The Pope And The Italian Jackal
How Mussolini's Invincible Legions Were Blessed
Edited by E. Haldeman-Julius
The Black International No. 8
Ten years ago that appalling greed which is the principal dynamo of the barbaric energy that is wrecking the world expressed itself in four plausible ambitions: those of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Imperialistic Japan, and the (spiritually) Imperialistic Vatican. I say plausible because these ambitions were at that time still restricted within such limits that they could be decked in such pretexts (legitimate aspirations, racial unity, overpopulation, etc.) as would provide a moral evasion for the democracies whose real motive for inaction was the prospect of the destruction of Socialism. Japan, which already had and openly confessed an ambition to conquer and enslave all eastern Asia and the islands of the Pacific hardly fits into this formula, but in this series of booklets Japan occupies little space. We have only to point to the fact, which may be verified in any work of reference, that just when Japan began brazenly to exhibit its greed and its callousness, the Vatican entered into diplomatic relations with it which set the seal of a sacred cooperation upon its adventures, and that on the eve (March, 1941) of the final, most bloody, and most comprehensive extension of the conspiracy against civilization the Pope gave a most cordial interview and a gold medal to Japan's most crafty agent, Matsuoka.
Hitler ten years ago still kept his ambition within the frame- work of Mein Kampf. The noble German race could not tolerate that large bodies of its people should be in subjection to inferior nations (Poland, France, Denmark, Czecho-Slovakia, Switzerland, etc.) and must gather them into the Reich; and it was necessary for the full and free development of this Greater Germany that it should take the Ukraine from what the whole world then agreed with him to regard as the disreputable and incompetent Bolsheviks. We have seen how urgently the Vatican was moved by its own policy to link itself with the adventures of Nazism. The German Catholic Church was already the richest in the world, or tied for that position with the American Catholic Church. It faced destruction if it opposed the Nazis; it could expect an enormous increase of wealth and power in the Greater Germany if it did not. Moreover, the Nazis were bound to annihilate its deadly enemy, Socialism, in Germany and, if they succeeded, in France and Russia. So the present Pope, who knew Germany intimately and saw, as any schoolboy could, that its program meant war at least with France and Russia, and therefore also with Great Britain, helped the Nazis to attain power and clung to them through years of shame until their prospect of victory was dimmed by the heroic resistance of Russia and the help of America.
All that, and how the Black International in Germany cheered and blessed every ghastly extension of Hitler's greed when he realized the incredible complacency of the western democracies, we have seen. In this book I propose to consider in detail the relation of the Vatican and the Italian Church to the Fascists: in particular to the miserable adventurer who dreamed that he would pass into history as the second Caesar and already finds his place in it under the particularly odious name of the Jackal -- the stinking, Blinking, cowardly beast that lets other beasts kill and fattens on the corpses of their victims. This is the Pope's closest ally and friend, the leader of the dreamed-of League of Catholic Fascist powers.
In another booklet I have summarized the early career of this gross type of adventures, the beginning of the Vatican's sordid and venal alliance with him, and the way in which his first outrage, the rape of Abyssinia, coincided perfectly with the ambition of the Papacy to recover its control of the Ethiopian Church and was effusively blessed by the whole Italian hierarchy while the Pope remained tactically silent. From that time until 1939, the Jackal got no pickings and saw himself sinking into vassalage to the more powerful beast and his country despised throughout the world without the compensation of plunder. Every meeting at the Brenner or dash of his rabbit-brained son-in-law to Berlin was followed by a harvest of glory and loot for Hitler -- alone. The warning in Mein Kampf that Germany could never tolerate a second great power in Europe was lost on him; and, while he joined gaily and coarsely in every promise of clerical friendship which Hitler made to small nations, to keep them quiet until he was ready to rob them, Mussolini seems not to have reflected that Hitler's promises to himself might be equally cynical.
During these years the Pope remained, we will not say on cordial terms but at least in alliance with the treacherous warmonger, and the Italian hierarchy and priesthood acclaimed every step he took and every crude boast he made as enthusiastically as the German bishops supported Hitler. Between the Mediterranean and the frontier of Holland several hundred Catholic bishops and quarter of a million priests, nuns, monks, and clerical agents did what the Catholic apologist calls the beneficent work of his Church in guiding the world, and almost without exception they were servile in their flattery of the two dictators who were rapidly dragging down Europe to the level of the savage. This chorus now includes the bishops and priests of France, Belgium, and Holland as well as those of Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Czecho-Slovakia, Hungary, and Germany.
