The Vatican and Fascism in the 20th century
The book Mit Gott und dem Führer by Church historian Karlheinz Deschner ("With God and the Fuehrer [Hitler]") states that with respect to Fascist Germany, the Vatican:
"...war der erste Freund des Regimes und lange Zeit auch der einzige"
translation: [the Vatican] was the first friend of the regime and, for a long time, also the only one.
Fourteen years ago the U.S. Government de-classified the now famous "La Vista Report" of May 15, 1947, a top-secret U.S. Army Intelligence report documenting the Vatican's role in aiding the escape of numerous high-ranking Nazi war criminals, among them Ante Pavelic, fascist leader of wartime Croatia; Franz Stangel, Commander of Treblinka; Eduard Roschmann, "the Butcher of Riga"; Klaus Barbie, "the Butcher of Lyon"; SS General Walter Rauff, inventor of the mobile gas truck; Adolf Eichmann, "architect of the Holocaust"; and tens of thousands of others. Writing about the document prior to its release, internationally renowned Nazi hunter Charles R. Allen Jr. noted that in light of the revelations contained in this and other classified documents about the role of the Vatican in the Holocaust it would be logical and proper that
"A commission of inquiry into these concerns including Jewish and Catholic scholars ought to be established to locate and examine all documentation in all relevant archives so that collectively they may determine what role both the Vatican and US Intelligence played in aiding and abetting the escape of some of history's most notorious murderers. (1)
...The "La Vista Report" was documentary evidence that opened a window on a suppressed chapter of the Holocaust: the role of the Vatican in the Holocaust.
The Vatican's report "We Remember, a Reflection on the Shoah (Holocaust)," issued this past March makes it abundantly clear that the Catholic Church is determined to do all that it can to shut that window as tightly as it can, and to keep it shut forever....
...Far from suggesting that the Vatican did anything wrong, the document instead tries to portray the role of the Church during the Holocaust in a mostly positive light, insisting that "many" members of the Church did "give every possible assistance" -- implying that those who didn't were a minority, and going on to claim that the Vatican categorically condemned and opposed fascism and Nazism, making reference to pronouncements that at best are equivocal. It also claims that "Jewish communities and Jewish leaders expressed their thanks for all that had been done for them...," a cynical manipulation of a half-truth if there ever was one. And to top it all off the document tries to argue that fascism and genocide were incompatible with Catholic teachings:
"...the work of a thoroughly neo-pagan regime. Its anti-Semitism had its roots outside of Christianity...." (2)
Certainly not the view of the tens of thousands of Catholic clergy all around the world who warmly embraced fascism and joined its ranks from Berlin to Detroit (Have they forgotten our own "dear" Father Coughlin?).
What all of this amounts to is a staggering lie of gigantic proportions, a total whitewash of the crimes committed by the Catholic Church and the Papacy before, during and after the Holocaust. It is worthwhile that we now review some of the media response to this deliberate falsification of history before we examine some of the facts this most recent Vatican document conveniently "forgot" to mention. The Vatican document is the result of a sophisticated public relations campaign aimed at improving its image with both Jews and the American public by shirking responsibility for its crimes before, during and after the Holocaust while pinning all of the blame on others. This necessarily involves a deliberate falsification and suppression of the historical record.
The New York Times was correct when it predicted that the document would try to put as much distance between itself and the Holocaust as possible. Even anti-Semitism is portrayed as the result of "wrong-headed Christian thinkers," not the papacy or its clergy.(3) As one CNN reporter put it, "the Pope has steered clear of blaming the church itself."(4)
Thus, the Vatican's "memory" is highly selective. The "errors" the Vatican is willing to recall are limited only to those of omission, not commission.. In other words, the errors of the Church during the Holocaust are defined only as the silence or indifference of the Church in the face of crimes of genocide, a failure to speak out. The Vatican --and apparently many journalists -- would like us to believe that this is the limit of wrongdoing. Defined out of the discussion are complicity in or support for these crimes -- not to mention active participation in deportations, expropriations, forced conversions, and mass murder of a specific people, that is to say, genocide itself. As long as the role of the Vatican in the Holocaust is defined in this way, it safely avoids serious examination of the much worse crimes it did commit.
...By placing blame on wrong-headed individuals in the Church and denying any wrong doing by the Pope or Vatican, the Church is shifting responsibility from its leaders and from the institution itself to the rank and file followers, in effect side stepping all blame whatsoever. Thus, the Church really is completely innocent -- it's the sheep, not the shepherd who are responsible!
But nowhere has the truth been hijacked and suppressed more than in regard to that one chapter of the Holocaust that historians still hesitate to confront: the Vatican's role in fascist Croatia. The story of the Holocaust in wartime Croatia is absent from many scholarly discussions of the Holocaust and from most Holocaust museums in this country. It is an odd omission considering the fact that if one defines the Holocaust from the first mass murders of civilians, then the Holocaust itself began in Croatia with the first murders of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies by the Croatian fascist regime in April 1941 -- some nine months before the Wannsee Conference, more than two months before the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. It is like a book whose first chapter is torn out.
