Fascist Romanism Defies Civilization
How The Pope Keeps To The Plot While The World Curses It
Edited by E. Haldeman-Julius
The Black International No. 10
- Chapter I – Guilty Or Not Guilty?
- Chapter II – Will Catholics Disown The Pope?
- Chapter III – Restoring The Corpse Of The Middle Ages
- Chapter IV – The Church In Democratic Countries
- Chapter V – The Catholic Defense
We are living in the second most catastrophic period that the race has suffered in the last 3,000 years. It was then, three millennia ago, slowly emerging from the ruin which the pioneers of “the noble Aryan race” had wrought at their first contact with civilization, and with the successive rise of the Phoenicians, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans it was marching to the peak of the ancient world. There were, too, very notable resurrections of civilization in India and China. By the end of the 5th Century they were all ruined and the race from rim to rim of the known world was almost back in barbarism. We cannot compare our age with that awful beginning of the Dark Age, but since then not one of the tragedies that have cast their shadow upon a large area of the earth approaches in magnitude of evil and volume of suffering the world- wide degradation of our time. The Black Death, it is true, caused more deaths and more suffering, but that was one of the calamities which old legal language ingenuously attributed; to “the Act of God.”
Many will look round them in the cities in which they live and wonder if my statement can possibly be true. Do we see reflected on the faces and in the lives of the great majority such gloom as this implies I live in a city which has felt the rain of death as no great city ever did before — have lived and worked in it through all the hellish days and nights, never ever taking shelter — yet when I look round or read my daily paper I must smile at my own statement, true as it is. The other day an auctioneer advertised $200,000 worth of wine and spirits at one sale. I heard a penniless refugee of a year ago boasting of the costly shows she saw weekly and the $500 fur-coat she was buying. Lines of folk a hundred yards long wait to be admitted to see a good picture. Night-clubs and bottle-clubs flourish, I am told, as never before, and only today, when I took my daily five-mile walk, women appealed to me to contribute to the fund to help “the poor Russians” . . .
Yet I repeat, and with the history of the world before my mind’s eye, this is the most dreadful age into which the race has passed since the ruin of the Greek-Roman civilization. How many people are at war — and a war of giants — today? About 850,000,000 on any count; and if you include India, as part of the British Empire, and the Spanish American Republics which have at least declared war, and the countries that are held back from war only by the lash and gibbet of the conqueror, and the countless which give all the help they can to the aggressive nations but call themselves neutral, something like 1,400,000,000 or three-fourths of the race. You might almost say that the only people who are not involved in the savagery are the savages.
The sun never looked down upon such a spectacle before.
In the terrible period of reaction and misery, after the fall of Rome, which I admit to be greater than ours — greater because far more than half of the people in the civilized area perished and the misery went on and deepened during two centuries — not much more than 50,000,000 people were affected. Today, however many may escape sacrifices and burdens, more than ten times that number suffer bitterly, tens of millions of them poignantly. But there is a more important difference, and in a sense it makes our tragedy the blackest in the historical record.
What happened fifteen centuries ago was that a terrible drought had fallen upon western Asia, and in search of new pastures mighty hoards of those diabolical horsemen the Huns invaded Europe and forced the half civilized or wholly uncivilized Goths, Vandals, Franks, etc. southward upon the Roman Empire. Our modern Huns and their allies were trained in all the ideals, all the culture, of the highest civilization. They deliberately stooped to savagery, and they did this out of sheer greed. There have been glorified bandits before — the men we teach our children to admire as great conquerors — but this is the first time in history that a large group of men of great ability have sat down to plot, with the callous deliberation of master-crooks, the conquest and exploitation of the greater part of the earth. If anybody doubts whether that is a correct characterization of the directive group in Berlin, Rome, and Tokyo I am not inclined to argue about it.
The thesis of the ten booklets of which this is the last is that these super-crooks, whose near-success will one day amaze historians, had the cooperation and most valuable assistance of the clergy of the Church of Rome, the Black International. That, I am fully conscious, is an appalling charge. To readers who know the Church of Rome only from its own literature and who may not have read the preceding nine books, it will naturally seem a wholly ridiculous and impossible charge. Even to those who are familiar with my historical works and have read the mass of evidence in these booklets will hesitate and wonder if it is not exaggerated. For let me be distinctly understood. I do not merely mean that a bunch of bishops here and there, fearing to run counter to the patriotism of the people or to incur the anger of the rulers, supported iniquity. I say that the whole Black International, from the Pope to priests, is guilty. Naturally American Catholic bishops censure the vile conduct of Japan and English Catholic bishops that of Germany. What matters from the moral angle is that each country that has committed outrages has had the full support of the Catholic hierarchy and clergy of that country, and that the Pope or the Vatican has been throughout in, friendly alliance with the arch-criminals.
So let us summarize the evidence. The first point to bear in mind, as I explained, is the cardinal importance of the spread of Communism and Socialism from 1918 onward, especially from 1923 to 1933. It is no use pretending that statesmen, Foreign Offices, editors, authors, and industrial or commercial leaders were totally unaware of the plot that Germany, Italy and Japan were preparing. It was, except as regards its final and most monstrous form, openly stated in widely-read literature in those countries. But these leaders of public opinion or action were themselves so alarmed at the spread of Communism and Socialism in nearly all countries that, since Hitler and Mussolini promised to check the spread of the danger, they very culpably persuaded themselves to ignore the broader designs of those quaint St. Georges.
In this very important respect the cooperation of the Vatican with the aims of the Axis, by filling the public mind with lies about Communists and recommending Fascism as a state-form, is notorious; and the reason is just as notorious. Communism, starting from Russia in its Militant-Atheist phase, swept far more folk out of the Church of Rome than the Reformation had done. I have estimated the loss of the Roman Church, mainly to Communism and Socialism, at something more than 70,000,000 in 15 years and have based that estimate on published statistics. So, after a few years of diplomatic coquetry with the Soviet authorities, the Vatican began to libel and assail Communism. In the Papal Encyclical of 1931 Quadragesimo Anno, it was described as a vile, degrading, and criminal influence, and Catholics were forbidden even to adhere to Socialism. The note became steadily more strident until it rose above that of the bitterest anti-Communist political writer. The foulest and trashiest libels of Russian and Spanish Communists were endorsed, and from 1934 onward the Vatican, its voice echoing throughout the whole Church, called for the extinction, clearly by war, of Communism in China, Spain, Mexico, and Russia.
I am not a Communist and will say only that that system of ideas has as much right to present its case to the public and seek converts as any other creed or system. But the Vatican knew what it was doing. Under cover of a zeal against Communism and Socialism Hitler and Mussolini and all their lesser satellites in other countries were diverting the eyes of the world from their larger criminal aims and the Pope enlisted his whole Church in that strategy. The most effective means of checking those aims of Germany, Italy, and Japan would have been a practical alliance of the United States, Britain, and France, and the Pope and his local black legions did everything in their power to turn the people against the idea.
Then, whether we consider step by step the march of infamy to its present culminating point or examine the three bandit-powers and their relations with the Vatican, we find the closest cooperation of the Black International. The first step was the annexation of Manchuria. For a moment it seemed to warn the civilized world that its comfortable and respectable standards of life were challenged by a new force, and there was a wide demand for prompt and decisive action. But the guilt of Sir John Simon in frustrating punishment in the sacred name of trade is not greater than that of the Vatican, which ordered its representatives in Manchuria and Japan to enter into friendly relations with the bandits. These relations deepened until, just when Japan again shocked, and ought to have warned, the world by seizing more of China and fully exhibiting the treachery and foulness of its methods, Rome exchanged ambassadors with Tokyo and stamped upon Catholic literature everywhere a respect for Japan and a hatred of Russia. Matsuoka, fresh from the concerting of the appalling final plot in Berlin, was received with flowers and gold medals at the Vatican.
We examined the successive steps in the preparation of the world for the destruction of freedom, decency, and justice. The one section of the Church that mattered, the Italian hierarchy and clergy, rapturously applauded the rape of Abyssinia, on religious as well as patriotic grounds, and the Pope, seeing how neatly Catholics had persuaded the world to condone his refusal to condemn that outrage, gave the greatest gift in his power, the Church’s supreme reward of virtue, the Golden Rose, to the Italian “Empress of Abyssinia.” The spread of barbarism — I will show presently how that is not too strong an expression — over Spain was the next step in the conquest of civilization by installments. Here not only the close cooperation of the Spanish Church but the blessings of the enterprise by the Vatican and the support of Catholics all over the world are commonplaces of contemporary history. It was the same in the extension to Austria. The Catholic Dollfuss, after a visit to Rome, treacherously destroyed “the Socialist watch-dog.” The head of the Austrian Church, Cardinal Innitzer, welcomed Hitler and ordered his people to bow down when he marched through the gates they had opened to him. Catholic Students prepared the way for the first invasion of Czecho-Slovakia, which has had the courage to expel a Papal Nuncio, and Catholic Slovak priests actually begged Hitler to tear up his solemn promises to England and France and destroy the splendid little Republic. Catholics invited Mussolini to invade Albania. Catholics betrayed Belgium and France to his devouring hordes. Catholics rent the unity and sapped the strength of Yugo-Slavia for him. . . .