In the face of this situation the American Catholic plea that we must relieve the Pope of responsibility for the action of local hierarchies is seen to be ludicrous. One local hierarchy might at some time be betrayed by its dread of offending its nation into a morally indefensible position, and we should then expect the Papacy to rebuke it as it rebuked the American bishops and archbishops in 1899. But here we have ten of the most important local hierarchies of the Church united, under the eyes of the Vatican, for years in praise and support of the worst evil that has befallen civilization in modern times. Add the prelates and priests of the Latin-American Republics and those who supported Japan in that country and China and you have nine-tenths of the bishops and priests of the Catholic world blessing corruption; and even in the remaining tenth many speak very hesitatingly, if at all, for the cause of humanity and civilization.
Let us distinctly understand that these priests and bishops, encouraged by the Pope's refusal to censure or to break relations with their brutal rulers, supported them in every step they took. I have shown elsewhere that the whole Italian Church rejoiced boisterously over the conquest of Abyssinia and that the Pope, who is now said by Cardinal Hinsley to have called it a "barbarous outrage", gave the supreme gift to womanhood of his Church, the Golden Rose, to the Queen of Italy in her character of Empress of Abyssinia. That easy piece of conquest had proved of great value to the Church, but of practically none to Italy. The chief motive of it had been the personal ambition of Mussolini to avenge a humiliating defeat that the Italians had earlier suffered in Abyssinia and to create something that he could call a Roman Empire. One would not be surprised if he thought the Italian people would in time put the purple mantle on his own shoulders.
Since that time he had waited impatiently for his share in the Axis-loot, and at the beginning of 1939 he decided to add Albania to the glorious new Roman Empire. In the midst of his preparations the old Pope died and Pacelli became Pius XII. Partly in order to obscure his alliance with the dictators Catholic writers have said that Mussolini opposed the election of Pacelli. He wanted a "religious" Pope -- a man who would attend exclusively to Church matters and leave rulers and statesmen to act as they pleased -- not a "political" Pope like Pacelli. If anybody can point to any act or word of Pacelli during the preceding ten year's as Secretary of State which challenged Mussolini we might entertain the story. There was no such act or word, except an occasional lament of breaches of the Concordat; and these things never troubled Mussolini or Hitler because they never weakened or disturbed the loyalty of their local Churches. Papal policy went on without a change. The man who had been the power behind the throne was now on the throne.
As to the statement that the new Pope was greatly distressed at the invasion of Albania, it is just one of those anonymous extenuations of a Pope's blunders or crimes. Pius XII was crowned on March 12 (1939), and the Italian troops crossed to Albania on April 7. That date was Good Friday, and a pious churchman might be annoyed at the choice; and a further possible annoyance was that the Pope was busy preparing his beautiful Easter message on peace which in the circumstances jarred on the ears of many. But it would be sheer folly to suggest that the Pope did not know that Mussolini was going to annex Albania. Month's of preparation are required for an overseas expedition of half a million men with modern equipment. At the very time when the Pope was crowned the tanks must have been rumbling along the roads of Italy, and the men and material and ships must have been gathering at Brindisi long before the date of sailing. But to understand fully the relation of the Vatican to that piece of imperialist filibustering we must know something about the character of Albania.
It was little more than a word even to thoughtful people before 1939 and was totally unknown to the millions. I confess that I was myself surprised when, a few years earlier, one of the pilgrims to my house, a cultivated and substantial young man who was taking a post-graduate course at London University, told me that he was an Albanian. An amazing illustration of the general ignorance and lack of interest is seen in the Catholic Encyclopedia, which was, of course, written many years before the invasion. It gives estimates of the number of Albanians varying from one to nearly two millions -- in a Supplement 20 years later the figure is given as 850,000, which is not far wrong -- and says that "the best of the population is Catholic." I may be wrong but I doubt if the reader would understand from this that little more than one-tenth of the population were Catholics, and that these nearly all lived in a half-civilized condition in the mountains of the north. The Catholic writer praises their virtue and then admits that until recent time's they had a tradition of kidnapping handsome Turkish girls and carrying them off to the mountains; but I must add that they gave them the sacraments of (compulsory) baptism and marriage before sleeping with them. The violent passions that were displayed in their feuds were notorious throughout south-eastern Europe. It was through these densely illiterate and priest-ridden highlanders, the Mirdites and Shoshi, that Mussolini began to engineer the "invitation" to him to take over the country.