What then are the political reasons for the systematic and deliberate suppression of the history of the Holocaust in Croatia? There are several, and they are all connected to vital geo-political considerations of the leading Western powers....
But all of these justifications pale in comparison to the importance placed on suppressing the truth about the Vatican's and the Catholic Church's role in the Holocaust in fascist Croatia. For in Croatia, the question of what role the Catholic Church played in the Holocaust is not limited to the relatively minor issues of whether they did or spoke out enough against it -- here the question concerns the role of the Church and the Vatican in running concentration camps and in carrying out a religiously inspired genocide. Nowhere is the role of the Vatican more worthy of investigation, and nowhere has that role received less attention.
Since the Ustasha wished Croatia to be a vassal of the papacy, Catholic clergy held high positions at every level of the fascist government. In the majority of towns and villages throughout the newly created fascist state, Catholic clergy became the official Ustasha authority. A certain number of seats in the fascist "Sabor" were reserved for Bishops including Stepinac and Sharich. Pavelic included several priest-advisors and a personal confessor in his cabinet. In its inaugural radio address to the nation on April 11, 1941, the new fascist government instructed the population to apply to their local priest for further instructions, indicating again that the fascist take-over was planned in advance with the complete knowledge of the Church hierarchy. (29) When Pavelic fled the country in 1945 he turned over the reigns of state leadership to Stepinac. Thus, it truly was a clerical-fascist state in praxis as well as theory.
-- "What Is The Vatican Hiding? The Vatican's Complicity in Genocide in Fascist Croatia: The Suppressed Chapter of Holocaust History." by Barry Lituchy
This article goes on to explain in detail why the Catholic Church supported Austria and Germany in World War I, and how it viewed Serbia's Orthodox presence in Yugoslavia.
Vatican complicity in the holocausts in Germany and Yugoslavia
The French cardinal Eugene Tisserant, a Slavonic expert, told a Croat representative on March 6, 1942,
"that it is the Franciscans themselves, as for example Father Simic of Knin, who have taken part in attacks against the Orthodox populations so as to destroy the Orthodox Church in banja Luka...." [Cornwell, p. 259]
-- Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, by John Cornwell
The Bishopric News no. 2, 1942 recorded a directive that said:
"Our work is legal because it is in accord with official Vatican policy ... that the Eastern Orthodox Church be converted to the Catholic faith".
In Germany, the blame lay on both the Protestant and Catholic Churches, however, in Yugoslavia, Catholicism was the only Christian sect guilty for the large scale destruction of the Serb, Jewish and Roma populations. In its extermination of these groups, it was helped by the Hanjar, the Islamic Nazis.
What is the Vatican hiding?, by Barry Lituchy:
The exact number of Catholic priests who worked as commanders or guards at these camps in Croatia is unknown. However, there is no question that there were hundreds, if not thousands. In a surprising number of cases Catholic priests were named commanders or staff officers of concentration camps. These appointments were reported in the Catholic press during the war. Thus, we read in Novi List in 1941 that Father Stepan Lukic was named camp adjutant of the Zepce concentration camp, Priest Ante Djuric Commander of all camps in the Drvar district, and Father Dragan Petranovic commander of the camp in Ogulin. The active participation of clergy in running concentration camps in Croatia was known by the German, Italian, British and American intelligence services, as well as the Vatican. The U.S. intelligence report of February 23, 1943 entitled "Massacres of Serbs in Croatia" speaks bluntly of
"the bloody hands of the Catholic clergy in the camps."(52)
The Croatian Catholic Church and the Vatican were directly involved in helping the fascist regime in Croatia carry out a triple genocide against Serbs, Jews and Romas from 1941 to 1945 in every possible way. By the time they were done, they had killed one million people. The Catholic Church assisted the Croatian fascists in every aspect of their murderous rule, from open political and financial support, to serving in their military units in every phase of the war, to serving in their government, to participating in arrests, expropriations, deportations, forced conversions and mass murders of racially persecuted peoples. Catholic Priests even served as concentration camp commanders in some of the worst death camps of World War II. And it was all done with the full knowledge and support of Pope Pius XII and the Vatican.(19)
The Ustasha operations were carried out with incredible acts of sadism and torture.
...As the noted historian of fascism Ernest Nolte has put it, "Croatia became during the war a giant slaughterhouse."
...Croatia became at this time, as Croatian historian Antun Miletic has said, "a land of concentration camps."