Thus not only did the Pope never condemn a single one of the outrages by which the super-crooks strengthened their position — every word of Papal censure of Germany and Italy refers to infringements of the rights of the Church or other religious grievances — but the local hierarchy applauded every act of aggression, and even the hierarchy of the invaded country rallied to the aggressor. There was only one exception. We saw substantial reason to believe that the Pope knew in advance of the plot against Poland, as he knew of the intention to invade Belgium and France. Whether he was asked to persuade the Poles to make no resistance, since this was an important move toward that extinction of Bolshevism in Russia which he desired above all, we have as yet no evidence. But even when the Polish clergy, the most profoundly Romanist in the world, sent him word of the infamies perpetrated upon their people by the Germans, he took the sting out of his censure by coupling the Germans and the Russians (who had on the contrary, every reason to be humane and generous) in the guilt for these barbarous outrage’s.
If, on the other hand, we prefer to study the direct relations of the Church with the aggressor-powers we shall find ourselves impelled to use even stronger language. I have throughout spoken of them as the Pope’s allies, and the spectacle which the world presents today gives point to the phrase. We boast daily that almost the entire free civilized world is with us in our war upon Japan, Germany, and Italy. No one will call Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey free; and of the Latin American Republics only the more priest-ridden now refuse to speak out. But the Pope is not with us. He is bound by treaty (Concordat) to the three powers which the free world calls the enemies of the human race. You may object that France, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Slovakia, Eire, and Rumania are not with us. No; they are with the Pope. Significant, isn’t it?
I have shown in detail in what sense the Pope is an ally of Italy and Germany. The triumph of crime in Italy, the consolidation of the power of Mussolini, was not complete until he signed a treaty with the Vatican and granted the Church a vast sum of money (about $90,000,000) and nearly all the privileges it wanted. Until the present Pope became Secretary of State there was still very acrid quarrelling. There have been quarrels since — always about the Church’s rights — but Rome has seen the amazing sight of Mussolini kneeling for the Pope’s blessing and the Pope crossing Rome (after Italy’s treachery in regard to Yugo-Slavia) to exchange greetings with the king and queen. What is more, whether you can in any country in the world relieve the Pope of blame for what his bishops in that country do — a point we will examine presently — you certainly cannot in the case of Italy. Yet the Italian hierarchy has without exception blessed everything that Italy has done in the colossal attempt to enslave the world to a brutal standard of life, from the lying pretexts for the invasion of Abyssinia to that repulsive scene, which I described, of Italy entertaining the Greek minister’s while its troops burst across the frontier.
Worst of all is the case of Germany. Whether or no Hitler would in time have attained power without the assistance of the Church he did in fact attain it with the help of the Pope. In giving the ample evidence of this I mention with reserve the charge of Fritz Thyssen, the industrialist who financed the Nazis, and a Roman Catholic, that — in the words of the title for an article he wrote in the Arbeiterzeitung — “Pius XII, when Nuncio, carried Hitler to power.” My attention has since been called to the fact that Cavalcade (September 28, 1940) gave the gist of the article and there is no reason to doubt it. It seems that the Nazis deluded Pacelli into thinking that they were going, not only to exterminate the Socialists and Communists who were ruining the Church — and what did the Church ever care about the foulness of the means by which its enemies were exterminated? — but to set up a “Christian Corporative State” on the Italian model, the Roman Church ruling the west and the Protestant Church the east. I gave the evidence of Von Papen, another Catholic, and other unimpeachable witnesses that in fact the Vatican ordered German Catholics to drop their opposition to the Nazis, deserting their Jewish and Socialist allies, and that this encouraged the Nazis, who were profoundly discouraged by their failure in November 1932, to try again and succeed.
From that time, nine years ago, the Nazis have compiled a record of brutality, treachery, dishonor, and greed that is without equal in civilized history and have completely debauched their own country. After the first of these outbreaks of savagery, the slaughter and pillage of Jews, Socialists, pacifists, etc., the Vatican signed a very friendly Concordat with the Nazi government, and it has clung to this agreement, and repeatedly begged Hitler to make it more real and intimate, all through the nine years of barbarity. It had not a word to say about the Blood Purge, though in this leading Catholics were butchered, and it warmly applauded German action, including such infamies as Almeria and Guernica, in Spain.
But I need not survey the record of monstrosity. The different attitude of the Vatican to Russia, as it peacefully and humanely built up a great civilization, and Germany, as it waded through blood and loot and treachery to the attainment of its supreme greed, damns it for all time. The Russians were vile, savage, infamous, etc. The Germans heard only the mild censure, and then only when they hurt the Church, that they encouraged paganism (from the religious angle), idolized the state (instead of the Church), and did not carry out their agreement with Rome.
The Catholic apologist whines that the Vatican had to consult the “spiritual interests” of the followers in Germany. I can hardly imagine a more pitiful confession that, contrary to what its American apologists say, it cares nothing about human interests. But we will consider that point adequately anon.
Hitler cared little about the rare and very mild complaints of the Papacy. His spokesmen completely ignored them as a rule. He could, in any case, always keep Papal pronouncements out of the German press. Even the few Catholic papers that survived were under strict Nazi control. The only matter that would draw the attention of the German authorities would be if the German hierarchy and clergy interfered with loyalty to Hitler or condemned any of his acts except his cavalier treatment of the Church, which amused or delighted four-fifths of the nation.
I gave abundant evidence that the German bishops did not merely refrain from criticism on any other than ecclesiastical matters but they flattered Hitler to his teeth and applauded every outrage he committed. They fully accepted that bastard monstrosity born of the megalomania of the neuropathic leader and the greed of the German people, the plan to conquer and exploit at least the greater part of the earth. Swallowing every insult and snub, cringing before the exposure of the shame of their virtuous monasteries, they begged Hitler to permit them to cooperate in the foulest and most stupid of his outrages, the attack on Russia, and in the petition for this purpose which they addressed to Hitler they repented the exact language used by the Pope. From the language of prelate after prelate, which I have quoted, one would think that their minds are as brutalized as those of the younger Nazi soldiers. That, of course, is not true. The explanation is that every consideration of human honor and decency must be sacrificed to the essential aim of the Black International: the power and wealth of the Church.
My readers will, I feel sure, think me justified in claiming that I have read as much literature — Catholic and non-Catholic, even German until the war cut off the supply — on this subject as any other writer in America or Britain. Well, I have not yet seen a line in which any German cardinal, archbishop, or bishop had rebuked Germany’s crimes against man and against civilization. The epithets criminal, beastly, barbarous, and infamous were reserved for Russia. What a record for a body of consecrated men during nine years of bestiality!
I, in an earlier book carried the story of the German hierarchy and the Nazis as far as the fall of 1940 and must here show that no change occurred in the following year. In August 1940, we saw, an unusually large gathering of the German bishop’s met at Fulda (the Washington of the Church) and drew up resolutions which the Vatican ordered them to keep secret. The German press reported that it got copies of them, and they were fulsome congratulations to Hitler on his great triumph in the west, to be published when it was completed by the fall of Britain. The British Catholic press (Tablet, September 21) said that “very important and positive decisions had been reached which will result in a much closer reapproachment between the Church and the Reich,” and it pointed out that the chief speaker, who closed the conference, Msgr. Garkowsky was the bishop appointed by Goering to represent Catholics on the State Council.
But Britain refused to be bludgeoned into surrender, and the Pope forbade publication of these “very important decisions.” In December the Catholic press. (Herald, January 31, 1941) announced that their bishops were to meet at Berlin “for exceptional purposes,” and this announcement was coupled with a warning that unscrupulous rulers had a way of misusing ecclesiastical utterances. On March 30 the Vatican radio reported, with approval, that the Archbishop of Freiburg had warned German Catholics in a pastoral letter that there were anti-religious tendencies on every hand: that the Nazis had set up a National Church in Slovakia and proposed to do the same in Germany, and that their “pagan tendencies” had found expression in Alsace, Austria, and Sudeten Germany.
On July 8 the London Times referred to a letter which the bishops of Germany had ordered to be read in all churches. As it condemned Nazi paganism British Catholics claimed that here was the whole German hierarchy united in censuring Hitler. We are quite aware that the Church more than once scolded the Nazis for infringing its own rights as on other purely religious grounds, but the Times pointed out that this letter by no means relieved the guilt of the Church. It referred to the attack on Russia and said that it was “a struggle of world ideologies, a battle against inequality, and a fight against the disintegration of Christianity, so that a victory over Bolshevism would be equivalent to the triumph of the teaching of Jesus over that of the infidels.” The full Papal note and support of Hitler restored, you see, now that he was again pushing victoriously forward. But because there was some criticism of the Nazis in the letter many bishops refused to sign it, and many priests refused to read it from their pulpits.
As to the Pope himself, he left it to those useful unauthorized organ’s to explain his ambiguous attitude. The Vatican correspondent of the International News Service said that he protested vehemently against the treatment of the Church in Germany and added this rich observation, which was certainly compiled in the Vatican:
“Only the deepest desire to avoid even involuntarily creating the impression that the Church favors the enemies of Germany or permitting a mistaken notion that the Holy See wishes to take advantage of a delicate war-time situation has restricted the Pontiff from a more open and vigorous expression of his profound unhappiness over the situation in Germany.”
When Russia “persecuted religion” there was no need whatever for restraint; when Germany, after eight years of bestiality, persecutes the Church one has to remember that a Pope is neutral and not free to use strong language.
