Friday, October 12, 2012

ADSS 5.467 Osborne to Maglione: UK request for the Pope to speak

Two days after the Polish and Belgian ambassadors delivered their governments' request for a public papal condemnation of German war crimes and on the same day as the delivery of the Brazilian note, D'Arcy Osborne, the British Minister to the Holy See delivered the formal request of the government of the United Kingdom for the same.  It is one of the few English documents in ADSS.  



ADSS 5.467 
D’Arcy Osborne, UK Minister to the Holy See to Cardinal Maglione

Reference: 59/5/42; AES 6880/42
Location and date: Vatican, 14.09.1942

Summary statement: The British government asks the Pope to make a public condemnation of Nazi war crimes.
Language: English

Text:

I have been instructed by my Government to urge that His Holiness the Pope should carefully consider the expediency of a public and specific denunciation of Nazi treatment of the populations of the countries in German occupation.  Among the crimes committed under this regime of ever more flagrant terrorism it will suffice to mention the wholesale murder of innocent hostages under a nefarious doctrine of collective responsibility, the menace or actual application of measures of extermination of whole peoples, the deliberate liquidation of political and cultural leadership, the repression of religious freedom, the wholesale uprooting and deportation of racial units, the conscription for military service or forced labour of large sections of the populations, and the merciless persecution of the Jews throughout Europe. These inhuman practices, reminiscent of pagan barbarism, violate alike the natural and moral laws, the conscience and principles of civilisation, and the doctrine of the Catholic Church in respect of the dignity and rights of the human individual, the family and the nation.

2.  If it should be suggested that reports of these outrages may be exaggerated, if not actually false, confirmation may be sought in the announcements of the German and German-controlled radio services in regard to reprisals, executions of hostages, transfers of populations, military and industrial conscription and the Jewish persecution. Moreover corroborative evidence may be found in the many public statements of the Catholic hierarchy in Germany and the Occupied Countries.

3. It may perhaps be objected that His Holiness has already publicly denounced moral crimes arising out of the war. But such occasional declarations in general terms do not have the lasting force and validity that, in the timeless atmosphere of the Vatican, they might perhaps be expected to retain. Moreover their relevance and significance have been impaired and transcended by the mounting record of Nazi crimes.

4.  It is affirmed that the mission of the Church is a spiritual one, that its primary purpose is the safeguarding of the faith throughout the world and that this imposes upon the Papacy political neutrality and supranational impartiality at all times, and more particularly in time of war between the nations. The Supreme Pontiff is, it is often asserted, the universal father whose charity and affection are impartially distributed among all peoples. But universal paternity and impartial charity need not exclude reprobation of offences against humanity and civilisation by one nation at the expense of others. A policy of silence in regard to such offences against the conscience of the world must necessarily involve a renunciation of moral leadership and a consequent atrophy of the influence and authority of the Vatican; and it is upon the maintenance and assertion of such authority that must depend any prospect of a Papal contribution to the re-establishment of world peace.



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