...the main concentration camp system in Croatia which opened in August 1941, Jasenovac. It was at Jasenovac that between 600,000 and 700,000 Serbs, at least 30,000 Romas and 25,000 Jews were systematically murdered between August 1941 and April 1945. Of all of the death camps during the Holocaust Jasenovac was the third largest overall in terms of victims. Jasenovac holds a number of ghastly distinctions for its cruelty. It possessed some of the largest camps for women and children during the war - the names of some 20,000 children murdered there have been collected thus far. It was noted also for its extreme brutality every known method of murder and torture was employed there, as well as a few unknown anywhere else. There are very few examples in human history that can compare with the scale of murder, terror and barbarism conducted at Jasenovac. And yet it is not even mentioned at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. Why?
The answer lies with the Catholic Church. What was the Church's reaction to and role in all of this? How deeply involved in genocide in fascist Croatia was the Catholic Church and the Vatican? In response to the persecution of the Jews and Serbs the Croatian clergy rallied around the regime and provided endless articles and pamphlets justifying their extermination. Stepinac had the racial laws published in his own publications. Writing in response to the publication of the racial laws of April and May 1941 the Catholic weekly "Hrvatska Strazha" in its editorial of May 11, 1941 welcomed the legislation as necessary for "the survival and development of the Croatian nation."
"Defense from Judaism, from that destructive worm, was started by the Fuhrer and Duce [Mussolini].... Our Poglavnik [Croatian fuehrer, Pavelic] has also announced a regulation on the protection and honor and blood, and we would add, on the protection of the survival and development of the Croatian nation, and with it the Poglavnik wants to prevent the dangerous worm from eating away at the tree of our Croatian national life."40
German, Italian, British and American intelligence reports (as well as Croatian accounts) suggest that between 600,000 and 700,000 were killed there [at the Jasenovac concentration camp complex]. Aside from intelligence reports, we have the testimony of survivors and of a few of the perpetrators as to the crimes committed there by the Catholic clergy. Testimony was collected by a Yugoslav War Crimes Commission and obtained during the trials of various Ustashi. A key witness was the parish priest of Jasenovac, Juraj Parshich, who along with survivors testified to the barbaric murders committed at Jasenovac by numerous priests, among whom the most infamous were Zvonko Brekalo, Pero Brzica, Anzelmo Chulina, Father Brkljanic, and the Jesuits Zvonko Lipovac and Father Cvitan. However, there was one priest who has carved out a special place for himself in the annals of sadism, barbarism and genocide. His name before the war was Vjekoslav Filipovich, a Franciscan priest who some say was excommunicated. During the war he went from wearing priestly robes to an Ustasha officer's uniform, and bore the name Miroslav Majstorovich. He directed numerous actions against Serbian villages in which he played a conspicuous part in the killings. Before one such attack in the town of Drakulic he strangled a Serbian baby in his hands. Then he went to Jasenovac where he served as Commander for four months, from September 1942 to the beginning of January 1943. At the War Crimes investigation prior to his trial, Filipovich testified that during the four months of his command "according to my own calculations between twenty and thirty thousand were liquidated in the Jasenovac."(53)
The La Vista Report, a declassified U.S. State Department Report from 1947
What is the Vatican hiding? by Barry Lituchy
The Role of the Catholic Church in Yugoslavia's Holocaust
The Vatican's Holocaust by Avro Manhattan
Christianity in Europe during WWII
The case of the Archbishop Stepinac published by the Embassy of the Federal Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia, Washington, 1947
See also the following sections:
[color=#FFBFFF]Protestant and Catholic Churches supported Hitler and fascism, including how both Churches in Germany:
- helped track down Jews, including Christian Jews among their own congregations.
- worked with the Nazi state to murder people with disabilities.
- used forced labour and so now have to pay into a compensation fund for Nazi victims
The Catholic Ustashe included genocidal clergy
Photos of Protestant and Catholic Nazi clergy in Germany and Catholic clergy in the Ustashe
which links to images of German and Ustashe clergy participating in Nazism, of Ustashi being welcomed in the Vatican, as well as Catholic Ustashi priests forcibly baptising the Orthodox Serbs.
Hate literature written by priests: clergy writing anti-Semitic literature in Nazi Germany and clergy inventing and promoting race ideology in then Yugoslavia.
Some German books on Church participation in Nazism and its Christian origins
Hitler's Pope: Pius XII and Fascism
"His Holiness, Pius XII, the best anti-democrat in the world,"
as he was in 1950 (!) proudly titled by Ecclesia, official organ of the Spanish Catholic Action in an attempt to pay him the greatest tribute a Catholic paper could pay
"an accomplice to Nazi murderers."