The last cutting I have is from the London News-Chronicle (October 5, 1941). It says that Ribbentrop has seen the Papal Nuncio at Berlin and offered “a structural change in the attitude of the Third Reich to the Catholic Church” if the Pope will rouse all Catholics against “the Anti-Christ Russia,” and that the Nuncio loftily refused even to send the offer to Rome. Perhaps: Russia was proving to be made of sterner stuff than the Pope’s dear children in Belgium and France. But do not too hastily draw upon your fund of old saws and quote “When the devil was sick” or “Rats desert a sinking ship.” Hitler has still a few Papal cards like Spain and Portugal and the French fleet up his sleeve. Meantime note two things. First the Pope and his hierarchy have supported the Nazis through nine years of success and infamy; second, there is a remarkable correlation between the variations in the ardor of support and the ebb and flow of Hitler’s fortunes.
I am not one of those who conceive the situation to be that we are fighting Hitler and Mussolini or even the Nazi and the Fascist parties. It remains to be seen how far this is true in the case of Japan but in Europe we are fighting a prodigious aggregation or organization of brain-power. It works behind the Nazi front. It includes the very able military leaders that Germany can always produce but is much more than this. War-time jibes at the intelligence of the German nation are always silly. It at all time’s commands the services of a very large body of men of equal ability and vigor, using every advantage that science can give them. They — scientists, engineers, economists, businessmen, etc. — are now massed behind an enterprise that promise’s incalculable profit if it succeeds. To defeat it will require a closer cooperation and more intense application of British and American ability than we have yet seen.
But defeated it will be and probably — if you will not smile at the act of faith of one who knows nothing of military matters — within a year, now that we have the mighty aid of Russia. How will the Church of Rome face the world then? Will it use its muzzling influence on the press in every country to prevent the public perceiving that there is anything to discuss? How many folk know one tenth of the facts which I have given in these booklets?
That will be the policy which the Church will attempt to follow but probably it will lay too great a strain in the easy- going spirit of our generation. Your neighbor may not know the facts I have given but he has his moments of reflection and in one of these it will occur to him that he has never read a word of condemnation of all the brutality and treachery of the last five years from the man whom Catholics press upon us as the ideal moral, if not intellectual, ruler of the world. He may have read lately how some Catholics predict, for 1942, a concerting of plans “for the defense of our Christian civilization” between Washington, London, Moscow and Rome! If that does not make people open their eyes and use their minds we had better drop the illusion that we are capable of self-government.
In an earlier booklet I quoted the head of the British Catholic Church warning his followers to be ready for a formidable attack on Catholicism when the war is over. How will he and his like meet it, That “aged and ailing Pope” slogan, which has so often been used, will be of no avail. In this crisis of the world’s affairs the Church of Rome has had one of its youngest, ablest, and most vigorous Popes; and his virtual control of the policy of the Church began at the beginning of 1930 and has covered the whole long period of unrebuked bestiality. Nor would it be of the least avail to plead that he was misinformed. Being an Italian and in the highest position (for these matters) in the Church for eleven years, to say nothing of his years of training, he knows Italy and Fascism as well as any Italian or foreign statesman in the world. But, we saw, he also knows Germany and Nazism at least better than any other non-German prelate in the Church. Further he reads and speaks more languages and has traveled and lived in more countries than any other Pope of recent modern times. No, stupid as some of his public utterances (about Russia, Spain, Mexico, Communism, etc.) seem to be, he has not based his policy upon wrong information.
Seldes quoted some years ago evidence that in Romanist higher clerical circles in America there was already some discussion of the idea of deposing or over-ruling him. At that tune the Catholic press still remembered what it had said about him during his long stay in America in 1936; his love of democracy and the American spirit, his good mixing — I do not remember whether he drank beer out of a bottle in a workers’ lunchroom like the heroic Halifax — his ideal of freedom, and so on. Probably the prelates knew better. He loathes democracy. He is an aristocrat by birth, temperament, and conviction. But he can at any time discover, as Leo XIII did after quarter of a century of attacks on democracy, that the Church has nothing to do with whether a state chooses to be democratic or not. It is true that in the first encyclical he compiled for the late Pope he insisted that the Corporative State, the very essence of which is servility to the state and Church authorities, is the ideal, but he never mentioned democracy.
The discussion as to whether the discredited Church will make a scapegoat of the Pope is waste of time. Even in America, where the apologists put over more mendacious accounts of Church history and teaching than in any other country, the deposition or rebuke of a Pope would shake Catholicism and invite a dangerously critical interest. The most that is conceivable along that line is that apologists will affect an attitude of naive astonishment and say that even non-Catholics ought to know that a Pope’s blunders do not compromise the Catholic Church or discredit a single line of its teaching. There have actually been priests who claimed it as a proof of the divinity of the Church that it survived so many blunders and sins of its Popes! But that takes us into a deeper matter which I postpone.
The chief line foreshadowed in actual Catholic literature is that the Pope has been, and ought to be, ideally neutral, since as head of the universal Church he must be above national differences and therefore above international quarrels, whereas the hierarchy of a particular country has no such obligation. Let me repeat that these are not booklets about the Pope but about the Black International. At the same time apologists will find it rather difficult in America to make any capital out of this Great Neutral sophistry. They have for half a century been assuring folk that it was just the opposite; that since the Pope is above all national differences he is the ideal moralist to censure, not only international crimes but national crimes of such magnitude and so bound up with patriotism that you could hardly trust the censors within that country to condemn them or expect an impartial judgment from the nationals of another country. Further, and far more gravely, the summary of facts which I gave in the last chapter does not simply present the Pope as failing in his duty from an excessive regard for neutrality. It shows that he gave very valuable assistance to the arch-criminals, and often precisely in the perpetration of their crimes; to Japan in China, to Germany in Austria, Spain, Czecho-Slovakia, France, Yugo-Slavia, and Russia!
The Catholic controversalists’ idea of the Church is that anything that commands general respect in it is the Church and anything that is vicious or sordid is not the Church. For our present purpose, however, the Church may be divided into three sections. First are the Pope and the body of the Italian prelates who run the Church as literally as a bunch of men in Boston run the Christian Science movement. The Pope is theoretically an autocrat. In practice he must act with the Italian cardinals and archbishops, the board of directors, so to say. As such boards do, they find it expedient to admit a few outsiders but take care they are always in a minority and settle most affairs between themselves apart from the formal board-meetings. Nothing irritates Roman Catholics in Britain so much as a Protestant practice of calling their Church “the Italian Mission.” But no other description of it is more apt. The Italian clique run the Church in Britain and America just as the heads of an international trading enterprise in New York control foreign branches.
The second section consists of the various national hierarchies (bishops and archbishops), each of which is permitted to have a few decorative heads with the title of cardinal but no influence on broad Church policy and certainly no power to challenge a Pope, and the ordinary clergy who do the work under them. The third section consists of the laity, whose main function is the financial support of the clergy, hierarchy, and the Italian oligarchy. They are held together in submission to the clergy by an extraordinarily fraudulent literature, which is protected by the doctrine that they incur the penalty of hell if they read criticisms of it, a very lavish use of social and recreational inducements, and the sacerdotal theory or the dogma that the clergy have received a ‘Special “Sacrament” called Holy Orders.
This theory has greatly promoted the comfort that reconciles the priests to their theoretical celibacy — “They are called Fathers, and they often are,” said Erasmus — by drawing a sharp line, if not a curtain, between clergy and laity. In recent years however, it has been found expedient to delegate to the laity many functions which the priest used to discharge outside his Church. Catholic Action, this new development, means Catholic lay action. It started originally as a proof that the Church is not so anti- democratic, as its critics allege, but the clergy soon found that the laity could undertake tasks for the Church which they themselves cannot undertake without suspicion, and that same sort of militant work greatly promoted their loyalty. In Spain these guerrillas of the holy war, as one might call them, played a very important part in preparing the way for the rebellion. In France they made the strength of the Fascist movement which weakened the country and intrigued its way to power in the hour of humiliation and confusion. In America and Britain they intrigue with statesmen and in popular political organizations, provide speakers for parks and street-corners, invade journalism and work for the Church on their papers, and get themselves elected or appointed to offices in which they can promote the interests of the Church. They would be genuinely outraged if you said that they are dupes of the clergy.
This vast organization enables apologists to meet as far as words go many of the charges against the Church or to maintain with an air of bland assurance, that, for instance, it never interferes in polities. If you appeal to its twenty years opposition to republicanism in France, that was Pope Leo XIII not the Church, they say. It was the Vatican, not the Church, that intrigued with British statesmen to settle their troubles in Ireland (Seldes, The Vatican, p. 272). On the other hand, when an Austrian cardinal writes “Hell Hitler” or an Italian bishop exults in the brigandage of his country, the Church is not involved. It is just a local clerical patriot blowing off a little hot air.