As the "conquest" was almost entirely won by bribery of the Albanians and lying to their neighbors we should find the Vatican's share in the responsibility comparatively mild and will not linger over it. Briefly, Albania is an outlying fragment of the Turkish Empire which in the fifteenth century took over the lands of the old Greek Roman Empire. It lay on the very edge of the Greek world, separated by a wall of religious hatred from the Roman world, and, being in addition very mountainous, remained, like all countries (Ireland, etc.) in that geographical position, very backward. The Turks never quite subdued the primitive mountaineers of the north, and they kept their Catholic faith all through the Moslem days. In 1939 there were about 700,000 Moslem in the country, 200,000 Orthodox (non-Roman) Catholics, and 100,000 Roman Catholics. The Pope, as in the case of Abyssinia, looked to Italian rule to bring under his control the 200,000 dissident Catholics and as many of the Moslem as possible. One really finds it easier to believe that the Pope on that Good Priday prayed very fervently for the success of the Italian arms. And he had, as so often happens, a little friend at court. The pretty Queen Geraldine was a Catholic, and poor Zog little dreamed when he built a luxurious chapel for her a few years earlier and gave her a suite of chaplains that soon he would be flying over the hills with the crown jewels.
Here again the interests of the imperialist adventurer and the spiritualistic imperialist neatly coincided. Mussolini, already conscious that the leading burglar had altered his plan of dividing the spoils -- Hitler to have Europe north of the Danube and Mussolini all to the south of it -- wanted at least to make sure of Greece and Yugo-glavia as a bastian of his Medeteiranean and African Empire. Some say that he surprised and annoyed Mussolini by his "conquest" -- it cost him the lives of 12 men of his invincible legions -- of Albania. Not likely. He knew of Mussolini's preparations, for Italy swarmed with his spies, and he says that when the time came to attack Greece and Yugo-Slavia the possession of Albania, a few hours' sail from Italy, would be a great advantage to both. To say that the Pope was not in their counsels seems, as I said, ridiculous. Within a week of his coronation the Pope had a visit from Clano and on the following day one from the Prince of Piedmont. A survey of some such summary of the world-news as that in Keesing's 'Contemporary Archives' will show that the relations of the Vatican with the Italian government were particularly good that year. In December Mussolini appointed a formal 'ambassador at the Papal Court, and the year ended with the sumptuous visit of the king and queen to the Vatican (December 21) and the rare event of the Pope taking his Christmas greeting in person to the palace, (28) as I have elsewhere described. Albania did not ruffle a hair of the Pope's head.
We must, as I said, take into consideration that the conquest was practically bloodless, the way having been so thoroughly prepared with gold. In 1915 the Allied powers, looking for bits of territory with which to bribe possible supporters like Serbia and Greece, had decided to cut up Albania. Italy had saved it and in time made it a nominally independent kingdom. Mussolini's "patronage" became so onerous and ominous, however, that King Zog became restless and it was decided to evict him and open one of the gates to Greece. Everybody will remember how Mussolini's shrewish daughter and her popinjay of a husband, who fairly clearly fancied themselves as future empress and emperor, had white horses in reserve for their triumphal entry into Athens. Not less eagerly did the Pope look forward to that event as the beginning of his conquest of the Greek Church and other National Catholic Churches which scorned Rome's claim of supremacy. But it will be well to postpone to the last chapter a consideration of the grandiose plan of an oriental counterpoise to the influence which the wealth of the great democracies was giving them in the Church.
We should, however, notice in conclusion that while the conquest of Albania was almost bloodless, it was won by such corruption and perfidy that the Pope's virtual blessing of it again puts him in the gang. It was by a lavish expenditure of money that Mussolini, the man who wrote that war alone enobles a man, prevented serious resistance and induced the "notables" of Albania to desert Zog and offer the crown to the king of Italy. This was sordid enough, but the deception of Greece and Yugo-Slavia, which were alarmed to get the Italian army at their frontiers, was revolting; if we can find any sympathy for any statesmen in Europe who believed a word that the dictators said after five years of lying and repudiation of agreements.
