By Jesus J. Chao

3 of 11



Leaving aside his hatred for The Church, Hitler offered to negotiate a Concordat with the Holy See as a kind of détente while he was trying to consolidate his power grasp.

Pius XII explained in 1937 the reasons for reaching a Concordat with the German regime. "The Church", said the Pope, "was prompted by the desire to secure the freedom of The Church’s beneficent mission and the salvation of the souls in her care, as well as by the sincere wish to render the German people a service essential for its peaceful development and prosperity. Hence, despite many and grave misgivings, we decided not to withhold our consent, for we wished to spare the faithful in Germany, as far as humanly possible, the trials and difficulties they would have had to face given the circumstances, had the negotiations fallen through." Vice-Chancellor Franz Von Papen, a Catholic and a former member of the "Zentrum" party, acted on behalf of the German government.

Later, Cardinal Pacelli explained in the Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official newspaper: "The Church neither nourished excessive hopes nor intended any approval of the doctrines and tendencies of Nazism. Yet, it must be admitted that, in succeeding years, the Concordat brought certain advantages, or at least prevented greater evils. Though often violated, it did give Catholics a legal ground of defense, a platform from which to resist as long as possible the tide of persecution." Pacelli told the French diplomat François Charles-Roux, that he never regretted signing the Concordat, for without it, The Church would have had no legal basis for protest against the evils of the regime. His final remark was that he was under no illusion whatsoever: "They will scarcely break all the articles at the same time." (1)

The Holy See’s assessment of Hitler’s intentions was right on target. As early as July1933, and as soon as Hitler felt he had absolute control of Germany, he began not only the persecution of Jews but also of the Christians. The Nazis infiltrated the German Evangelical Federation (the Lutheran Church), removing those leaders who were opposed to Hitler’s agenda. Many of these ministers, such as the famous Deitrich Bonhoffer, died in concentration camps or prisons.

The persecution was even more intense for the Catholic Church. Gestapo agents attended Mass in order to arrest any priest who dared to criticize the regime. The Nazi’s propaganda machine presented the Catholic clergy as unpatriotic, and by 1940 they had closed down all Catholic schools and most Catholics associations.


1. Pius XII and the Holocaust, Myth and Reality

2. Pius XII & the Holocaust - Historical Frame

3. Pius XII and the Holocaust - 1933

4. Was Pius XII "Hitler's Pope"

5. Were Pius XII and the Church really silent during the Holocaust?

6. The Allies were slow in responding to the Pleas of the Jews

7. Pius XII - The forgotten victims of the Holocaust

8. The Rescue of the Jews: The Holy See made every possible effort to help the Jews

9. Pius XII and the Resistance

10. Pius XII- Allies slow in responding to the pleas of the Jews

11. Pius XII - Conclusion


Copyright © 2000 Jesus J. Chao

Printed on June 13, 2001 by Leap of Faith- www.faithleap.org  with Permission from Mr. Jesus J. Chao.


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