In the present demoralization of the world apologists take advantage of this multiplicity of organs to exonerate the Church from guilt. Since the body of the clergy in any country are notoriously under the strict supervision of their bishop’s the common trick is to distinguish the acting of national hierarchy from that of, Rome; though, as we saw, there has been some tendency in view of the blatant alliance with the Axis of the present Pope to say that the hierarchy represent the Church and he does not. That is easily-answered. Do the apologists mean that the majority of bishops and archbishops of their Church would have had the Pope act otherwise? Apply that test and the sophistry disappears. There is only one point on which they expressed any criticism or reserve about the Pope’s conduct; his refusal to pass judgment on the rape of Abyssinia. But they soon fell into line and supported his subsequent actions. The whole of the Catholic press, clergy, and hierarchies applauded the treaties with Mussolini and Hitler. We decline to be impressed if the Catholic prelates of Britain, for instance, fell into silence about the German treaties when they declared war on that country. They continued to support the alliance with the Italian Fascists until they were at war with Italy. And the American cardinals and prelates maintained their support generally until the Pope’s proud Japanese ally dealt America so foul a blow. The hierarchies have a very poor case against the Pope, and the two elements together supremely represent the Church.
A more familiar trick, which has even been used in the Pope’s paper the Osservatore Romano, is to plead that aberrations on the part of the hierarchy of a particular country do not compromise the Church. Next we have, in the first place, the right to presume that a course of conduct pursued by the Catholic priests of any country during several years has the full approval of the Papacy. If the conduct is likely to arouse disgust or criticism in other countries we do not look for the publication of Papal letters or other messages supporting it, unless, as in the case of the Spanish rebellion, only a minority of radical folk condemn the policy. But we need no evidence. The Vatican has its international bureau (congregations) in Rome and its Nuncios (ambassadors) in every capital to keep it fully informed. No one would, in fact, for a moment suggest that the Papacy is not fully aware of the language in which German and Italian bishops have thoroughly approved the successive steps taken by the Nazis and Fascists in their diabolical attempts to get world-powers.
It is not we who say that the Pope is bound to correct any such moral aberrations. It is the Catholic apologist who says it. It is his boast that there is a unique moral authority in his Church which makes it far more valuable to civilization than other Churches, and he means that it has rigorously controlled agencies in every land and surveys the world with a moral sense that cannot be adulterated by national interests. The Church of England, he says, is bound to have a British outlook; the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States an American outlook; the Lutheran Church a German outlook. But the head or central station of the Roman Church sees no national boundaries and is serenely independent of national prejudices in its judgments. And since it is the local clergy in each country who interpret Catholic doctrine, on both faith and morals, to the people, one of the chief functions of the Vatican is to see that they apply it in all its purity. The miserable subterfuge that the Pope is merely overlooking a little patriotic weakness in the German or the Italian hierarchy when it blesses crime on a monstrous scale and criminals immeasurably more guilty than the murderers or rapers of individuals is an abandonment of all claim to moral authority in the Church of Rome.
We may go further and say that corruption in the national hierarchies is even more discreditable to the Church of Rome than corruption at the Vatican. I need not linger in explaining that. It is from their priests, who are rigorously controlled by the bishops, that Catholics have to expect sound moral judgment on collective as well as individual problems. Not one Catholic in hundreds even reads the Encyclicals which the Popes issue about once a decade, and most of those who do require the guidance of a priest or a Catholic writer on the meaning of these lengthy and jejune documents in which a few grains of medieval “wisdom” or amateurish statements on modern problems are diluted in gallons of Latin verbiage. It is very little different with the addresses, etc., of the Pope which appear more frequently in the Catholic weekly. In actual life it is from the religious instruction of early years, continued in the priests’ sermons, that the Catholic forms his judgment.
And this “Catholic point of view,” which the apologists rate so highly that the Church demand’s special consideration of it from the legislators at Washington, has no more unity, no more real catholicity (universality), than that of any other creed. On the greatest social-moral issues, the really vital issues, of our time — the amount of freedom and tolerance to grant, the suppression of greed and violence, the desirability of peace — you get practical unanimity in the Protestant Episcopal Church or the Church of England, the Baptist or the Methodist Church, whether its members live in America, Europe, Asia, or Africa. But in the Church of Rome you have a monstrous moral discord. The German, Italian, or Japanese Catholic is taught by his priests to support enthusiastically just what the American or British Catholic denounce’s as diabolical. The ideal given by his priests to the Spaniard or the Brazilian, even the French or the Austrian, today would, if those countries were Protestant, draw the bitterest invective or the most self-satisfied irony from the Catholic apologist. Which, he would ask, is your Protestant morality, and what judgment does it pass on five years of revolting outrage from the bombing of Guernica or the rape of Abyssinia to the treachery of Japan? But all these monstrously conflicting voices on the gravest issues are Catholic not Protestant or atheistic. In other words that world-wide expansion in which the apologist takes such pride is one of the greatest moral weaknesses of his Church, and the claim that it has a supreme, cosmopolitan oracle who keep the teaching pure and harmonious is a brazen misstatement.
Indeed, it is not only a matter of the Church, in its most representative organ’s saying one thing in Vichy and another in London, one thing in Washington and another in Rome, Berlin, or Tokyo. In the same land, within the limits of the same patriotic influences, the voice wavers and changes like that of the Vicar of Bray; and this applies forcibly to the Vatican itself. But this will be seen more clearly after the next two chapters have been read. Here let me finish with this question of which element of the Church really represents it and whether that element can be repudiated by the others.
It is the same Church of Rome in every element, and the fact that it speaks a radically different moral language in its separate elements only proves again that the main aim of the Black International is pursued without scruple. To the lower clergy as the Black International we must not only add the monks, nuns, and teaching brothers but every paid worker; every Catholic teacher, journalist, organizer, secretary, and lay propagandist. The whole of Catholic Action, from the Knights of Columbus, to the Falangists of Franco’s black army, should be counted in it. Petain and Weygand, Leopold and Laval, are part of it. Below all their discord they follow a consistent purpose, the aggrandizement of the Church, which means the protection or increase of the power and wealth of the Black International. From above one maxim seeps down to the lowest and most hoodwinked stratum of workers. It is called “the good of the Church,” and this is unctuously explained to be the good of the world in the highest sense. What we outsiders, who outnumber Catholics by six to one in America and nearly thirty to one in Britain, reply to this excuse for “Catholic Action” we shall see in the final chapter.
How did the Vatican hope to profit by its alliance with the Axis powers? Even those who might hesitate to agree that the Black International always seeks its own aggrandizement in its policy will not question that it did so in supporting Italy Germany, and Japan. They offered the Vatican certain advantages. If any American Catholic were to plead that the Vatican supported them simply because it approved of their “ideology” he would have to admit that from the start the Vatican condemned democracy and was opposed to liberty as it is understood in democratic lands. The first alliance was with Italy, and no dictator was louder or more scornful in his denunciation of democracy, freedom, and liberalism than Mussolini. Fascism, he said, “marched to victory over the rotting corpse of freedom.” And the second most outstanding principle of his ideology was his glorification of war and his claim that peace corrupts a nation. He had very many admirers in other lands, it is true, but they expressly condemned these principles of his and professed his real merit in their eyes was, of course, his persecution of Socialism and Communism — only to admire his efficiency; and with this supposed virtue of Fascism the Vatican had nothing whatever to do. This applies fully to Germany also, for Hitler’s essential appeal to the nation was to substitute Nazism for democracy and to expand Germany by wars of conquest. Japan was equally anti- democratic and even more bent upon wars of aggression.
I need not repeat the evidence that the Vatican was fully aware of this. Nazism developed under the very nose of the present Pope when he was Nuncio for eleven years in Munich and Berlin. As he has lived in Italy, in the highest official capacity of the Vatican since the end of 1929 he is equally aware of every facet of Fascism. Whatever defects you may attribute to the Vatican’s intelligence-service you cannot doubt its full acquaintance with the aims of the Axis powers. What, then, attracted it to and kept it bound up to this day with these bloody-minded anachronistic forces?
In the first place, of course, their promise to destroy Socialism and Communism which were, as I amply proved, ravaging the Church even more rapidly than modern middle-class culture was. And in this the Vatican shrewdly calculated that it would have the sympathy and support of those elements of the democracies, wealth and the ruling class, which alone matter to it. They are much too refined and humane to sanction the principle of bloody persecution or violent suppression, but this did not oblige them to shed tears when the Fascist powers applied the principle to Socialism and promised to extend it to that pestilential swamp, Soviet Russia. That is the chief reason why British and American Catholics found nothing wrong in the Vatican’s alliance with super-crooks until the scoundrels double-crossed them and turned upon themselves.
The Vatican had always courted the applause of these classes and of the ruling class everywhere by condemning Socialism. Even in America, where medieval Italian principles are dressed in dungarees, so to say, the Church’s condemnation of Socialism was sustained. You may remember Msgr. Ryan fulsomely assuring America that Socialism was so clearly immoral that if Rome ordered American Catholics to submit to a Socialist government they would conscientiously refuse. A very golden sentiment! But if the Church never interferes in politics what is the basis of this heroic attitude? It is, the apologists say — and the Pope lays down in condemning Socialism in the Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno — that private ownership is a moral right and the refusal of it is therefore against the moral law. I could write a pleasant page on the topic. What is the range of this moral principle? Every in Russia folk own a good many things personally, while even in America very large numbers of men and women who are far from immoral consider that the private ownership of, for instance, monition industries is very seriously wrong. But we will not linger by the way. The Church of Rome fabricated the moral principle of private ownership so as to prove to governments and wealthy folk that its influence over 200,000,000 people could be very useful to them.