Roosevelt had asked the pair of arch-criminals to sign an agreement to refrain from any aggressive movement for ten year's, and Mussolini had, with an air of pain and sorrow, refused to sign such a document on the ground that it was an insult to suggest that he might have any such intention. There was a more direct and brazen deception of Yugo-Slavia and Greece. Every statesman knew that Mussolini's imperialist program demanded, not Albania, which was of little value except as a route to Greece, but the Yugo- Slavian coast of the Adriatic, to the north of it, which had splendid harbors (in which the eastern coast of Italy is very deficient) and was part of the old Roman Empire. Italy gave a solemn assurance to Belgrade that the annexing of Albania need not give it the least concern. The Greeks knew that Italy coveted the island of Corfu, off the southern coast of Albania, and they and the British asked for assurances. They got them in profusion; -- and it seems a mystery unless you keep in mind always that Italy and Germany were destroying Socialism for the capitalists of the world -- believed them. On December 10 the Grand Council of Fascism, Mussolini's chief mouthpiece, gravely announced to the world that it was "the desire of Italy to 'see order and peace maintained and consolidated in the Balkan and Danubian areas", and this would be better promoted by Hungary, Rumania, Yugo-Slavia, and Greece refraining from entering into Balkan defensive alliance which Britain and France urged them to form. They consented, and Hungary and Rumania -- both in close touch with the Vatican -- began at once to drift into the German sphere of influence.
Under shelter of this camouflage-screen of lies the two dictators, sure of peace on their eastern and southern frontiers, pushed on their preparations for the great spring offensive in the west. The Pope professed to believe the protests of Mussolini and his Grand Council. He ended the year, as I said, although it had witnessed the ruthless destruction of Catholic Poland, in a quite exceptional round of chaste Christmas festivities and issued his biennial essay on the beauty of peace. As Hitler had not yet approached the major clauses of his program -- war upon Russia for the Ukraine and upon France for the recovery of Alsace-Lorraine. -- I leave to others the analysis of the Pope's mind. My own suggestions would be malicious. But one fact stands clear of all guesses and conjectures. He had never passed one word of censure on the gross deceptions and cynical breaches of the assurances given to the world by his allies in 1939. By that time the reassuring documents signed or issued by Japan, Germany, and Italy and brazenly repudiated by later action -- often a few months later -- would have papered a commodious dining-room. Never has the Pope condemned that perfidy of his allies which was making international faith a lost quality of the wicked nineteenth century or one reserved to the "impious" Bolsheviks.
It will be part of the puzzle of our age to the future historian to discover why anybody was ever taken by surprise by any of the terrible outrages that, occurred every few months. The program, of the great international bandits had been before the world for years, and Hitler's program included, and emphasized in many chapters of his book, a war of revenge on France, the recovery of Alsace-Lorraine, and the truculent statement that France was so degenerate, so debased with Negro blood, that it must be blotted out forever from the company of European powers. To plead in extenuation that Hitler never permitted a full foreign translation of his book is childish. Every foreign office in the world and large numbers of journalists knew its contents. For such follies as Chamberlain accepting the word of Hitler that he had abandoned those plans, or the French accepting a similar statement in an interview which Hitler gave a French Fascist journalist, or almost unanimous silence of the world-press there is, as I have repeatedly said, only one explanation: so eager were they all for the destruction of Socialism, which Hitler and Mussolini promised, that they mistook the knife of an assassin for the scalpel of a surgeon. If that is difficult to believe think out, if you can, some other explanation; and study the action of the bankers and industrialists of France today who are actually cooperating in a New Order that merely postpones their annihilation.
Whether the Pope was surprised by the war in the west I have discussed in other booklets. I could at that time quote no authority to support me in my suggestion that the Pope was fully informed of the plot before even the invasion of Norway. I told, from the Papal newspaper itself, how Ribbentrop was sent to see the Pope a few days before Hitler met Mussolini at the Brenner to arrange the date of his intervention and how the Osservatore reflected the joyous expectation of the Vatican that a very important agreement was to be signed. The only plausible theory of this is that Hitler wanted the cooperation, which he got, of the Catholics of Belgium and France, and that the Pope demanded so high a price for his services that a month of hard bargaining followed. But the Italian Church and the Vatican emphatically endorsed the action of the Belgian and French Catholic traitors -- Leopold, Petain, Laval, Weygand, and Darlan -- and the Church gained mightily in France. Within the last week or two the 1940 volume of the Annual Register has appeared and that weighty and quite impartial authority says, drawing upon "Vatican sources", that Ribbentrop told the Pope that "German soldiers would be in Paris by June and in London by August". This was on March 11, 1940. Shirer confirms that some hard bargaining between the Vatican and Germany went on at this time. He says that Msgr Orsenigo, the Nuncio at Berlin "had been quietly paying visits to the Wilhelmsstrasse for weeks" (Berlin Diary, p. 234).
