Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Emma Fattorini: Hitler, Mussolini, and the Vatican

A number of weeks ago I posted a link to Richard Bosworth's review of Fattorini's book published on the Times Higher Education on 20 October 2011. 

Bosworth's review is generally positive with a number of cautions and criticisms.  He asserts that Fattorini needed to go deeper into issues and that she has not been served well by the translation of the Italian into English. However, what Bosworth does not make clear is Fattorini's attempt to give a global portrait of the pontificate of Pius XI and place Germany and Italy within that context.  This is, I believe, her strength.  Nonetheless, I do agree with him that she needed to work more on Eugenio Pacelli and provide greater analysis of his role as Secretary of State. 

Book titles can be deceptive.  The Italian title - Pio XI, Hitler e Mussolini - is better, and Fattorini's work would have been better served by retaining it.  And yet, her work encompasses much more than this. 

I found her greatest strength in the recognition that any fruitful study of the papacy and the Vatican has to be seen through the matrix of religion and religious identity.  This is something I argued forcefully in my own work.  Pius XI was first and foremost a religious leader.  He viewed the world through the Tradition of Catholic Christianity, through his life-long religious practices and his strong devotion to Therese of the Child Jesus (1873-1897) the Discalced Carmelite nun from Lisieux he canonised in 1925.  The "little way" of Therese profoundly marked the religious life of Pius XI.  Her "Autobiography of a Soul" published shortly after her death taught that the spiritual path consisted not in doing great things, but in serving God in the ordinariness of everyday life, and doing the little things well.  Serving Christ in those around her, pondering on his life in the Gospels and remaining faithful to her religious duties in the Carmel, was Therese's antidote to a popular religious piety that often drew people away from the core essentials of the faith and ran the risk of becoming superstitions.  Pius saw in Therese's spirituality a pattern for Catholic Action - the movement that would empower lay Catholics to engage in the world around them, a world often hostile to institutional religion - and be a tool for the re-evangelisation of Europe.  This became part of the way the pope sought to provide Catholics with tools to combat anti-Catholic movements of the right and the left from the early 1920s.  Along with the very deliberate creation of the feast of Christ the King to demonstrate that the loyalty of the Catholic church was to Christ first and foremost, Pius XI endeavoured to lead the Church through a "rebirth of Christian Society" (title of Chapter 1).

Pius XI's relationship with Cardinal Pacelli is described clearly as that of two opposites who respected each other enormously, were close workers and who shared a common vision of the Church and a passion for the faith.  They were also two men marked by two very different ways of approaching issues.  Pius was forthright, blunt and spoke his mind forcefully without fear of favour.  He was known to have a fiery temper and was not above displaying his emotions, even in public. He was a deep thinker, read widely in many disciplines, especially theology, social justice and history, had a considerable grasp of world affairs, discussed strategies with Pacelli, but at the end of deliberations, he made decisions and acted accordingly.  He was also pope and expected his decisions to be obeyed. 

Pacelli was reticent, guarded and spoke his mind only after long considerations and usually in complex and highly refined diplomatic language.  He rarely lost his temper or showed emotion, and never in public. He was a deep thinker, read widely in many disciplines, but remained conservative in his opinions, had a phenomenal grasp of world affairs, discussed strategies with the pope, but found decision making to be an agonising process.  He was the servant of his master, the Vicar or Christ, and executed the pope's decisions faithfully.

Together Pius XI and Pacelli made a partnership between 1930 and 1939 that served the Catholic church well. 

Fattorini's use of the material from the Archivio Segreto Vaticano is detailed and covers a considerable part of the pontificate of Pius XI.  The use of recent projects such as Hubert Wolf's digital presentation of the Pacelli nunciature reports from 1918 and contemporary scholarship makes this book an important addition to our understanding of this period.

It is the use of archival material that provides another strength to Fattorini's work.  Her survey of the complex realities within the Roman curia, and the role played by the "black pope", the General of the Jesuits, Ledochowski, helps bring into perspective the responses of the Vatican to the "proffered hand" of the French communists, the Spanish civil war and then to Italy and Germany.

The chapters on Germany and Italy are the heart of the book.  But, they are enhanced through the survey of Vatican diplomacy from 1918 onwards and especially the awareness of realpolitik shared by Pius and Pacelli as well as the treatment of France, Spain and Mexico.