-- Israel's Chief Rabbi, Meir Lau - on the actual historical role of Pope Pius XII in the Holocaust
From: What is the Vatican hiding?, by Barry Lituchy, which cites CNN
In 1917, Eugenio Pacelli, later to become Pope Pius XII, resided in a nunciature in Munich, directly opposite to what was later to become the Brown House, the cradle of Nazism. There he showed his first inkling of his unsympathetic feelings toward the Jews when he refused to come to the assistance of Jews and calling them a "Jewish cult." [Cornwell, p.70]. In a typewritten letter, he described
"a gang of young women, of dubious appearance, Jews as like all the rest of them, hanging around in the offices with lecherous demeanor and suggestive smiles." [Cornwell, p.75]
Link, citing Hitler's Pope by John Cornwell.
"To the Illustrious Herr Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer and Chancellor of the German Reich!
Here at the beginning of Our Pontificate We wish to assure you that We remain devoted to the spiritual welfare of the German people entrusted to your leadership.... During the many years we spent in Germany, We did all in Our power to establish harmonious relations between Church and State. Now that the responsibilities of Our pastoral function have increased Our opportunities, how much more ardently do We pray to reach that goal. May the prosperity of the German people and their progress in every domain come, with God's help, to fruition!"
-- Pope Pius XII to Hitler, after being elected Pope
Hoping to beatify Hitler's Pope to uphold doctrine of Papal infallibility
Pope John Paul II's response to the question of the wartime Pope's culpability reveals the real design behind the Vatican's report. John Paul II has consistently defended Pius XII, often in a truculent manner. The current Pope [referring to John Paul II] has made it clear that he will do his part to uphold the doctrine of Papal infallibility. One of his speeches during a trip to Germany in 1995 even contained a passage attacking all criticisms of Pius XII as "cheap polemics."(6) This kind of attack is part of a pre-emptive strategy aimed at creating an unreceptive climate for scholarship or discussion dealing with the role of the Vatican. Once again the Church finds itself fighting to prove that the world is flat.
-- What Is The Vatican Hiding?, by Barry Lituchy
Had Pius XII been a regular government official, he'd most likely have been convicted for his numerous crimes.
Yet, he was a Pope. The many well-founded and documented allegations have cast grave suspicion on the wartime Pope. Weighed down with the monumental and impossible task of upholding the 1870 doctrine of Papal infallibility, John Paul II decided that if only he could beatify Hitler's Pope Pius XII, then the whole Catholic Church and its flock would align itself with the idea that Pius XII could not been have guilty of anything as grave as the charges stacked against him. Indeed, Pius XII would then have all the Church's millions of loyal members on its side in blindly denying the facts: denying the evidence by shouting down the truth - a mere numbers game.
The Lateran Treaty with fascist Italy's Mussolini signed under Pius XII's predecessor
Mussolini told the press at Ouchy:
My spirit is deeply religious. Religion is a formidable force which must be respected and defended. I am, therefore, against anti-clerical and atheistic democracy, which represents an old and useless toy. I maintain that Catholicism is a great spiritual power....
-- Mussolini As Revealed in his Political Speeches, by Quaranta, p.XII.
[Pope] Pius XI, in his own words a "man with no love for democracy," helped to bring Mussolini's Fascist Party to power in Italy and in 1926 solemnly declared:
"Mussolini is a man sent by Divine Providence."
And in 1932 the Pope Pius XI blessed Mussolini at St. Peter's.
In Italy, the Holy See signed a pact (drafted by Pacelli's brother and Pietro Gasparri) with Mussolini in February 1929, known as the Lateran Treaty. Hitler had taken note of the Lateran Treaty and hoped for an identical agreement for his future regime. [Cornwell, pp.114-115]
The Vatican encouraged priests to support the Fascists and the Pope [Pius XI] spoke of Mussolini as "a man sent by Providence." The Church has a history of pacts with criminal states as the Holy See signed treaties with monarchs and governments regardless of slavery, inhumanity, or torture they may have induced upon fellow human beings.
Even Mussolini's attack on Ethiopia on October 3, 1935 was not condemned by the Holy See. Nor did Pius XI restrain the Italian hierarchy from war enthusiasm. "O Duce!, declared the bishop of Terracina, "today Italy is Fascist and the hearts of all Italians beat together with yours."[Cornwell, p.175]
From: The Reich Concordat between Hitler and the Vatican, citing Hitler's Pope by John Cornwell.
In 1935 Fascist Italy attacked and invaded Abyssinia. Since the population of Italy lacked enthusiasm for this agression, the pope hastened to declare a new crusade. For example the Archbishop of Tarent, holding a Holy Mass on a submarine, declared: "The war against Abyssinia should be viewed as a Holy War, as a crusade," which also opened "Ethiopia, the land of infidels and schismatics, to the Catholic Faith."
In 1936 the nation's churches and clergy were enjoined to celebrate Italy's victory in Ethiopia. The considerable Christian population in Ethiopia was mostly non-Catholic, hence the Pope's reference to it as a land of schismatics.
