GAER ASSOCIATES · 1949 NEW YORK
First published in England by
C. A. Watts & Co., Limited, London
Copyright 1949 by Gaer Associates, Inc.
Printed in the United States of America First Printing
Foreword by Guy Emery Shipler 7
1. The Vatican in the Modern World 13
2. The Vatican State 21
3. The Vatican Power 28
4. Spiritual Totalitarianism of the Vatican 42
5. Religious Orders 55
6. The Vatican on World Unrest 65
7. Vatican Policy between the Two World Wars 74
8. Spain, the Catholic Church and the Civil War 84
9. Italy, the Vatican and Fascism 107
10. Germany, the Vatican and Hitler 138
11. The Vatican and World War II 171
12. Austria and the Vatican 224
13. Czechoslovakia and the Vatican 251
14. Poland and the Vatican 269
15. Belgium and the Vatican 279
16. France and the Vatican 292
17. Russia and the Vatican 331
18. The Vatican and the United States 362
19. The Vatican, Latin America, Japan, and China 399
20. Conclusion 416
The importance of this book cannot be exaggerated. Properly understood, it offers both a clue and a key to the painfully confused political situation that shrouds the world. No political event or circumstance can be evaluated without the knowledge of the Vatican's part in it. And no significant world political situation exists in which the Vatican does not play an important explicit or implicit part.
As Glenn L. Archer, Executive Director of Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State, puts it, "this book comes to grips with the most vital social and political problems of our day. The author presents with singular clarity and without bias the conflicts between the Roman church and the freedoms of democracy."
This book is valuable also in that it brings to light historical facts hitherto kept secret, many of them published here for the first time. The author coped with great difficulties when he attempted to compress into the confines of a single volume the great mass of material available. For that reason he had to leave out many valuable discussions. And some were omitted because the cases dealt with remained still unresolved. That is the reason why no mention is to be found of the case of Archbishop Stepinac of Yugoslavia, and there is only a brief mention of the case of Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary—cases which at the time this book was published were on the schedule of the United Nations for investigation. But sufficient evidence is presented in other cases to enable the reader to evaluate current events and similar situations.
GUY EMERY SHIPLER
PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION
Within the last few decades, amid the rumblings and the ruins of two World Wars, the United States of America has emerged paramount and dynamic on the stage of global politics.
From across the great land mass of Eurasia, Russia—the bastion of Communism, equally dynamic in its struggle to build up a new political structure—is challengingly waiting for the tumbling of the old pattern of society, confident that time is on her side.
At the same time, the Catholic Church, seemingly preoccupied only with its religious tasks, is feverishly engaged in a race for the ultimate spiritual conquest of the world.
But whereas the exertions of the U.S.A. and of the U.S.S.R. are followed with growing apprehension, those of the Vatican are seldom scrutinized. Yet not a single event of importance that has contributed to the present chaotic state of affairs has occurred without the Vatican taking an active part in it.
The Catholic population of the world-400 millions-is more numerous than that of the United States and Soviet Russia put together. When it is remembered that the concerted activities of this gigantic spiritual mass depend on the lips of a single man, the apathy of the non-Catholic American should swiftly turn to keenest attention. His interest, furthermore, should increase when he is made aware that the United States is intimately involved in the attainment of both the immediate and the ultimate goals of the Vatican.
These goals are:
1. The annihilation of Communism and of Soviet Russia.
2. The spiritual conquest of the U.S.A.
3. The ultimate Catholicization of the world.
Do these goals seem fantastic?
Unfortunately they are neither speculations nor wild and idle dreams. They are as indisputable and as inextricably a part of contemporary history as the rise of Hitler, the defeat of Japan, the splitting of the atom, the existence of Communism. Indeed the inescapable alternative by which mankind today is confronted is not whether this will be the American or the Russian Century, but whether this might not after all become the Catholic Century.
Surely, then, the nature, aims and workings of the Catholic Church deserve some scrutiny. The American citizen, perturbed by the past, bewildered by the present and made increasingly anxious about the future, would do well to ponder the exertions of the Vatican in contemporary American and world politics. His destiny as well as the destiny of the United States, and indeed of mankind, has been and will con tinue to be profoundly affected by the activities of an institution which, although a church, is nonetheless as mighty a political power as the mightiest nation of the planet.
This book is dedicated to all those who, irrespective of nationality, race, or religion, strive to bring man out of the dark shadows of past ages into a world in which the rational power of the human intellect shall brighten the individual and collective life of mankind.
THE VATICAN IN THE MODERN WORLD
To write about the influence exercised by religion in general, and by Christianity in particular, in the affairs of a century preoccupied with gigantic ethical, social, economic, and political problems, might seem at first a waste of time. For religion, although still deeply rooted in the modern world, is no longer a factor that can seriously compete with the more cogent forces of an economic and social nature by which our contemporary civilization is convulsed.
Religion has lost, and continues to lose, ground everywhere. The individual, as well as society, is far more concerned with weekly wages, the exploitation of raw materials, the financial budget, unemployment, the race towards perfecting the best tools of destruction and untrapping cosmic forces, and thousands of other problems of a practical nature.
Yet to assume as is generally the case, that religion is today relegated into the background whence it cannot to any serious extent influence the course of political events either in the domestic or international spheres, would be to maintain an illusion that does not correspond to actuality.
Especially is this so in the case of one particular brand of
Christianity—namely "Catholicism". For Catholicism, notwithstanding its enormous loss in numbers and influence, is more alive and aggressive than ever, and exercises a greater influence on the national and international events which culminated in the First and Second World Wars than at first seems possible.This is sustained, not by mere theoretical assertions, but by crude reality. Other religions or religious denominations continue to exercise a more or less great influence on modern society, but their ability to shape the course of events cannot in any way be compared with that of the Catholic Church.
This is due to several factors peculiar to the Catholic Church, of which the most characteristic are the following:—
1. a. Catholicism's numerical strength, its nominal members, a few years after World War II, approximating 400,000,000.
b. The fact that the bulk of Catholics live in the leading continents —e.g., Europe and the Americas.
c. The fact that the Catholic Church has Catholics in every corner of the world.
2. The spirit that moves the Catholic Church and which makes it act with the firm conviction that its fundamental mission is to convert the whole of mankind, not to Christianity, but to Catholicism.
3. The fact that the Catholic Church, unlike Protestantism or any other religion, has a formidable religious organization spreading over the whole planet. At the head of this organization stands the Pope, whose task is to maintain and proclaim the immutability of certain spiritual principles on which Catholicism stands. His efforts are directed to the furtherance of the interests of the Catholic Church in the world.
The cumulative effect of these factors is the creation of a compact religious-spiritual bloc, which is the most efficient and militant power of its kind in the modern world.
The Catholic Church, more than any other religious denomination, cannot confine itself to a merely religious sphere. For the fact that it believes its mission to be that of maintaining and furthering the spiritual dominion of Catholicism brings it immediately into contact—and very often conflict—with fields adjoining religion. Religious principles consist not only of theological and spiritual formulæ, but invariably of moral and ethical, and often of social elements. As they cannot be neatly dissected, and as it is impossible to label each one separately according to its religious, moral, ethical, or social nature, it is extremely difficult to separate them. When ever religious dogmas are favorably or adversely affected, moral, ethical, and social principles are automatically involved.
As religious principles affect ethical and social principles, the step from these to the economic, and finally political, sphere is very short. In many cases this sequence is unavoidable, and even when it is thought advisable to keep religious problems within the purely religious field, this is in reality an impossibility, owing to this multiple nature of spiritual principles. The practical consequence of this is that, whenever a given Church proclaims, condemns, or favors a certain spiritual principle, its condemnation or support reverberates in semi-religious and even non-religious fields; consequently the Church, whether willingly or not, influences problems which are not its direct concern.
In the particular case of the Catholic Church, this is brought to an extreme, for the simple reason that Catholicism is more rigid than any other religion as regards the spiritual field. To this is added the fact that a good Catholic owes blind obedience to his Church and must put his Church's interest before any social or political matter. Since this body comprising millions of such Catholics, living all over the world, hangs on the words of the Pope, it is easy to see the long-range power that the Catholic Church can exercise in non-religious spheres.
To give an illustration: the Catholic Church, in its quality of a religious institution, asserts that when a man and a woman are united by the sacrament of matrimony, no power on earth can loose the bonds between them. Modern society, on the other hand, admitting that a marriage might be a failure, has created a set of ethical and legal tenets according to which those bonds may be cut. As the Catholic Church considers this to be wrong, it endeavors to fight such principles by all means in its power. It not only condemns them in the religious-moral field, but orders all Catholics to reject and fight the principles and practice of divorce. Thus, when a Catholic becomes a member of the legislative body of a given country where a Bill legalizing divorce comes up for discussion, he must put his religious duty first and fight and vote against such a Bill. In this way the religious issue of divorce becomes not only a question of moral and ethical principles, but also a social problem of great importance.
Another typical example is that, whereas modern society and modern ethics have accepted the theory and use of contraceptives, these are condemned by the Catholic Church, which asserts that the only function of the union of the sexes is procreation. This it asserts regardless of social or economic factors, such as whether the children thus born will have sufficient food to eat, whether they will get adequate education, and so on. The cumulative result of this religious injunction is that millions of married couples, to obey the law of their Church, procreate regardless of their own or their country's social and economic condition, thus producing or aggravating serious problems of a demographic, economic, or political nature.
The Church asserts that it has the right to teach moral principles as well as religious ones. It declares, for instance, that the right of private ownership is inviolable, which is against the principles of a great movement of social, economic, and political character known under the general term of "Socialism." As Socialism, in its various shapes and forms, is a purely social and political movement, trying to enforce its principles on the economic, social, and political life of society, it follows that it is bound to incur the hostility of the Catholic Church. Such hostility automatically leads the Church into social and political arenas. Catholics, because they must blindly obey their Church, must fight the theory and practice of Socialism; and this they do in their capacity as citizens, Members of Parliament, or as individuals in the ranks of some powerful political party.
There are innumerable cases of this kind, from which it is evident that the Catholic Church cannot avoid interfering in social and political issues. The practical result of this interference of religious and moral tenets in non-religious fields is that the Catholic Church is continually intervening, in one way or another, in the social and political life of society in general and of certain countries and individuals in particular. This interference may be of a mild or violent nature, depending on the reaction of the non-religious spheres to the voice of the Church.
Thus it happens that Catholic countries, where the legislation of the State has been drawn up according to the principles of the Catholic Church, find themselves in harmony with the Catholic Church's condemnation or support of any issue. For instance, a Catholic Government will introduce laws forbidding divorce, penaliz ing the use of contraceptives, and banishing all activities propagating the idea that private ownership is evil and should be abolished. The result will be that in such a country Parliament will pass these laws against divorce, will close shops selling contraceptives, and will imprison any individual and ban any movement actively hostile to the idea of private ownership.
But when, instead of an obedient Catholic Government, the Catholic Church is confronted by an indifferent, or even hostile, Parliament, then conflict is inevitable. The State and Church declare war on each other. The conflict may end in stalemate, or a compromise may be reached, or the struggle may take the form of relentless and open hostility. The State will pass such legislation as it deems necessary, regardless of the Church. It may allow divorce, and it may recognize the right of a given political party to wage war on private ownership. The Church then replies by ordering its clergy to preach against such laws and advising all Catholics to oppose them and the Government that passed them. All papers owned by Catholics take a stand against the Government, and individual Catholic members of the Government vote against any legislation that conflicts with the principles of the Church; while religious, social, and political organizations formed by Catholics boycott such laws. A political party, possibly a Catholic party, is created, whose task is to bring about a Government in harmony with the Church and to fight those parties which preach doctrines contrary to those of Catholicism. A bitter political struggle is initiated.
At this point it should be remembered that the Catholics opposing either their Government or other political parties are guided ( a ) by the rigid and dogmatic tenets of Catholicism, and ( b ) by the Supreme Leader of the Catholic Church—namely, the Pope.
It is asserted by Catholics that the Pope never interferes in politics. We shall show later that he does interfere—sometimes directly; but even if this were not so, it is obvious that he interferes in politics indirectly each time that he orders Catholics to fight certain legislation or a social doctrine or political party which, in his opinion, conflicts with Catholicism. To quote a classical example: when Leo XIII wrote his Rerum Novarum, although he did not directly interfere with the politics of his time, he charged full tilt into the political arena by explicitly condemning the social and political doctrines of Socialism and by advising Catholics to organize themselves under Catholic trade unions and create Catholic political parties.
This power of the Catholic Church to interfere in social and political spheres is rendered infinitely more dangerous by the fact that it is not limited to any given country: it reaches all countries in which there are Catholics. Thus there is no continent where the Pope cannot influence, to a greater or less degree, the social and political life of the community.
It is evident from this that the Catholic Church can exercise an indirect as well as a direct influence, not only in the internal problems of a country, but also in the international sphere. By creating or supporting certain political parties and by combating others, the Church can become a political power of the first magnitude in any given country. This attribute is enhanced by the fact that the Catholic Church can act as a political power also in international problems. It may, for instance, influence certain Catholic countries and Catholic Governments either to support or to fight issues of an international character, or it may indicate its wishes to international gatherings, such as the League of Nations. Thus, between the two world wars, it made obvious a desire that Soviet Russia should not be admitted to the League, and during the Abyssinian War it claimed that sanctions against Fascist Italy should be lifted.
What proportion of the Catholic populations follows the lead of the Catholic Church in social and political matters? This question arises in view of the enormous inroads of scepticism amongst the masses, and the increasing hostility shown by a great section of modern society to the direct and indirect interference of the Church in political problems.
In nominally Catholic countries ( France, Italy, Spain, Poland), notwithstanding the widespread indifference of the population, the Catholic Church still exerts a very deep influence, rendered effective by the efforts of a zealous minority. It has been estimated that a nominally Catholic country is divided into the following proportions: one-fifth actively anti-clerical, one-fifth zealous Catholics, and the remaining three-fifths neither actively hostile to nor supporting the Catholic Church, but on certain occasions throwing their weight in favor of the first or the second group. Even on the basis of these proportions, the Pope would have a formidable army of active Catholics fighting his battle in the social and political spheres; and this in every nominally Catholic country in Europe and the Americas. In Protestant countries, where Catholics are in a minority, the proportion of the Catholic population who are active Catholics is usually far higher than in Catholic countries. When these active millions move together to achieve the same aim—namely, to further the power of the Catholic Church in society—being directed under a single leadership, being made to act according to a well-defined plan, and entering the political arena in the internal and external spheres, it does not require any great imagination to grasp the extent of the influence they can exert.
The master-mind directing the moves of these various Catholic organizations and parties in the fields of regional, national, and international social and political struggle naturally resides in the centre of Catholicism—namely, the Vatican. The better to exert its double activity (religious and political), the Catholic Church has two facets: first, the religious institution, the Catholic Church itself; secondly, the political power, the Vatican. Although they deal separately, whenever convenient, with problems affecting religion and politics, the two are in reality one. At the head of both stands the Pope, who is the supreme religious leader of the Catholic Church as a purely spiritual power, as well as the supreme head of the Vatican in its quality of a world-wide diplomatic-political centre and an independent sovereign State.
According to circumstances, the Pope, to further the power of the Catholic Church, approaches a problem either as a purely religious leader or as the head of a diplomatic-political centre, or both. The rôle of the Catholic Church as a political power becomes prominent when the Pope has to deal with social and political movements or with States with whom he wants to bargain or to strike an alliance in order to fight a common enemy.
It sometimes becomes necessary for the Catholic Church to ally itself with forces which not only are non-religious or non-Catholic, but are even hostile to religion. This occurs when the Catholic Church, being confronted by enemies which it cannot overcome alone, sees itself compelled to find allies who also desire the destruction of such enemies. Thus, for instance, after the First World War, when it seemed as if Bolshevism would conquer Europe, political movements sprang up in various countries with the intention of checking it. These found an immediate and ready ally in the Catholic Church, whose fulminations against the Socialist doctrines were becoming more and more virulent with the increase of the danger. Some of these movements were known by the names of Fascism, Nazism, Falangism, and so on. The Pope made these alliances effective by employing the influence of the Catholic Church as a religious institution, and of the Vatican as a diplomatic-political centre. In the first case the faithful were told that it was their duty to support such-and-such politician, or party, who, although not Catholic, yet was bent on the destruction of the mortal enemies of the Catholic Church. In the second case bargains were effected through its nuncios, cardinals, and local hierarchies. Above all, orders were given to the leaders of Catholic social-political organizations or Catholic parties to support the Vatican's chosen ally. In certain instances, even, they were bidden to dissolve themselves in order to give way to a non-Catholic party which had better chances of bringing about the destruction of a given political movement hostile to the Catholic Church. We shall have occasion to examine striking examples of this later on in the book.
To carry out these activities in the religious and non-religious fields the Pope has at his disposal an immense machinery by which he can rule the Catholic Church throughout the world. The main function of this machinery is not only to serve the purpose of the Church as a religious institution, but also as a diplomatic- political centre. For social and political matters the Catholic Church has a second vast organization which, although separate from the first, is nevertheless correlated with it. Although each set of machinery has a specific sphere in which to act, both are made to move in order to achieve the same aim: the maintenance and futherance of the dominion of the Catholic Church in the world. As the one is dependent upon the other, and as both are very often employed at the same time, it would be useful to examine, not only the specific task of each, but also the goals they have to reach, their methods of working, and, above all, the spirit in which they are made to function.
Before proceeding further, let us glance at the official seat of the Catholic Church-namely, the Vatican State.
THE VATICAN STATE
Of all the religious and political institutions that exist to-day, the Vatican is by far the most ancient. It is the seat of a sovereign, independent, and free State; of the Government of the Catholic Church; and of the most astute diplomatic-political power in the world; and each of these three aspects is an integral part of the Catholic Church. Although in its quality of a diplomatic centre it is one of the most important in the world, as an independent State it is one of the newest and, as far as the extent of its territory is concerned, the smallest sovereign State in existence, having under its absolute rule only one hundred-odd acres and about 600 regular inhabitants. Yet, it directs and governs one of the greatest, if not the greatest, and most united mass of human beings in the world—400,000,000 Catholics, covering the territories of practically all existing nations. Such extraordinary and contradictory attributes certainly would alone make the Vatican an object of curiosity, if not of study, to the least-interested reader.
What is meant by the word "Vatican"? "Vatican," explains the Catholic Encyclopedia, is "the official residence of the Pope at Rome, so named from being built on the lower slopes of the Vatican Hill; figuratively, the name is used to signify the Papal power and influence and, by extension, the whole Church."
For the Christian, the Vatican began to assume importance when St. Peter was crucified there in A.D. 67. After the death of St. Peter, the Christians erected a sepulchre facing the circus where he had been executed. Later on, the body of St. Peter's successor, St. Linus, was buried there. Then the latter's successor, St. Anacletus, Bishop of Rome, built the first chapel on the tomb. With the passing of the centuries it grew in importance as a sacred place, a place of worship, and a place where the mortal remains of many Popes were buried.
In its long history the Palace of the Vatican, to the building of which so many Popes contributed, and the Papal State have passed through many vicissitudes, as have the prerogatives of the Popes themselves. The details need not detain us here. For our purpose it is sufficient to know that the Vatican State as it exists to-day came into being in February, 1929 with the signing of the Lateran Treaty. By this treaty Italy recognized the territory of the Vatican as an independent and sovereign State and was bound to pay 750,000,000 lire and consign Italian 5 per cent bonds to the nominal value of 1,000,000,000 lire.
As it is recognized to-day, the Vatican State consists of the City of the Vatican; this is the area of Rome recognized by the treaty of the Lateran as constituting the territorial extent of the temporal sovereignty of the Holy See. It includes the Vatican palaces, its gardens and annexes, the Basilica and Piazza of St. Peter, and adjacent buildings. In all it covers an area of just under one square mile. At the outbreak of the Second World War the population of the Vatican City was about 600 persons. All male adults are in the immediate service of the Catholic Church or in its ministry, such employment being the ordinary qualification for residence and citizenship.
The Pope has the plenitude of legislative, executive, and judicial power, which, during a vacancy, belongs to the College of Cardinals. For the government of the State, the Pope names a Governor, a layman, and there is a consultative council. The Governor is responsible for public order, safety, protection of property, etc. The Code of Law is the Canon Law, in addition to which there are special regulations for the City and such laws of the Italian State as it may be convenient to adopt.