I share the conclusion that Fattorini makes about Pius' planned speech on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Lateran Accord.  It was looking more and more certain that Pius was convinced that a "show down" with Hitler and Mussolini was inevitable and he was more than ready for it.  The pope's death literally hours before he was to speak is one of those moments which tempt us with a "what if" speculation.  Pacelli's destruction of the speech is both testament to his obedience to papal protocol in his role as caretaker after Pius' death as well as a piece of circumstantial evidence pointing to a hope for a new direction.  It would be presumptuous to think that Pacelli hoped or believed he would be elected pope, so his actions as caretaker cannot be construed as a pre-emptive papal strike.

At the end of the book I had a far better understanding of Pius XI and a greater admiration for this pope who worked tirelessly to steer the Church without compromising to the dictators of whom he had a clear and accurate understanding.

I always begin reading a book with a quick look at the chapter headings, a glance at the index, and then go to the notes.  Here is where one finds evidence of scholarship.  There are 33 pages of detailed notes at the end of the text.  Of 380 notes, 94 or 25%, are references to Vatican archival material.  Many of the archive notes are accompanied by further details.  Fattorini is an historian who knows the importance of archives and also knows of their importance to other historians who wish to delve further into aspects she has opened up.

Does Fattorini add to the body of knowledge?  Much of the "big picture" is already well known.  Fattorini does what other historians do, and deepens our understanding of aspects of the period under study.  There is more work to be done on Pius XI.  Emma Fattorini has helped us come to a more complete appreciation of this highly significant man and his forceful voice that was heard between 1922-1939.  It is a book well worth reading.



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Kevin Madigan: Pope Pius XII, the Church and Nazi War Criminals

Kevin Madigan is a respected academic and writer.  I have republished one of his articles before.  In this review of two new books - Gerald Steinacher, "Nazis on the Run" (Oxford UP, 2011), and David Cymet "History versus Apologetics: the Holocaust, the Third Reich and the Catholic Church" (Lexington, 2010), Madigan does not resile from conclusions that are damning of Pius XII and his role both during and after the war.

I have read Steinacher's excellent work and am waiting for Cymet's to arrive.  I agree with Madigan that Steinacher's concerns do not lie with Pius.  I will have to read Cymet to see if I agree with Madigan's assessment.  Nonetheless, review so far seem to be in agreement with Madigan.  I am curious to know more about the Jewish children baptised in order to save them from death and their post-war fate.  There are several avenues to be explored on that.

As more and more evidence emerges and is reviewed with care for context and corroboration, the more complex and bespeckled with grey the emerging picture appears.  Apologists will have a hard time concocting a "spin" for these works.


How the Catholic Church Sheltered Nazi War Criminals


Redacted from an astounding in-depth, painfully factual expose.

By Kevin J. Madigan

(Complete article available from COMMENTARY, December, 2011)

SHORTLY AFTER THE END of the Second World War, an Austrian, Franz Stangl wandered into Rome looking for a Catholic prelate. He needed the help of a bishop he thought was named Hudal. After a short walk, the Austrian arrived at the episcopal residence he was seeking. “You must be Franz Stangl” the bishop said, warmly holding out both his hands. “I was expecting you.”

Stangl had been commandant of the Sobibor and Treblinka concentration camps. Wanted for the murder of nearly a million Jews, he was desperately seeking to escape the clutches of Allied forces justice. He had come to the right man. Bishop Alois Hudal (1885-1963) was rector of a college in Rome known as the “Anima,” a seminary for German-speaking priests. He was also a profound sympathizer with National Socialism and dedicated to extending papal charity to Nazi war criminals. After finding Stangl a job at the German College, the bishop eventually supplied him with travel documents, a steamer ticket, and a factory job in Syria. Later, Stangl was extradicted to Brazil, where he would bring his wife and family.

While it would be consoling to suppose this act of benevolence was an isolated incident, in the deliverance of ex-Nazis, SS men, and known criminals, it was repeated hundreds of times by prelates and priests. Their actions were not only known to diplomats in the highest echelons of the Catholic hierarchy, they were morally and financially supported by them—and, horrifyingly, supported by unknowing American Catholics and some of their all-to-knowing leaders.

With so much attention given to the conduct during the Shoah of the Catholic Church, the Vatican, and Pius XII, there has been little attention paid to the social role played by men like Hudal in the immediate aftermath of the war. As it happens, a recently published book by another Austrian, the brilliant young scholar Gerald Steinacher, lays out in powerful detail, how and why the Catholic church, through its personnel, financing, and aid from institutions, committees, and priests, protected Nazi war criminals.