The Concordat with Nazi Germany
Pius XII's (then Eugenio Pacelli) efforts as Papal Nuncio in Germany were central to bringing Germany's Catholic Center Party close to Nazism in the 1920's, and then to cementing the agreement between the Vatican and Hitler known as the Concordat of 1933. Pacelli's support for Hitlerism in its early stages is historical record, and preventing the disclosure of the full scope of this support is one of the reasons the Vatican will not open its archives from this period.
From: What Is The Vatican Hiding?, by Barry Lituchy
In the 1920s Pacelli presented his credentials to the Weimer government where he stated,
"For my part, I will devote my entire strength to cultivating and strengthening the relations between the Holy See and Germany."
-- Pacelli, later to become Pope Pius XII
Pacelli's stay in Germany with his familiarity with their political, religious, and racist views must have influenced his later work to unify Catholicism with Germany.
In the 1930s, Pacelli and his associates negotiated with the Nazis to form a contract which got signed in 1933 as the Reich Concordat with the approval of the Pope. ...After the agreement, Hitler, mimicking Pacelli fourteen years earlier stated,
"I will devote my entire strength to cultivating and strengthening the relations between the Holy See and Germany."
-- Hitler [Cornwell, p. 136]
...According to John Cornwell, this papal endorsement of Nazism [the Concordat] helped seal the fate of Europe which makes it plausible that these Catholic prejudices bolstered aspects of Nazi anti-Semitism. [Cornwell, p. 28]
The Concordat and the following Jewish persecutions resulted in the silence of the Pope and the bishops. ...Most bishops and Cardinals were Nazi sympathizers as were bishop Wilhelm Berning of Osnabruck and Archbishop Grober of Freiburg (Pacelli's choice for emissaries).
On April 25, thousands of Catholic priests across Germany became part of an anti-Semitic attestation bureaucracy, supplying details of blood purity through marriage and baptism registries in accordance with the Nazi Nuremberg laws which distinguished Jews from non-Jews. Catholic clerical compliance in the process would continue throughout the period of the Nazi regime. [Cornwell, pp.154]
...After Kristallnacht (where Nazis broke Jewish store windows and had synagogues burned) there issued not a single word of condemnation from the Vatican, the German Church hierarchy, or from Pacelli. Yet in an encyclical on anti-Semitism,
titled Humani generis unitas (The Unity of the Human Race) by Pope Pius XI, a section claims that the Jews were responsible for their own fate. God had chosen them to make way for Christ's redemption but they denied him and killed him. And now, "Blinded by their dream of worldly gain and material success," they had deserved the "worldly and spiritual ruin" that they had brought down upon themselves. [Cornwell, p. 191]
Pacelli became a crowned Pope [Pius XII] on March 12, 1939. The following month on April 20, 1939, at Pacelli's express wish, Archbishop Orsenigo, the nuncio in Berlin, opened a gala reception for Hitler's fiftieth birthday. The birthday greetings thus initiated by Pacelli immediately became a tradition...
By this time Pacelli could call on the loyalty and devotion of a half-billion people, of which half the populations of Hitler's new Reich had become Catholics, including a quarter of the SS. At this time bishops, clergy, religious, and faithful had bound themselves to the Pope, and by his own self estimation, served as the supreme arbiter of moral values on earth. [Cornwell, p. 215]
From: The Reich Concordat between Hitler and the Vatican, citing Hitler's Pope by John Cornwell.
Endorsing Ustashe Croatia
As soon as the new fascist state of Croatia was born, a campaign of cold-blooded terror began, as noted by John Cornwell in his book Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (Viking, London, UK, 1999):
"(It was) an act of 'ethnic cleansing' before that hideous term came into vogue, it was an attempt to create a 'pure' Catholic Croatia by enforced conversions, deportations, and mass exterminations. So dreadful were the acts of torture and murder that even hardened German troops registered their horror. Even by comparison with the recent bloodshed in Yugoslavia at the time of writing, Pavelic's onslaught against the Orthodox Serbs remains one of the most appalling civilian massacres known to history" (p 249)
Furthermore, as Cornwell notes, Pius XII had not only "warmly endorsed" Croat nationalism, he had, before the war in November 1939, described the Croats in a speech as "the outpost of Christianity" of whom "the hope of a better future seems to be smiling on you".
Pavelic and Pope Pius XII "frequently exchanged cordial telegrams" according to Dedijer [The Yugoslav Auschwitz and the Vatican], one on New Year's Day 1943, saw the Pope give his blessing to Pavelic:
Everything that you have expressed so warmly in your name and in the name of the Croatian Catholics we return gracefully and give you and the whole Croatian people our apostolic blessing (Dedijer, p 115).
From: The Role of the Catholic Church in Yugoslavia's Holocaust
A vow of silence - Did gold stolen by Croatian fascists reach the Vatican? - U.S. News and World Report, March 30, 1998:
Other reports mention Ustashas meeting with Vatican officials or even living in the Vatican. The British Foreign Office reported in January 1947 that Pavelic himself, by that time a wanted war criminal, was living "within the Vatican City." An earlier report by Gowen, in October 1946, noted that Pavelic was in Rome and in contact with Draganovic.
