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The Fuhrer and the Pope

May 11, 2006 08:35 AM
by carlosaveline




Dear Friends,

In a posting dated May 8th, we saw that Nazism and Fascism persecuted the theosophical movement in every nation they dominated, both before and during the second world war. The movement came back to life after the Nazi-Fascism was defeated by the democratic nations. 

On the other hand, what exactly were the relationhips among the German Nazism, the Italian Fascism and the Vatican? 

The uneasy but intimate cooperation among the three started in the 1920s, as author John Cornwell desmonstrates in his well-documented book “Hitler’s Pope - The Secret History of Pius XII” (1) In fact the Vatican also gave its support to the pro-Nazi dictatorship of Francisco Franco in Spain. 

Eugenio Pacelli, the Pope’s representative in Germany during the 1920s, played a key and central role in preventing German catholics, traditionally democrats, from resisting Hitler’s political march to absolute power. 

Thanks to Pacelli, as soon as Hitler took the power in 1933, German Catholicism gave Nazism an active support. (Lutheran Church was already supporting the Nazis for some time. ) As to Italy, in 1929 pope Pius XI signed an Agreement with the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. 

It was no coincidence, then, that in 1930 Eugenio Pascelli had to leave Nazi Germany to go to Rome and work as Secretary of State. In 1939, Pacelli was formally chosen as Pope and adopted the name of Pius XII. John Cornwell reports that almost immediately Pacelli wrote a kind letter to Hitler renewing his personal commitment to the “alliance between Church and State” in Germany, and saying he would remain “devoted to the welfare of the German people, which is under your guidance”. (2) 

Another historian, Paul Johnson, writes: 

“Pius XII, elected pope in March 1939, could hardly wait to send Hitler a friendly letter. He refused to condemn the absorption of Czechoslovakia a few days later, although he knew this meant the Czech Catholics (...) would immediately lose their schools. (...) In April 1930, Protestants and Catholics rang their bells [ in Germany ] for Hitler’s birthday, and Cardinal Bertram, the Catholic primate, sent him a greetings-telegram”. (3)

Adolf Hitler now had the Vatican’s blessings to deepen and spread around the world his policy of mass-murder. 

There was one group of Christians which resisted Hitler, though. It was the the Jehova’s Witnesses. Paul Johnson writes: 

“They refused any cooperation with the Nazi state, which they denounced as totally evil. (...) Many were sentenced to death for refusing military service and inciting others to do likewise; or they ended in Dachau and lunatic asylums. A third were actually killed; ninety-seven per cent suffered persecution in one way or another.” (4)

These, my friends, are but a few data about the cooperation between the Vatican and Hitler. There are plenty of them available. 

>From a theosophical perspective, we should remember how radically H. P. Blavatsky and her Masters opposed and denounced the Vatican policies. 

One of the main reasons for the theosophical movement to be persecuted both by Nazism and the Vatican is that it was created as a nucleus of the Universal Brotherhood. It is fortunate, however, that this long-term ideal was included in 1945 in the Charter of the United Nations Organization. 

Best regards, Carlos Cardoso Aveline 


(1) Penguin Books, 1999. Brazilian edition, “O Papa de Hitler, a História Secreta de Pio XII”, Ed. Imago, RJ, 2000, 472 pp. 

(2) “Hitler’s Pope - The Secret History of Pius XII”, Penguin Books, Chapter 12. 

(3) “A History of Christianity”, Paul Johnson, Penguin books, England, 1976, 556 pp., see p. 489. This is not the same Paul Johnson who wrote about the theosophical movement. 

(4) “A History of Christianity”, Paul Johnson, Penguin books, see p. 489. 


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