The Vatican has no private army, but a small number of picturesque guards, who are chiefly employed in religious or diplomatic ceremonies. The famous Swiss guard was first formed by the enrolment of 150 men from the Canton of Zürich in September 1505. In 1816 Pius VII created the Pontifical Gendarmerie or Carabinieri. In addition to these men there exists the Noble Guard, for personal attendance on the Pope. The Corps is composed entirely of members of the patricians and nobility of Rome. The Vatican has its own stamps, coins, radio, and railway, and in the purely technical machinery of Government the tiny Vatican City is not unlike a miniature modern State. It has its own newspaper, the Osservatore Romano, which first appeared in 1860. In 1890 Pope Leo XIII bought the paper and made it the official organ of the Vatican. It carries great weight and expresses the official views of the Vatican on important political and social world events. Like any other State, the Vatican must have money to provide for the maintenance and salaries of its employees, nuncios, churches, seminaries, and numerous other institutions which are necessary for the existence of the Catholic Church. The officials of the administrative machinery of the Vatican State must be paid. There are also the missions of the Catholic Church, which require a good deal of money. Before 1870 the Vatican's main revenue came from the temporal State. But since then other means have been found to fill the coffers. It is almost impossible to gauge the expenses of the Vatican, as there is no trace of budgets, and receipts are not made public. However, at the opening of this century it was estimated that the Vatican needed at least £800,000 per annum. To-day the Vatican income is derived from two main sources— ordinary and extraordinary. Amongst the ordinary the most important is the Peter's Pence, a voluntary tax introduced in Catholic countries since 1870 to replace the income supplied by the Papal States taken over by the Italians. Curiously enough, the most generous contributor to the finances of the Catholic Church and the Vatican is the Protestant United States of America. The sum of money collected there in modern times is the largest drawn through Peter's Pence in any country. It is followed by Canada, the Republics of South America, and, in Europe, by Spain, France, and Belgium. Since the loss of the Papal States the United States of America has become not only the most generous contributor to the Vatican, but also its banker. In 1870 the Vatican floated a loan of 200,000 scudi from Rothschild. In 1919 a Papal delegate was sent to the United States of America with a view to securing a loan of 1,000,000 dollars. In the same year the Pilgrimage of the Knights of Columbus gave the Vatican a gift of more than 250,000 dollars. In 1928, thanks to Cardinal Mundelein, the Vatican was loaned £300,000 in 5 per cent. sinking fund twenty- year bonds, backed by Church property in Chicago.
The more regular income is derived from taxation and fees for all sorts of functions, such as from chancellery, datary offices, marriages, titles of nobility, orders of knighthood, etc.
As for the extraordinary income of the Vatican, it is almost impossible to assess its extent. It includes gifts and legacies which sometimes reach millions. Whenever there is a pilgrimage, each pilgrim donates a certain sum. An American pilgrim, for instance, is expected to give at least a dollar; a Frenchman ten francs. Of course, pilgrimages are very frequent, and are often composed of thousands of people.
From 1929 until the outbreak of the Second World War the Vatican got over £750,000,000 from the Fascist Government as compensation for the loss of the Papal States.
George Seldes, in his book The Vatican: Yesterday—To-day—Tomorrow, estimates that between the two world wars the Vatican revenue was more than 180,000,000 lire a year. Since then it has greatly increased.
But the main function of the Vatican is to be the officially recognized diplomatic-political centre of the Catholic Church; as an independent sovereign State it sends its own representatives to the various Governments of the world, while big and small nations send their ambassadors to the Vatican. The Vatican's representatives accredited to those Governments with which the Pope has diplomatic relations are usually called Nuncios, Papal Nuncios, etc. They have the full rank of ambassadors, with all the accompanying privileges, being on equal footing with the ambassadors of any lay Powers.
The main purposes of the Vatican's diplomatic representatives accredited to a Government are those defined by Canon Law (267):—
a. To cultivate good relations between the Apostolic See and the Government to which they are accredited.
b. To watch over the interests of the Church in the territories assigned to them and to give the Roman Pontiff information concerning conditions in these areas.
c. In addition to these ordinary powers, to exercise such extraordinary ones as may be delegated to them.
The ideal to be achieved is the conclusion of a treaty between the Vatican and the Government concerned; and although negotiations for such treaties are usually carried out directly between the parties concerned, the rôle of the Papal diplomatic representatives is of the utmost importance.
Such treaties are called Concordats. A Concordat is an agreement by which the State grants special privileges to the Catholic Church and recognizes its standing and rights within the State, while the Church pledges its support of the Government and, usually, non- interference in political matters. Such a treaty becomes especially desirable when "matters which from one point of view are civil and from another religious might create friction." In such a case, as Leo XIII said, "a concordat . . . greatly strengthens the State's authority," and the Papacy is always ready to "offer the Church as a much-needed protection to the rulers of Europe."
When it is not possible to conclude a Concordat, then the nuncio should strive to reach a compromise which, instead of a formal treaty, becomes a modus vivendi. If that, too, is impossible, then the Vatican can occasionally send to a given Government special Papal representatives on particular occasions. Usually the Vatican charges a local primate with the care of the Church's interests.
Although the outward machinery of Vatican diplomacy does not differ very much from that of any secular Power, fundamentally they differ because of two main characteristics—namely, the aims and the means at the disposal of Papal representatives.
The Papal representative must strive to further not only the diplomatic and political interests of the Vatican, but, above all, the spiritual interests of the Catholic Church as a religious institution, and his mission therefore assumes a dual character. Owing to this, the Papal representative has at his disposal, not only the diplomatic machinery that any ordinary diplomatic representative of a lay State would have, but also the vast religious machinery of the Catholic Church inside the country to which he is accredited, as well as outside it. In other words, the Papal diplomatic representative will have at his disposal the entire hierarchy of a given country—from cardinals, archbishops, and bishops down to the most humble village priest. Moreover, the Catholic organizations of a social, cultural, or political character, headed by the Catholic parties, would obey his instructions. The result is that a nuncio can exercise formidable pressure upon a Government—pressure of a religious-political nature that is denied to any lay diplomatist.
Because every priest is de facto an agent of the Vatican and can collect reliable information about the local conditions of his parish— or, if he is a bishop, of his diocese—or, if he is a primate, of his nation—the Vatican, to which all these data are sent, is one of the best centres of information of an economic, social, and political character in the world.
When to this is added the influence that the Vatican can exercise on the various Catholic parties and Catholic Governments, and on national and international assemblies, it becomes evident that the power of this great diplomatic-political centre is felt throughout the world. This is recognized by most nations, including non-Catholic countries, such as Protestant United States of America and Great Britain, and non-Christian countries like Japan.
The importance of the Vatican as a diplomatic centre is enhanced in war-time. For during hostilities, when diplomatic contact between belligerent countries is cut off, the warring nations can get in touch with each other through the Vatican. The services rendered and the knowledge thus gathered from both sides give the Vatican enormous prestige in the eyes of lay Powers. For these and other reasons, during the First World War countries hastened to send their representatives to the Vatican: Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Protestant Great Britain, France, and even Russia. By the end of the war thirty-four nations had permanent diplomatic representatives accredited to the Pope.
During the Second World War that figure was almost doubled, and great countries such as non-Christian Japan and Protestant United States of America sought means by which they could be represented at the Vatican-the United States of America by resorting to the diplomatic device of sending a "personal Ambassador of the President"; the Japanese Empire by accrediting an envoy with the full rank of Ambassador to the Holy See. From the very beginning of the Second World War until its end, in 1945, the Vatican, with fifty-two ambassadors, ministers, and personal envoys sent to it by almost all the nations of the world, was a diplomatic-political centre equal in importance to the great capitals where the destinies of war and peace were conceived and discussed: Washington, Moscow, Berlin, London, Tokyo. We shall see later why the Vatican, although it owned not a single war aeroplane, tank, or warship, was in a position to deal as an equal with the greatest military Powers on earth before, but above all throughout, the Second World War.
THE VATICAN POWER
But the diplomatic machinery of the Vatican would be of little value if the Pope had to rely upon it alone. What gives the Vatican its tremendous power is not its diplomacy as such, but the fact that behind its diplomacy stands the Church, with all its manifold world-embracing activities.
The Vatican as a diplomatic centre is but one aspect of the Catholic Church. Vatican diplomacy is so influential and can exert such great power in the diplomatic-political field because it has at its disposal the tremendous machinery of a spiritual organization with ramifications in every country of the planet. In other words, the Vatican, as a political power, employs the Catholic Church as a religious institution to assist the attainment of its goals. These goals, in turn, are sought mainly to further the spiritual interests of the Catholic Church.
The double rôle of the members of the Catholic Hierarchy automatically reacts upon those innumerable religious, cultural, social, and finally political, organizations connected with the Catholic Church, which, although tied to the Church primarily on religious grounds, can at given moments be made either directly or indirectly to serve political ends. Because of the great importance of the re ligious machinery of the Catholic Church to the political structure, it is essential that we should examine its hierarchical-administrativereligious form, how it is made to function, who are its rulers, what various organizations it comprises, in what fields they exert their influence, and last, but not least, with what spirit it is imbued and how it deals with important issues affecting our contemporary society.
The Catholic Church is a tremendous organization with world- wide ramifications, and so it needs some form of central machinery, independent of its nature or immediate and final purpose, to enable it to centralize and co-ordinate its multifarious activities. This central machinery is housed almost entirely in the precincts of the Vatican, and its various components form the Government of the Catholic Church.
The executive of the Catholic Church is, roughly speaking, divided into three: the Secretary of State, the College of Cardinals, and the Congregations. But all are unconditionally subordinated to and dependent upon the absolute will of the pivot on which the whole Catholic Church, whether as a religious institution or as a political power, revolves—the Pope. He is the absolute Head in religious, moral, ethical, administrative, diplomatic, and political matters; he is the only source of power; his decisions must be carried out, for in the Catholic Church and the Vatican his will is law; he is the last absolute monarch in the world, the power of no political dictator being comparable to the unlimited power of the Pope in all matters. He need account to no human being for his actions, his only judge being God.
Second to the Pope is the Secretary of State, who has jurisdiction in the administration of the Catholic Church. The Secretary of State of the Vatican would correspond in a modern civil Government to a combination of the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. His department is the most important and powerful in all the Vatican administration, and all other departments, even if purely religious, must submit to the decisions of the Secretary of State. He can exert a personal influence possessed by no other member of the Church. He is responsible in the Curia to no one but the Pope.
The Secretary of State is the political Head of the Vatican. It is through him that the Pope carries out his political activities throughout the world. Because of his important rôle he is in the closest contact with the Pope, whom he sees at least every morning, and very often several times a day, to discuss and decide on all questions connected with the activities of the Vatican as a political power.
Every week the Cardinal Secretary of State receives all the representatives accredited to the Holy See and interviews everyone who comes to the Vatican to give information. He is responsible for every letter sent out, for the appointment of every nuncio. Officials of the Curia are appointed on his recommendation. The Pope is very dependent on his Secretary of State, and no one is so closely identified with his absolute power.
In the diplomatic and administrative Government of the Vatican the Secretary of State has three main departments.
The first is the Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, by which all important political and diplomatic matters are settled. It is a committee of cardinals, and its status can be compared with that of a Cabinet in a modern Government.
The second is the Secretary of Ordinary Affairs, or "Il Sostituto," as he is sometimes called. He deals, as an Under-Secretary of State, with matters relating to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican, current political events, the dispatch of Vatican agents. Like many other nations, the Vatican has a code department, and a special section of this second department is engaged in the preparation and examination of dossiers, the examination of claims for decorations, medals, titles, etc. At the outbreak of the Second World War this work required the full-time attention of no less than six editors, ten stenographers, and seven archivists.
The third is the Chancellery of Briefs, the old Secretariat of Briefs which was absorbed into the Department of State in 1908, the Secretariat of Briefs to Princes, and the Secretariat of Latin Letters. A Brief is commonly used to confer an honor or to announce a special tax. "Briefs to Princes" to-day are Briefs to kings, presidents, premiers, and even bishops and persons of minor importance. When not dealing with religious, but with diplomatic or political matters, a Brief is but a sheet of paper carried by the nuncio or by an envoy. It carries the signature of the Pope. The task of the Secretariat of Latin Letters is to correct the Pope's missives—i.e. encyclicals.
The office of the Secretary of State dates from the Renaissance.
In an illuminating document, written in 1602 by Pope Sixtus V, the qualities necessary for a Secretary of State are enumerated:—
The Prime Minister of the Vatican must know everything. He must have read everything, understood everything, but he must say nothing. He must know even the pieces played in the theatre, because of the documentation they contain of distant lands. [sic]
The origin of the Secretariat is to be traced to the "Camera secreta" of the Popes of the Middle Ages, who already often had most delicate diplomatic relations with the various Powers. Their special correspondence was written as well as expedited by notaries equivalent to the members of a Cabinet in a modern European Government. Such correspondence was not given the publicity of "Bills," but was known only to the "Camera secreta."
In the fifteenth century this "Camera secreta" became an indispensable instrument of the Pope. The Briefs became a model of diplomacy. A new functionary, the "Secretarius Domesticus," was responsible for them.
Leo X divided the work between the "Secretarius Domesticus," whose task became the framing of official communications, and "il Segretario del Papa," the Pope's private secretary, whose work was essentially political and who was charged with instructions to the Pope's political agents throughout Europe, the nuncios. Originally, this secretary had little influence, but with the passing of years he became all-powerful. According to the Constitution of Pius IX, in 1847, before the disappearance of the Papal State, the Secretary was "a real premier." With the creation of the New Vatican State the importance of the rôle of the Secretary of State increased enormously, and, as already said, his influence throughout the Curia, and indeed throughout the whole Catholic world, became second only to that of the Pope himself.
The Sacred College of Cardinals comes next in importance to the Secretariat of State in the diplomatic-political sphere, but before it in the purely religious field. That does not mean, of course, that the cardinals, the main pillars of the Catholic Church as a religious institution, are unimportant in the direction of diplomatic and political matters. Far from it—they are responsible instruments of the first magnitude in the shaping and execution of the general policy of the Vatican.
The primary function of the members of the Sacred College of Cardinals is to act as a type of Privy Council to the Pope. The cardinalate comes down directly from the ecclesiastical organization of ancient Rome; the Holy See gave the title of cardinals to the canons of its churches (the word is derived from cardo, meaning pivot or hinge). To this day the cardinals are, in fact, what their name implies.
During the Middle Ages, Papal nominations were subjected to the approval of the Sacred College. But this procedure brought serious embarrassment to the Church, and in 1517 Julius II abolished it. Since that date all promotions, nominations, etc. depend on the absolute will of the Pope.
The cardinals have their titulary Church in Rome. They are "Princes of the Church" and, to-day, still deal with the few kings that remain on a footing of equality, as their "dear cousins." Even republics like the French reserve for cardinals a place above that of ambassadors, and in international etiquette they still retain their position of princes of the blood.
The cardinals have played very important political rôles in the past, and continue to do so. In modern times they have produced significant reactions from various Catholic and non-Catholic nations which regard with great interest their "representation" in the Sacred College, knowing the power and influence the cardinals exert on the attitude of the Church towards religious, diplomatic, and political problems in all countries of the world.
Members of the Sacred College of Cardinals cannot exceed seventy in number. They are divided into two: those cardinals who direct Catholic affairs in their local metropolitan areas, and those who are settled in Rome and whose task is that of advising the Pope. As we have already seen, the most important cardinal is the Secretary of State.
Up to the outbreak of the Second World War there were two main difficulties which a nation had to overcome before one of its nationals could receive the "red cap." One was the tradition that the number of cardinals must not exceed 70; the other was the tradition that the majority should be Italians. The second custom, however, is being gradually discarded. In 1846, for instance, there were only 8 non-Italian cardinals, but Pius IX, in his 32-years reign, created 183 cardinals, of whom 51 were foreigners, and in 1878 there were 25 living non-Italian cardinals. In 1903 the number remained unchanged, with 1 American and 29 Italians. In 1914 there were 32 Italians and 25 foreigners, 3 of whom were American. In 1915 there were 29 Italians and 31 foreigners.
In January 1930 they were distributed thus:—
Austria 2, Hungary 1, Belgium 1, Ireland 1, Brazil 1, Italy 29;
Canada 1, Portugal 1, England 1, Spain 5, France 7, U.S.A 4;
Germany 4, Poland 2, Holland 1, Czechoslovakia 1
In 1939 there were 32 Italian and 32 foreign cardinals, of whom four came from the United States of America.
With the dawn of peace ( 1945) Pope Pius XII continued along the course his predecessors had undertaken, and in February 1946 he took the unprecedented step of creating 32 new cardinals at a single ceremony, the largest nomination of this kind that Rome had seen for well over three hundred years. Of these, significantly enough, only 4 were Italians. Of the remainder, 3 were German, 3 French, 3 Spanish, 1 Armenian, 1 English, 1 Cuban, 1 Hungarian, 1 Dutch, 1 Polish, 1 Chinese, 1 Australian, 1 Canadian, 4 North American, and the remaining 6 Latin-American. It was the first time that the Church had invested a Chinese with the robes of a cardinal ( Bishop Tien, Vicar Apostolic of Tsing Tao), and the first time it had conferred such an honor on an Australian ( Archbishop Gilroy, of Sydney). But in addition to the breaking of the unwritten rule (a preponderant number of Italians), and to the bringing into the Curia of the first Australian and the first Chinese, Pius XII made another ominous move: the creation of a number of cardinals whose main purpose was obviously to strengthen the influence of the Church in the Anglo-Saxon countries (4 in the United States of America, 1 in Britain, 1 in Canada, and 1 in Australia), while the appointment of 4 cardinals in the United States of America and 6 in South America showed unmistakably that the Church was more determined than ever to spread its hold over the American continent.
In addition to acting as the electors of new Popes, and as Coun cillors to the Holy See, the cardinals are in theory and in practice the absolute rulers of the Churches in their charge in the various countries of the world, having only one authority above them whom they must blindly obey in furthering the welfare of the universal Catholic Church—the Pope. They owe him blind obedience, not only in religious, but, when necessary, in social and political matters as well, and although in theory they may pursue a quasi-independent line in political issues, in reality they must obey the Pope through his Secretary of State, who is himself a cardinal.
And so the cardinals, as well as forming the foundations on which the Catholic Hierarchy is erected, are also the pillars of the Catholic Church as a political institution. Whether posted in the various countries of the world (as a rule as primates) or resident at the Vatican, where they usually are heads or members of the various Ministries, they are the religious, administrative, and political pillars of the Catholic Church.
The activities of the Catholic Church are many and invade numerous spheres. It has been necessary, therefore, as with any other great administration, to separate them into individual yet co-ordinated departments, which the Vatican calls Congregations. Hence the word "Congregation," in this sense, must not be confused with its ordinary meaning of the members of a church. In this case the Congregations are the equivalent of the Ministries of an ordinary civil Government.
The Roman Congregations came into being about the sixteenth century, after the Reformation, when the Catholic Church, to resist its enemies, had to reorganize itself on more up-to-date lines. Ever since, the Roman Congregations have worked for the Pope in all his delicate activities. They are the central and administrative power of the Catholic Church, and in certain respects do not differ a great deal from the machinery of a modern State, with its various administrative branches of government. In the same way as any Ministry in a civil Government is headed by a Minister, each Roman Congregation has at its head a prefect. This prefect is a cardinal appointed by the Pope, or in some cases the Pope himself acts as prefect. In addition to the Cardinal Prefect, the Pope often appoints other cardinals to direct the officials and employees, who are usually ecclesiastics, but in some cases laymen of distinction.
It would be useful to examine briefly the history and purpose of the Ministerial Departments of the Catholic Church, for each has a set task to perform and deals with specific matters which, very often, affect millions of Catholics all over the world. It is often through the work of these Ministries that the Catholic Church exerts influence and pressure on its members. Most of the Congregations are of an essentially religious character, but for that very reason they are powerful factors which the Catholic Church does not hesitate to employ in order to bring religious and moral pressure on the individual Catholic and on collective sections of the Catholic populations of the world.
The Central Government of the Catholic Church is divided into three main groups, each closely related to the others, and under one direction. They are: the Sacred Congregations, the Tribunals, and the Offices. We shall glance at each one, contenting ourselves with barely mentioning some of them, but studying in more detail those which are closely related to that aspect of the Catholic Church which is being studied in this book. We shall start with the less important.
1. Congregation for the Affairs of the Religious This congregation, founded in 1586, looked after the Religious Orders (not to be confounded with the body dealing with the fabric of St. Peter).
2. Ceremonial Congregation Deals with the etiquette of the Pontifical Court. The prefect is the Dean of the Sacred College.
3. Congregation of the Sacred Rites Created by Sixtus V, it is in charge of beatifications and canonizations.
4. Congregation on the Discipline of the Sacraments Dates from 1908. It deals with matters connected with sacramentary discipline, with particular regard to marriage. The Regulations of this Congregation deal with the annulment of marriage and similar matters affecting Catholic laymen.