In our age of confusion it is difficult to trace contemporary developments but as far as I can discover this was at first the chief feature that led the Vatican into alliance with Italy, Germany, and the Spanish Falangists. Its connection with Japan is different, since it had in that country no large body of Catholics which was being disrupted by Communism. But there is one secret about its bargain with Japan. If it would use its influence to keep America and Britain amiable and oblivious of the need of warlike preparation until Japan was ready to strike it would be rewarded with most-favored-nation (or sect) treatment for its missions in Japan and all territory conquered by it. It took the promise as a hint at a monopoly of the Christian missions, and it richly deserves the anxiety which the most recent laws on foreign religions cause it. Japan meant, of course, to suppress Christianity completely in Eastern Asia and the Pacific Islands once its conquest was accomplished.
In the case of Germany at first the Vatican contemplated only the suppression of Socialism and Communism, to which it was loosing millions of its subjects, and an assurance that its own institutions would be respected. The Nazis, probably with a good laugh over a bottle of wine behind the muncio’s back, solemnly promised to respect Catholic schools, seminaries, charitable institutions, newspapers, and associations; all of which they have ruined. All that one need say about that is that for once the Vatican surprises us. Pacelli, who saw the early development of the Nazi party at Munich and the later development in Berlin, certainly knew the character of its leaders. What surprises us is the low degree of intelligence which it betrayed in trusting their promises.
In the case of Italy the promise made to the Church was far larger and has been much better kept; which is no proof of virtue but reflects the fact that the Vatican now rules the majority of the nation — not one-sixth of it, as in Germany — and could make serious trouble. The Vatican knew that the Fascists would find it very difficult ever to take back the political independence granted to it and the greater part of the $90,000,000 that went with this. But I explained that the Concordat gave the Church even greater advantages, since Mussolini needed the Pope’s help far more than Hitler did. It gave the clergy a great increase of income, a religious control of the schools, and the incorporation in the civil law of very important clauses of the Canon Law. The Church received a very high price and has been scrupulously honest in doing what it contracted to do; the Papacy was not to say a word against any of the brutalities perpetrated by Italy and was to allow the bishops and clergy to tell the people that they were glorious victories both for the state and the Church.
The Papal ambition or plan to profit by the conquests of the greedy and callous adventurers grew with the growth of their programs. Hitler’s program in 1932 did not read beyond the Ukraine in the east and Alsace-Lorraine in the west. Mussolini’s program was still confined to the recovery by war of Savoy, Corsica, Dalmatia, Malta, and Tunisia. As we saw, the amazing supineness and obtuseness of the western democracies encouraged the growth of these programs until Germany and Italy were to share the Old World with Japan and make a shot at the New World. They still found the Pope’s soporific influence in France, Britain, and America very useful and they encouraged him to cultivate imperialistic dreams of his own. In the wake of these noble conquests of the world he was going to bring under the Vatican larger stretches of the earth than any other Pope has dreamed of since the 16th Century.
This great Catholic League of Nations was to have three sections. One was the Iberian section, bringing into at least a cultured and spiritual unity Spain, Portugal, and all the Latin- American countries. The idea is known in Spain and much discussed as “Hispanidad.” Literally it means “Spanishness” or the Spanish spirit. Spanish Catholicism is such a beautiful and lofty thing — don’t laugh just yet — that it must smooth out Portuguese idiosyncrasies, when Hitler has annexed Portugal to Spain, and must embrace all America from Ciudad Juarez to Tierra del Fuego. In October (1941) the Spaniards established a Council of the Spanish- Speaking World, and the Falangist papers quite seriously gave President Roosevelt a warning to keep his hands off South and Central America. The London press reported them in November saying that “Roosevelt’s tutorship is unsolicited” and that “Spaniards are the only ones entitled to look after Spanish America.” Franco has found it necessary to give in public a comical assurance that he has no secular designs on territory in South America; that Spain’s “hegemony” will be purely cultural and religious.
I do not know how far Catholics prevent these insolent pleasantries from appearing in the American press, but the Vatican and the Spanish hierarchy and government are portentously serious about the idea, and Franco is stupid enough, in spite of his modest words to think that when German Fifth Columnists have destroyed the existing governments in Latin America Hitler will allow Spain to annex them. The idea is directly inspired by the language which the Papacy addressed to the Spaniards during and after the Rebellion. On April 16, 1939, Pope Pius XII broadcast a message — reproduced by his biographer Rankin in The Pope Speaks, (1941, p. 145) — in the course of which he Said:
“The nation chosen by God as the principal instrument for the evangelization of the New World and as the impregnable bulwark of the Catholic faith has given the loftiest proof to the champions of the materialistic atheism of our age that above everything stand the eternal values of religion and the spirit.”
Perhaps it is necessary to explain that he means the glorious victory of Franco over what he would call the rebels. I am not in these books underrating the ability of Pacelli but such language betrays a mental squint that makes him totally Unfit to guide large bodies of men. He completely ignores the fact that it was Germany and Italy who for their own purposes took up a handful of Spanish rebels and Moorish mercenaries and conquered Spain for Franco, and he quite solemnly represents the bravery of Franco’s Spanish troops as a lesson for the Russians who, without a single foreign soldier, have beaten the greatest military power of all time fighting on a single front!
The whole idea is, in fact, so fatuous and based upon such a, mass of lies and legends that it would not be worth discussing except as an illustration of Catholic culture and mentality. Franco himself told his followers after the victory that they were going to restore the glories of the Catholic Spain of the Conquistadors, of Ferdinand and Isabella and all the other grand Castiliai monarchs. That is, in fact, the main idea of Hispanidad; and it rests upon as gross a fabric of historical untruth as you will find anywhere.
We acknowledge the valor in fighting of the medieval Spanish Knights — except, significantly, that great Catholic hero Ferdinand, who never fought for a thing if he could get it by lying and treachery — but with that virtue they shared all the vices of the knights of the so-called age of chivalry. They were densely ignorant, licentious, brutal, and dishonorable. They conquered the Moors taking one province at a time during three centuries, only with the very considerable assistance of knights and soldiers — hundreds of thousands of them — from other lands, and loot was the guiding star of them all. As to the Castellan dynasty which the final conquest put on the throne of Spain half its members were selfish, sensual, and stupid, and the other half blind with fanaticism; and it would be difficult to say which type did the more harm to Spain. It is at all events a notorious historical fact that they ruined Spain in little over a century. It had inherited the brilliant civilization of the Arabs, to which it added the gold of America, but in two centuries its population fell from 30,000,000 to about 7,000,000 and it was despised as the poorest and most ignorant country in Europe. Of the Bourbon dynasty of Catholic monarchs in the 19th Century it is enough to say that they were the most selfish and licentious in Europe, and every member of the dynasty was expelled from Spain by the people except Alfonso XII, who died prematurely of consumption brought on by his excesses.
This beautiful Hispanidad slew more unarmed democrats to protect its own corruption and the Church, in the 19th Century than any other country in Europe except Naples, and with a ferocity that Naples did not surpass. This “nation chosen by God” presents today the most sordid spectacle in the world, apart from countries overrun by the Axis troops (the Pope’s allies), of injustice and brutal intolerance. In a previous booklet I gave the report of a French Catholic girl on the brutality with which men and women “suspected of Communism” — which means anybody but a loyal Spanish Catholic — are treated in the jails, British and American Protestants also are vilely treated. The American Protestant Defense League has issued a bulletin on the subject. It says that 30 Protestant ministers have been expelled and will probably be executed if they return; that two-thirds of the workers of the Spanish Gospel Mission have been either executed, exiled, or imprisoned; that four-fifths of the Protestant churches and schools have been closed; and that no Spaniard who does not attend mass can get employment.
That is real Hispanidad, as it is understood by Franco and the Vatican; the noble Spanish Spirit which the Catholic papers, and too many others, treat so respectfully. It is just a system for protecting wealth and the Church by every brutal and unscrupulous means. The latest neutral observers who have contrived to visit Spain and survive consistently report that the poverty and misery of the mass of the people are horrible, but the hotels and restaurants for the rich in Madrid are as gay and well-supplied as ever. These “noble” Catholic landowners, these highly polished “gentlemen of Spain,” have always regarded the workers as beasts of burden. They have less contempt for a beggar than for a worker. And this is the high Catholic culture that they are, they think, going to spread over America from El Paso to Patagonia!
I am not taking this dream of Franco and the Vatican seriously but showing the utter stupidity and falseness of things which they take seriously. The plan does, as little credit to the intelligence as it does to the moral sentiments of the Vatican. It confirms every charge which I have made in these booklets, and the idea of invading America with such a culture, which Franco Certainly hopes to follow up with political control under a restored Spanish monarchy, may help the American public to demand an end of the representation of the United States or its President at the Vatican.
This idea of a Spanish Union from the Philippines to Barcelona has grown out of an earlier idea of a bloc or League of Catholic powers. When France and Belgium were “liberated” from their non- Catholic governments by the Germans the Vatican saw at once the possibility of uniting them to Spain, Portugal, and Italy as a Catholic bloc. The Pope, we saw, sent a feeble letter of Sympathy to Leopold — the man who had betrayed it — on the invasion of Belgium “against its wish,” and the Osservatore said something about a German “ruthless war of extermination.” This “unauthorized” utterance annoyed the Italians at the time, but the Pope was silent about the far worse invasion of France and his relations with Germany were not severed. There was, in fact, ample evidence, as we saw, that the passing of France and the French Empire under the priest-ridden Petain was very welcome to the Vatican and, as is an axiom in Catholic theology, “if you approve an end you approve the means to it”; which is only to be distinguished by a microscope from “The end justifies the means.” To France, once more Catholic, Italy, Spain, and Portugal would be added and Poland, in so far as Germany permitted a restoration, Hungary, Slovakia, and the detached Catholic provinces of Yugo-Slavia; a bloc of countries with a total population of about 150,000,000, all living under the drastically intolerant Catholic law.