The Catholic has the consolation of knowing that the Pope sacredly guarded the confidence that was made to him. At least I assume the Catholic will regard that as a virtue. Britain and France had declared war on Germany and must have expected attack. The Pope alone knew, outside a narrow Nazi and Fascist circle, that it was to be delivered at that time and in that fashion, so that it would probably be fatal to France. But he virtuously kept the secret to himself. Some folk, looking back on all the horrors that followed and confronting all the horrors that may yet come as the treachery of Vichy deepens, may even say that there are more precious things than virtue; or that the Pope's firmness on this one point while he virtually encouraged his three allies in years of deceit, corruption, and savagery reminds them of an earlier moralist who rebuked a man for straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.
We will not suppose that Pius XII knew all the methods which Germany had used in preparing France for its baptism of blood and transformation into a real Catholic country. There were even anti- Nazi folk who blamed me when I suggested that it used the sexual attraction of women as well as the zeal of priest's and priest- ridden folk. But it is still doing this. I have before me an article in which a man who has just come from Portugal describes how that country is being prepared for bloodless conquest. Amongst other things he says:
"A social layer has also been imported, including many-lingual Aryan titled women whose morals are at the service of the Fuehrer. The line is to attract the snub element among the Portuguese" (London Evening Standard, November 4 -- the most conservative evening paper in Britain).
One wonders if this new type of "vice-squad" includes some of the dainty aristocratic ladies who did such good work for Hitler in Paris before 1939. Even those of us who are not puritans find this method of preparing the way for "glorious victories" revolting. No trick is too dirty for the Pope's allies, On the same day comes the news that Hitler's men are castrating bodies of the finest youths of Czecho-Slovakia and that they have 10,000 British uniforms ready for treacherous use in the East. The priests follow up the Gestapo to castrate what they call men's souls.
A second method in which the Vatican cooperated with Italy and Germany in securing the success of the war in the West was by continuing to denounce Soviet Russia. Whether or no Hitler really feared that Russia would move in the Balkans while he was busy in the west, it is a fact that he and Mussolini and the Vatican used this suggestion to divert the attention of the Balkan powers from their real danger and bind Hungary and Rumania closer to Germany. All through the winter of 1939-1940, when preparations were being made for operations in the west, the conduct of the Fascists was as crooked and deceptive as that of Germany and Japan. Mussolini bellowed about the peace of Europe and the threat to it from Russia. His people were solemnly assured, as they had been after the annexation of Abyssinia, that unless Russia struck all that they had to do was to make economic profit out of Germany's war with France and Britain. It was said that Italy even offered to sell planes to France but Hitler forbade it. On the other hand when Britain held up German ships carrying coal to Italy the Italian press was let loose in full fury upon it. Perfidious Albion was said even to be at the back of the Russian menace and the Russian seizure of part of Poland and Finland.
It is fortunate that we have not here to attempt to disentangle the apparent confusion of the first quarter of 1940, with Germany an ally of Russia on the one hand and with Mussolini, its bitterest enemy, on the other. We know now, of course, that the Russo-German agreement was a sham on both sides. The real tragedy of it is that a just, and honest, not to say friendly, approach to Russia on the part of Great Britain and France would have prevented this postponement of Russia's intervention in the war and might have averted terrible evils and sufferings from Europe. Russia, it is true, did not consider itself ready for war in 1939, but neither had Germany one-half the equipment which it would have in 1941, with the forges of Europe pouring out steel and the fields growing food for it from Poland to Belgium, from Scandinavia to Spain. A crucial factor in the whole horrible development is that hatred of Russia which the Papacy had done even more than the capitalists to inflame in every part of the world.