The Catholic priests and prelates who helped spring the Nazis were part of an organization called the Vatican Relief Commission (Pontificia Commissione di Assistenza, or PCA). They supplied invaluable, indeed, crucial aid in sheltering Nazi war criminals, SS men, and ordinary Nazis. Steinacher tells us that the PCA viewed itself as a sort of papal mercy program for National Socialists and Fascists. The most stunning, and well-supported, claim in Steinacher’s book is that enthusiasm for the general mission of the PCA went to the very top of the Vatican hierarchy. “Pope Pius XII supported this aid organization whole-heartedly,”

By far the most influential figure of the National Welfare Conference that supplied the major portion of funds was the redoubtable archbishop of New York, Cardinal Francis Spellman. Spellman was a close confidant of the pope and owed the pontiff for a major boost up the ecclesiastical career ladder. This debt he paid back with munificent contributions to the organization that would free the Pontif’s beloved Germans. Spellman directed the flow of money from the United States into the Vatican coffers.

Among the men aided by Catholic prelates, diplomats, and priests, and supported by papal funding, was not only Stangl but Auschwitz “doctor” Josef Mengele, who was already wanted (according to a contemporary warrant) for “mass murder and other crimes.” Also supported was Adolf Eichmann, the SS lieutenant colonel and the principal organizer of the Holocaust.

Authors Gerald Steinacher and David Cymet emphasize that not only Germans and Austrians were aided by the Catholic organizers of the so-called rat-line. Cymet estimates that some 30,000 Croatian Ustashis and roughly a similar number of Slovak Hlinkas, nominal Catholics, all were hurried along the rat-line with the help of Catholic clerics.

STEINACHER is not much interested in the controversial issues surrounding Pius XII, but Cymet emphatically is. He is also quite angry with Pius’s defenders. Indeed, the title of his book, History vs. Apologetics, says it all. What Pius’s defenders are doing, in Cymet’s view, can be classified as apologetics, in the cruder sense of the word. But Cymet goes much further in his criticism of the untruths and deception expressed in the writings of those who would vindicate Pius XII. Cymet finds it reprehensible, first of all, that Pius, who acted neutrally during the war and never intervened vigorously on behalf of victims of the Shoah, actually sought leniency after the war for Einsatzgruppen and death-camp commanders. According to the private diaries of Muench, who was his personal representative in occupied Germany, Pius sought pardons for Einsatzkommando Otto Ohiendor, a close associate of Hummer. Cymet rightly calls this “one of the saddest chapters of his postwar activities.”

The second issue was Pius’s heartless intransigence in preventing Jewish war orphans, many of whom had been baptized for protection (and many, less nobly, for the purpose of being saved in a religious sense), from being released from Catholic institutions and individuals after the war’s end. In stories that appallingly resemble the heartbreaking case from the 19th century of Edgardo Mortara, we hear, to our amazement, Pius’s refusing to allow any child who had been baptized to return to his Jewish parents or to parties who “had no right to them”—that is, to Jewish organizations requesting the care of these children.

We are indebted to Steinacher and Cymet for bringing this shameful record to the light of day. As is now painfully obvious, the very top of the Catholic Church, in the postwar years, cared more about the perpetrators of the atrocity than thir countlesss victims. Hardly a priest can be identified in the PCA who was his Jewish Brother’s keeper. For the mortal sins of its priests, for the monstrous evil of which they were guilty in collaborating with Nazi male factors, the church wll bear an ugly blemish, one that no amount of extenuation or special pleading can erase.


KEVIN J. MADIGAN is Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard. He is the author, with Jon Levenson, of Resurrection: The Power of God for Christians and Jews (Yale University Press, 2008). His last article for COMMENTARY, “Two Popes, One Holocaust,” appeared in the December 2010 issue.

Monday, December 5, 2011

ADSS 8.426 Note by Domenico Tardini on Slovakia

In the ultra-careful world of Vatican diplomacy even the private notes between members of the Secretariat of State were couched in restrained language.  In this note penned by Domenico Tardini, we come as close as possible to an expression of controlled anger at the seemingly impossible situation in which the Vatican found itself.  Without any ambiguity, Tardini wrote that the world would understand that the Holy See had no way of controlling Hitler; but how could it understand that Rome could not control a priest.  And herein lay the great weakness of the Roman system: the Pope was as strong and powerful as the Catholic world in its global diversity allowed him to be.  If a priest, in this case Jozef Tiso, would not accept the authority of the Pope and be obedient, and if the local bishop to whom this priest had promised "respect and obedience" could not rein him in, there was not much anyone else in the hierarchy or Curia could do.