5. Congregation of Seminaries, Universities, and Studies Created in 1588 as the Sacred Congregation of Studies, and given its present title in 1915. Its original task was to supervise teaching in the Papal States; then its supervision extended to the Catholic universities, including those in Austria, France, Italy, etc. As it stands now, it controls all the superior teaching institutions whose Heads are Catholic.
6. Congregation of the Eastern Church The various Churches in the Near and Far East involve a great deal of work; hence this Department was created in 1917. Until then it was part of the Propaganda Fide. It is headed by the Pope himself. Certain Churches in the Near East pursue a ritual differing from but allied to the ritual of the Roman Catholic Church. These are the Greek, Russian, Rumanian, and Armenian Churches. It may be of interest to note, for instance, that while the Greco- Rumanian Church has more than 1,000,000 members, the Greek-Ruthenian Church has only about a fourth of that number. There are about 300,000 Syro- Maronites, whose rites and prayers are a mixture of Syrian and Arabic. The Greek Melachites, whose rites are in Arabic and ceremonies in Greek, number more than 100,000.
Over 100,000 Armenians are scattered between Hungary and Persia, whereas in Persia, Kurdistan, and Iraq (Mesopotamia) there are 40,000 Syro-Chaldeans. In Egypt there are over 10,000 followers of the Coptic rites, and in Abyssinia the Ethiopians number about 30,000. Even in Hindustan there are about 200,000 Catholics following the Syrian rites of Malabar. Furthermore, there are the pure Syrian, the pure Greeks, the Greco-Bulgarian, etc.
7. Congregation of the Council Originally consisted of eight cardinals, charged with the direction of the Council of Trent. To-day the Council no longer exists, but the Congregation deals chiefly with the discipline of the clergy throughout the world and the revision of Councils. It may be compared to a large Ministry of the Interior.
8. The Consistorial Congregation This Congregation has many affinities with the Holy Office in its modern version. It has the same Head, namely the Pope, and the same duty of complete secrecy for the cardinals and others employed in it. Founded in 1588 and reorganised at the beginning of this century.
Besides preparing the consistories, its main task is the nomination of bishops all over the world, and the creation and maintenance of dioceses (e.g. provinces or counties of the Catholic Church). It is a kind of Personnel Department. From it emanate all the disciplinary measures that the Catholic Church deems necessary to control its clergy in all countries. For instance, the punishment of priests for transgressing their duties or for associating themselves with institutions or persons hostile to the Catholic Church, or political parties of which the Catholic Church disapproves. In dealing with the policy of the Vatican in the various countries we shall come across many such examples. At this stage suffice it to quote the case of the Vatican prohibition (non expedire) passed in 1929 against all those American priests who wanted to join or had joined the Rotary Club, the reason being that the Club was under the predominant influence of Freemasons and politicians.
This Congregation might be likened to an Ecclesiastical " Scotland Yard."
9. Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs As we already have had occasion to see, when dealing with the Secretary of State, this Congregation is one of the most important in the Vatican. Certainly it is the most important in the Vatican as a political centre. It is the depart ment by which the policy of the Vatican is conceived, examined, and carried out, and was created by Pius IV, in 1793, with the primary purpose of regulating ecclesiastical affairs in France. Later, in 1814, Pius VII assigned to it the right to examine and judge all affairs submitted to the Holy See.
This Congregation deals with all the Vatican's problems of an ecclesiastical and, above all, political nature. It examines the diplomatic relations of the Vatican with other States, political parties, etc., and negotiates those very important religious and political treaties peculiar to Vatican diplomacy—the Concordats. Its prefect is the Cardinal Secretary of State.
10. Congregation of the Holy Office (once more popularly known as the Inquisition) The Inquisition is an ecclesiastical tribunal charged with the "discovery, punishment, and prevention of heresy." It was first instituted in Southern France by Pope Gregory IX, in 1229, and was based on the principle that "truth has rights whose demands must be upheld and promoted in the interests of secular no less than ecclesiastical justice. Error has no right and must be abandoned or uprooted" ( Catholic Encyclopedia).
The Inquisition was created originally with the purpose of working the complete annihilation of the Albigensians, and was the beginning of a series of similar massacres of heretics throughout the Middle Ages. It was rightly feared throughout Christendom for its ferocity against all suspected of heresy— namely, all who doubted the dogmas of the Catholic Church, those who dared to question its authority or truth, or those who dared to rebel against the authority of the Pope.
The institution reached perfection with the Spanish Inquisition set up by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1478, with the authority of Pope Sixtus IV. Its object was to proceed against lapsed converts from Judaism (Maranos), crypto-Jews, and other apostates. It was extended to the Christian Moors (Moriscos) who were in danger of apostasy. It established itself in Spanish America, and from about 1550 until the seventeenth century it kept Spain clear of Protestantism.
The Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office was erected in 1542 as a continuation and supersession of the Universal Roman Inquisition, and since 1917 it has taken over the work of the suppressed Congregation of the Index. Its business is the protection of faith and morals, the judging of heresy, dogmatic teaching (e.g. against indulgences or to stress impediments to marriage of Catholics with non-Catholics), the examination and prohibition of books dangerous to the faith or otherwise pernicious. The prefect of this Congregation is the Pope himself, who presides in person when decisions of importance are announced.
The Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, according to the canonist, was the highest authority in the Roman Curia, and had the unique privilege of making doctrinal decisions on matters related to dogma and morals. Very often the Pope took judicial responsibility for its decisions, imposing his own authority on the actions of the Congregation.
Has the Catholic Church discarded the theory and practice of the Holy Office? We wish we could answer in the affirmative, but that is not the case. It still holds the theory that "truth has rights, whose demands must be upheld and promoted in the interests of secular no less than ecclesiastical justice," and by truth the Catholic Church means its own truth, for "outside the Catholic Church there is not and cannot be any truth."
In theory the Catholic Church maintains the same spirit as the Holy Office of former times. In practice it cannot do what it used to, not so much because it has changed, but because the world and society have changed and will not allow her to act as in the past.
That the Catholic Church has not discarded its claims as embodied in the Holy Office is proved by the fact that even in this our twentieth century it still attempts to make such claims felt wherever it can. Of course, that is possible only where the modern State has submitted entirely to the Catholic Church. But there the Catholic Church has come into the open with the spirit of the Inquisition, even if in a mild form. That spirit has, in fact, shown itself in the two model Catholic States: Salazar's Portugal and, above all, Franco's Spain, where people were sent to jail for the criminal offence of refusing to attend Mass on Sundays, and where Protestantism was systematically persecuted, in many cases Protestant pastors being sent to prison and even shot (see the Catholic paper, The Universe, of JANUARY 1945).
Another typical instance of the spirit by which the Holy Office is still moved occurred after the First World War, when it published (in 1920) a letter addressed to all Italian bishops, asking them "to watch an organization which ... instils indifference and apostasy to the Catholic Religion."
This referred to the Young Men's Christian Association, which, during and after the war, had tried to help the morale of the Italian people by numerous philanthropic activities throughout the country. The Vatican, after having on many occasions discouraged it, stated that the organization was but a centre for Italian and American Protestantism, and a menace to Catholicism, whilst in reality all that the Y.M.C.A. did was to sell cigarettes and chocolate and arrange theatricals, lectures, etc. for soldiers.
Many people, especially in America, could not believe that the Vatican was against this organization until, in February 1921, the Secretary of State (who was also Head of the Holy Office) made public a letter forbidding any Catholic to be in touch with the Y.M.C.A. The letter began: "The most Eminent and Reverend Cardinals, who are, like the writer whose name is subjoined, inquisitors-general in matters of faith and morals, desire that the Ordinaries should pay vigilant attention to the manner in which certain new non-Catholic associations, by the aid of their members of every nationality, have been accustomed now and for some time to lay snares for the Faithful, especially the young folk.
"They provide in abundance facilities of every kind, but in point of fact corrupt the integrity of the Catholic Faith and snatch away children from the Church their Mother.
"On the pretence of bringing light to young folk, they turn them away from the teaching of the Church established by God, and incite them to seek severance from their own conscience and within the narrow circuit of human reason the light which should guide them....
"Among these societies ... it will suffice to mention that which disposes of most considerable means: we mean the society called the Young Men's Christian Association.
"All of you who have received from Heaven the special mandate to govern the flock of the Master are implored by this Congregation to employ all your zeal in preserving your young folk from the contagion of every society of this kind....
"Put the imprudent on their guard and strengthen the souls of those whose Faith is vacillating.... The Sacred Congregation asks that in each region an official act of the Hierarchy declare duly forbidden all the daily organs, periodicals, and other publications of these societies of which the pernicious character is manifest, with a view of sowing in the souls of Catholics the errors of rationalism and religious indifferentism...." ( November 5, 1920, R. Cardinal Merry Del Val, Secretary).
This prohibition was still being enforced on all good Catholics during the Second World War, and the Vatican has done its best to discourage Catholic soldiers and civilians from having anything to do with that particular society or any other of its kind. Such a typical action of this Congregation, in the twentieth century, needs no comment. It only proves the accuracy of our contention that the Catholic Church has not changed the spirit which made it set up the Inquisition in the Middle Ages, and that only our times prevent it from using more drastic measures to enforce its will on modern society.
The Holy Office, no longer having much scope for exerting its spirit in the modern world, was recently amalgamated with the Congregation of the Index, with which we shall deal presently.
TRIBUNALS 1. The Sacred Roman Rota The Roman Rota is the tribunal by which all cases relating to the Catholic Hierarchy and requiring judicial procedure with trial, civil as well as criminal, are attended to in the Roman Curia. The Roman Rota is also known to millions as the Tribunal of the Catholic Church which occasionally annuls marriages. It has dealt with famous historical names, and its decisions have had far- reaching religious, social, and political consequences. Suffice it to mention such names as those of Henry VIII, the Borgias, and Napoleon.
A Catholic must be married before a priest or his delegate and two more witnesses, otherwise the marriage is clandestine and null. In other words, according to the Catholic Church it has never taken place, even if it has brought several children.
The procedure that must be followed by a Catholic seeking to annul his marriage is as follows: The case is heard at the diocesan court. An official, the "defensor vinculi," sustains the validity of the marriage. The bishop can declare the nullity, according to the Canon Law, if there is proof that one of the parties to the marriage was not baptized or was in holy orders, or was bound by the vows of chastity, or had another husband (or spouse) living, or that the couple were so closely related that marriage was prohibited. If the "defensor," or the parties seeking annulment of their marriage, are dissatisfied, they can appeal to the Roman Rota.
The cases brought before the Rota, however, are very few, and those that are successful still fewer. During the decade 1920-30 the 350,000,000 Catholics took to the Rota only 442 cases, of which 95 were appeals against previous decisions of the same body. Of the 347 new cases, 175 were successful and 172 unsuccessful. In 1945, of 80 applications for decrees of nullity of marriage considered, 35 were granted.
2. The Apostolic Segnatura This is the Supreme Court of the Catholic Church. The Tribunal dates from the fifteenth century and derives its name from the fact that the prelates charged with examining all sorts of petitions had to submit their replies for Pontifical signature. After the abolition of the temporal Power of the Catholic Church it was closed. But Pius X reinstated it, and, in its modern form, its special task is to deal with matrimonial affairs. This Supreme Court is composed of six cardinals.
3. The Sacred Penitentiara (and the granting of Indulgences) The necessity for creating an authority which would deal with the demands coming from all parts of the world for absolution from certain crimes became more and more pressing, and so the Sacred Penitentiary was formed. It dates from 1130, when Pope Innocent II reserved for himself "absolution for crimes of percussion against clergy, wherever they are committed." To-day this Tribunal is headed by a cardinal who has a life appointment, and one of whose tasks is that of giving absolution to the Pope on his death-bed.
One of the Tribunal's most curious functions is that dealing with confessions and the granting of indulgences.
It is practised in three churches—namely St. Peter, St. John Lateran, and Santa Maria Maggiore. Each of these three churches has a confessional, provided with a very long rod.
"The priests who occupy these confessionals are part of the Tribunal of the Penitentiary. They are, in fact, the 'penitentiaries' properly called, who visit the three basilicas and who, on finding the kneeling pilgrim in a state of grace, reach out the long rod from the confessional as a sign of clemency, touch the kneeler's head, raise him, and grant him an indulgence" (see The Vatican, Seldes).
What is an indulgence? "The remission before God of the punishment due to those sins of which the guilt has been forgiven, either in the sacrament of Penance or because of an act of perfect contrition, granted by the competent ecclesiastical authority, out of the Treasury of the Catholic Church, to the living by way of absolution, to the dead by way of suffrage" ( Catholic Encyclopœdia).
Indulgences are either plenary or partial. Partial indulgence remits a part of the punishment due for sin, at any given moment; the proportion being expressed in terms of time (e.g. thirty days, seven years, etc.). Indulgences attached to prayers are lost by any addition, omission, or alteration. It is absolutely essential to the gaining of an indulgence, however small, that the sinner should be in a state of grace.
It is easy to imagine the hold that the Catholic Church is thus able to exercise on the individual Catholic by this system of granting a kind of spiritual insurance policy for the next life. We, here, have not the right to discuss the system of indulgences from a religious or theological point of view, but draw attention to their existence to show what a very powerful weapon they are in enabling the Catholic Church to exercise authority over its members. This spiritual pressure is even stronger when one considers that, in addition to the various indulgences acquired merely through prayer and other acts of devotion, the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church can also grant indulgences according to their judgment. Thus bishops, cardinals, and Popes can grant them to the Faithful.
Of course, the Pope is the Supreme giver. To the Pope alone, "by divine Authority, is committed the dispensation of the whole treasury of the Catholic Church." Inferior authorities in the Catholic Church can grant only those indulgences specified in Canon Law; cardinals may grant 200 days, archbishops 100 days, bishops 50 days. No one may apply indulgences to other living persons, but all Papal indulgences may be applied to the souls in Purgatory, unless otherwise stated.
Apostolic indulgences can be plenary or partial when blessed by the Pope personally or by his delegates. The indulgence can be gained only by the first person to whom the blessed object is given, and depends upon the saying of certain prayers.
Through this spiritual instrument, not only does the Catholic Church, as such, gain great authority over the Faithful, but it is able, by claiming to relieve punishment in the next world, to exert great pressure upon the religious and moral standards of its members, while at the same time enhancing the spiritual authority of the Pope.
SPIRITUAL TOTALITARIAN-ISM OF THE VATICAN
When dealing with the Congregation of the Holy Office we said that the Catholic Church has not changed in spirit its claim to "uphold only the truth," which created the Inquisition. Times have changed, and with them the methods of the Catholic Church. Yet the spirit with which it is to-day impregnated has remained unchanged throughout the centuries, and although it has been rendered powerless by modern society, it is still what it was in the past. The Index, which is still made to function in our present age, is the best proof of this.
The task of Propaganda Fide is to spread the Catholic faith from the viewpoint that, as the Catholic religion is the only true religion, all other religions are wrong and should disappear. That the greater portion of mankind, consisting of Protestants, Moslems, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, and pagans, cannot be saved except by embracing Catholicism. Hence it ensues that the field of Propaganda Fide is literally the whole world, its rôle being to convert all mankind to Catholicism.
The totalitarian State reasons in exactly the same way. Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and Soviet Russia each set up an all-embracing Ministry of Propaganda whose task in the political field, and in dealing with national, racial, or merely ideological matters, was precisely that aimed at in the religious field by the Catholic Church.Both the Catholic Church and the totalitarian States assumed the right to prevent, according to their judgment, the acceptance of ideas by their people. They also assumed the right forcibly to convert as many people as possible to their own particular brand of religion or ideology.This close resemblance between the dictatorships of the twentieth century and the Catholic Church is not mere coincidence. Both are animated by the same spirit, moved by the same aims, and each in its own sphere aspires to the same goals. It was natural, therefore, that the spiritual Totalitarianism of the Catholic Church should ally itself with the political Totalitarianism of Fascism and Nazism, even if at times, owing to their very nature and aims, they were bound to clash.Through the Index and Propaganda Fide the Catholic Church can exert tremendous influence in the religious field throughout the world, and thus affect ethical, cultural, social, and often political issues. Let us, therefore, examine these departments, even if briefly.What is the Index?It is a list of books which Catholics must not read. That sounds very simple. But can the enormous consequences of such words escape any thinking person?The Irish priest, Dr. Timothy Hurley, says: "All books adverse to the Catholic Church are forbidden to be read by Roman Catholics, under pain of mortal sin or even excommunication." Pope Pius IV declared it a mortal sin to read a condemned book.The Laws of the Index are binding for all Catholics, with the sole exception of cardinals, bishops, and other dignitaries whose rank is not below that of bishop.The Canon Laws leave no doubt in the minds of Catholics as to what kind of books they should not read. There are eleven categories:—
1. All books which propound or defend heresy or schism, or which of set purpose attack religion or morality, or endeavor to destroy the foundations of religion or morality. 2. Books which impugn or ridicule Catholic dogma or Catholic worship, the Hierarchy, the clerical or religious state, or which tend to undermine ecclesiastical discipline, or which defend errors rejected by the Apostolic See. 3. Books which declare duelling, suicide, and divorce lawful, or which represent Freemasonry and similar organizations as useful and not dangerous to the Church and to civil society. 4. Books which teach or recommend superstition, fortune-telling, sorcery, spiritism, or other like practices (e.g. Christian Science). 5. Books which professedly treat of, narrate, or teach lewdness and obscenity.
6. Editions of the liturgical books of the Church which do not agree in all details with the authentic editions.
7. Books and booklets which publish new apparitions, revelations, visions, prophecies, miracles, etc., concerning which the canonical regulations have not been observed.
8. All editions of the Bible or parts of it, as well as all Biblical commentaries in any language, which do not show the approbation of the bishop or some higher ecclesiastical authority.
9. Translations which retain the objectionable character of the forbidden original
10. Pictures of Our Lord, the Blessed Virgin, the angels and saints and other servants of God, which deviate from the customs and the direction of the Church. 11. The term "books" includes also newspapers and periodicals which come under the foregoing classes; not, indeed, if they publish one or the other article contrary to faith and morals, but if their chief tendency and purpose is to impugn Catholic doctrine or defend un-Catholic teachings and practices.
It is easily seen from this list that the Vatican does not leave the Catholic a very great field in which he can read a book with safety.The procedure of indexing books is simple. It is often begun by some bishop who wishes a particular book to be banished from his diocese. Sometimes the complaint goes direct to the Supreme Sacred Congregation; sometimes the Congregation itself takes the initiative. The Congregation charges one of its readers with the task of reading the work carefully and noting the "wrong" passages. The book is then sent to other readers, who give their views on it. The votes of the consultors (as the readers are called) are made known to the cardinals, who in turn discuss the book and finally pronounce sentence. The cardinals usually number from seven to ten, whereas the consultors number about thirty.There are four possible verdicts:— Damnetur (condemned);
Donec Corrigatur (prohibited until corrected);
Res Dilata (case postponed).
Authors or publishers are not informed before publication, with the exception of Catholic authors, who are given a chance either to withdraw the book from circulation or to make public submission to the sentence of the Holy Office. An author is not permitted to defend his book.
Once a book has been condemned, its name is published in the official part of the Osservatore Romano, the Vatican paper, then in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, and finally reprinted by religious organs throughout the world.
What books come under examination is never known, as the secrets of the Holy Office are rigidly guarded. Employees, consultors, and even cardinals or members of the Supreme Sacred Congregations, must never disclose the subjects discussed at the meetings.
Once a book has been prohibited, no Catholic, under penalty of mortal sin, namely of risking eternal damnation, can read or touch the book. For instance, if a prohibited publication is bound with others, the whole volume is automatically forbidden. Even Bibles published by Bible Societies are forbidden. Witness the Rev. Dr. Timothy Hurley: "All translations made in vernacular languages by non-Catholics, and especially those made by Bible Societies, are strictly forbidden." To make sure that all Catholics comply with the strict laws of the Index, the Catholic Church never tires of impressing upon the Faithful, through its Press and the clergy, that they must obey the rules of the Church, and it appoints a Church dignitary (who is usually a Jesuit) in almost all Catholic countries and countries where there are large Catholic minorities to direct the reading of the Faithful. It appoints an Executive of the Index in various Catholic countries, such as the Abbé Bethleem in France.
Through these Executives, and through the Hierarchy and the Catholic Press, the Catholic Church prevents the publication of some books, tries to suppress others, and, above all, organizes Catholics to boycott the books and ruin their sales. And this applies not only to books, but also to papers. Catholic clubs, organizations, and individuals become agents in this campaign of boycotting with a zealous perniciousness that would not be believed if it did not happen so often.