In March, as we saw, the Pope was informed of the plan to invade the West which had been maturing all through the winter. We must assume that in the course of the heated argument in which Ribbentrop assured the Pope that the German troops would be in Paris by June he explained that the great barrier of the Maginot Line, on which Britain and France relied to an amazing extent, would be turned by an invasion of Holland and Belgium. Whether the Pope was informed also of the coming intervention of Italy we do not know. The story was put out, by one of the very useful anonymous purveyors of information in the service of the Vatican that when Mussolini at length approached a declaration of war on France the Pope wrote him a letter begging him to refrain (New York Times, June 5). Professor La Piana observes that "if this letter is not another fiction like the mythical letter supposed to have been written in 1914 by Pius X to the Emperor of Austria, the Duce must have thrown it into the waste-paper basket, for on June 11 the heroic gesture of striking the nation already defeated by Germany was made", and the Vatican adopted "an attitude of complete reserve". There has never been an official claim that such a letter was written, and just one month earlier the Duce had shown how little he respected the Pope's wishes by peremptorily and successfully ordering him to discontinue publishing British war- news in his paper.
But Professor La Piana (of Harvard), writing in the Nation in March, 1941, goes on to show how, whatever reserve the Pope maintained -- for a week or two, let me add -- the Italian Church supported the action of Mussolini with its usual enthusiasm. The American paper's which reproduced Roosevelt's description of Mussolini's action -- "the hand that held the dagger plunged it into the back of its neighbor" -- did not speak of the joy of the Italian Church. As if to excuse the Vatican in advance the Rome correspondent of the New York Times (June 12) quoted from Vatican sources -- "semiofficial" this time it seems -- that "the attitude and responsibility of the Vatican are entirely separate from those of the Italian clergy and the Italian Catholics". If there was one national hierarchy in the world that was strictly controlled by the Vatican it was surely that of Italy; and, in fact, the Italian clergy were as strictly pledged as the Vatican never to take part in polities, These agreements of the Church to avoid politics seem always to have the unwritten clause "on the wrong side". The Italian Church went beyond the bulk of the people of Italy, who notoriously did not want war, in cheering Mussolini, but, since the papers of France, Britain, and America could be relied upon not to reproduce the words of the bishops, that was safe and profitable interference in politics. But the Pope's words would probably be reproduced in every country so he must keep "an attitude of complete reserve".
On Catholic theory, and in any case, bishops and priests no more approve injustice than Pope's do, but I need only quote one or two instances from Professor La Piana's article. On June 16 the Archbishop of Gorizia exhorted his people in a pastoral letter -- one of several issued at that time -- to "lift reverent thoughts to the ever victorious King and Emperor and to the undefeated Duce: may God bless and protect him." Cardinal Schuster, head of the Italian Church, visited soldier's in the barracks at Milan and "distributed blessed medals to bring luck to the Italian armies". The Civilia Catholica, which is almost as much an organ of the Vatican as the Osservatore, urged the soldiers to "shed their blood for the cause blessed by their religion." On June 27th, when France was prostrate in the dust, thirty Italian bishops gave away one of the reasons for their joy, and one that must have been very active in the Vatican. They urged the Duce to "crown the unfailing victory of our army" by taking the Holy Land from French and British hands and putting it, on the religious side, under the Pope. This, they said, would fitly express "the harmony between the civilized people of Imperial and Christian Rome". The shrines of the Holy Land are, I need not recall, almost as profitable as Monte Carlo, which was to have been, he thought, one of Mussolini's rewards, but we will consider the oriental policy of the Vatican in the last chapter.
Note the reference in the letter of the Italian bishops to "the civilized people of Imperial and Christian Rome". The rest of the world used very different language about their enthusiasm for Mussolini's action. We should, it is true, not regard the whole Italian people as approving it, but the above quotations show that the Catholics of Italy -- and of Spain, Portugal, Slovakia, Brazil, etc. -- joyously supported it. In America and Britain the more Papal Catholics followed the Pope's example of "complete reserve" for every decent non-Catholic about them considered that this act alone justifies us in calling Mussolini the Jackal. Some writers say that he incurred the anger and contempt of Hitler by holding off from intervention until France was mortally wounded. I prefer to think that they were in agreement, but at Mussolini's suggestion. As a member of the diplomatic corps in Rome said: "Mussolini does not want to fight a sick man: he wants to gouge the eyes out of a corpse." Some such language was used wherever tongues and pens were free, and non-Catholic.