Doubtless the Vatican clings to the illusion, though it pales before the reality of events. Petain soon found that the French people compelled him to withdraw some of the measures which the clergy had got him to pass. Possibly the Pope, who must have known that Hitler is pledged in his book to bring France down in the dust, had an uneasy feeling that when Hitler no longer needed to make a show of moderation in his dealings with France there would not be much of it left. Alsace-Lorraine, the most Catholic part, would certainly go. Savoy, with Nice and Monte Carlo if not a larger stretch of the French coast, would go to Italy; and it is credibly reported that the Nazis have a plan to annex the industrial north of the country to a German-controlled Belgium. Poland, always terribly poor, would be but the ghost of a beggar before Hitler relinquishes it, if he ever did. lt was even possible that Italy and its new province’s would pass under the control of Germany.
Hence this enfeebled and uncertain plan of a European bloc, which might check Hitler even if he were victorious, had to be strengthened by Hispanidad and an extension of Vatican control over the east. I dealt with the latter at some length in an earlier book. Doubtless the Germans, who handed out promises as glibly as the fraudulent money (printed in Holland) which they use in France, promised the Pope that when they had conquered all the countries in which the Greek or other Oriental Catholic Church predominated they would replace this with the Roman. That would mean a very large extension of the Vatican’s influence eastward to match the Spanish extension westward.
It is unnecessary to say that all this depended essentially upon the use of force. No Catholic is more skeptical about the efficacy of prayer or argument in these mass conversions than a Roman prelate. But the good Germans would keep their promises; and they would indeed find the Pope and his agents far more useful in keeping oriental peoples submissive than the national hierarchies and clergy whom they were to displace. Not counting Russia and its 180,000,000 people this displacement of the Greek Church would give Rome 50,000,000 new member’s.
Moreover, the Vatican was promised a very rich prize in the religious control of Palestine. A very impartial British daily, the Manchester Guardian, published the details of the compact with the Vatican. Italy was to have the secular rule of Palestine and the Vatican a religion monopoly, the entire Jewish population being transferred to a reconquered Abyssinia. It has been suggested that Syria would then be, as far as secular rule is concerned, ceded to Turkey on condition that it maintain its neutrality in the war. If it seems incredible that the Pope should enter into a compact with Turkey — it is really far less strange than its alliance with Japan — I may recall that there have recently been singularly amiable exchanges between Moslem (or atheist-ruled) Turkey and Papal Rome. The Herald-Tribune (June 15) published the news, from its Istanbul correspondent, that the Pope had just sent as a gift to the Turkish Prime Minister a copy of a map of the vast Ottoman Empire of the 16th Century made by a famous Italian geographer of that time. What did the Pope expect in return? His gold medals and golden roses are given always for services rendered or favors to come.
Let me, finally, recall that I am not stating what advantages the Papacy would derive from a victory of the Axis but what advantages were promised to it or that it thought it would derive. The first and greatest profit, the destruction of Socialism and Communism, was certain. The democracies were not of the least use to Rome in removing that deadly menace. They were too soft to use violence or were misguided enough to trust argument and persuasion. The Axis powers in their own interest would make a drastic end of Communism and Socialism, and they were quite willing to go on to suppress Freemasonry and every critical movement that Rome hated. On the second point, the extension of its power in addition to the recovery by force of its apostates, the Vatican gambled. The Axis powers might keep their promises. Rome might be able to restore the corpse of the Middle Ages in the 20th Century.
I am not going to waste time in discussing the sheer folly of trusting the word of men who for years have made lying a normal part of their procedure, and I leave it to the reader to apply his own epithets to a gamble of this sort; a gamble, in effect, that stakes the lives of millions, the liberty of tens of millions, and the elementary well-being of hundreds of millions against a possible profit to the Black International. I have not much space left to consider two points of some importance; how the Vatican contrived to keep Catholics in the democratic countries loyal and Submissive while it thus allied itself with their deadly enemies, and what Catholic apologists have to say in defense of its action.
In so far as the first question refers to France, which we must count one of the leading democracies until its collapse, we have seen the answer. Rome rendered very important services to the French government, such as checking the chronic rebelliousness in Alsace-Lorraine and condemning some of the leader’s of the Royalist-Fascist movement. We may easily grant that no Frenchman could be expected to foresee, the disgraceful part that Catholics, like Petain and Laval would play in a time of crisis. French statesmen in making concessions to the Church and discouraging the very powerful and very vocal anti-clerical movement that had flourished before 1914 thought that they were securing the unity of their country in case it was ever threatened by Germany. There was, of course, far too much trust in the Maginot line and the Belgians, but we cannot blame the French for not being aware of their appalling danger from Catholic Fifth Columnists. It is clear that even patriotic Catholics did not foresee this. Amongst the refugees from the Vichy rule, for instance, is Jacques Maritain, the leading and very orthodox Catholic writer of modern France. We must remember, too, that a number of Catholic Royalist-Fascist writers attacked the Papacy very warmly, and this helped to throw dust in the eyes of democrats. Paul Courcoural’s work, La fin de la querelle (1929) is a bitter attack on the Vatican, and he quotes several other Catholic critics. One of the points made by these critics was that the Vatican, and he quotes several other Catholic critics. One of the points made by these Catholic critics was that the Vatican displayed grave in incompetence in allowing itself to be duped by governments.
In Great Britain the Catholic defense would be that if the press generally and the leading statesmen not only failed to point out any danger in Fascism and Nazism but habitually paid compliments, until Munich, to those movements and their leaders one cannot blame Catholics for failing to see anything wrong in the Vatican’s alliance with them. Up to a point we must admit the defense, at least as far as the general body of British Catholics are concerned. But we are not here concerned with the general body of Catholics in any country. We are studying the action of the Black International which rendered such service to the Axis powers and helped to bring such appalling evil upon the race. As to the hierarchy and the clergy in Britain and America — for this consideration applies to both countries — I have quoted passage after passage which Shows that they fully shared the principle, or lack of principle, on the strength of which the Roman obligarchy and the bishops of Italy and Germany supported iniquity. Whatever the laity knew or did not know — and we may at least say that educated men and women amongst them are unintelligible to us if they imagine that a Church which forbids them to read critics is likely to tell them the truths which the critic’s do — the higher clergy at least knew perfectly well that the Vatican entered upon most cordial relations with Japan after the rape of China, that it signed a Concordat with the Nazis while their hands were red with innocent blood, that it saw the Italian hierarchy under its eyes applauding one Fascist outrage after another, and so on.
On an earlier page I quoted the saying of Cardinal Hinsley that Mussolini certainly had grave faults but he must be supported lest graver evils happen. He plainly meant that the Vatican must continue in alliance with the Fascist party — must, through the Italian bishops and priests continue to keep the people loyal to Mussolini and approve all his actions (except infringements of the Concordat) — because if Mussolini fell Socialism might seize power in Italy. That is just the sentiment that has inspired the policy of the Black International through ten years of increasing demoralization. “The good of the Church,” the protection of its power and wealth, is above all other considerations.
It was the same in regard to Germany. The horrible outrages on Jews, Communists, Socialists, etc., were still being discussed with loathing throughout the world in the summer of 1933 when Pacelli signed his Concordat with the Nazis. That agreement stifled Catholic criticism of the moral character of Nazism and was welcomed with obsequious language, as a new triumph of the Vatican, a new German pilgrimage to Canossa, in the Catholic press of Britain and America. Next year was the Blood Purge, the murder without the pretence of a trial of distinguished Catholics who were lumped together with pimps and pansies, and the Catholic press was remarkably restrained. In short, until Germany forced war upon Britain itself, or clearly showed after Munich that it would probably do so, the British Catholic hierarchy and the press they controlled had little criticism of Germany except in regard to its “persecution of the Church.” To close Catholic schools and institutions when a monstrous epidemic of vice had been detected in the priests and brother’s who controlled them invited the gravest censure; to dissolve Catholic associations or fraternities and sororities after solemnly promising to respect them was an outrage. But that the German bishops, under orders from the Vatican, should forbid Catholics to help to keep out of power a party, with malodorous leaders, which was pledged to destroy the democratic constitution, to let loose a flood of criminals and sadists upon the Jews and Communists, to educate the nation deliberately for war, seems to have been a matter almost of indifference to the Catholic press of Britain and America.
A well-known British Catholic propagandist, Christopher Hollis, wrote in the Catholic Herald (November 15, 1940):
“In America it is very easy, for instance, to publish accounts of the persecution of the Church in Germany in the non-Catholic press, but it is almost impossible to get Catholic publishers of papers to print anything of the kind.”
You will smile at the hit at the American Catholic press. By that time Britain was not merely at war with Germany but had suffered murderous raids which had stirred whatever was left of free conscience in the world. So the British Catholic papers were quite willing to tell how the Nazis persecuted the innocent Church. In point of fact numbers of American papers also had complained of such persecution. Cardinal Mundelein never failed to get a hearing for his maledictions of the Nazis. What excites our disgust is not that many Catholic papers refused to censure Germany even when it persecuted religion but that none of them, until their countries were at war with that country, attacked it for the immeasurably worse things of which it was guilty or warned the race, of which they professed to be the surest guide, what Germany, Italy, and Japan were preparing for it. Press, clergy, hierarchy, and Vatican all worked together, and on a common principle: the good of the Church.