This goes on wherever there are Catholics. And, in the eyes of any good Catholic, it is not only right, but the duty of the Catholic Church. Why? We quote the French Executive of the Index, the Abbé Bethleem:—
The Catholic Church [he declares], in virtue of the powers which it has from its divine founder, has the right and the duty to condemn error and wickedness wherever it finds them; it has also by natural consequence the right to condemn books opposed to the Faith or to Christian morals or which without being wicked are dangerous from this double point of view. There are first of all those books prohibited under penalty of excommunication reserved to the Pope ...
After explaining why the Church has condemned the works of Renan, Zola, etc., the Abbé asserts (an assertion fully endorsed by the Catholic Church itself) that "the Congregation of the Index can only condemn a nominal number of condemnable books; for the others, it condemns them by virtue of a general law."
The Index is divided into three parts. The first section consists of heresiarchs, all of whose books—past, present, and future—are condemned; the second section is composed of writers tending to heresy, magic, immorality, etc.; the third, writers whose doctrines are unwholesome. A few of the names in the first category are: Luther, Melanchthon, Rabelais, Erasmus. In the second: Merlin's Book of Obscure Visions, the Fables of Tolgier the Dane and Arthur of Britain, the Legend of King Arthur, etc.
The 1930 edition of the Index contains between 7,000 and 8,000 names. To give some idea of the seriousness of this prohibition, we mention only a few of the names listed, so that the reader may draw his own conclusions of how harmful or how beneficial the Index has been throughout the ages to the enlightenment of mankind. An anonymous author once wrote: "Satire pretends that all the best books may be found by consulting the Roman Index."
Dante's De Monarchia (permitted only last century by Leo XIII).
All the works of Leibnitz.
Grotius' De Jure Belli ac Pacis.
The Book of Common Prayer.
Religio Medici, by Thomas Browne.
An American Tragedy, Jurgen, and Mlle. de Maupin.
All the works of Gabriel D'Annunzio.
Sterne's Sentimental Journey.
Milton's Paradise Lost.
Auguste Comte, his Cours De Philosophie Positive.
All the works of Dumas, Pater and Filius.
Gustave Flaubert and Anatole France
Gibbon's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Heine and Kant.
La Fontaine, by Lamartine.
Andrew Lang, his Myth, Ritual, and Religion.
John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding And the Reasonableness of Christianity as Delivered in the Scriptures.
John Stuart Mill's Principles of Political Economy and On Liberty.
All the works of Maurice Maeterlinck.
Thirty-eight of Voltaire's works.
Paine's The Rights of Man.
Rousseau's Social Contract, Lettres Ecrites de la Montagne, Julie, ou la Nouvelle Héloise, etc.
Renan, including his Vie de Jesus.
George Sand, Henry Stendahl, Eugene Sue, Thomas White, Emile Zola, Spinoza, Swedenborg, Bernard de Mandeville, Taine, Malebranche, Bergson, Lord Acton, Bossuet, Bacon, Hobbes, Samuel Richardson, Doellinger, Addison, Goldsmith, Victor Hugo, etc.
At one time there was a movement to put the Encyclopœdia Britannica on the Index. It is noteworthy for English and American readers that up to the present there are more than 5,000 books in English which are either entirely condemned or forbidden until corrected.
The German Index authority, Hilgers, defending the Index states:—
With the misuse of the printing press for the distribution of pernicious writing, the regulations of the Catholic Church for the protection of the Faithful enters of necessity upon a new period. It is certainly the case that the evil influence of a badly conducted printing press constitutes to-day the greatest danger to society. The new flood is drawn from three main sources. Theism and unbelief arise from the regions of natural science, of philosophy, and of Protestant theology. Theism is the assured result of what is called "scientific liberty." Anarchism and nihilism, religious as well as political, may be described as the second source from which pours out a countless stream of Socialistic writings. In substance this is nothing other than a popularized philosophy of liberalism.
Hilgers goes on to say that the third source is "unwholesome romances," and ends significantly:—
If the community is to be protected from demoralization, the political authorities must unite with the ecclesiastical in securing for such utterances some wise and safe control.
Did not the Nazis repeat almost the same argument when they began to burn books all over Germany, after the accession to power of Hitler? And in Franco's Spain, were not such precepts for many years carried out to the letter?
Surely one can say that the Vatican to-day cannot pretend to uphold its claim to the right of banishing books? But the Vatican has not repudiated its peculiar claims. On the contrary, the following words were spoken in 1930 by a famous Secretary of State, Cardinal Merry del Val:—
The evil press is more perilous than the sword. St. Paul set the example for censorship: he caused evil books to be burned (Acts xix, 19). St. Peter's successors (e.g. the Popes) have always followed the example; nor could they have done otherwise, for their Church, infallible mistress and sure guide of the Faithful, is bound in conscience to keep the press pure....
And here are even more significant words:—
Those who wish to feed the Holy Scriptures to people without any safeguards are also upholders of free thinking, than which there is nothing more absurd or harmful.... Only those infected by that moral pestilence known as liberalism can see in a check placed on unlawful power and profligacy a wound inflicted on freedom.
The Catholic Church's contention in defending the Index is that it makes of it a weapon with which to defend truth. But truth might have more than one meaning. Not so to Catholics:—
Truth is one and absolute; the Catholic Church and she only has all the truth of religion. All religions whatsoever have varying amounts of truth in them, but the Catholic Church alone has all ( Catholic Encyclopedia).
That such a claim should sound absurd to any fair-minded individual is evident. It would be unacceptable even if it were restricted to the religious sphere. But it is not; for the Catholic Church, indirectly and often directly, tries to impose its assertions on fields other than the religious. We give one famous and typical instance, the case of Galileo. For years the scientific theory that the earth moved upon its axis and around the sun had stirred the world. The most powerful and bitter opponent to this discovery was the Catholic Church. It intimated that there was no truth whatsoever in such an assertion, and finally, in March 1616, the Congregation of the Index, under direct and personal instruction of the Pope himself, decreed the doctrine of the double motion of the earth upon its axis and about the sun false and contrary to the Scriptures.
Notwithstanding this condemnation, Galileo published his Dialogo in 1632. The following year it was Indexed with a condemnation.
Galileo had to recant his doctrine on his knees, saying that the doctrine of the motion of the earth was false. The Catholic Church, however, was not content with this. It promulgated a solemn formula of condemnation of all books—already written and yet to be written in the centuries to come—that propagated similar scientific doctrines. These are the actual words:—
Libri omnes docentes mobilitatem terrae et immobilitatem solis (All books forbidden which maintain that the earth moves and the sun does not).
Thus, literally for centuries, all the scientific works dealing with this subject and all books on astronomy by such scientific giants as Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo—to mention only a few—were entirely forbidden, under pain of damnation for all eternity in the next world and of fines and imprisonment in this. It was only as late as 1822 that the Catholic Church permitted Catholics to read books on astronomy, the motion of the earth, etc.
We have dealt at some length on the spirit which inspired the Index and have taken Galileo's case as an instance, not in order to disparage the Catholic Church, but to show its particular claims, interpretations, and interventions in religious and other fields which so closely affect mankind in its striving towards spiritual and physical progress. The Catholic Church has not yet discarded that spirit and its extraordinary claims. On the contrary, it upholds them more than ever. Its persistent condemnation of divorce, contraceptives, co-education, and the social systems with which man is experimenting—first Secularism, then Liberalism and Modernism, and now democracy, Socialism, Communism—shows that it does not intend to adapt itself to the times. As it is continuously inter vening in fields other than the religious, it should not blame those who do not share its views for criticizing and trying to fight its claims. Modern society has the right to assert its own claims, regardless of the religious authority of the Catholic Church or of any other Church.
Will the Catholic Church one day regret the reactionary spirit it has shown towards the moral, social, political, and economic ideas and systems with which mankind tries to build a happier world? Will future generations, looking back to our times and seeing the Catholic Church's fanatical hostility to modern society and Socialism, accuse it as we now, looking back to the times of Galileo, are able to accuse it? Only the Catholic Church could tell.
In contrast to the reactionary and—one may rightly use the word —tyrannical spirit which moves the Index and the Holy Office, another characteristic aspect of Catholicism deserves attention. We refer to the indefatigable activities which keep the Catholic Church in order, which erect walls against any spirit other than its own, which spread far and wide its own aim of converting to its faith the whole human race.
This work is carried out by another Congregation, which has its headquarters in the Vatican. It is the oldest, most powerful and most colossal Ministry of Information or Propaganda Bureau in existence, in comparison with which all other propaganda organizations—including those of the various totalitarian countries—seem child's play. This Congregation is called Propaganda Fide (for the propagation of the Faith), and besides being one of the most important Congregations of the Catholic Church, it is also an important department of the Vatican State, which uses it to keep in touch with the most remote parts of the world.
The Congregation is ruled by a cardinal, whose power is so great that he is popularly called "the Red Pope." It was established in 1622 by Gregory XV, with the set and open purpose of converting the whole world to Catholicism. Its activities are not confined to countries professing non-Christian religions, but are spread to Protestant, heretic, and schismatic lands—for example, the Balkan States.
It has divided the whole world into numerous "spiritual provinces," in which it directs its activities. It has jurisdiction over hundreds of them organized into districts, prefectures, and vicariates. The Congregation controls hundreds of colleges, seminaries, and similar organizations throughout the world. In Rome alone there are several, the chief being the Urban College for training missionaries of all races, which is attached to the Propaganda Fide. Until not long ago ( 1908) Great Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, the United States of America, and other Protestant countries came under its jurisdiction. Now, however, such countries have their own national hierarchies, which depend directly on the Pope.
Attached to this Congregation is the Association for the Propagation of the Faith, which is a world-wide society of the Faithful to further the evangelization of the world by united prayer and the collection of alms for distribution to the missions. Its headquarters are in Rome, and it is under the direction of the Congregation De Propaganda Fide. The motto of the Propaganda Fide and of the whole Catholic Church is that "no land is fully Christian. Catholics must dream and plan and act in terms of the entire globe." To carry out this plan it has a vast organization of colleges of all nationalities in Christian lands, be they Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox, and in pagan countries where it builds up a formidable machinery of institutions of all kinds to convert non-Christians to Catholicism. The Vatican has never been more determined to reach its world- wide goal than it is to-day. It began to work to that end long ago, it is true, but in modern times it has renewed its efforts and reorganized its machinery to spread Catholicism in the Western as well as other parts of the world. In Rome alone the following principal national colleges are under the direct control of the Vatican, which will give some idea of the vastness of its activities:
(See Table - Seminaries)
In 1917 the Eastern Churches were removed from its jurisdiction.
The Vatican devotes its particular attention to the various orthodox or schismatic countries, hoping to be able to unite them en bloc in Rome. For this purpose it created, in 1917, a special department at the Vatican, as we have already seen, detached from Propaganda Fide. It has now become two departmental units, but their aim is the same.
It is the Catholic Church's policy to foster national and racial rites, and it has therefore created many institutions for that purpose. In Rome alone there are the following seminaries, whose task is to prepare Roman Catholic clergy in the various Oriental rites:
In addition to these there are the special colleges of numerous religious Orders.
But while striving to maintain and further Catholicism in Catholic and in non-Christian lands, its great task is to bring pagan lands under its authority. For centuries it has established missions all over the world. Its missionaries were at first nearly all Europeans, but later included Americans, and its policy now is to train native clergy. In this direction it has made impressive strides, especially during the last twenty years, and has already created a native hierarchy in several non-Christian countries. In 1925 its first colored bishop, namely Monsignor Roche of India, was consecrated in a solemn reli -gious ceremony in Rome, followed, in 1927, by the first seven Chinese bishops and subsequently by Japanese and other races.
In more than one country it has become powerful very quickly. In Madagascar, for instance, it has enrolled over 650,000 members, which means that already it has authority over one-sixth of the native population. In China, in the one year of 1930, it converted to Catholicism more than 50,000 Chinese.
The total figure of Catholic converts all over the world is more than 500,000 a year. About 1930, the Propaganda Fide directed over 11,000 preachers in missions, 3,000 of whom were native-born; 15,000 friars, 600 of whom were native-born; and 30,000 nuns, of whom 11,000 were native-born. At this period these missionary enterprises were backed by more than 30,000,000 dollars. Since then this figure has been greatly increased. (In the same period the Protestant missionaries were backed by over 60,000,000 dollars.) The Americas, headed by the United States of America, give the largest sum of money. In comparison with their European colleagues the American missionaries are more popular with the native populations and thus make more converts. They have specialized in the Far East, especially China. There has therefore been a tendency lately for the Catholic Church to favor American missionary enterprises instead of the Belgian, French, and German. Catholic missionary activities have been steadily on the increase, and by 1945 they covered 400 seminaries (with a total of 16,000 native students preparing for the priesthood), 22,000 priests, 9,000 brothers, 53,000 sisters, 93,000 native catechists, 33,000 native baptizers, 76,000 schools (with a total of 5,000,000 pupils), 150,000 children in 2,000 missionary orphanages, 77,000 churches and chapels, 1,000 hospitals (with 75,000 beds), 3,000 dispensaries annually attending to 30,000,000 people, and hundreds of leprosaria and institutes for the aged.
Despite the war, the Sacred Congregation, through the establishment of new areas, had raised the number of ecclesiastical jurisdictions dependent upon it to 560. Seventeen jurisdictions of the Latin Rite are dependent upon the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Church.
In missionary lands alone the Catholic Church in 1945 had more than 25,000,000 native Catholics under the authority of Rome. To link these scattered millions and, above all, to keep them in close touch with the Vatican, the Propaganda Fide controls literally thousands of small and large newspapers, magazines, leaflets, etc., in hundreds of languages. To supply them with news a special News Agency has been created, whose task is to gather and diffuse news of missionary work throughout the world. It is called the "Fides" Agency.
In 1925 the Pope organized the greatest Missionary Exhibition ever held in Rome. It became a permanent feature of the Vatican and was given tremendous publicity.
In FEBRUARY, 1926 Pope Pius XI, in the Encyclical Rerum Ecclesiae, traced the lines that must be followed, set out the vast world still to be conquered—for the Catholic Church, as we have already said, wants nothing less than the whole planet. It is a scheme which it is determined to realize and for which it accepts no compromise, having no regard either for other religions or for other Christian denominations. To illustrate this attitude with a slight but typical example it is sufficient to mention the occasion when the British Government asked the various denominations doing missionary work in Africa to confine their activities to certain separate areas, in order to avoid friction. While all the Protestant denominations agreed, only the Catholic Church refused, saying it could accept no part of Africa, however large, her purpose being to convert the whole Continent to Catholicism.
Such is the spirit which even in the twentieth century moves the Catholic missions throughout the world. The Catholic Church is out to conquer, not only countries or even continents, but the whole planet
5 RELIGIOUS ORDERS
In addition to the vast machinery of religious administration in Christian and non-Christian countries, there is another great machinery which, although not so well known, is nevertheless of the greatest importance in furthering the spiritual and political powers of the Catholic Church. It is formed by the various religious and semi-religious Orders which are dependent upon the Holy See and whose task is primarily that of consolidating and penetrating every stratum of society in all parts of the world, the dominion of the Catholic Church.
There are some religious Orders devoted exclusively to religious contemplation; there are others whose purpose is to educate youth, to specialize in learning, to deal with charity or hospitals, to influence social issues, and so on. They have monasteries, convents, schools, missions, papers, and property in practically every Christian country, in addition to being spread, like the missions, all over the globe. Many of them, in fact, work for the missions.
There are numerous religious Orders, for men as well as for women. They form a silent but very busy and efficient army of the Catholic Church. This is not the place for a detailed examination of their particular activities, and we shall only point out some of the main characteristics of the Jesuits, who, undoubtedly, come first among many famous Orders, like the Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, etc. We take the example of the Jesuits because they are closely connected with the strengthening of Papal authority in the world. Indeed, the primary cause for the creation of the Order was the need for special soldiers and defenders of the absolute theocracy of the Papacy. Ignatius Loyola, an ex-soldier of fortune, imparted his military spirit to the new Order. He made of it a fighting company and called it the Company of Jesus, just as a company of soldiers sometimes takes the name of its General.
Of the various vows, that of obedience was considered the most important: complete, absolute, unquestionable, blind, non-critical obedience to the orders of the society, a complete surrender of individual thought and judgment, an absolute abandonment of freedom. In a letter to his followers at Coimbra, Loyola declared that the General of the Order stands in the place of God, without reference to his personal wisdom, piety, or discretion; that any obedience which falls short of making the superior's will one's own, in inward affection as well as in outward effect, is lax and imperfect; that going beyond the letter of command, even in things abstractly good and praiseworthy, is disobedience, and that the "sacrifice of the intellect" is the third and greatest grade of obedience, well pleasing to God, when the inferior not only wills what the superior wills, but thinks what he thinks, submitting to his judgment, so far as it is possible for the will to influence and lead. (H. G. Wells, Crux Ansata.)
The formula of the final Jesuit vow is:—
I promise to Almighty God, before His Virgin Mother and the whole heavenly host, and to all standing by; and to thee, Reverend Father General of the Society of Jesus, holding the place of God, and to thy successors, Perpetual Poverty, Chastity and Obedience; and according to it a peculiar care in the education of boys according to the form contained in the Apostolic Letters of the Society of Jesus and in its Constitution.
This is the significant petition presented to the Pope by a small group of the first Jesuits, for the election of the General of the Order. The General—it said— should dispense offices and grades at his own pleasure, should form the rules of the constitution, with the advice and aid of the members, but should alone have the power of commanding in every instance, and should be honoured by all as though Christ himself were present in his person. Thus in the order of the Jesuits, obedience takes the place of every motive or affection; obedience, absolute and unconditional, without one thought or questions as to its object or consequences. (Ranke's History of the Popes.)
with the most unlimited abjuration of all right of judgment, in total and blind subjection to the will of his superiors, must be resigned himself to be led, like a thing without life—as the staff, for example, that the superior holds in his hand, to be turned to any purpose seeming good to him. (Ranke's History of the Popes.)
In this way the General became an absolute dictator, comparable only with the most intransigent dictators of the twentieth century, for the power vested in him for life is the faculty of wielding this unquestioning obedience of thousands; nor was nor is there one to whom he is responsible for the use made of it.
All power is committed to him of acting as may be must conducive to the good of the society. He has assistants in the different provinces, but these confine themselves strictly to such matters as he shall confide to them. All presidents of provinces, colleges, and houses he names at his pleasure; he receives or dismisses, dispenses or furnishes, and may be said to exercise a sort of papal authority on a small scale. (Ranke's History of the Popes.)
Thus the Company of Jesus became, and still is, a theocracy within a theocracy. Its rigid machinery was created to assist in the achievement of the Company's goal—the strengthening of the Church's authority through educating youth, preaching, and missionary work. It began by founding colleges in many countries, and when its founder died it had ten colleges in Castile, five each in Aragon and Andalusia, and many houses in Portugal. Over the Portuguese colonies the Jesuits exercised almost complete mastery, and they had members in Brazil, East India, and the lands between Goa and Japan, and a provincial was sent to Ethiopia. Colleges and houses existed in Italy, France, Germany, and other European countries.
Ever since, throughout the centuries and in all countries, the Jesuits have gone on with their work of consolidating the religious and political power of the Catholic Church. They have reached an extraordinary perfection and skill in training young people for high offices either in the Catholic Church itself or in civil Governments. As a Jesuit historian wrote:—
Many are now shining in the purple of the Hierarchy, whom we had but lately on the benches of our schools; others are engaged in the government of States and cities. (Orlandini.)
This training of the spiritual and temporal ruling classes has made the Jesuits inclined to meddle in religious and political events. Their activities in the political spheres of all countries have been innumerable, and that is the main cause of their having been continually persecuted, expelled, or banished by kings, emperors, and Governments of all kinds, including the most devout Catholic kings and countries. Indeed, owing to their continuous interference and intrigues in the politics of many countries of Europe, as well as in that of the Catholic Church, the Pope himself was forced to suppress the Order altogether.
That was in 1773, and the Pope concerned was Clement XIV, who for many years had received complaints from the sovereigns and Governments of Europe regarding the interference in public matters of the Jesuits, who were accused of being "disturbers of public peace."
However, in 1814 the Order was universally restored. Since that date the Jesuits have continued to spread, and in many countries they still retain the quasi-monopoly of education, with excellent colleges and universities. They are to be found behind high educational institutions, the Press, radio, political parties, and Governments, as we shall have occasion to see in the following chapters.
