Sunday, October 7, 2012

ADSS 5.416 Osborne to Tardini UK opinion on Vatican


This document was referred to in the previous document when Tardini made his notes about the visit of D'Arcy Osborne.  The position of the UK Foreign Office reflected a more widespread attitude among significant sections of the Allied governments that Pope Pius XII was either bullied into silence by the Italian government or there was something more sinister afoot.  Tardini's note at the end indicates that Pius was aware of these sentiments.

ADSS 5.416 

D’Arcy Osborne to Monsignor Domenico Tardini

Reference: AES 5682/42
Location and Date: Vatican, 21.07.1942

Summary Statement: Opinion in the Foreign Office, London, concerning the position of the Vatican in the war.
Language: English

Text:

I would not like you to think that we are not aware that the Pope is being Criticised by the Axis Powers, but you have summed up our chief criticism in the last words of your dispatch, namely, “the endeavour of the Vatican to maintain a precarious equilibrium outside of and above the war”.  In order to do this we feel that ever since the entry of Italy into the war the Pope has more and more assimilated himself to the status of a sovereign of a small neutral State in the geographical neighbourhood of Axis Powers, and, for worldly rather than spiritual reasons, has allowed himself, like others, to be bullied.  In short, we feel that His Holiness is not putting up a very god fight to retain his moral and spiritual leadership, when he should realize that in Hitler’s new world there will be no room for the Catholic religion and that if the Papacy remains silent, the free nations may find that they have little power to arrest the anticlericalism which may follow the war.

21.07.42: Note by Tardini:

This note was delivered to me today by the English Minister; which declares that it is a draft of a private letter of a friend [of Osborne’s], but which reflects the mentality of the Foreign Office.

22.07.42. Seen by the Holy Father.

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