Documents include accounts of Ustashas being hidden at the pope's summer residence at Castel Gandolfo and being seen driving in Rome in cars with Vatican license plates. The recently declassified Golik memo reports that Ustashas ate at the papal mess and that Father Golik was "declared to be in close contact with the Vatican."
The Vatican's tolerance of the Ustasha during the war was no secret. On the recommendation of Zagreb Archbishop Alojzije Stepinac--who had blessed Pavelic at the opening of the Croatian parliament--the pope established informal diplomatic relations with the independent state of Croatia, and his envoy made regular rounds of Ustasha headquarters. In 1941 and in 1943, at a time when his excesses were known, Pavelic was granted two private audiences with Pius XII. The pope explained that he received the Ustasha leader simply as a Catholic, not as head of the Croatian state. The pontiff's decision was widely reported--and widely deplored--at the time. In July 1941, Francis D'Arcy Osborne, the British ambassador to the Vatican, wrote:
"[Pius's] reception of Pavelic ... has done more to damage his reputation in this country than any other act since the war began."
Hitler's Pope, by Catholic historian John Cornwell.
Cornwell was allowed extensive access to Vatican files relevant to the Holocaust which apparently had not been studied previously by a non-Vatican researcher. He explains that he was planning to write a book defending Pope Pius XII (hence the access) but changed his mind when he saw the data. [Link]
The abridged version of Hitler's Pope published in Vanity Fair is available online.
Today the Catholic Church has undertaken a campaign of suppression and propaganda to belittle Cornwell, Goldhagen, Romus or any researcher that dares to uncover the reality of the atrocities committed by Roman Catholic Christians.
Link, which also shows how it's not just the Catholic Church that's trying to suppress and deny valid findings and even retaliate on those who bring these uncomfortable facts to light. The Protestant Churches have been trying to do the same with regards to their support for Nazism in Germany.
What Is The Vatican Hiding?, by Barry Lituchy
Christianity in Europe during WWII: The Reich Concordat between Hitler and the Vatican
Ein Jahrhundert Heilsgeschichte. Von Leo XIII. 1878 bis zu Pius XI. 1939. Die Politik der Päpste im Zeitalter der Weltkriege by Church historian Karlheinz Deschner
"A century of Salvation history. Of Leo XIII 1878 up to Pius XI 1939. The Politics of the Popes in the times of the World Wars."
Die Vertreter Gottes. Eine Geschichte der Päpste im 20. Jahrhundert. by Karlheinz Deschner
"God's representative. A history of the Popes of the 20th century"
Die Politik der Päpste im 20. Jahrhundert by Karlheinz Deschner
"Papal politics in the 20th century", also available as one of 15 essays in Deschner's Opus Diaboli.
Mit Gott und dem Führer - Die Politik der Päpste zur Zeit des Nationalsozialismus by Karlheinz Deschner
"With God and the Fuehrer - Papal politics during the time of National Socialism" (the Fuehrer was Hitler's title and Nazism is short for National Socialism)
The section Popes of long ago shows how many pontiffs of past centuries have been downright evil, thus Pius' behaviour is in no way an aberration.
Supporting other dictatorships
The eagerness with which the Vatican came to terms with the Hitler regime could be expected from the history of its penchant for "forging diplomatic links with conservative or even fascist regimes [because] it found most aspects of right-wing regimes congenial," to convey the point in the words of Professor of History Michael R. Marrus.
Professor Friedrich Heer [historian], in his magnificently researched God's First Love, backs him up, as do many other historians.
From: Catholic Reaction To The Nazi Holocaust, by Dr. Michael Hakeem, FFRF
Having lost its "strongest bulwark" [Austria] with the end of the first World War, the Vatican turned to Mussolini and fascist Italy to defend it and its long range goals. Likewise, the Vatican threw its support behind Mussolini's imperialist ambitions for fascist Italy. ... Why did Hitler create two independent clerical-fascist states which considered themselves vassals of the papacy? The answer to this question explains why historians hardly ever mention Slovakia and Croatia in their discussions of World War II or the Holocaust: because the Vatican was a silent partner in the Axis alliance, as well as in the Holocaust.
-- What is the Vatican Hiding, Barry Lituchy
Besides Nazism in Germany, Italy and Croatia there are a number of other European countries that suffered markedly under the fascist tyranny of Catholics: Spain under ruthless fascist Catholic dictator Franco and Slovakia under the priest Tiso.
Catholicism had links to government organizations, right-wing nationalism, including Fascism and Nazism. Moreover, most every right-wing dictator of the period had been brought up a Catholic: Hitler, Horthy, Franco, Petain, Mussoline, Pavelic, and Tiso (who has served as a Catholic priest).