The situation in America was in some respects worse than in England, even when we have made allowance for the very large number of Germans, Italians, and Irish in the Catholic body. The bishops and the educated Catholic’s knew their Vatican quite well. It had airily and publicly censured them in 1899 for claiming that Catholic principles could be reconciled with modern thought. The quarrel which followed within the sacred enclosure gave the parochially-minded Italians a new idea of the importance of America and, as the Catholic Teeling says “from that day to this no Pope has spoken out.” He adds an explanation which, if it came from my pen, would be called wantonly provocative and malicious. This strict Catholic, in good order at Rome, says:
“The reason would seem to have been that America has provided an ever-increasing supply of funds and an ever-increasing supply of missionaries” (The Pope in Politics, p. 150).
So for the last thirty years American apologists have been permitted to present Catholic teaching to the public in a form that would have made the old Italian cardinals gasp with horror. Not only is the Church of Rome tolerant of other religions (when it is in a minority) but it is the very author and originator of the idea of religious toleration, which was born in Catholic Maryland; which is, as I showed in the Appeal to Reason Library, a lie in every syllable. Not only was its teaching consistent with American ideas of liberty and democracy but the great Catholic theologians of the Middle Ages really inspired what we call these modern ideas. I am not sure if I have not read works by American priests in which it is “proved” that Adam’s, Jefferson, and Washington — they do draw the line at Paine because they think he was an Atheist — derived their sentiments from Aquinas and the Jesuit Suarez! I have made merry with all this elsewhere.
This sort of thing continued during the years when the Vatican maintained intimate relations with the Fascists and Nazis and imposed a Fascist form on every Catholic state it could influence. No one seems to have seen the joke when Seldes, in his learned work on the Vatican, boasted: “There is no guillotine, no elected Chamber, in the state of Vatican City.” No one questioned Pacelli, when he visited the United States in 1936, about the sequel to his visit to South America in 1934, when democracy was murdered in nearly every republic and the leaders of the men who advocated it were tortured in jail. No one asked why the beautiful democratic principles of the Church were trampled under foot in Quebec, which is far more Catholic than Italy or Spain.
The summit of the irony is reached when, Germany and Italy having entered upon a truculent and utterly unscrupulous war for the destruction of liberty and democracy everywhere, the Catholics of America were the least disposed of all the citizens to help to cheek them. It became a stereotyped phrase of the press that the Catholics were “the core of the isolationists.” What you probably called a splendid struggle for the preservation of democracy, freedom, and every element of decency in our civilization most of the Catholic bishops, priests, and papers swept aside as a stupid squabble of these Europeans about their respective idealogies. The powerful Jesuit organ America attacked President Roosevelt and demanded that no munitions for Britain should be made in America. The British Catholic Herald repeatedly published such messages as this from Washington:
“The main obstacle to pro-British sentiment, and one which has been giving the greatest concern to the authorities at Washington, has been the attitude of American Catholics” (November 15, 1940), and January 3, March 14, etc., 1941).
In the following summer (Reynolds News, June 29, 1941), the very impartial H.N. Brallsford, who was then in America, reported it as strong as ever. In the British press Cardinal Dougherty, Cardinal O’Connell — were they unable to shed their Irish bitterness even in a grave crisis of civilization? — and other leading prelates were said to be urging that Britain should be left to its fate.
My American readers will know more about all this than I do, but, while we were aware that many Catholics, even some bishops, in America were so disgusted at this callous belittlement of a mighty struggle for civilization, the spectacle of the great majority urging a denial of help to Britain while the most acute observers in Washington doubted if it could survive alone and the cause of civilization over half the world would go down with it, was too much even for the British brand of the Black International. It relaxed its censorship of the press and for once let a fact which was gravely discreditable to the Church go through.
That this attitude was inspired by the Vatican became quite clear when Russia was drawn into the war. The Catholic opposition to helping Britain was intensified. William Broun, Washington correspondent of Reynolds News, the only quite honest and independent Sunday paper in Britain (though, like all the others, subject to Catholic influence), cabled (October 12) this news and added:
“In fact, those who wanted the triumph of reaction and Fascism in the Civil War in Spain now want to see Fascism triumph in Russia. That is to be expected.”
In other words, we have, as I said, one consistent and inexorable policy underlying all the superficial variations of clerical action in various countries; the good of the Church. Many very gravely doubt whether Britain, standing alone and making blunder after blunder under its Conservative leaders, could possibly have held its ground if Russia had fallen and Japan intervened. All the sophistry with which the Irish prelates of America and Australia and the Catholic naval and military leaders of France decked their sheer hatred and jealousy of England cannot conceal what would have been the consequences to Europe, Asia, the northern half of Africa, and possibly of South America, of such an event.
Yet the one development that promised to save Britain and civilization, the challenge of Russia, not only gave new strength to Catholic isolationism in America but actually caused British Catholics to waver and fumble for new formulae to reconcile their Papalism and their patriotism. They had laid down in advance that there must be no alliance with the hated Bolsheviks. On May 31, 1940, when the question of an approach to Stalin was being discussed, the Catholic Herald had said, flamboyantly:
“Far better to go down with our honor intact than clutch at a filthy straw.”
To such depths of stupidity and indifference to human welfare had the Vatican’s ten year crusade against Russia dragged the Catholic world. One of the very few Catholic members of the House of Commons spoke in public of Nazism and Bolshevism as two evils and added: “We are not fighting the one which is the worst.” In the first months of the Russian war Catholics were a sorry spectacle. In England, where they had to have some regard for public feeling, they soon found the stupid formula that they would support the government in sending all possible help to Russia but it must be understood that they were not allying themselves with Communism or Atheism! In Canada Catholic’s organized a strike in one of the vitally important monition-enterprises. In Eire the chief Catholic weekly, the Standard, said:
“Those who do not want a German victory must now reflect on the social and religious implications of a Russo-British victory.”
In New Zealand the Catholic organ (Zealandia, July 3, 1941) fierily attacked Churchill’s promise to help Russia — help Russia to relieve England’s grave peril remember! — and said that it betrayed “a mentality which it is hoped does not indicate the opinion of the majority within the Empire” and that “to aid Soviet Russia even against our common foe is to invite the curse of God upon ourselves.” Could fanaticism further go? Or could you have a more flagrant illustration of its deadliness to man’s welfare?
A week ago I might have been tempted to close this chapter with an hilarious paragraph on how the Pope, after winding up his Catholic followers during ten years to a hatred of Russia which has made them opposed or very feebly Sustain the policy of their democratic governments in a time of crisis, seems to be deserting them. I quoted the words attributed to the American envoy, who had an hour’s private talk with Pius XII before he left Rome; the statement that the Pope recognized in private that while Germany was thoroughly corrupt, Russia was merely good with the wrong sort of goodness. We had had quite a string of messages (unauthorized) from places where Mr. Myron C. Taylor, on his leisurely way home had chats with Spanish and Portuguese authorities and with Catholic officials from Eire and Vichy. One day we learned that the Pope was about to bless democracy; the next day that he had refused Mr. Roosevelt’s request that he should do so. Meantime Japan has flung all its forces and its unscrupulous cunning on the side of the Axis, and the Pope is again the Great Neutral.
Indeed his very latest pronouncement is, in spite of all its diplomatic twists, pro-Axis. I am writing this on Christmas Eve, and I am interrupted by the arrival of the evening paper. It runs the heading, to please Catholics, “The Pope attacks oppression.” And the very first line of his Christmas message speaks of “the New Order” as an established or certain-to-be-established fact, while the last line rejoices in “the admirable spectacle of valor in the defense of the Latin soil.” Will any priest suggest that Britons, Americans, Dutch, or Russians are defending Latin soil somewhere? Or that it is they who claim to establish a New Order? The rest of the message is the usual panegyric of liberty (as practiced in Spain or Italy) and justice. Mussolini would certainly say his withers are unwrung. Hitler will probably use his copy for shaving- paper. Such is the position of the austere, serene, inflexible, single-toned oracle of the Church of Rome in the gravest crisis that has fallen upon the world for fourteen centuries.
I am, alas, unable to threaten my readers with eternal torment if they read the other side, so I always anticipate it, especially as it usually provides a lot of good clean fun. This is one of the times when it does. Naturally the defense is not yet fully formulated. There might be no need for one. General Leonard Wood once told me, as we drank beer together in the Harvard Club, that during the Civil War an adjutant rushed up to General Grant, who was sitting on a fence chewing a straw, and almost breathlessly told Grant that some necessary transport had not arrived. “Well,” said Grant, calmly, “if we win we won’t need it, and if we lose — well, I guess we won’t need it.”
The first and feeblest defense is that the Pope is not and never was, an ally of the Axis powers. Bunk. Japan was one of the first of the three to approach Rome, after the rape of Manchuria, and there is not the least ambiguity about its position. There was no need whatever to make a request at Rome for a controller of Catholic missions in Manchuria. That is a matter of routine. France, already rotten with Catholic intrigue, advised the Japs (I showed) to get into friendly and increasingly intimate relations with the Vatican so that it could use its Black International to damp in every country the anger and suspicion the Japs had incurred. The influence of Catholic agents and the Catholic press is the main cause why Japan could steal province after province of China and heap up forces for its pernicious designs without rousing the world.
