publication of "Mit Brennender Sorge" was like a bomb.

The Catholic organization had not made a mistake; ... it succeeded in getting around the control of the Gestapo and had reached the churches.

On that occasion, the Catholic community also showed notable moral solidity. The people were happy and Hitler was furious. He ordered the confiscation of the presses that had printed the encyclical and the arrest of those responsible.

If it was so difficult to have the encyclical reach the population, how can [critics of Pius XII] think that it would have been possible to send so many individual propositions of the Holy Office?"

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

I couldn't have said it better Jay. Thanks for that insightful post. Most welcome indeed. Robert, thank you for the kind note. I pray for the Philippines as often as I can.

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