From: Christianity in Europe during WWII
Contrary to their claims today, the fascist regimes in Europe from the 1920's to the 1940's had been widely supported by the majority of Christians, including the Nazi rule in Germany. Other examples were the Italian Fascism under Mussolini, the rule of Spanish Catholic dictator Franco (and a similar one in Portugal), the Clerofascist rule of Tiso in Slovakia, and the war-born Ustasha regime in Croatia, a part of Yugoslavia.
From: The Christian Horror Picture Show
When Gen. Francisco Franco seized control of Spain during the civil war in the 1930s, for instance, he worked with the clergy to spread a "National Catholicism" that enforced his social and political codes.
Spain and the rise of Catholic Fascist Franco
The Spanish people, stricken with poverty and a high rate of analphabets (about 80% of the population), had swept away monarchy, proclaimed a republic and elected a left-wing government in 1931. Separation of State and Church was made a reality, religious freedom was granted and civil marriage adopted. Some of the Church property - which was estimated at one third of the nation's wealth - was nationalized. To fight the "Antichrists," a violent, relentless Catholic opposition was promptly started on a large scale throughout Spain.
By 1934 Catholic organizations already planned a coup d'état, having been in touch with the Fascist Government of Italy. On July 17, 1934 the Spanish Army rose in many Spanish towns. The Spanish Civil War had begun. As soon as the revolt broke out, a General Franco made haste to let the pope know that his coup had succeeded. The papal banner was unfurled over the rebel headquarters at Burgos, and the pope [Pius XI] had Franco's flag raised over the Vatican.
This was the beginning of a world-wide Catholic offensive against Republican Spain. Bishops in Italy, Germany and other countries published pastoral letters urging Catholics to help. The pope spoke. The Spanish Civil War, he said, was a foretaste of what
"is being prepared for Europe and the World unless the nations take appropriate measures against it."
-- Pope Pius XI, 12/25/1936
Mussolini sent thousands of troops, Hitler sent warplanes, warships, tanks, and soldiers. The Spanish people fought a bitter, relentless fight from 1936 until 1939. Before the demolition of yet another young democracy in Europe was complete, Pius XI died.
"His Holiness, Pius XII, the best anti-democrat in the world," as he was in 1950 (!) proudly titled by Ecclesia, official organ of the Spanish Catholic Action in an attempt to pay him the greatest tribute a Catholic paper could pay, earlier in his career, as we have seen, had helped Hitler to come to power in Germany. His policy as a pope was faithful to his predecessor. When the Spanish republic was finally defeated by Catholic troops under Franco, would-be dictator of Spain, the pope sent a special message to the victors:
"With great joy we address you, dearest sons of Catholic Spain, to express our paternal congratulations for the gift of peace and victory with which God has chosen to crown the Christian heroism of your faith ... We give you, our dear sons of Catholic Spain, our apostolic benediction." [4/17/1939]
Church property and all medieval (!) privileges of the Church were restored. No other religion was allowed. Protestants and ex-Catholics were sent to concentration camps for refusing to attend divine service. Freethinkers, democrats, Socialists and Communists were deprived of civil rights, imprisoned, or shot. In the foreign field, Catholic Spain promptly supported Hitler and Mussolini, the former receiving a letter from Spanish dictator Franco on February 26, 1941:
"We stand today where we have always stood, in a resolute manner and with the firmest conviction, [therefore] you must have no doubts about my absolute loyalty to this political concept and to the realization of the union of our national destinies with those of Germany and Italy."
Slovakia under Catholic Nazi Tiso
Jozef Tiso, head of the Nazi puppet state of Slovakia, was a Catholic priest and vocal antisemite. He had delivered a highly anti-Semitic speech in August 1942 and presided over the deportation of Slovak Jews to Auschwitz. He was tried and executed as a war criminal.
When in 2000 Zilina in Slovakia wanted to commemorate this Catholic Nazi priest with a plaque, the Federation of Jewish Communities denounced the decision as "an attempt to rehabilitate fascism." The organization accused Tiso of having perpetrated criminal acts during the war, which led to the deportation and ultimate extermination of over 60,000 Jews from Slovakia. The American Embassy gave its support to the Jewish body's statement.
Chapter 21 of The Vatican's Holocaust, by Avro Manhattan:
[Description of a picture of Slovakia's tyrant, the Catholic Nazi Tiso shaking hands with Hitler]
Hitler welcomes Mgr. Tiso, a Catholic priest, whom he made Chief of State of Nazi sponsored Slovakia—January 20th, 1941. Mgr. Tiso, leader of the Catholics of Slovakia, cooperated with Hitler in the final disintegration of the Republic of Czechoslovakia.
Before the Second World War he led Nazified Catholics against the Central Government of Prague. He was in continuous contact respectively with Pope Pius XII, from whom he took political directives, and Adolf Hitler, with whom he plotted for the ultimate military occupation of the Republic of Czechoslovakia.