ADSS 8.426

Reference: AES 5085/42

Location and date: Vatican 13.07.1942

Summary statement: Steps taken by the Holy See for the Jews of Slovakia.

Language: Italian

Text:

I can send the memo to the English Minister [D’Arcy Osborne] to you. (1) It would be good to also recognise the action of the Slovak bishops who protested [against the deportations].

NB: The trouble is that the President of Slovakia is a priest. Everyone understands that the Holy See can not put Hitler in his place. But who can understand that it can’t restrain a priest?

Attachment: From the Secretariat of State to the British Legation.

With reference to the notes 39/2/42 (2) and 39/6/42 (3), respectively on 25 March and 6 July [1942] the Secretary of State of His Holiness is pleased to inform His Britannic Majesty’s Legation that it did not fail to make repeated representations to the Slovak government in favour of non-Aryans who lived there, seeking to support the action taken in this direction by the bishops of Slovakia.

The Secretary of State had the honour of giving verbal notice to the Legation of these steps and has also reported them to the Apostolic Delegate in London.(4)

References:
(1) Follows.
(2) ADSS 8.328
(3) Not published. 06.07.1942 Osborne asked for information on the activities of the Holy See reported in an article in the Basler Nachrichten (Basel News) on Alexander Mach.
Cf ADSS 8.334.
(4) ADSS 8.345, note 1.


ADSS 8.382 Burzio to Maglione: Slovakian race laws


This and the next document continue the Vatican's growing alarm at the progress of the deportation of the Slovakian Jews despite the escalation of protest and appeals for the trains to halt.  Added to this is the carefully worded outrage that some priests who were members of parliament voted in favour of the legislation to deport the Jews.  Other priest members abstained, but none voted against the legislation.  It would appear that the bishops' cautious statement had no impact on the political solution being found for a "final solution" of the "Jewish Question" in Slovakia.

ADSS 8.382

Reference: Report nr. 940 (AES 4374/42 original)
Location and date: Pressburg (Bratislava), 23.05.1942

Summary statement: A special law passed to deport Slovak Jews.

Language: Italian

Text:

In order to legalise, in some way, the severe measures taken against the Jews, the Slovak government induced the Parliament to vote a constitutional law, authorising the deportation of Jews (1) from the territory of the Republic, and deprive them of Slovakian citizenship and decree the confiscation of their property.

In the attached document (2), which I hasten to send to your Eminence, is the translation of the law, which was promulgated on the 15th of this month (May 1942).

There are only two categories of persons exempt from deportation: those who have become members of a Christian confession before 14 March 1939, and those who have contracted a valid marriage with a non-Jewish spouse before 10 September 1941 (the date the “Jewish Code” was published forbidding such marriages. Naturally, there are Jews who have obtained the “discrimination” from the President and are not subject to deportation.

Unfortunately, and I have been assured of this, some priests who are members of Parliament, voted in favour of the law, others abstained, but none voted against. (3)

References:
(1) ADSS 8.343
(2) Not published
(3) Cf ADSS 8.400








ADSS 8.400 Maglione to Burzio: Slovakian race laws

As the diplomatic correspondence flowed to and fro from the Vatican and other European cities about the deportation of the Jews of Slovakia, Cardinal Maglione wrote a simple summary note to Giuseppe Burzio in Bratislava in response to Burzio's earlier note on 23.05.1942.  For the first time there is open mention of the Vatican's annoyance at the behaviour of some Slovakian parliamentarians who were also priests, as well as the frustration with Fr Tiso, the president.  This frustration will be found soon after in a significant document where a sense of impotence emerges very clearly in the Secretariat of State. And since we know that the Pope was kept informed of the situation in Slovakia, as well as the rest of Europe, it is safe to assume he felt the same impotence that men such as Maglione and Burzio felt.

ADSS 8.400


Reference: AES 4374/32, minute
Location and date: Vatican, 19.06.1942

Summary statement: Holy See deplores the Slovakian race laws.

Language: Italian

Text:

I have received your Excellency’s regular report with the attachment, number 940, on 23 May 1942 (1), on the matter of “Law on the deportation of Jews”.