Mussolini had already approached the Vatican and signed the famous Treaty and Concordat (1929). Again there is not the least ambiguity. Mussolini’s position was very insecure, and his royalist, military, and capitalist backers insisted that he should come to terms with the Pope, who could secure for him the absolute obedience of half the country in addition to his Fascist quarter. The Pope, who drove a hard bargain, got mighty advantages for the Church, but Mussolini got from him an absolute security of his position as a dictator and the enthusiastic support of the Italian hierarchy and the virtual acquiescence of the Pope himself in all his crimes. He could afford to let the Pope save his face with American and British Catholics by keeping silence. All that he wanted was the unity and enthusiasm of the nation. The bishops saw that he got them.
Germany approached the Vatican through Von Papen (and probably Thyssen) in 1932. It came with a blatant program of aggression in its hands, and it dipped these hands deep in blood before it signed the Concordat. By that Concordat the Vatican got promise that the Nazis, who were out to destroy all freedom but their own, would grant remarkable liberties to the Catholic body. What did the Vatican promise in return? Nothing? Don’t make us laugh in so serious a time. It promised that the Church would “keep out of politics”; which meant, as in Italy, that the Pope would never pass any moral judgment on Hitler’s program, methods, and crimes, and that the Black International in Germany would fully support them. We have seen the promise fulfilled. Peevish complaints about non- observance of the Concordat do not count especially when they are accompanied by assurances that there is not the least intention of weakening Hitler’s authority in the minds of Catholics.
This alliance of the Papacy with the arch-criminals during ten years, and still more the intimate alliance with them of the Vatican-controlled hierarchy of each country, rendered them a most valuable service in diverting attention from their corrupt characters and criminal aims. How could they be even suspicious characters when the Pope and the Holy Church gave them this guarantee of respectability? This service was doubled by the Pope reserving all his moral invectives for Russia and concentrating suspicion upon it. And this provides the answer to the second defense of the Black International; that it is concerned with interests of men which are so vital that any “temporal” — call them human — evils that may ensue from its policy of promoting those interests above all cannot be taken into account.
These controversies are apt to become fights with words, like men belaboring each other with inflated bladders containing dry peas. Let us be realistic. Three out of four of us regard these “spiritual interests” and “eternal salvations” as no more real than astrological predictions. In fact, if you set aside — not because we look down on them but because they do not matter in this connection — the tens of million’s of churchgoers, colored folk and others, who know no more than they do, the great majority of us do not care one little damn about their heavens and hells, and if any body of officials like the Black International is prepared to endanger our peace and security, our prosperity and liberty, to say nothing of tens of millions of lives and billions of dollars of wealth that the world sadly needs, in the name of these ancient illusions the sooner they are excluded from public life the better. Cotton Mather was a philanthropist in comparison with them. They may hug and polish their little souls as much as they like in their darkened chapels. No one proposes to interfere with them. But it is time that the men and women of a modern community understood the situation clearly, and that the millions of vague individuals who live on the fringe of the Church or feel its social influence, who call themselves Catholics but smile at the heaven-and-hell business, stood out boldly for life and freedom. They now see the price they pay for supporting the Black International.
All quite sincere Catholics, which means little more than half of the nominal body, from the Pope to your Catholic neighbor would make this other-world appeal their main defense. Less than 100 years ago their fathers made it a ground for the persecution, where they had the power, of even Protestants. There was no salivation outside the Church of Rome. It is amazing to read the daring language in which their apologists today concede that there may be. Not, of course, if one is a Communist and Atheist. That is why any kind of violent suppression of Communism is in the real Interest of the race! It is true that the teaching of the Church here happily harmonizes with the sentiments of the privileged class, but that . . .
Let me shift to another line of thought which is less apt to induce biliousness. It is not in virtue of these moth-eaten dogmas that the Pope and the Catholic clergy got the ear’s of statesmen and such prestige in the press that they are able to exert so disastrous an influence. The cry is that “religion” is one of the chief foundations of the life of an orderly community. With that crudeness of thought that characterizes nearly all politicians on all subjects but polities they profess to believe that the Churches are the source of whatever respect we have for justice, social decency, and neighborly behavior. And amongst these Churches the Roman has with its authoritative head and its international organization, a unique position. It can render mighty social and civic service, and we must, we are told, not be surprised if in its zeal to render those services it at times blunders, or is tricked by crooked statesmen, or overlooks dangers that do not properly belong to its sphere.
I trust you admire bow I can talk like a Jesuit or a literary nun. I learned the craft fifty years ago. Seriously, this third line of defense, though the most likely to be presented when the need for apology becomes urgent, is the worst bunk of all. For this simple reason, I have just filled ten little books with proof that the Church of Rome instead of inspiring a love of justice and peace during the last ten years has, for its own corporate purposes, dulled the world’s sense of justice and seriously helped to divert its attention from the threat to its peace. This is not rhetoric. The attitude of Catholics, as reflected in their press and the utterances of their bishops, the whole world over has been that since their Holy Church and Holy Father could not possibly ally themselves with iniquity, the Axis powers could not be as corrupt as some represented, and those aggressive programs to which a few of us have tried to draw attention for the last five or six years must be just adolescent dreams which they have outgrown.
What in the name of common-sense is the use of proving to us that the Church of Rome and its Papacy could render most valuable service to the state and to what it calls our life here and now when in the gravest crisis of our lives, if not the gravest in history, it does not say one single word of approval of the forces that are trying to save civilization but consistently gives most important assistance to the forces that would, if they prevailed, destroy civilization in the sense in which all decent and sensible men have come to understand it?
Let us be as realistic as you like and leave rhetoric to priests, politicians, and editorial writers. In what way could the Church of Rome serve the race in a social-moral respect? Only by sternly and explicitly denouncing, not crime in the abstract but the men who commit it and warning the race that they are dangerous. And what is the actual record which we have surveyed? During ten years of open preparation for the most ghastly of crimes, ten year’s of steadily increasing perpetration of crime, the Pope has done nothing whatever but bless the abstract virtues of peace and justice, knowing perfectly well that the arch-criminals professed to aim at giving the world perpetual peace — when they have all the guns — and appeal every day to the “justice” of their cause and the “legitimate aspirations” of their people. Of the seven leading nations on whom the peace of the world and the maintenance of such justice as our social and political order embodies mainly depended — America, Britain, France, Russia, Germany, Italy, and Japan — the last three alone betrayed, indeed openly paraded, an intention to disturb the peace of the world, to destroy such political justice as we have won, and to trample upon such restraining decencies as we have been able to incorporate in international law. I have shown that the Pope never said one single word of condemnation of those three powers; that he, on the contrary, entered into and maintained the most friendly relations with them, thus helping to divert the suspicions of the world from them; that even when the struggle began all his references to peace and justice (including this latest Christmas message) were so framed that they confused the criminals and the police together in whatever censure they implied; and that the only explicit and violent attacks he made were upon the one power, Russia, that had the greatest interest in peace and could do most to save civilization.
Further, in what way could a Pope’s message have the effect which is so fulsomely attributed to it? Only when his local agents in any country, the hierarchy and clergy, consistently and explicitly applied it to the leaders or ruling class of that country. Well, they were, we saw, certainly consistent — in blessing the crimes and the criminals. If that sounds rhetorical quote me one single instance of a German bishop censuring the foul- minded Nazis or an Italian prelate censuring the Fascists on any ground other than their refusal to pay the Church the full price they had contracted to pay the Church for its support. Naturally one swallow would not make a summer. It happens that after this elaborate survey of the whole period I do not know a single instance. But I have given a hundred proofs, including collective letters of the whole episcopate, that the German and Italian hierarchies, individually, and officially, applauded every “conquest” of their bloody-minded rulers and never warned their people that their leaders were bringing an historic shame upon them, Add the conduct of the hierarchy and clergy in Spain, in Hungary, in Vichy France, in Slovakia, in South America and you have the real picture of what the Black International has done for the world.
But, says the apologist finally, and tearfully, the Church would have been persecuted and rendered helpless if it had not acted thus. If I were a Catholic I should be inclined to say: Would to God that it had been persecuted and rendered helpless! The world might not be in so desperate a plight. And what about this vast library of Catholic literature in which we read how it is so inflexible in its moral principles that in all ages its priests go to the stake rather than compromise; that it thrives on and is purified by persecution, and so on?
Enough of this trashy verbiage of apologists. We men and women of the modern age want only to know the facts and we need no priest and no Pope to tell us what to think about them. You will probably think three things. Firstly, that this scandalous cowering under the Catholic threat which prevents the press and our literary oracles from telling the truth about what is happening calls for serious consideration. Secondly, the respect which our politicians and statesmen pay to the Church of Rome and its “venerable Pontiff” is scandalously opposed to the interests of the nation and the race. Thirdly, that the apologists of the Catholic Church in America are particularly and scandalously untruthful. It is an economic corporation seeking to protect its wealth and power at any cost to the race. The 200,000,000 Catholics are just its feeding- ground. It has now sold civilization for thirty pieces of silver, and what will happen to it when we have prevented the devil from reaping the fruit of the bargain must surprise no man.