Have the primary spirit and the motives with which Ignatius Loyola created the Order weakened? Has their tremendous discipline lessened? To-day they are exactly the same as the first members of the Order; they are as powerful, as skilful, as tenacious and inflexible in their one goal of strengthening the Catholic Church in the world as they have ever been. Their great qualities and their great organization all over the world work more indefatigably than ever to that very end. Like the Catholic Church itself, and like many other religious Orders, they have divided the world into provinces, in order more easily to spread their influence. These provinces are governed by provincials, under the Superior-General, who resides in Rome and who is in constant touch with the Pope himself. That their Superior-General should be in constant and direct contact with the Pope is understandable when one remembers that the Company of Jesus came into being to defend and further the power, religious and political, of the Papacy. The Papacy is supported by an immense army, composed of the whole Hierarchy, the religious Orders, and the Faithful; but the Jesuits are its most fanatical and skilful soldiers—they are, in fact, the shock troops of the Pope.
Each Jesuit takes a most important vow—in addition to the vow of obedience and the other two already mentioned—and it is as follows:—
... to perform whatsoever the reigning Pontiff should command, to go forth into all lands, among Turks, heathens or heretics, wherever he may please to send him, without hesitation or delay, as without question, condition, or reward.
To-day the Company of Jesus is the most powerful Order of its kind, having members, working to further the Pope's primacy in the most delicate and influential places, in religious, educational, social, and often political fields. It is the most dynamic machinery at the disposal of the Pope; a powerful theocracy working incessantly and with fanaticism to further the great theocracy of the Catholic Church in the world.
In addition to the Jesuits and numerous other purely religious Orders, the Catholic Church has tried to adapt itself to modern society by creating new organizations which, owing to their religious, social, and political nature, are perhaps more apt to influence their environment than the old religious Companies. These organizations have been created during the last century and the present century, and they are very numerous. Their activities are especially dedicated to education and social work. We shall mention only two.
The first is the Salesian—a company of what may be called "lay priests." It was founded last century, and its main work is to run colleges and take care of the spiritual and physical welfare of students and workers. They are to be found in many countries of Europe, and especially in South America.
Another typical organization of this kind is the Company of St. Paul. It is even more "lay" than the Salesian, for its members have discarded all outward signs of their status. Like its older counterpart, the Jesuits, this Company has an important political character. Its main object is to counteract and fight the influences of Socialism and Communism, especially as exercised through social and educational institutions. It was founded as lately as 1920, by the Archbishop of Milan.
Priests and laymen and women are equally eligible for membership; they reside in separate houses, but meet for work. Priests must hold a degree in canon law, theology, or other science; others must have a university degree or pass an entrance test. All must be under thirty at entrance. Simple vows are taken and renewed annually. No religious habit is worn, and the members are encouraged to have ties of study, friendship, and work outside the Company, so that they may live in close contact with the world.
Among the works of the Company are hospices, printing presses with several publications, including a daily paper, missions, schools, and technical training centres. Outside Italy the Company is established in Jerusalem, Buenos Aires, and other centres. Like several others of its kind, this Company specializes in working districts, training young workers at its centres in order to implant early in their minds the social teaching of the Catholic Church, and thus counteract Socialist teaching. For this purpose it is continually opening technical training centres, rest centres, libraries, sports clubs, etc.
In addition to these religious or semi-religious Orders, the Vatican controls other kinds of organizations, sometimes of an apparently religious nature, sometimes purely social. It is not uncommon for such organizations to count their adherents in millions.
To cite one example, the Apostleship of Prayer, the League of the Sacred Heart. Pope after Pope blessed it, and Pope Benedict XV said that all Catholics should be members of it. Its main purpose is to unite as many Catholics as possible in private and communal prayer, with the purpose of entreating the protection of God for the Catholic Church, the Pope, the spreading of Catholicism in the world, and a Universal Peace (which, of course, means a Catholic Peace). To-day the League has a membership of over 30,000,000, and its paper, Messengers, is published in forty languages.
In Great Britain there is the organization The Sword of the Spirit, which is under the direct control of the Cardinal Archbishop. Its aim is to spread Catholicism through the Press, pamphlets, books, cultural and social activities, etc.
Then there exist many purely lay associations, which superficially have nothing to do with the Vatican. Nevertheless, in social, cultural, and political matters they depend on instructions from either the local hierarchy or Rome. In England, for instance, there are: the National Council of Catholic Women, Catholic Women's League, the National Catholic Youth Council, Catholic Federation Association, etc. A cultural movement formed during the Second World War is the New Man Association. In all European and American countries innumerable organizations of this kind exist. In the United States of America the most influential and wealthy is the Knights of Columbus Association.
But the most important of these new organizations, created by a Pope himself and depending directly on the Vatican, which the Catholic Church uses in order to move forward with modern times, is the Catholic Action, or Catholic League. Its main task is to maintain and spread Catholic ideas and principles in modern society, through social, cultural, and political activities.
Catholic Action was created in order to provide the Catholic Church with an organization less compromised than the Catholic Parties in the various countries, but nevertheless able permanently to influence social and political trends with Catholic ideas. Such an organization could penetrate the social and political strata more unobtrusively, and thus achieve the same aims as the old Catholic Parties without incurring their risks and responsibilities.
During the period between the two world wars, Pope Pius XI sacrificed many Catholic Parties with this idea in view. He created this new movement, unitarian in character, which closely joined the laymen to the Hierarchy and equipped it for public action above all parties, in defending religious interests, the family, Catholic education, Catholic principles, etc. Catholic Action, the Pope declared, was the apple of his eye. So much so, that not only did he make its existence known to many Governments, but he insisted that one of the main clauses of any Concordat he made with a country was that it included the diplomatic recognition of Catholic Action.
The activities of Catholic Action embrace all fields, from the intellectual to the manual, from the social to the political. It is organized in such a way that the main outdoor work is carried out by Catholic laymen, who nevertheless are closely connected with and directed by the Catholic Hierarchy—which, of course, moves to the will of the Pope. Indeed, close union with the Hierarchy (which means the Vatican) is the main tenet of Catholic Action:—
The Hierarchy has the right to command and issue instructions and directions. Catholic Action places all its powers and all its energies at the disposal of the Hierarchy. Besides, complete obedience to the directives of the ecclesiastical authority, as even the civil authority comes from God. Catholic Action members should pay due respect also to civil authority, and loyally and faithfully serve their legitimate prescriptions ( Pope Pius XII, September 1940).
What are the aims of Catholic Action?
... it aims to develop, in accord with the Church, a holy and charitable social activity, to inspire and to restore where necessary true Catholic living; in a word, to Catholicise or re-Catholicise the world ...
In the words of Rev. R. A. MacGowan, another Catholic clergyman, the Assistant Director of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, Catholic Action deals with "questions in the field of legislation and economics, but only in their distinctly religious and moral aspects, and not as do political parties."
The authoritative Catholic paper Commonweal, in a more outspoken statement, defines the goal of Catholic Action as "to produce change and adjust all religious, moral and social and economic thought and procedure of modern life to Catholic standards of thought and action, in order to spread the kingdom of Christ."
It is very evident (and, indeed, admitted by the statements of the Church itself) that Catholic Action is the most powerful and up-to- date weapon used by the Catholic Church in trying to shape society according to its principles. This is a rational and bold attempt to outwit the open games of politics, and employ religious belief and religious organization to gain political goals which, in their turn, serve to further religious ideas.
Thus the Catholic Church, rightly or wrongly, interferes in politics, in this case indirectly through old and new semi-religious or semilay organizations: it cannot in honesty deny that it interferes with the temporal problems of peoples. The demarcation between the spiritual and physical, the temporal and the divine, always has been very difficult. To-day it has become impossible. If this were not the case, things would be much easier for the Catholic Church as well as for society. Unfortunately, most problems are "mixed matters," and all who deny that the Catholic Church is bound to interfere in political problems should be reminded of the remark made by Queen Catherine, who said that the demarcation between temporal and spiritual is at times impossible. The Catholic citizen is bound to deal with politics, for, as Pope Pius XI, the founder of Catholic Action, put it: "The same man, according to the nature of his task, acts now as a Catholic, now as a citizen." His daily activities cannot be neatly divided into water-tight compartments. As George Seldes aptly put it:—
The religious spirit is a living force which one cannot bottle as categories and species with well-pasted labels.
"Finally," and we quote the same writer, "it is plain that the framework of the Catholic Action provides the most formidable machine for universal centralization that one can imagine in our time." And if the reader at the same time remembers all the other purely religious, semi-religious, and lay companies, or associations that exist, he will realize what formidable machinery the Catholic Church has at its disposal for reaching all strata of society, to further its principles and thus assert its authority on the modern world.
It is obvious that although, on the technical and administrative sides, this machinery closely resembles that of a modern Government, such resemblance is only superficial. For the various Congregations or Ministries have been created through a complicated and immense web of spiritual and material interests. Their fields have no boundaries of any kind, their activities are felt in all continents, and they are at the disposal of a single will—that of the Pope.
Although each Congregation has a well-planned routine to follow and has its own particular problems to cope with (the Congregations have their regular daily, weekly, and monthly meetings), it can curtail or enlarge its activities according to the plans of the Pope.
As we have already mentioned, the Supreme Pontiff, unlike any prime minister, president, king, or dictator, may exercise upon any section of the Vatican unlimited personal pressure. No ancient or modern dictator has ever held a power comparable with that of the Pope. He has no control of any kind over him; he need not account for his actions to anyone, not even to the College of Cardinals. All the complicated machinery of the government of the Catholic Church. whose arms stretch out to all the corners of the earth, is at the complete and uncontrolled disposal of one man—or, perhaps, two men: the Pope and his Secretary of State.
Now, having seen how the government of the Catholic Church and the Vatican works, and having acquired some knowledge about the immense influence that both can exercise in many strata of society wherever there are Catholics, let us glance at what the Popes who rule the Catholic Church of our day think about the great issues which have stirred the world during the last fifty years. Through knowing by what principles the Pope is guided, it will be easier to gauge the future attitude and consequent policy of the Vatican with regard to the burning problems of Secularism, Liberalism, and Authoritarianism, the social and political ideologies inspiring Democracy, Socialism, or Fascism. For it was the support or hostility of the Popes towards these forms of government which caused the Vatican to fight or to befriend certain modern ideologies, political systems, and nations instead of others, and thus determined the policy of the Vatican in our century.
6 THE VATICAN ON WORLD UNREST
The Vatican has theories of its own by which it tries to explain why the world is where it stands to-day; why society has been, and continues to be, shaken by social and political convulsions; and why mankind in general is going through a crisis never before experienced. Unfortunately, owing to lack of space, we must merely glance at the general views of only three modern Popes; but we hope thereby to make their ideas clear, for this will help to show the fundamental attitude of the Catholic Church towards the problems of our perturbing age.
From the time of Leo XIII the Vatican has issued specific statements and general declarations, never contradictory, and showing a systematic attitude towards what it considers to be contrary to its doctrines. The policy of the Catholic Church has been based on these general ideas, and its attitude towards any specific subject has been shaped by them. Here, we shall examine very briefly the essence of some of these declarations, and we shall take the inaugural encyclicals of three Popes who, having ruled the Catholic Church during critical periods, were able more than others to impregnate the Church, and consequently the Vatican, with the spirit emanating from their declarations. In their inaugural encyclicals, each of these three Popes attempted to expound the general principles which would characterize the programme he had set himself as Head of the Church, while at the same time suggesting remedies which he considered would cure the ills of modern society.
The first of the modern Popes to deal directly with social and political issues characteristic of modern society was Leo XIII. He, although in many ways very liberal-minded, spent his life in a relentless battle against what the Vatican considered to be the characteristic scourge of the last century—namely, Secularism. The main goal of Secularism was the complete divorce of Church and State and the segregation of religion from issues which were not of a purely religious character. The declarations of Leo XIII, even when confined to general principles, are very important, for the Popes who succeeded him not only maintained them, but enlarged upon them according to the requirements of the times, and they consequently affected the policy of the Vatican in the twentieth century.
Pope Leo XIII made known his ideas regarding the Catholic Church and society in his first encyclical, published APRIL 21, 1878 ( Inscrutabili). In this encyclical he drew a careful picture of world conditions in his time and the practical consequences brought about by the principles of the Secular State. Great evils had affected not only society, but also the State and the individual, said Leo XIII. The new principles (Secularism and Liberalism) had caused the subversion of those fundamental truths which were the foundation of society. They had implanted a general obstinacy in the heart of the individual, who had thus become very impatient of all authority. Disagreements of all kinds over political and social problems, which were bound to create revolutions, were increasing daily.
The new theories, which were especially directed against Christianity and the Catholic Church, had in the practical field been the cause of acts directed against the authority of the Catholic Church. Among these actions which were the consequences of the new doctrines were the passing in more than one country of laws which shook the very foundations of the Catholic Church; the freedom given to the individual to propagate principles which were "mischievous" restrictions on the Church's right to educate youth; the seizure of the temporal power of the Popes; and the systematic rejection of the authority of the Pope and of the Catholic Church, "the source of progress."
"Who," said Leo XIII, "will deny the service of the Church in bringing truth to the peoples sunk in ignorance and superstition? ... If we compare the ages when the Church was universally revered as a mother with our age, is it not beyond all question that our age is rushing wildly along the straight road to destruction?" The Papacy, declared Leo, was the protector and the guardian of civilization. "It is in very truth the glory of the Supreme Pontiffs that they steadfastly set themselves as a wall and bulwark to save human society from falling back into its former superstition and barbarism." If the Papacy's "healing authority" had not been put aside, the world would have been spared innumerable revolutions and wars, and the civil power "would not have lost that venerable and sacred glory, the lustrous gift of religion, which alone renders the state of subjection noble and worthy of Man." Leo XIII then told Catholics what they should do to counteract the hostility of the enemies of the Church:—
1. Every Catholic had a duty of submission to the teaching of the Holy See.
2. Education should be Catholic.
3. Every member of the Church should follow the principles of Catholicism with regard to the family and marriage.
The teaching of the Catholic Church, affirmed Leo, should be imparted to children as early as possible, and the Church should see not only that there is "a suitable and solid method of education ... but above all ... this education should be wholly in harmony with the Catholic Faith."
But, first and most important, education should start in the family, which, in order to be equal to such a duty, should be Catholic. Parents must be Catholic, and must be united by the sacraments of the Church. Youth must receive "family Christian training"; and such training becomes impossible when the laws of the Catholic Church are ignored (as under the laws of the secularized State).
Subsequently this Pope advised Catholics not only to obey the Catholic Church in religious matters, but also to follow its advice in social and political problems. Throughout the last quarter of the nineteenth century he published many encyclicals, in which he repeatedly condemned the Secular State, the heresy of Liberalism, and finally of Socialism. He advised Catholics to fight these ideologies, which were hostile to the Church, on their own ground— namely, in social and political fields, by uniting in Catholic trade unions and by creating Catholic Parties. His teaching characterized the general policy of the Vatican up to the beginning of the twentieth century, by which time the type of State condemned by the Catholic Church over and over again had established itself practically all over Europe.
Thirty-six years after Leo XIII's inaugural letters the First World War broke out, and the new Pope, Benedict XV, denounced what, according to him, were the real causes of hostilities and of the deterioration of the Western world.
What caused the First World War? he asked (Ad Beatissimi, November 1, 1914), and in answer asserted that it was due not only to the fact that "the precepts and practice of Christian wisdom have ceased to be observed in the ruling of States," but also to the general weakening of authority. "There is no longer any respect for the authority of the rulers," he declared, and "the bonds of duty which should tie the subject to whatever authority is above him have become so weak that they have almost disappeared." That is due to modern teaching about the origin of authority. What is the essence of such teaching? The essence is the false idea that the source of authority's power is the free will of men, and not God. It is from this illusion that man is the source of authority that the unrestrained striving for independence of the masses has arisen. Such a spirit of independence has penetrated into the very home and family life. Even in clerical circles such vice is apparent. It follows that there is widespread contempt for laws and authority, rebellion on the part of those who should remain subject, criticism of orders and crime against property on the part of those who claim that no laws bind them. The peoples, therefore, should return to the old doctrine, and the Pope, "to whom is divinely committed the teaching of the truth," must remind the peoples of the world that "there is no power but from God; and the powers that be are ordained by God." As all authority comes from God, it follows that all Catholics must obey their authorities. Their authorities, whether religious or civil, must be obeyed religiously; that is to say, as a matter of conscience. The only exception to this duty is when the authority is used against the laws of God and of His Church; otherwise all Catholics, concludes the Pope, must obey blindly, for "he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist purchase to themselves damnation."
Benedict XV then draws practical conclusions and hints to the rulers of nations that if they want discipline, obedience, and order, they must support the teaching of the Catholic Church. It is foolish, he states, for a country to rule without the teaching of the Church, or to educate its youth in other doctrines that are not of the Church. "Sad experience proves that human authority fails when religion is set aside." So the ruler of the State should not despise God's authority and His Church; otherwise the peoples will despise their authority. Human society, the Pope continues, is kept together by two factors—mutual love and a dutiful acknowledgment of authority over all. These sources have been weakened, with the result that, within each nation, the population, is "divided, as it were, into two hostile armies, bitterly and ceaselessly at strife, the owners on the one hand, and the proletariat and the workers on the other."
The proletariat should not be filled with hatred, and should not envy the wealthy, says the Pope, for such a proletariat would become an easy prey for agitators. For "it does not follow that, because men are equal by their nature, they must all occupy an equal place in the community." The poor should not look upon the rich and rise against them, as if the rich were thieves; for when the poor do this, they are unjust and uncharitable, besides acting unreasonably. The consequences of class hatred are disastrous, and strikes are to be deplored, for they disorganize national life. The errors of Socialism have been exposed by Leo XIII, and bishops should see that the Catholics never forget Leo's condemnation of it. They should preach brotherly love, which will never abolish "the difference of conditions and therefore of classes, but will bring it to pass that those who occupy higher positions will in some way bring themselves down to those in lower position, and treat them not only justly ... but kindly and in a friendly and patient spirit. The poor, on their side, will rejoice in their prosperity (the prosperity of the rich) and rely confidently on their help."
Men have lost the belief in a future life, and they therefore consider this earthly life as the whole reason for their existence. A wicked Press, godless schools, and other influences have caused this "most pernicious error." Those who uphold these doctrines desire wealth; but as wealth is not equally divided, and as the State sets limits to the taking of the wealth of the rich, the poor hate the State. "Thus the struggle of one class of citizen against another bursts forth, the one trying by every means to obtain and to take what they want to have, the other endeavoring to hold and to increase what they already possess."
Why did the Catholic Church at this stage insist so much on authority and on the issue of the struggle between classes? Because the rumbling of social upheaval closely to follow the First World War was already being heard by the Vatican, which, fearing the worst, was already taking the first precautionary steps.
The advice given by the Pope to individual Catholics and to nations should be remembered, for during the following decade that emphasis on the necessity for strengthening authority, on the blind obedience owed by subjects, and on the duty of everyone not to allow difference of wealth and social ideology (i.e. Socialism) to incite class struggle, was to become the slogan of Fascist Totalitarianism.
The First World War came and went, leaving behind it immense ruin, especially in the social and political fields. Society at large, as Benedict XV had feared, was torn asunder by conflicting social doctrines and struggling political systems, most of which were trying to shape society according to the very principles which the Catholic Church had always condemned. To add to the confusion and to the strength of those forces of disorder, Russia had turned Bolshevist and had become a beacon to all the European peoples in revolutionary mood.
One of the main characteristics of the Socialist, Communist, and Anarchist individuals and movements was that, besides aiming at changing the economic and social system, they had declared a ruthless war on religion in general and on the Catholic Church in particular. The danger of Socialism, previously theoretic, had become real and pressing. Once more the Catholic Church spoke to the Faithful, repeating the statements of Pope Benedict XV and adding further accusations against what it considered to be the cause of the terrible world unrest.
Pius XI was elected Pope in 1922, and in the same year published his inaugural encyclical, in which he not only emphasized the attitude of the Catholic Church toward social and political prob lems, but also indicted democracy, thus preceding the Fascist and Nazi dictatorships (Ubi Arcano Dei. English trans., On the Troubles Left by the European War, 1914-18; Their Cause and Remedies).
This encyclical discussed the effects of the war and stated that nowhere was there peace among States, families, or individuals. World unrest was attributed to the fact that God had been banished from public affairs, marriage, and education. It declared that war would recur unless men shared the "peace of Christ," and that the Catholic Church was indispensable to peace. Pope Pius XI next raised the social and political issue, saying that everywhere there was "class warfare," factious opposition of parties not seeking public good, plots, assaults on rulers, strikes, lock-outs, and riots. Modern doctrines had weakened family ties; they had caused restlessness of mind consequent upon the war; they had sapped authority to such a degree that obedience was felt to be submission to an awful yoke. While men wanted to work as little as possible, servants and masters were enemies. The multitude of the needy was growing in number and becoming the reserve from which future revolutions would recruit new armies.