The Holy See has learned. With deep regret, of the serious measures taken by the Slovakian government against non-Aryans, and this is all the more serious because, it would seem, as has been related, that the aforementioned law was enacted with the participation of some priests who are members of Parliament. (2)

Cross references:


(1) ADSS 8.382
(2) A few days later, the Secretary of State received this information from the Italian Embassy/ (AES 4642/42, 21.06.1942)
“The vote on the constitutional law for the expulsion of the Jews from Slovakia had no adverse effects on the majority of public opinion. It basically did nothing but legalise a procedure that has been in place for some time now … ecclesiastical circles still remain largely hostile to the anti-Jewish measures and the law itself, not only for moral reasons but also because they find it absurd that such measures have been taken in a country whose head of state is a priest …”


Sunday, December 4, 2011

ADSS 8.383 Karel Sidor to Maglione - Slovakian spin

On 23 May 1942 the Slovakian government made its formal response to the Vatican's protest against the anti-Jewish laws passed in 1941 and the deportations that commenced in March 1942.

In a piece of hyperbole that is breath-taking for its "spin" on the anti-Jewish laws, Slovakian minister Karel Sidor, communicated the formal response of the Slovak government's attempt to justify the anti-Jewish laws that the Vatican had objected to.  Sidor expressed the Slovakian government's "belief" that there was a "Jewish Question" that needed a "solution".  In language that echoed German euphemisms for deportation and worse, Sidor parroted the line that Germany would honour all its agreements to treat the deported Slovak Jews "humanely". 

Did Sidor or his masters in Pressburg (Bratislava) honestly believe Maglione and the Pope would believe the official statement?  We have seen in previous documents that information was arriving in Rome detailing the appaling conditions faced by Jews in Poland, and Jews deported from other places.  Indeed, Sidor makes reference to deportations from France, Holland, Belgium and other places and the creation of a Jewish "district" around Lublin.  Even Hungary was prepared to surrender its 800,000 Jews to the Germans.

By the time Sidor sent his note to the Secretary of State, the Vatican knew of the mass murder of Jews in Belarus and Ukraine, had reports of horrific conditions in ghettos across Poland and the Baltic States and had some indication of worse things going on "in the East".

The Slovakian note also used a book written by Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, Secretary of State to Pius XI until 1929, where an argument was advanced justifying the State's right to limit the natural right to marry under certain circumstances. Gasparri's book, "Canonical Tracts concerning Marriage" published in 1932, did not discriminate on the grounds of race.  His arguments were an exploration of the legitimate role of the State to govern within the boundaries of the natural and civil law.

Catholic marriage theology recognised civil marriage as a legal and valid marriage, but did not have the status of a sacramental marriage conducted before a deacon, priest or bishop.  Sacramental marriage was indissoluble either by civil or canonical courts.  Catholic theology understood "nullity" to exist when the appropriate disposition, age or willingness to have children was absent.  Officially, the Church was not well disposed to the idea of Catholics entering into civil marriage without also contracting a sacramental marriage as well.

According to the Slovak government there were renegade ministers, mostly Protestants, who were busy baptising Jews at an alarming rate.  However, since all baptisms after September 1941 were not recognised for the purposes of deportation, this was a minor irritation.  Jews baptised before September were exempt from deportation.

At the end of the document was a note written by Domenico Tardini: "returned by His Holiness", indicating Pius had seen and read the note.  The Pope's response is not recorded.  At the same time the call for a formal protest against the murder of the Jews was mounting among the immured diplomats in the Vatican as well as from many sources outside.  This was to cause Pius considerable anxiety as he struggled to maintain the facade of strict neutrality.  However, the killing frenzy was now beyond anything remotely comparable in recorded history; it was something new.  It demanded a response.

ADSS 8.383


Reference: Number 428/42 (AES 3919/42 original)
Location and date: Rome, 23.05.1942

Summary statement: Attempted justification and explanation of the Slovakian race laws and false information about the treatment of the Jews.

Language: Italian

The undersigned, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic to the Holy See has the honour to communicate to His Eminence, the Cardinal Secretary of State to his Holiness a note from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic in response to the note of the Secretary of State of His Holiness number 8355/41 of 12 November 1941 with his note of 8 May 1942 number 8325/1/42 has notified our Legation of the following direction:

The response to the Note of the Secretary of State of His Holiness of 12 November 1941, number 8355/41 could not be given immediately for the following reasons:

The solution of the Jewish Question is a very serious problem on which the competent authorities of Slovakia have had to apply their full attention. It was planned that the President of the Council and Minister of Foreign Affairs, a few days after receiving the Verbal Note (in December) would go to Rome. Monsignor Burzio, the Charge d’affaires of the Holy See expressed the same opinion during talks with the President of the Council. Instead of exchanging formal notes, it would be better do deal with the problem of the plight of the Jews in Slovakia face to face so as to provide exact and detailed information for any questions in this regard.