Like Ante Pavelich, who helped to bring about the disintegration of Yugoslavia to set up his Independent Catholic State of Croatia under Nazi protection, so Mgr. Tiso worked incessantly for the final ruin of Czechoslovakia to create the Independent Catholic State of Slovakia, which he ruled as a Nazi Quisling State.
Although he never matched the terrorization of Croatia, nevertheless
Mgr. Tiso set up a Catholic Dictatorship in which the Church was declared supreme and where Catholic-Nazi doctrines were ruthlessly enforced upon all and sundry. After the fall of Hitler, Mgr. Tiso was liquidated by the Allies. Pope Pius XII protested, saying that Mgr. Tiso had been a martyr for "religious freedom."
More on how Nazism in countries like Slovakia were used to inspire the emergence of Nazism in the Croatian region of former Yugoslavia.
About that same Tiso that Pope Pius XII defended:
Monsignor Tiso, head of the Slovak State, who delivered the first trainload of Jews to Auschwitz [Link]
See the books:
Mit Gott und den Faschisten. Der Vatikan im Bunde mit Mussolini, Franco, Hitler und Pavelic by Church historian Karlheinz Deschner
"With God and the Fascists. The Vatican in league with Mussolini, Franco, Hitler and Pavelic"
(Referring to the Catholic fascist dictators of Italy, Spain, Germany and Croatia respectively.)
Kirche und Faschismus, Karlheinz Deschner
"Church and Fascism"
Die Politik der Päpste im 20. Jahrhundert by Karlheinz Deschner
"The politics of the Popes in the 20th century"
Mit Gott und dem Führer by Karlheinz Deschner
"With God and the Fuehrer [Hitler]"
Chile's Pinochet and the Vatican
Though Fascist governments eventually died out and the Vatican made sure to distance itself from them, later dictatorships under Catholic tyrants would yet again be given the Vatican's full support.
For example, Chile's Catholic dictator Pinochet who tormented Chileans. He was caught and was to be extradited to Spain where he could be put on trial for his crimes against humanity. The Vatican pleaded with international authorities to prevent his extradition - on humanitarian grounds, no less, arguing that the criminal was unwell. This farce might have been more believable, had the Vatican (and its fascist Nuncio to Chile, cardinals and archbishops) also pleaded with Pinochet for humane treatment of the Chilean people when he was still dictator. But the Vatican hadn't done that, because Pinochet was working for the Church and in a Church-approved manner in his position as tyrant.
More on Pinochet and the Vatican:
Pinochet's men in the Vatican:
Besides the Papal Nuncio in Chile, this article also names some of the cardinals and archbishops on both sides of the Atlantic who were involved in upholding dictatorships in Chile and Argentina:
Cardinal Angello Sodano, Papal Nuncio (Vatican's Ambassador) in Chile during Pinochet's dictatorship, and with whom he maintained a close friendship, based on political affinities. He arranged the visit of John Paul II to Chile in 1987, and was behind each of the Pope's gestures of legitimisation towards the dictator. Years later, Sodano replaced Cardinal Casaroli as Vatican's secretary of state, a position that he currently occupies.
...To mark Pinochet's golden wedding anniversary, he sent the couple a personal letter of congratulation, full of praise. After meeting in Castelgandolfo with the Chilean Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, in November 1998, Sodano wrote to the British government, asking that mercy be shown towards his friend the general, citing humanitarian reasons, reconciliation between Chileans, and, ultimately, the sovereignty of the Chilean State.
At the head of the Roman Congregation for the Divine Cult and the Sacraments is another admirer of Pinochet: the Chilean Cardinal Jorge Medina, who was Archbishop of Valaparaíso ... his declaration of August 3rd, 1990:
"Democracy does not automatically mean that God would want it to be put into practice."
Another powerful man in the Vatican is the Colombian cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo...
...another character who has played a key role in the religious legitimisation of dictatorships: the Italian Cardinal Pio Laghi, who was absolutely committed to helping the Argentinian military regime when he was the head of the Apostolic Nunciature in Buenos Aires. ... The Argentinian church actively collaborated with the repression through the military chaplains. ... Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (the group of mothers and widows whose husbands and children were 'disappeared' during the regime) have appealed to the Italian judicial system to accuse Cardinal Laghi of complicity with the military dictatorship. But their accusation is doomed to fail, because Laghi is currently president of the Holy Congregation for Catholic Education and enjoys immunity under the Letran Accords.
The Vatican opts for impunity
'Did we deserve to be savagely tortured? It was before 1988, yes, but it was pure horror' - The Guardian, April 8, 1999
the [British] Law Lords' decision to grant General Pinochet immunity from crimes committed before 1988.
It also briefly mentions some of the terrible suffering of the Chileans under Pinochet.
Tha'ts you Catholic Church