The Pope then hastened to say that, although the Church did not discriminate between forms of government as such, yet no one could deny that the structure of a democracy suffers more easily than that of any other State from the treacherous interplay of acts. Democracy, asserted Pius XI, was the main cause of all the chaos, which had come about because of the very nature of democratic Governments, where the will of the people is sovereign and where there is too much freedom; and the more democratic a country, the more chaotic her national life.
This condemnation of democracy was very significant, for it came at a time when the Fascist doctrines were making great strides in Italy and the rest of Europe. We shall see later how this indictment of democracy was not to be confined to the purely theoretical field, but was to enter into the sphere of politics—and thus contribute to the tragic consequences of which we are all aware.
In his encyclical, Pius XI also gave several other causes which he alleged were responsible for the world unrest:—
(1) God had been removed from the conduct of public affairs.
(2) Marriage had become purely a civil contract.
(3) God had been banished from schools.
After these accusations, the Pope finally suggested the remedies with which the society of the twentieth century could be cured. Every individual, he said, should pay attention to his duty of obedience and should respect the divine arrangement of human society and, above all, of the Catholic Church, a teacher "incapable of error." Only the Catholic Church, he went on, could bring peace and order, for the Church alone teaches with a divine commission, and by divine command, that individuals and States must obey God's laws, and the Catholic Church is "the only one and the only divinely constituted guardian and interpreter of these revealed truths."
That being so, continued Pius XI, society could find a solution to its troubles only by following the teaching of the Catholic Church. As for nations trying to settle their differences, it was useless for them to create an International Institution ( League of Nations) regardless of the Church. If they wished such an organization to succeed, then they must build it on the model of that International Institution which worked so well during the Middle Ages—namely, the Catholic Church. For the Catholic Church alone is able to safeguard the sacredness of International Law, for while it belongs to all nations, yet it is above all nations.
Individuals must look to the Catholic Church for guidance, not only in spiritual, but also in social, matters; and they should never forget that they are forbidden to support certain social doctrines of which the Church does not approve (i.e. Liberalism, Modernism, Socialism, etc.). Unfortunately, remarked the Pope, there are too many, even amongst Catholics, who are inclined to look upon social matters with too liberal a mind. "In their words, writings, and in the whole tenor of their lives, they behave as though the teaching and commands set out by the Popes . . . were becoming completely obsolete.... In this there can be recognized a certain kind of modernism in morals in matters touching authority and the social order, which, along with modernism, we specifically condemn."
Pope Pius XI was a man of action. His reign ( 1922-39), which occured during one of the most fateful periods of modern history, was marked by his strong will and the fact that the Catholic Church was increasingly dependent upon the personal decisions of the ruling Pontiff. He not only strove to see that what his predecessors preached was carried out, but had extremely strong beliefs of his own on questions regarding the attitude that the Catholic Church should adopt towards social and political problems.
Pius XI was a man "contemptuous of democratic institutions," as his first encyclical clearly showed. He endeavored with great success to impregnate the spirit of the Catholic Church and, above all, the policy of the Vatican with hostility towards certain great modern social and political currents. The result was that the Vatican adopted a strong and well-defined policy towards contemporary social and political movements. This policy was based on the principles of tightening the authority of the State and the right of the Catholic Church to play a bigger part in modern society. Its duty was to see that youth should receive religious education, to preserve the sacredness of the family, and to assure that Secularism should , be anathematized, Socialism destroyed, divorce abolished, democracy condemned.
His endeavors, directed towards applying such principles to reality, soon brought the Catholic Church very close to certain movements which, although entirely alien to religion, yet shared with the Vatican a hatred of certain social and political trends then bestirring society. Having found common ground, and sharing many aims, the Vatican and these political movements began to battle together against what they considered their common enemies. Who was mainly responsible for such an alliance, and how was it that the Vatican decided to embark upon such a policy?
7 VATICAN POLICY BETWEEN THE TWO WORLD WARS
The various social and political ideologies and systems which the Vatican fought throughout the last and at the beginning of the twentieth century began to seem almost mild when the Church found itself confronted by the most dangerous of all its modern enemies—Socialism. The nineteenth century had been dominated by Liberalism and had advocated Secularism and the freedom of society and the State from entanglement with the Church. The twentieth became the century in which Liberalism was quickly supplanted by an ideology which in the past, although existent, had never been a real threat to those religious, social, and economic institutions on which society rested. This ideology, propagating a social, economic, and political revolution, had been again and again condemned by the Church from its very beginning; but these condemnations had rarely gone farther than the theoretical, religious, and social fields. For Socialism in its various forms, although it had begun to crystallize into several economic, social, and even political movements, especially during the last decades of the nineteenth century, had yet remained a weak and merely theoretical enemy. Its potential danger did not seriously threaten the solid and stable structure of society.
During the closing quarter of the last century the Catholic Church, besides condemning a priori any claim or theory of Socialism, dictated that anything to do with it was anathema to any good Catholic. Purely theoretical condemnation passed to practical rejection as soon as the Socialists began to organize workers' movements whose aims were an open challenge to the established form of economic and social order.
The Church, as already hinted, through Pope Leo XIII, having come into the open with an utter rejection of the basic doctrines of Socialism, tried to counter-offer workers' movements of its own. This attitude, however, changed radically with the advent and the end of the First World War. Although these efforts in the practical field at that time were considered sufficient to counterbalance the progress of Socialism, it soon became evident that they were not enough to be a serious check to similar Socialist movements. Yet the Vatican was confident enough not to be seriously concerned about it. For it relied, not so much on Catholic organizations dealing with the problems of Labor as such, but on religious and political movements which were fighting its battle at the very source of power-namely, inside the Governments.
In addition to various powerful Catholic Parties, the Church had an influential Catholic Press and great allies, represented by those strata of society whose interests required that the social-economic status quo should be maintained as intact as possible. These Conservative elements, old and new, included the landlords or the new promoters of vast industrial concerns. They regarded the Catholic Church as their natural ally, while the Church, in turn, regarded them as the best defence against any serious menace from the new Socialist ideology.
With the outbreak of the First World War, however, this state of affairs was profoundly modified. Millions of men were suddenly uprooted from their comparatively peaceful surroundings in which they had lived and were put into trenches or into factories. Life, as they knew it, became more and more disrupted by the ravages of a war which, even before it ended, had begun to alter values of a religious, social, and political nature. The Socialist ideology, which, until then, had affected but a comparatively narrow stratum of the most discontented manual workers and bands of intellectuals, began to be absorbed by vast numbers of dissatisfied men and women.
In 1917 Russia, having brought about a Socialist revolution, installed a Bolshevist Government. In the next year the First World War ended, followed by dislocation, mass unemployment, bewilderment, and disillusionment. Thereupon the Socialist doctrines spread far and wide and were looked upon by many as the programme upon which a better social and economic order could be built in the post-war world. Strikes paralysed industries, whole towns, and entire nations; factories were occupied and committees of workers were elected to run them; lands were seized; officers were insulted and patriotism was derided; authorities in local councils or governments were overridden. The theoretical plans for the setting up of a Socialist society, as envisaged by Socialism, were put into operation, and the Red wave swept over practically the whole of Europe, becoming more or less violent according to local conditions and resistance.
Where did the Catholic Church stand? The Catholic Church had become one of the main targets of the Reds. This for two reasons: first, because of its past and current attacks on the Socialist ideology as such and on all Socialists; secondly, because of its intimate association with the natural enemies of a Socialist society—the landed classes, the great industrialists, and all those other strata advocating Conservatism.
In view of this, the Socialists proclaimed that they would expropriate the Church and forbid it to teach in schools, that the clergy would no longer be paid by the State, and that anti-religious propaganda would render the new Socialist society, if not atheist, as least non-religious. Pointing at Soviet Russia as their model, they followed their words with acts of violence. Soon it became apparent—even to the blindest cardinal at the Vatican—that what in the past had been considered the greatest danger—namely, secularization sponsored by Liberalism—was in reality but a mild opponent when compared to the secularization contemplated by the Socialists.
Meanwhile, all other elements which felt themselves threatened had organized themselves and had begun to counter-attack through social, political, and patriotic movements of all kinds. Militarist groups were set up, violence was quickly replied to by violence, and the opposite camps in various European countries began to resort to murder and to the burning of hostile newspapers and buildings. Soon, owing to their better organization and to the confusion in the camps of their opponents, and the fact that large sections of the population had become tired of the interminable strikes and struggles, the anti-Socialist movements began to check, and in various cases completely to stop, the Socialist advance.
At the Vatican any such anti-Socialist movement was welcomed, looked upon with great sympathy, and, whenever possible, supported. But struggle over the kind of policy that should be adopted towards the Red menace divided the Government of the Church and became increasingly sharp.
This internal conflict in the Vatican revolved on the problem of whether actively to back the violent measures of the new anti- Socialist movements. These measures promised not only to destroy the Socialists, but to restore order and to check any individual or movement that might endanger society. The alternative was to fight the Red menace as the Church had fought Liberalism and Secularism before the war—namely, by legal means and, in the social- political arena, by creating workers' and peasants' organizations and political parties.
The former group contended that the only means by which the enemies of the Church—namely, the Socialists—could be fought effectively was by the employment of drastic measures. Anathemas, or religious or social organizations, even powerful Catholic political parties, were no longer sufficient when confronted by the violent propaganda and methods of the Red opponents. The Catholic Church could not enter into the field inciting to plunder and violence. When it had done so, through some Catholic Party whose members had on several occasions sabotaged strikes organized by Socialists, the only result had been to render even more bitter the Church's enemy. There remained only one way open to the Catholic Church: a new policy of all-out support of and close alliance with any successful political movement that could guarantee the destruction of Socialism, the maintenance of the status quo, and, above all, respect and a privileged position for the Church.
This was more than ever urgent, maintained the sponsors of such a theory, owing to the colossal losses which the Church was incurring daily. These losses were no longer a question of individuals leaving the Catholic Church, but had become apostasy in mass. And although some of these losses could be traced to the poisoned principles of Liberalism and Secular Education, the most responsible force was Socialism. Wherever there was concentrated industrialization coupled with urbanism, the Church invariably lost its members while its Red adversary gained them. These losses were of a double nature, for an individual did not confine himself to rejecting the Catholic Church only on religious grounds, but also on social and political grounds. Catholics who no longer paid heed to the Catholic Church almost always joined political movements hostile to the Catholic Church. After the war, the movements which benefited most were Socialism and Communism. It soon became evident, therefore, that those who voted Socialist were almost certainly dead losses to the Church, and a Pope ( Pius XI) later summed up the position when he declared that "No Catholic can be a Socialist" ( Quadragesimo Anno, 1931).
In Italy, a Catholic country, immediately after the war ( 1919), from a total of 3,500,000 votes the Socialists polled 1,840,593; and in 1926 the Liberals and Socialist polled 2,494,685. In Austria, in 1927, the Socialists got 820,000 votes, while in Vienna alone they increased their gains over the previous election by 120,000. In Czechoslovakia, up to 1930, the Catholic Church lost 1,900,000 members, while in Germany the Socialists and Communists in 1932 polled 13,232,292 votes. These losses caused the Vatican to support any State proclaiming its intention to de-industrialize a country and to convert it into an agricultural Power—hence the support of Pétain—for agricultural communities had proved to be intensely Conservative and faithful to the Church. During the first few restless and menacing years following the First World War, the Vatican could not make up its mind which policy to adopt. It encouraged both, without giving really full support to either. In Italy, for instance, it gave permission to Italian Catholics to form a strong Catholic Party with a progressive social outlook, which on many occasions responded with violence to the methods of its opponents. The decision remained with Benedict XV, a man with Liberal leanings. When Benedict XV died and a new Pope sat on the throne, the policy of the Vatican was drastically changed. The Vatican adopted, although at first with due precautions, the policy of alliance with strong anti-Bolshevist political movements.
Pius XI, a man of autocratic disposition and an uncompromising nature, who had no love for democracy, was elected Pope in 1922. This was a fateful year, not only in the history of the Catholic Church, but also in the history of Europe and, indeed, the whole world, for during it the first Right-wing Totalitarians took control of a modern nation (that is, the Italian Fascists— October 28, 1922). From that year onwards the policy of the Vatican became more and more clearly defined. Its alliance with the Powers of reaction became more and more open. Throughout Europe, from Spain to Austria, from Italy to Poland, dictatorships seized power by legal or semi-legal means, very often openly supported by the Vatican. Discarding the old methods, the Vatican went so far as to order the dissolution of one great Catholic party after another in order to assist first Fascism and then Nazism to strengthen their stranglehold on their respective States.
The Pope, not content with that, proclaimed on more than one occasion that the first Fascist dictator ( Mussolini) was "a man sent by Divine Providence." Having warned the faithful throughout the world that "no good Catholic can be a Socialist," he wrote an encyclical by which he recommended to Catholic countries the adoption of the Fascist Corporate State ( Quadragesimo Anno, 1931). When the Fascist States began their external aggressions the Vatican helped them—indirectly and, in more than one case, even directly. Catholics in the countries concerned were required to support them, or diplomatic means were employed, as in the case of the Abyssinian War ( 1935-6), or in the case of the rape of Austria ( 1938) and Czechoslovakia ( 1939). What did the Vatican get in return for its help? It got what had induced it to make an alliance with these ruthless political movements—namely, the total annihilation of all those enemies it had so often condemned during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries— not only Socialism and Communism, but also Liberalism, democracy, and Secularism.
Trade unions and social, cultural, and political organizations sponsored by Communist, Socialist, democratic, or Liberal parties were stamped out; and political parties were vetoed. The Press, films, theatre, and all other cultural institutions were controlled by the one party. The people were deprived of free election—a caricature of elections being maintained in which electors had to say "yes" or "no" to a whole list of candidates selected by the party. The whole spirit and machinery of the dictatorships ran parallel with the spirit and machinery of the Catholic Church. There was only one party, for all others were pernicious; there was only one leader, who could do no wrong and who had to give account to no one but himself. His people owed him blind obedience, without discussing his orders; they had to think what he told them to think; they had to listen to radio programmes, read papers and books which he selected for them. Fines and imprisonment were the penalties for transgression, and no one was allowed even to whisper against the sagacity of either the régime or its leader. A State police was always on the alert to arrest and send offenders to concentration camps. The Catholic Church was given a great margin of security and often of privilege; the Catholic religion was proclaimed the religion of the State; religious education was introduced in schools; religious marriage ceremonies were rendered compulsory, and divorce forbidden; all books against religion were suppressed; the sacredness of the family was upheld; a campaign to induce couples to rear as many children as possible was initiated; the clergy was paid by the State; authorities appeared at public religious ceremonies; and religious newspapers were protected and sometimes even subsidized. The Church, at one stroke, had not only destroyed all its old and new enemies, but had recovered a privileged position in society which it could hardly have expected to obtain under the former state of affairs.
Not everything went well, however, between the Catholic Church and its political partners. Often bitter controversies arose, especially with Nazism, and there were even forms of mild persecution, about which the Pope had to write encyclicals ( Non Abbiamo Bisogno, 1931, against Italian Fascism; and Mit Brennender Sorge, 1937, against Nazism). It is noteworthy, however, that such quarrels were due almost invariably to the fact that both Church and State claimed to have the sole right to deal with some specific problem; for instance, the control and education of youth—or breaches of the Concordat. In the case of Nazism, complaint arose when religion as such was deliberately and brazenly attacked. Apart from these recurrent troubles the Vatican never once dared to condemn Fascism, Nazism, or similar movements as it had condemned, for instance, Liberalism in the nineteenth century, or Socialism in the twentieth century. Why should it? That not everything was perfect in the new alliance was human, and, although often the Church did not get as much as it wanted, yet it obtained far more than it could ever have dreamed of had the old state of affairs been allowed to continue.
It was thus that, once the Vatican had started to pursue its new policy, it never deviated from it. On the contrary, it followed it with a steadfastness which in the long span of over twenty years contributed to the consolidation of Fascist Totalitarianism over the whole Continent. The encouragement which the various dictatorships received from the Catholic Church was not confined to the domestic field, but worked also in the field of international politics. For the Catholic Church, having to fight the same enemies, had to adopt the same policy in almost all European countries, to safeguard its interests. Therefore alliance was made with those forces which had been so helpful to it in the States where a Fascist dictatorship had been set up. Naturally, although the Church tried to reach the two main goals—destruction of its enemies and safeguard of its interests— the circumstances, events, times, and men being not all alike, different tactics had to be adopted in each country. In one country the Catholic Party was allowed to co-operate with the Socialist (as in Germany); in another an open Catholic dictatorship machine- gunned them (as in Austria) ; in a third the Catholic Party, moved by racial and religious motives, was employed to weaken the central Government and thus hasten its destruction (as in Czechoslovakia); in a fourth devout Catholics became agents of an external Fascist aggressor (as with Seyss-Inquart in Austria, and Mgr. Tiso in Czechoslovakia); and in a fifth an open revolt by a Catholic general, backed by the Church and the Vatican, was the policy adopted (as with General Franco in Spain). In addition to wanting to make a whole continent safe for religion in general and for the Catholic Church in particular, through this alliance with Fascism, the Vatican had another very important goal in view: the checking and eventual destruction of that beacon of world Atheism and Bolshevism—namely, Soviet Russia.
From the very beginning of the Russian Revolution ( 1917), which paradoxically enough the Vatican had welcomed, the Vatican's policy in the international sphere had one main goal: to consolidate all forces and countries into a solid block inimical to the U.S.S.R. One of the principal reasons for the Vatican's support of Hitler, besides the destruction of Bolshevism in Germany, was to create a strong and hostile Power which would act like a Chinese wall to keep Russian Bolshevism from infecting the West. This power one day might even destroy Soviet Russia altogether. This policy the Vatican pursued relentlessly until the very end of the Second World War, not only as far as Fascist Powers were concerned, but also in dealing with Great Britain and the United States of America, as we shall have occasion to see later.
It is obvious that the Vatican, nothwithstanding its great influence in many countries, would have been unable to affect as it has done the course of events in the years between the two world wars had it not been favored by circumstances. Above all, the dynamic forces of an ethical, racial, social, economic, and political character bestirring the world, in a gloomy post-war era, have favored Catholic designs. Had the Vatican not existed, or had it remained entirely neutral, or had it been hostile to the rise and progress of Fascism, perhaps the great cataclysm whose climax was the outbreak of the Second World War would have come just the same. On the other hand, there is no doubt that the help, direct and indirect, which the Vatican was able to give at certain critical moments to the Fascist States greatly helped to hasten the process which led to the crystallization of Europe into a Fascist Continent, and to the outbreak of the Second World War. It is true that it was not the policy which the Vatican, when confronted with the growth of a redoubtable and hostile ideology (Socialism), decided to be the most apt for conditions in the twentieth century, that led the world where it went. Colossal forces completely alien to religion in general and to Catholicism in particular were mainly responsible. Nevertheless, the alliance which the Vatican struck with those non-religious forces, and the help it gave them under critical circumstances, helped to a very great extent to tip the balance and thus drive mankind along the path of disaster. However, it is not our task to indict or to acquit the Vatican for its share of responsibility in the world tragedy. Facts will speak more strongly than anything else. Once the part that the Vatican has played in the domestic and international fields before and between the two world wars has been examined, it will be up to the reader to draw his own conclusions. From now on, therefore, our task will be to draw a picture of the rôle which the Catholic Church and the Vatican played in the social and political life of each major country, and thus give a panoramic view of the Vatican's activities all over the world during the first half of this our twentieth century.
8 SPAIN, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE CIVIL WAR
Nowhere more than in Spain has the Catholic Church striven throughout the centuries to control all aspects of the nation's life. Whether that is due to the Spanish temperament, which is inclined to extremism and falls in with the dogmatics of Catholicism, or whether it is due to other factors, the Catholic Church, from the early Middle Ages up to the present, has been a paramount power, shaping the cultural, social, economic, and political vicissitudes of that country.
In spite of the Church's stranglehold on Spain, the Church and people have had turbulent relations since the very beginning. Although it was a Spaniard, the Emperor Theodosius, who in the year 380, under Pope Damasus (son of a Spaniard), first introduced the scheme of a partnership of Church and State, the Spanish people have always evinced resistance to Rome.