For various reasons the Prime Minister’s trip to Rome was first postponed to January 1942 and then to March.

But at this time there was a change in the solution of the Jewish question. Between the Slovak government and the German government negotiations took place on the solution of the Jewish problem in Europe and it was considered that the emigration of the Jews from Slovakia is only a part of a larger program. (2) Currently, half a million Jews in Europe will be sent to Eastern Europe. Slovakia was the first state whose Jewish residents would be accepted by Germany. At the same time the emigration of Jews from German occupied France, Holland, Belgium, the Protectorate, from Reich territory is also underway. Even Hungary has expressed its readiness to send its 800,000 Jews as reported a speech of Dr Kallay, President of the Council on 20 April this year.

The Slovak Jews will be located in different places around Lublin where they will stay permanently. The Aryan population will be transferred from these territories and in its place will be an exclusively Jewish district with its own administration, where Jews can live together, and provide for their existence through work. Families will remain together. There was some alarm expressed that some Jewish girls and men of Jewish origin emigrated and were sent to work before their families, but this was done in order for them to prepare the necessary things for the other Jews, especially women, the old, sick and children. The emigration of the remaining members of Jewish families has already begun so that all Jewish families will be reunited. All Jews will be under the protection of the Reich (Schutzbefohlene – literally “wards”).

We have received the promise of the Reich government that Christians of Jewish origin will be placed in a separate area.

According to our law they are regarded as Christians of Jewish origin who were baptised before 10 September 1941, that is, before the Jewish law came into force. This exception does not apply to Jews who have been recently baptised or baptised for the sake of some expediency. That some have received baptism on the eve of emigration for material interests has determined as demonstrated in the following statistics:

In Žilina Stefano Puskas, a Calvinist pastor, baptised 180 Jews on one day, 110 on the next, and another 40 on the third day; a total of 330 Jews baptised in three days. He received from every Jew he baptised thousands and thousands of Slovak crowns. In Vrútky, 86 Jews were baptised, and in Zvolen, 160. Another Protestant pastor in Nitra baptised 80 Jews. In Bratislava a Protestant pastor baptised 276 Jews in one day. A Protestant pastor in Trenčin baptised 50 Jews in one day, in Ružomberok 28, Prešov 46, Spišská Nováves 87, Trnava 107, Hlohovec 29. The greater number were baptised by Protestant pastors. The German government for its part, has told us that the Jews will be treated humanely.

During his recent visit to Bratislava, the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Holy See, Karel Sidor, reported verbally that the Holy See had received information according to which the Slovak government had given orders to capture all young people of Jewish origin and send them to the military front to be placed at the free disposal of the German soldiers. Such a thing has never been done and can not be done because according to the Nuremberg laws such behaviour is punished heavily. Officially we were told that some German soldiers who had affairs with Jewish women were sentenced by military tribunals and shot.

In Slovakia, after the current emigration of Jews, there will be only a small minority so that the concerns mentioned in the Note cited above may not even be present even in a single marriage case.

With regard to Article 9 of the Government ordinance which prohibits marriages between Jews and non-Jews, permit us to draw attention to the book by Cardinal Gasparri: Canonical Tracts concerning Marriage – published in 1932, Part 1, page 143 where it says:

(Latin) “The civil authority can, in some circumstances, for reasons of the public good, may prohibit, for a time, the right to marry and determine the conditions of marriage for those able to fulfil it”. Then: “But since the law of nature does not bind a case under pain of nullity, so the marriage entered into was, perhaps, against civil law and is valid, (sometimes it is even lawful), and therefore the civil authority can negate the effects of civil marriage separately from inseparable ones”. (Note: This is based on the Catholic theology of marriage which recognises civil marriages which can be nullified, as opposed to sacramental marriages which cannot.)

The Slovak law thus sets: “the improper impediment has been stated” (quote is in Latin) that prohibits marriages of this type and punishes those husbands and wives who dare to contract marriage against this law. The Ministry of the Interior also permits exemptions in exceptional circumstances and for grace reasons.

According to Article 38 of the government ordinance, young people of the Jewish race are not excluded from those schools where they can receive necessary instruction for their religious life. It is also not forbidden to Catholics of Jewish origin for them to take part in religious events, such as Mass, pilgrimages, processions, Marian groups etc.


Note of Tardini:

Returned from His Holiness 03.06.1942.


Cross references:
(1) ADSS 8.153 and Part Two.
(2) Compare this with the declarations of Minister Mach. See ADSS 8.368, note 4.


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