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GOD AND THE FASCISTS; The Vatican Alliance with Mussolini, Franco, Hitler, and Pavileć

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What did Benedict XV, Pius XI, and Pius XII dream of ? They dreamt of a Catholic continental Europe in a united military battle against the godless Soviet Union, as degenerated as it may already have been by Stalin's influence (read Arno Lustigers Stalin and the Jews: The Red Book ). They dreamt of the end of Orthodoxy, the end of communism, and the Catholicization of Russia. And of a neutral, Anglican Great Britain and a neutral United States. Because a military conflict within the western camp made the outcome of the war unpredictable. After the military defeat of France, this dream seemed to be well within reach, and in 1940 the whole world was convinced that Hitler would win the war. The realization of the curia's dream had, with Hitler's help, come within their grasp.

 

We learn from Karlheinz Deschner how the invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, was openly welcomed, not only by the German episcopate, and how unlimited their enthusiasm for Hitler and agitations against Russia were. And Pius XII--who allegedly did too little against Hitler and said too little--spoke in a radio address one week later of "rays of light that raise the heart to great, holy expectations: great bravery and courage in defending the foundations of Christian culture and optimistic hope for their triumph," by which he intended to express, according to embassy counselor Menshausen, the hope that the great sacrifices demanded by this war would not be in vain and would, should Providence so wish, lead to victory over Bolshevism. In this "war between worldviews," which had been so longed for by the Catholics and which Hitler also called it, the Holocaust was viewed as a kind of collateral damage.There may even have been a secret feeling of satisfaction in light of the two thousand years of Christian anti-Judaism. Had Hitler not, in April 1933, already coquetted before high Catholic functionaries--as Deschner reports--and much to their delight, that his "treatment of the Jewish Question" was merely a continuation of medieval Catholic tradition?! In any case, the pope never condemned the Nazi pogroms against the Jews, not even when the Jews were rounded up before his eyes, so to speak, and taken away. Today's propagated idea of a Judeo-Christian West is based on a syncretism swindle.

 

The Vatican was even more deeply involved in Fascist crimes in Croatia, where the Franciscans played a leading role in the atrocities perpetrated there, which were so brutal that even the Germans complained. Ante Pavelić, the leader of the Croatian Fascists, called the Ustaša, coined the slogan that a third of the Orthodox population of Yugoslavia should be forcibly converted, a third expelled, and the other third murdered. Seven hundred fifty thousand Serbs fell victim to this regime with clerical help, and often after brutal torture, as did 80 percent of the Jews in Yugoslavia. The Primate of the Croatian Catholics, Archbishop Dr. Stepinac, collaborated with Pavelić from the first minute to the last. After his conviction as a war criminal, the Ustaša leader managed to escape, initially to South America, with the help of the ratline. He was accompanied by the former contact man between the Croatian archbishop Stepinac and the Vatican, the priest Krunoslav Draganović, who was, among other things, responsible for the deportation of Jews and Serbs during the war as a "resettlement officer" and was later one of the key figures in the organization of the ratline. He later fled to Franco's Spain, where he found refuge in a Franciscan monastery in Madrid. This war criminal died on December 26, 1959, and received the blessing of the Holy Father on his deathbed. Stepinac was the only high cleric who was at least partly brought to justice for his deeds. The sentence: sixteen years' imprisonment with forced labor. After six years of imprisonment, he was released early. Today's theologians may claim that this verdict was based on a "misunderstanding." But it is no misunderstanding that Yad Vashem rejected the obscenity of an application to grant him the title and honor of a "Righteous among the Nations" twice, in 1970 and 1994. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

 

In his résumé at the end of the book, Karlheinz Deschner says, in 1965, "If one considers the attitude of Eugenio Pacelli to the politics of Mussolini, Franco, Hitler, and Pavelić, it hardly seems an exaggeration to say: Pius XII is probably more incriminated than any other pope has been for centuries. He is so obviously involved in the most hideous atrocities of the Fascist era, and therefore of history itself, both directly and indirectly, that it would not be surprising, given the tactics of the Roman Church, if he were to be canonized."

 

And now the beatification is already under way, less than fifty years later! If Hitler had won the war, one may wish to add, then he would presumably have long since attained the same Catholic honors.

 

And Franco's support from the Vatican in the Spanish Civil War--and before--is also a theme of this rewarding book, this irreplaceable source of information.

 

Let us now return to the present, to the constitutional knock-on effects of the church's collaboration with Fascism in Germany. One has to only compare this close interrelationship between church and state, this still-surviving German church state--which, under the Weimar Constitution and the federal constitution of Germany, should never have been permitted--with the constitutions of France and the United States, in which the separation of church and state is clearly stipulated. It then becomes clear how far Germany is today from being a modern democracy. It is a country in which the churches, on the basis of regional concordats, have places in all radio and television broadcasting councils, in nearly all newspaper editorial offices, in countless other influential institutions, and--some quite openly, others well hidden--at the levers of power. It then becomes clear what massive favors Hitler and Mussolini did the Vatican with this special answer to the Roman Question, with the restoration of its statehood, its assets, and its public influence, which were in a state of dissolution in the second half of the nineteenth century. And at what cost to the rest of the world!

 

Karlheinz Deschner's book is an important contribution to enlightenment, a jewel for anyone who seeks historical truth; it is an antidote to the historical lie of Catholic resistance to Adolf Hitler and provides a fundamental contribution to the current debate on the rehabilitation of the Pius Brotherhood (fronted by Richard Williamson, who denied the Holocaust), the planned beatification of Pius XII, the scandal surrounding the Vatican Bank, the reintroduction of the Good Friday Intercession, and the role of the Vatican in the world in general.

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