Rome and the ultra-Catholics in Spain, mortal enemies of even the slighest trend towards Liberalism, won the day in 1851. A Concordat was concluded, by which the State pledged that the Roman Catholic Religion was the only religion in Spain; other religious services were strictly forbidden; the Church could keep the closest supervision over both private schools and universities through its bishops, whose task was to make sure that all education was in absolute harmony with Catholicism. According to clauses in the Concordat the State promised to aid the bishops in suppressing any attempt to pervert believers and in preventing the circulation or publication of harmful papers or books. Every activity in Spain was controlled by the whims of the Church. But the Democratic Constitution of 1869, while still pledging the State to pay the expenses of Church and clergy, infuriated the Catholic Church, for it at the same time granted religious freedom, freedom of teaching, and freedom of the Press. When the Civil War which followed, and in which the Catholic Church played a leading part, ended in victory for the moderate reactionary elements ( 1875), the Church once again tried to put the clock back, and in another of its attempts to stamp out the flames of Liberalism and religious and political freedom, it exerted all its power to force upon the unwilling Spanish people the Concordat of 1851.
The Church got almost, but not quite, all that it wanted. The new Constitution of 1876 had clauses by which the Catholic religion was declared to be the only religion of the State, the Catholic clergy and Church's services were paid by the Government, and no other manifestations except those of the Catholic Church were permitted. Yet the Conservative Leader, Canovas, ignoring all the Pope's protests and the Catholics' threats, inserted also clauses by which no one could be prosecuted in Spanish territory for his religious opinions or his religious worship. Even such limited tolerance was fought by the Catholic Church during the closing decades of the last and the opening decades of the twentieth century. Henceforward it remained obstinately at the forefront, claiming more and more restriction of the religious and political liberties of the Spanish people, and forcing its rule upon them in all walks of life. The successful rivals of the Catholic Church were the execrated Liberals, who, in spite of enormous opposition from the Church and Conservative elements, made persistent efforts to rid Spain of the religious encroachment of Catholicism. In virtue of the Constitution, they disputed the right of bishops to inspect private schools or to compel students of State schools to attend religious instruction. They demanded that in universities there should be no religious teaching, and that there should be freedom of the Press and other such liberties compatible with the Liberal and democratic principles of the modern State.
The Vatican's relentless battle against Liberalism during the second half of the nineteenth century, although in many European countries a lost battle, was more successful in Spain. Here the people still remained at the mercy of the Catholic Church, and laws of a civil, social, and even economic and political nature were directly and indirectly made to fit within the framework of the ethical and social principles sponsored by the Church. The Catholic Church reigned everywhere, in schools, in the Press, in the courts, in the Government, in the Army; sustained by a militant and obdurate Hierarchy, wealthy religious Orders, the great landlords, and the Monarchy. It penetrated everywhere, but above all to places of power, and was able to imbue with its spirit of reaction the whole nation, and obstruct the efforts of all those (mainly Liberals) who tried to bring in the fresh wind of a new age. The Catholic Church preached against democratic principles, asserting that as the masses could not wield the power which derives only from God, it was wrong of them to claim self-government. Thus it nipped in the bud any leaning towards self-government and collective responsibility, hampered the freedom of the Press, combated Modernism and the like and any ideas of emancipation of the lower classes or of women, and any wish for religious toleration or the introduction of divorce.
To show to what extent the Catholic Church in Spain was against any progressive ideas, it should be sufficient to point out that the Church's hatred of Liberalism was brought even into primary and secondary schools. The Catholic Church controlled, through the Catholic municipalities, almost all the State schools, in addition to its own, and it taught pupils that if they associated with Liberals, they went to hell. This frame of mind still existed in the third decade of the twentieth century, when a complete Church Catechism was republished and distributed in the schools ( 1927). The book declares that the State must be subject to the Church, as the body to the soul, as the temporal to the eternal. It enumerates the errors of Liberalism—namely, liberty of conscience, of education, of propaganda, of meetings, of speech, of the Press, stating categorically that it is heretical to believe in such principles. We quote some typical extracts:—
What does Liberalism teach? That the State is independent of the Church.
What kind of sin is Liberalism? It is a most grievous sin against Faith. Why?
Because it consists of a collection of heresies condemned by the Church. Is it a sin for a Catholic to read a Liberal newspaper? He may read the Stock Exchange News. What sin is committed by him who votes for a Liberal candidate? Generally a mortal sin. This incredible Catholic antagonism reached all strata of Spanish society, from the lowest to the highest, including the King himself. In 1910 the young King's tutor and confessor, Father Montaña, stated in El Siglo Futuro, that Liberalism was a sin and that Spaniards who ate with Protestants were excommunicated ( H. B. Clarke). It is easy to imagine the state of education and of preparation in social and political spheres of the Spanish people when this policy was enforced for decades. In 1870 more than 60 per cent of the population of Spain was illiterate. In 1900 the budget for education, including the State subvention to monastic schools, was 17,000,000 pesetas. In 1930, although increased to 166,000,000, it was still inadequate, of which the best proof is that in Madrid alone more than 80,000 children did not attend school. And those children who were fortunate enough to attend schools (generally supervised by the parish priests) were taught so little that "parents used to complain that in State schools the children passed half their class hours in saying the Rosary and in absorbing sacred history, and never learned to read" (see The Spanish Labyrinth, Brenan). While exerting a virtual dictatorship on the mind, the Catholic Church also controlled an immense portion of the country's wealth; and although it had lost millions of members during the last sixty years, yet from about 1874 until the fall of the Monarchy ( 1931) it steadily gained in riches and influence. On the death of Alfonso XII, the Queen Regent, in return for Leo's protection, gave vast sums to the Catholic Church and to Catholic schools and colleges, which were populated by French clergy who had left France owing to the Secularization laws. The Vatican, the Spanish Hierarchy, the Queen, and French Catholics worked hand in hand in a supreme effort to stamp out "Liberal Atheism." A wave of clericalism swept Spain, which was crowded with more convents, colleges, and religious foundations than it had ever been before. The leaders of this movement were the Jesuits (see Chapter 5), who had employed their riches to acquire political power (and vice versa) for centuries. Their wealth became so great that by 1912 they controlled "without exaggeration one-third of the capital wealth of Spain" ( La Revue, J. Aguilera, Secretary of the Fomento, 1912). They owned railways, mines, factories, banks, shipping companies, and orange plantations, their working capital amounting to something like £60,000,000 sterling.
Their control of this wealth was certainly not a healthy thing for a nation like Spain, whose middle and lower classes lived in the most appalling economic misery. And when one considers that in order to keep and invest this money the Catholic Church had to preserve the status quo and keep in intimate alliance with the rich who gave them bequests, very often in return for the Church's protection of the upper classes, it is easy to see that the fate of the Church was bound up with that of the most reactionary elements, in league against any cultural, economic, social, or political innovations. The result was that Spain was controlled by ruling castes, trying to maintain a past long since dead all over the rest of Europe.
To a great extent because of this the Catholic Church continued to lose adherents on a more and more alarming scale. By 1910 more than two-thirds of the population were no longer Catholic, and civil marriages and funerals had become common. On the fall of the Monarchy, scepticism and hostility towards the Catholic Church reached dangerous heights. According to Father Peiro, only 5 per cent of the villagers of Central Spain attended Mass; in Andalusia 1 per cent, and in many villages the priest said Mass alone. In a Madrid parish, from a population of 80,000 only 3½ per cent attended Mass, 25 per cent of the children born were not baptized, and more than 40 per cent died without sacraments.
The reason for this, besides that of the age, was the obscurantism of the Catholic Church, its wealth, and the militant attitude of the Hierarchy in the political life of the nation.
The Catholic Church had tried to organize the working classes in order to rule them the better; in reality the workers' interests were completely neglected. It is clear that all these movements were in the nature of a trap to tame the restless Catholic workers and thus prevent them from joining those who had already rejected the Catholic Church. The most anti-clerical were the urban working classes, where Anarcho-Syndicalism spread like wildfire. For there the Church was identified with the big landlords and exploiters, and the attitude of the Church towards the workers could be summed up by the words of Bravo Murillo, who is reputed to have declared: "You want me to authorize a school at which 600 working men are to attend? Not in my time. Here we don't want men who think, but oxen who work." No wonder that, in face of this state of affairs, the Spanish people developed a dangerous streak of economic-social extremism, and that the working classes, instead of thinking of bringing about changes in the form of Socialism, thought of changes in the shape of Anarchism and Syndicalism.
When confronted with activities of this kind the Church, the Monarchy, and the ruling classes united to bring out the most ruthless methods of repression. In their endeavor to keep the status quo they persisted for more than half a century in persecuting all those elements aspiring to bring about change—not only the extremists, but also the moderates and anyone suspected of having revolutionary sympathy. From 1890 until the outbreak of the First World War, Spain was transformed into a gigantic prison; there were wholesale arrests, thousands were imprisoned, hundreds were shot, and methods of torture used in former times against heretics were employed against political prisoners.
In spite of this, and owing chiefly to the earthquake of war, the wave of unrest which swept the Continent, and the ideas of modern Spanish writers such as Galdos and Ibanez, the Spanish people began to move menacingly. The Catholic Church (which continued to lose the masses), the King (fearing the exposure of gross scandal), the Army, and the landlords—all conspired and set up one of the first post-war dictators, the aristocrat General de Rivera, in 1923. (The previous year, 1922, Mussolini had taken power in Italy.) The few liberties hitherto enjoyed by the Spanish people disappeared; the economic and social misery deepened; and, under the superficial screen of order maintained by the police, the dictator and his allies, and by the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church, the condition of the Spanish people grew worse than ever. The status quo was maintained, or rather movement backward ensued. The grant for education fell from 37,000,000 to 33,000,000 pesetas; while the appropriations for the clergy rose from 62,000,000 to 68,000,000, thus adding more wealth to the already colossal riches of the Catholic Church.
The dictatorship at one time was supported by many moderate Spaniards, tired of the old régime, who hoped that it would end with the summoning of the Constituent Cortes. It now became but a régime in which only the word of the dictator counted, whose pillars were espionage, repression, and censorship. Even the Army withdrew its support; and the new totalitarian régime, which reached its highest peak in 1926, had by 1928 come to be hated even by many of its supporters—with the exception of the Catholic Church and the most rabid Conservatives—and by January 1930 it had come to an end.
All the suppressed forces of the Spanish people emerged to the open light and boldly asked for the expulsion of the Catholic Monarchy and the disestablishment of the Catholic Church.
In 1931, at the municipal elections, the vote for the Republican- Socialist alliance was in many towns three to one. When, on the following day, the results were made known, the King hurriedly left the country, making France his headquarters. The general elections took place two months later; the Republicans (Liberals) won 145 seats, the Socialists 114, the Radical-Socialists 56, while all other Catholic and Conservative parties together obtained 121 seats.
As Azaña declared at the Cortes, Spain had "ceased to be a Catholic country." The Monarchy was abolished; a Republic was declared; and during the following three years Spain began to open her gates to those reforms which the Catholic Church, the Monarchy, and their allies had so persistently prevented. The Cortes passed laws disestablishing and disendowing the immense wealth of the Catholic Church; expelling the Jesuits, who for so many years had been the minds behind the Catholic dictatorships; forbidding monks and nuns to tamper with trade and, above all, education, in which the Catholic Church had had a monopoly. Marriage was secularized, divorce introduced, and freedom of speech, of the Press, and religious tolerance were proclaimed everywhere.
The Catholic Church, through its Hierarchy and through the Vatican, fought by all means in its power, appealing to the religious conscience of the people not to let the "Red Anti-Christs" rule Spain, but to "get rid of the enemies of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ" ( Cardinal Segura). The Catholic Church in Spain, led by its Primate, published a pastoral letter of the Spanish bishops; while at the same time the Pope wrote an encyclical ( June 3, 1933). Both invited the faithful to join "a holy crusade for the integral restoration of the Church's right." Cardinals and bishops continued to write and to preach to the people, inciting them against the Government and asking for open revolt.
Unlike the Catholic régimes of the past, the new Government, true to the principle of freedom, did not want reprisals, and anti-clerical parties, after their electoral triumphs, refrained from any victimization. It was only after almost a month had passed (twenty-seven days after the elections) that workers, enraged by the fanatical anathemas of the Catholic Church and by Cardinal Segura's incitement to revolt, began to fire churches and monasteries. These acts of violence led to more, and the anti-Catholic parties, which had shown remarkable tolerance, had to resort to force in face of the continuous provocation and threats of the Catholic Church and its backers. The Church and its adherents constituted the reactionary forces of the former régimes, together with the most backward stratum of the peasantry, which, thanks to the Catholic Church, was still 80 per cent illiterate in the third decade of the twentieth century.
The Catholic Church organized itself to fight its opponents on their own ground—namely, through a political party. The Jesuits were once again the instruments of the new tactics. They tried to imitate the Centre Party in Germany, maintaining that the party must be composed not only of landlords and Army officers, but also of the masses. Such a party was founded in 1931, and was known as Accion Popular, being the political branch of Catholic Action (see Chapter 5), Accion Catolica.
The policy of the party was to tolerate the Republic, but to fight it and to destroy its anti-Catholic laws by penetrating into the anti- Catholic Government through political channels. Thus, after having brought disruption into the enemy's field, the party would try to seize political power. It was the tactic of the Trojan horse.
The Vatican, having reached the conclusion that new methods had to be employed, gave orders to the Spanish Hierarchy to abandon their intransigence and follow the new lead. The chief controller of this new Catholic movement was the director of a paper controlled by the Jesuits ( Debate—Angel Herrera) who put forward a Catholic leader, Gil Robles, a pupil of the Silesian Fathers. Gil Robles visited Hitler, Dolfuss, and others, became an enthusiastic admirer of the Nazis, and began to talk of creating a Catholic Corporate State in Spain, as Dolfuss had done in Austria (see chapter on Austria).
A blatant, nation-wide campaign of propaganda after the German style was initiated, the Catholic Hierarchy supporting it from churches and Catholic papers. It succeeded so well that Gil Robles, having contacted the Radicals, found common ground on which to co-operate—owing chiefly to economic problems—with the result that the Liberal leader, Lerroux, against the will of the Government, admitted Catholics into the Cabinet.
Meanwhile, those workers who were looking forward to a radical economic and social change became convinced that co-operation of the Liberals and Catholics and the procrastination of the Socialists would not bring about such changes, and organized a revolt which ended in utter failure ( 1933). The suppression of the revolt was so ruthless, the atrocities committed against the workers taken prisoner so appalling, that when a full inquiry was made the indignation of the whole of Spain was so great that Lerroux had to resign.
Two noteworthy facts emerge from this incident: the ferocity against the insurgents caused by the police, composed of Catholics determined to "exterminate these Godless enemies of the Church," and by the Moors. The Moors were brought from Africa to Spain by General Francisco Franco, who, shortly before the attempted rebellion, had a long interview with the War Minister. The latter had received instructions from Gil Robles to ask Franco to employ the Moors against the Reds. Gil Robles and the Catholic Church were already in close touch, and had already agreed to support each other when necessary.
By this time the Catholic Party had grown in influence, owing chiefly to disruption of the hostile camp and to the second step taken by the Catholics in their quest for power. By 1935 the Catholics had discarded almost all pretence of respect for legality, and became so emboldened that they organized their rank and file on the model of the Fascists and the Nazis, threatening and beating their opponents. Gil Robles had already prepared schemes for the abolition of divorce, for compulsory religious teaching, for the creation of a Spanish Corporate State, and so on.
But, not being as yet sure that they would secure authority so easily and so quickly, the Catholics were also preparing to fight the Republic with armies. They amalgamated political and military means in their bid for power. Gil Robles demanded and obtained the Ministry of War. Once installed, with General Franco as his right-hand man, he began to reorganize the Army, eliminating all officers suspected of Left tendencies. He built concrete trenches overlooking Madrid (at Sierra Guadarrama), and took over the command of the Civil Guards. In short, under the very nose of the Republic the Catholics took all the necessary steps to resort to open revolt if they were not able to attain power by political means. Riots broke out everywhere and there were many political murders throughout the year 1935 and early in 1936.
Meanwhile, the Left tried to unite, and Radical-Socialists, Socialists, Syndicalists, and Communists at last formed the Popular Front.
The fury of the Catholics knew no bounds, and, as well as the Catholic parties, the Church itself came to their aid. The Spanish Hierarchy, which had been working hand in hand with Gil Robles, directly and indirectly assisting his campaign, at this stage went farther. About a month before the general elections of 1936 Cardinal Goma y Tomas wrote a pastoral ( January 24, 1936) in which he publicly aligned himself and the Catholic Church with the Accion Popular and with the others making up the C.E.D.A., and hurled anathemas against the Popular Front, urging the Faithful to vote against the Reds.
President Alcalá Zamora, seeing the impossibility of maintaining a majority in the Cortes, signed an order for its dissolution. Polling day was fixed for February 16, 1936. The Popular Front gained an overwhelming majority, with 267 seats against 132 obtained by the Right, and 62 by the Centre.
The victory of the Popular Front fired the working classes with enthusiasm and gave the Catholics one of their biggest shocks, as they had been confident of success. Panic followed the announcement of the results. The Catholics and the Right feared that the Socialists would rise in arms and create a Red Socialist Republic; while, on the other hand, the Socialists feared that the Right, seeing their hope of power smashed, would stage a coup d'état. This fear was well founded, for the Catholics had been preparing for just such an emergency. Their first and second steps having failed, a third would have to be tried: that of open rebellion.
And so the Vatican, with the Leaders of the Spanish Hierarchy and those who would lead such a rebellion, from that time onwards applied their thoughts to the question of how best to crush their victorious enemies.
Having seen that its first policy of acquiring power through political means had failed, as it had failed before in other countries, and that its second and bolder policy of seizing power by a semi- legal coup d'état had also failed, the Vatican was determined that force must be used. It was the only way left open to the Church, which had to count on the support of a minority in order to rule a hostile majority, and impose a Catholic Government upon the Spanish people. The move had been made all the more urgent by the result of the last election, when it had become clear that the Catholic Church had the support of less than one-third of the entire Spanish electorate, including the millions of women who were given the right to vote by the Republic and voted solidly for the Church, when even sick nuns were brought on stretchers to the polls.
Elements of the Right, led by Catholics, began, after the February defeat, openly to organize a campaign of violence. The Falange Española—founded in 1932 by the son of Primo de Rivera—although it had in 1934 merged with a Fascist group of Dr. Alvinana, and until the 1936 elections had remained insignificant, now came quickly to the foreground. The followers of Gil Robles, burning with desire to smash the Republic with violence, swelled the ranks of the Falange. The whole Catholic Youth Organization—under its Secretary, Serrano Suñer, brother-in-law of General Franco—joined the Falange in April, while others flocked into the ranks of the Monarchists, whose leader, Calvo Sotelo, openly favored a military rising.
The Falangists began to beat up and murder their opponents, including tepid Catholics; they combed the streets of Madrid with machine-guns, killing judges, journalists, and especially Socialists, in an exact imitation of the Italian Fascists and the Nazi Storm Troops. Battles between the Falangists and the Republicans became a daily occurrence all over Spain.
In addition to the Falange, there was another movement, formed by Army officers belonging to the Union Militar Española, who, with a view to a military rising, had been in touch with the Italian Government as far back as 1933. Their chief had conducted secret negotiations with Mussolini in March of that year; and by March 1934 they had already planned for a coup d'état, with the co-operation of the Catholic Church and the Army. Previous to this they had visited Italy in order to secure "not only the support of the Italian Government, but also of the Fascist Party, in the event of the outbreak of civil war in Spain" (from a speech by Goicoechea at San Sebastian, on NOVEMBER 22, 1937—reported in the Manchester Guardian, DECEMBER 4, 1937).
The co-ordination of plans for civil war of the Monarchists and the Catholics, backed by the Vatican and Mussolini, was so far advanced that, immediately after the victory of the Popular Front, the Catholic leaders, Gil Robles and General Franco, had the effrontery to propose to the Republican Prime Minister himself a military coup d'état before the new Cortes could meet (Declaration of Portela Valladares, ex Prime-Minister, at a meeting of the Cortes in Valencia, in 1937).
The spring and early summer of 1936 passed in an atmosphere of growing tension: strikes, battles, and murders followed one another in quick succession. By June, responsible people knew that a military rising was imminent. The Republicans asked the Government for arms, but were refused. On June 13, in reprisal for the murder of Socialists by Falangists a few days before, Calvo Sotelo was assassinated by Socialists.
The vast organization of the Catholics, the Monarchists, and their allies stood ready; and, at last, on July 16, 1936, the Army in the Spanish zone of Morocco rose and occupied Ceuta and Melilla. Officers rose in almost every Spanish town. The Catholic Hierarchy, which had followed the plot from the very beginning, asked for the blessing of the Almighty on the new Crusade; while the Catholic General Franco hastened to tell the Pope, before the news reached any other capital, that the revolt had begun. The Spanish Civil War had broken out.
The Catholic rebels expected to take the whole of Spain within a few days. They had made very careful preparations, and had at their disposal the greater part of the armed forces of the country, the Civil Guard, the Foreign Legion, a division of Moorish troops, four-fifths of the infantry and artillery officers, reliable regiments recruited in the north, Carlist levies which had been training secretly, and the promise of Italian and German tanks and war planes.
The Government, on the other hand, had only the Republican Assault Guards and a small Air Force. Yet the enthusiasm of the Spanish people disrupted Franco's coup and he had to rely more and more on help from Mussolini and Hitler, who, knowing beforehand of the plot, sent arms and men from the very beginning. Russia intervened only in September. Soon the Spanish conflict became an international one. Its real nature was evident. It was an anticipatory struggle, in Spanish territory, of what was to tear the whole world asunder a few years later; an ideological conflict in which social systems and political doctrines, represented by various nations, took part: Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and Franco (and later on the democracies— France, Great Britain) on one side, and Republican Spain and Soviet Russia on the other side.
Even the Protestant United States of America intervened in the struggle and helped Franco, thanks to the American Catholic clergy, who mobilized to influence public opinion in favor of the rebels. The result was that the Republic was denied facilities to buy arms practically everywhere in Europe and also in the only open market left to her, namely the United States of America. This was done, not only by unleashing the most unscrupulous propaganda in the Catholic Press and the pulpit and using the Catholic Church's influence in American politics, but, above all, by appealing directly to the State Department, where the Vatican found more ready help than it had dared to expect.
Thus not only the Governments of practically all European countries—Catholic, Fascist, or democratic—but also the powerful Protestant United States were against the Republic. Of the democratic nations, Great Britain, having undertaken a policy of appeasement towards Fascism, besides allowing the farce of non-intervention (thanks to which Mussolini was able to send about 100,000 troops to help Franco, while the Republic was denied arms), brought continual pressure to bear upon France to close her frontier. Russia, although trying to help, finally withdrew her assistance when she saw that Franco, thanks to the Vatican, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Great Britain, and France, had by the spring of 1939 won the Civil War.
This is not the place in which to relate the incredible intrigues of the Spanish Civil War, our interest being the direct and indirect help given to Franco by the Vatican. We have already seen the part played by the Vatican in preparing for the Civil War. The Spanish Hierarchy, besides fighting the Republicans and organizing Catholic rebels, had been one of the plotters and messengers between Gil Robles, Franco, and others and Pope Pius XI and his Secretary of State, who months before knew what was going to happen. Once the revolt started, both the Hierarchy and the Vatican came out brazenly on the side of Franco, the Spanish bishops inciting Catholic Spaniards to fight the Reds, the Pope appealing to the whole Catholic world to help Catholic Spain, and the Vatican diplomacy working hand in hand with Mussolini and Hitler to send armaments to the rebels. The Vatican not only contacted Mussolini on behalf of Franco, but also got in touch with Hitler and came to an agreement with him by which, in exchange for Germany's help to the Catholic rebels, the Vatican would start an all-out campaign against Bolshevism throughout the Catholic world. We shall have occasion later to see why Hitler asked for the co-operation of the Church.
The Vatican, starting from the Pope himself, as soon as it became clear that Franco could not immediately win, launched a furious anti-Bolshevik campaign, thus enormously strengthening Hitler's political plans within and outside Germany, Hitler's policy revolving round the Bolshevik bogy. The Pope himself initiated this international Catholic campaign against the Spanish Republic on December 14, 1936, when he ( Pius XI), addressing 500 Spanish Fascist refugees, called upon the civilized world to rise against Bolshevism, which "had already given proof of its will to subvert all orders, from Russia to China, from Mexico to South America." It had, he continued, "now started the fire of hatred and persecutions in Spain," which, unless quick measures to fight it were taken, would spread against "all divine and humane institutions." Men and nations must unite and take measures against it. The Pope ended his speech with a blessing "to all those who have taken the difficult and dangerous task to defend and reinstate the honor of God and of Religion."
This began an anti-Bolshevik, anti-(Spanish) Republican campaign throughout the Catholic world, which for its slogans used the same words and phrases as the Fascist and Nazi propaganda ma chines blared forth until a few months before the outbreak of the Second World War.
In Germany, under the direct orders of the Secretary of State, Pacelli, the German bishops published a pastoral letter, dated August 30, 1936. They repeated what the Pope had said in his speech, and gave a frightening picture of what would happen to Europe if the Bolsheviks were allowed to conquer Spain, adding: "It is therefore clear what the duty of our people and of our fatherland should be." The pastoral ended by expressing the hope that "the Chancellor ( Hitler) could succeed with the help of God to solve this terrible issue with firmness and with the most faithful co-operation of all citizens."
Four months later the Pope gave the campaign new impetus with another speech ( December 25, 1936), in which he declared that the Spanish Civil War was "a warning so serious and menacing for the whole world." From it "one could get revelations and disclosures of a terrifying nature, with the certainty of what was being prepared for Europe and the world unless the nations took appropriate measures against it."
The bishops again followed the lead of the Pope, by a collective pastoral (against Bolshevism, January 3, 1937), in which they declared:—
The Leader and Chancellor of the Reich, Adolf Hitler, has foreseen in time the advance of Bolshevism, and he has concentrated his thoughts and strength in the defence of the German people and of all the Western World against this frightful danger.
The German Bishops think it their duty to support the Reichschancellor in this war of defence, with all the means that the Church puts at their disposal.
Bolshevism being the sworn enemy of the State and at the same time of religion . . . as the events in Spain are now clearly demonstrating, it is outside any doubt that the co-operation to the defence against such satanic power has become a religious as well as an ecclesiastical duty. We Bishops . . . do not want to mix religion with politics ... we only want to exhort the faithful's conscience to fight against such frightful dangers with the weapons of the Church....
We Catholics, in spite of the mistrust fostered against us, are ready to give the State all that it has a right to, and to support the Fuehrer in the fight against Bolshevism and in all other just tasks that he has undertaken.
What were the "just tasks" that Hitler had undertaken at that time? The "just tasks" of sending bombers and tanks to fight against the legal Spanish Government, to massacre innocent Republican civilians, to wipe out whole villages (e.g. Guernica), and do his best to secure the victory of Catholic Franco.
The Catholic Church in other countries was no less zealous than in Germany. Catholic organizations and the hierarchies began a great campaign to recruit Catholic Legionnaires, and soon brigades of Catholic volunteers joined Franco's Catholic armies. In addition to help of other kinds, money was collected in churches in response to the world-wide campaign, in the Catholic Press, of hatred towards the Republic. Small wonder that the first foreign flag to be unfurled at Franco's headquarters at Burgos was the Papal flag, and that Franco's banner was raised over the Vatican!
Naturally, the Spanish Hierarchy and clergy (with a few exceptions) incited the Spaniards to fight the Republic; and to show the extent to which the Catholic Church in Spain was tied up with the revolt, we quote an illuminating statement by Cardinal Goma:—
We are in complete agreement with the Nationalist Government, which, on the other hand, never takes a step without consulting me and obeying me.
And when finally the Republic was crushed (spring, 1939), Pope Pius XII, after having stated that God should be thanked, for "once more the hand of Divine Providence has manifested itself over Spain" (broadcast, April 17, 1939), sent the following message to the victors:—
With great joy we address you, dearest sons of Catholic Spain, to express our paternal congratulation for the gift of peace and victory, with which God has chosen to crown the Christian heroism of your faith and charity, proved in so much and so generous suffering ... the healthy Spanish people, with the characteristics of its most noble spirit, with generosity and frankness, rose decided to defend the ideals of faith and Christian civilization, deeply rooted in the rich soil of Spain. As a pledge of the bountiful grace which you will receive from the Immaculate Virgin and the apostle James, patrons of Spain, and which you will merit from the great Spanish saints, we give to you, our dear sons of Catholic Spain, to the Head of the State and his illustrious Government, to the zealous Episcopate and its self-denying clergy, to the heroic combatants and to all the faithful, our apostolic benediction.
Franco, on the other hand, paid tribute to the Catholic Church in Spain, which "collaborated in the victorious crusade and spiritualized the glory of Nationalist arms."
On the very eve of the outbreak of the Second World War a new totalitarian State had joined the constellation of great European dictatorships—those of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
On what foundations was the new Spain built? On the religious, moral, social, economic, and finally political, principles dear to the Catholic Church. As authority, according to the Catholic Church, does not derive from the people (see Chapter 3), authority, absolute and uncontrolled, was invested in one man, who became the corner-stone of a State built as an exact model of the Catholic Church.
As in the Catholic Church, so also in the new Spain, there was a ruler who was responsible to no one but to his conscience; in all spheres of activity of the nation his powers were unlimited; his orders had to be obeyed and not discussed; and under him were miniature dictators at the head of the various ministries, who, in turn, had to be blindly obeyed.
As only one party could be right, all other parties were wrong and were destroyed. Trade unions were suppressed; freedom of speech, of the Press, and of political opinion was withdrawn; newspapers, films, broadcasts, and books were censored, purged, or suppressed, if they did not conform to the political system. On the other hand, everybody had to read books, see films, and hear broadcasts proclaiming the greatness of Franco's new Spain, of his ideas and system; this not only in Spain, but also, whenever possible, outside the country in all Spanish-speaking nations of South and Central America, which had to imitate the mother-country. A powerful Ministry of Propaganda (equivalent to the Catholic Church's Propaganda Fide) controlled all the cultural and literary life of the nation.
All enemies of Franco's Spain were arrested and imprisoned, and mass executions took place. It was reckoned that, three years after the end of the Civil War ( 1942), Spain's jails contained over a million and a half political prisoners, thousands upon thousands of whom were made to face the firing squads. Anyone suspected of Socialism, Communism, or of democratic ideas, was watched by a secret police which penetrated all walks of life (a counterpart of the Inquisition).
Catholicism was proclaimed the religion of the State and the only true religion allowed. Protestants and other denominations were persecuted, and their ministers were arrested and even executed. A Corporate system, based on the Papal Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, was made to function; religious education was made compulsory; textbooks were supervised by the Catholic Church and teachers who did not attend Mass were dismissed; the enormous wealth of the Catholic Church was returned, and privileges and grants to the clergy and bishops were restored.
During the following months Spanish defenders of the Catholic Church went on pilgrimages to the Vatican as an act of gratitude for what the Pope had done for them. In June 1939, 3,000 of Franco's soldiers, having come to Italy to celebrate the victory with Italian Fascists, were received by Pius XII, who, after telling them that they had fought "for the triumph of Christian ideals" and that they had "brought him immense consolation as defenders of the Faith," imparted to them his paternal blessing.
In the following years prominent Spanish Fascists visited the Pope or the Vatican on political and international missions, most prominent of whom was Franco's brother-in-law, Serrano Suñer, a great friend of Mussolini and Hitler. On June 20, 1942, he was decorated by the Pope himself with the Grand Cross of the Order of Pius IX, together with a blessing for Spain and General Franco, "benemerito de la causa de Dios y de la Iglesia" (Bulletin of Spanish Studies).
But in Spain, as elsewhere, the Church and State, just because the essence of both was Totalitarianism, soon began to quarrel over the same problems which, as we shall find, they quarrelled over in Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and other European countries. Both wanted the upper hand on issues intimately affecting the new Spain, each in turn asserting that the education of youth was its concern alone, that the nomination of persons for key positions (such as bishops) was its sole right, and so on. Indeed at one time Franco went so far as to suppress Pius XI's encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge, which was a Papal rebuke to that kind of Totalitarianism which sponsors State idolatry to the exclusion of the Catholic Church. Such differences, however, were of minor importance, and did not prevent either partner from continuing the more and more intimate alliance in the years ahead.
In the foreign field Spain followed in the trail of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, aligning herself with them whenever their policy was directed against either Soviet Russia or the Western Powers.
When the Second World War broke out ( September 3, 1939), Spain, although too weak to enter the conflict, gave all the help she could, in military, economic, and diplomatic fields, to the Fascist countries. Franco made speeches informing the world that only Hitler's victory could save Europe, and at the same time proclaiming that "Spain will never ally herself with any country not guided by the principles of Catholicism" ( 1944).
In July 1940, when Nazi victory seemed assured, in his annual speech ( July 17) he glorified "the German arms that are leading the battle for which Europe and Christianity have so long waited," at the same time attacking Britain's "inhuman blockade of the Continent," declaring that "the freedom of the seas is a very grandiose farce," warning the United States off Europe, repudiating Anglo- American economic aid, and pontifically stating that the Allies had completely and finally lost the war (Sir Samuel Hoare, Britain's Special Ambassador in Madrid during the Second World War, in My Mission to Spain).
In the following month ( August 8, 1940), the German Ambassador Stohrer, in a "strictly secret" report to Berlin, said he had every assurance of Spain's entry into the war.
Following words by deeds, Franco began to lay plans with Hitler for the capture of Gibraltar; these were discussed at a meeting of a Spanish Minister of the Interior ( Suñer) with Hitler in Berlin in September 1940. Suñer assured Hitler that Spain was ready to enter the war as soon as her supplies of foodstuffs and raw materials were secure. After which the Spanish Minister ( Franco's brother-in- law) delivered a message from Franco, in which the Caudillo expressed his "gratitude, sympathy, and high esteem," and emphasized his "loyalty of yesterday, of to-day, and for always."
In a letter dated September 22, 1940, Franco proclaimed his "unchangeable and sincere adherence to Hitler personally." Here are his actual words:—
I would like to thank you, Der Fuehrer, once again for the offer of solidarity. I reply with the assurance of my unchangeable and sincere adherence to you personally, to the German people, and to the cause for which you fight.
I hope, in defence of this cause, to be able to renew the old bonds of comradeship between our armies (see fifteen documents dealing with the Spanish- Axis collaboration, released by the United States State Department).
Towards the end of the year, when England was standing completely alone and a relentless war was initiated by the German U-boats to starve her by sinking her merchant fleet, Franco put at Hitler's disposal facilities for the refuelling and repair of Nazi submarines. This went on almost throughout the war.
Not only did Franco give all the help compatible with the "official" neutrality of his country, but he never ceased to declare his support of Hitler and the Nazi New Order. Suffice it to quote a few sentences from another letter, dated February 26, 1941, which he addressed to Hitler:—
I consider, as you yourself do, that the destiny of history has united you with myself and with the Duce in an indissoluble way. I have never needed to be convinced of this, and, as I have told you more than once, our civil war since its very inception and during its entire course is more than proof. I also share your opinion that the fact that Spain is situated on both shores of the Strait forces her to the utmost enmity towards England, who aspires to maintain control of it ( Documents on Spanish-Axis collaboration).
Yet, despite all Franco's willingness to help Hitler and share in the new Fascist Europe, Spain, although very near to declaring war, never actually entered into the fray.
The reasons which restrained Catholic Spain from participating in the conflict were given by Franco himself in a letter addressed to Hitler ( February 26, 1941). Here are his words:—
We stand to-day where we have always stood, in a resolute manner and with the firmest conviction. You must have no doubt 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. With this same loyalty, I have made clear to you since the beginning of these negotiations the conditions of our economic situation, the only reasons why it has not been possible up to now to determine the date of Spain's participation.... ( Documents on Spanish-Axis collaboration).
In the same letter Franco, as if he had not already made himself clear on this point, once more declared his support of Hitler in the following words: "I shall always be a loyal follower of your cause."
Speaking in the Alcazar, in Seville, on February 14 to a large meeting of Army officers, Franco declared that:—
For twenty years Germany has been the defender of European civilization....
If the road to Berlin were opened, then not merely would one division of Spaniards participate in the struggle, but one million Spaniards would be offered to help ( Documents on Spanish-Axis collaboration).
To support this statement Franco initiated a campaign for the recruitment of a Division to fight the Russians on the side of the Nazis. However, as volunteers were rather scarce, they were recruited through Army orders "under which whole batches of serving troops were transferred to the Division (the Blue Division) without the men concerned having any effective choice in the matter" ( Sir Samuel Hoare). The combined result was an army unit of about 17,000 and an air detachment of two or three flights, all these men being encouraged and fired with enthusiasm by priests and bishops, who bestowed blessings and sacred medals on the heroic Catholic crusaders against the Reds.
In addition to this, Franco and Hitler reached an agreement by which U-boats were built and U-boat crews trained in the Iberian Peninsula. (Disclosed by Mr. Sidney Alderman, United States of America Deputy Prosecutor, at the Nuremberg trial of Nazi war criminals, November 27, 1945.) And, not losing sight of what was going on in the Far East, Franco continued to congratulate the Japanese, and followed his first message of congratulation on the blow at Pearl Harbor by another message ( October 1943) to Jose Laurel, head of the puppet Government installed by the Japanese in the Philippines (see Wartime Mission to Spain, by United States of America ex-Ambassador Carlton Hayes).
While this was going on, Franco continued to make speeches, declaring again and again that a Nazi victory was the best bulwark against the disintegration of civilization. This active co-operation with Hitler lasted practically until the collapse of Nazi Germany; so much so that, when Hitler's suicide was made known, Franco's Catholic Spain (although in a rather less provocative way than De Valera's Catholic Eire) officially and unofficially expressed condolence on the death of the Fuehrer and the downfall of the Nazi regime.
The Spanish Hierarchy continued, year after year, through pastoral letters, speeches, and sermons, to support Franco and incite the Spaniards to rally to the new régime. And even after Hitler and
Mussolini had disappeared from the political stage of a battered Europe, at the end of the Second World War ( 1945), the rumbling of unrest was heard, menacing, underground in Catholic Spain. While the democracies indicted with words and diplomatic war the last great Fascist dictatorship still standing on the Continent, the Hierarchy went on blessing and supporting Franco. Suffice it to quote Archbishop Gonzales' declaration:—
We turn our eyes to Mother Iberia and thank God that He has showered His blessings on her.... It is thanks to God's Providence that Spain has regained her youthful strength.... It is a blessing to see how true and healthy is Spain's revival in the social, economic, intellectual, and above all spiritual, spheres—like the Rock of the Catholic Church, on which it is based.... The nation is a defender of truth, and deserves the support of God (Broadcast by Archbishop Gonzales, Coadjutor of Bogota, quoted by Vatican Radio, 1945).
That the new Spain deserved the support of God was again and again emphasized by Franco himself. As when, for instance, he was speaking to a gathering of priests and members of women's Falangist organizations, and declared: "I think that the battle has been to our advantage, since they are against God and we are His soldiers" ( September 12, 1945).
How the Catholic Church and General Franco could reconcile this with the fact that "God's soldiers" had to be steadily increased in order to keep down a rebellious people (90 per cent of whom were hostile to the régime) it is hard to understand. But perhaps, to a sceptical observer, the following figures may throw some light on the matter.
By the end of the Second World War the only Fascist country to survive in Europe—namely, Franco's Spain—had the strongest Fascist army in the world and the strongest police force, which it had to strengthen as time went by in order to preserve the Spaniards within the fold of Catholicism and the social-political framework of Fascism.
In 1940 the Falange received a subsidy of 10,000,000 pesetas; in 1941, 14,000,000; in 1942, 142,000,000; in 1943, 154,000,000; in 1944, 164,000,000; and at the end of the Second World War, over 192,000,000. In addition, the State police received, in 1940, 950,000,000 pesetas; in 1941, 1,001,000,000; in 1942, 1,325,000,000; in 1943, 1,089,000,000; in 1944, 1,341,000,000; and in 1945, 1,475, 000,000.
These figures should be compared with the total Budget of the Spanish Republic, which, in 1936, was less than the figures allocated by Franco to his Army, Navy, and Air Force, while in the same period he was spending as much on his police as on his Army of one million men. With the dawn of peace, this enormous internal strength was deemed insufficient, and Franco, with the warmest support of the Church, re-created the "Somatens," consisting of groups of armed civilians under State control.
The model Catholic Fascist Spain had to rely on more solid support than that of God to enable her to continue to be a "defender of truth." But did that really matter? The important thing was that the aims set by the Catholic Church should be reached. And the Vatican, thanks to its alliance with reaction, and by checking and finally arresting the reforming wind of the twentieth century, which had begun to rejuvenate an anachronistic and decrepit Spain, achieved its twofold goal: the annihilation of its sworn enemies and the forcible installation of a Catholic State, built on Catholic authoritarian principles, where the Catholic Church reigned unchallenged and supreme.
[ Continue to Ch.9 ]