To the last moment Mussolini had maintained his policy of craft and deceit. He continued to fool Britain with trade-talks. When, in May, Roosevelt asked for a declaration of his intention, he declared that he had no intention of entering the war. It is true that as Germany bowled over country after country his press began to complain of the "ring of steel" that the British command of the Mediterranean drew round Italy and hymns of hate even for children, began to be heard. But Ciano, the Jackal's pup, still thought he was fooling the British representatives with trade- talks, though as Chamberlain had now given place to Churchill probably no one was duped. At the beginning of June the World Fair, which had until that date been announced to be held in Rome, was "postponed", and the sailing of Italian liners was canceled. And on June 10 Romans were summoned not by blare of trumpets but by cards, to come to the Palazzo Venezia to listen to the final lie. He declared that "Italy has done everything possible to arrest this terrible war" -- which he had jubilantly arranged with Hitler at the Brenner a few weeks earlier -- but must now face "the risks (!) and sacrifices" which the wickedness of France and Britain forced upon it. He added, as if he luxuriated in lying: "I do solemnly declare that I do not intend to involve other nations in the struggle" and expressly called upon Yugo-Slavia, Greece, and Turkey to "take notice of these words of mine". Witnesses say that the great body of the people who were in the square heard him and departed in silence, and a gloom settled upon Italy. But the church-bells rang, and the bishops hung their consecrated garlands on the bull-neck of the brutal adventurer.
The Pope's "complete reserve" lasted until Petain sat firmly -- I mean was held firmly by Darlan and Weygand -- in the saddle, and Catholic papers all over the world, even in England (as I quoted), rejoiced at the glorious state into which the "heroic soul of France" had passed, if a little tarnished in the wings. Socialism, Communism, Freemasonry, and Freethought, which for 60 years, to the deep concern of the Vatican, had kept four-fifths of the French people out of the Church, were swept away by the German flood. By a sudden change which any observer in Europe would have pronounced forever impossible a year earlier the government was solidly Catholic, and decrees which transformed the country on the lines of the Papal encyclical poured out from Vichy. It looked as if England was now surely doomed -- even in friendly America the betting was against its chance of survival -- and the brutal soldiers who had effected this marvelous recovery of the Church in Spain, Czecho-Slovakia, Belgium, and France had made good their boast that they would settle the map of Europe and Germany's domination of it for a century.
With the recovery of France and Belgium the Vatican had, by a swish of the German sabre, turned 40,000,000 "bad Catholics" into "good Catholics -- into men and women who must hide the truth in their hearts and lie (attending church, etc.) with their actions. Think of Italy, Spain, Austria, Czecho-Slovakia and South America. What a miracle of Church-growth Pacelli had witnessed since he had taken office in the Secretariat of State in 1929! Or ought we to say, what a stupendous recovery of Church-power he had effected by his alliance with Mussolini and Hitler? Can anybody doubt, in view of this outcome of the invasion of the West, that he had in fact known in advance of the plan and approved, if not assisted, it?
Consider also the subsequent course of events in France. The Germans used the armistice-conditions, to which Petain had consented with an express, if childish, reliance on the "honor" of the German commanders, with all the treachery and brutality which were now a normal part of their behavior. "Armistice-commissions", consisting of soldiers in mufti, gestapo men, engineers, looters, etc., were sent to every part of the French empire to prepare the way for the occupation which they had sworn they did not contemplate. They plundered France, down to its door-knobs and bath-taps, from Metz to Marseilles. With mocking courtesy they paid useless paper for the silks and scents and wines of which they stripped the stores of France to send to their wives and friends in Germany. They appropriated half the food-supply, cattle, and poultry and, while they gorged on them, told the half-starved women and children to apply to America or draw upon French Africa, and then took 60 percent, in addition of what was imported. They brought vast numbers of their own women and children to feed on France and to laugh at the humanity of British bombers who would spare French civilian towns. They compelled the workers, under threat of starvation, from Belgium to Bordeaux, to make munitions for use against the only nation which was trying to deliver them.
But perhaps such matters cannot concern a Pope whose mind is occupied with higher things; though we do seem to have heard of him sending, when it suited the interest of the Church, Red Cross supplies to the East. What else did the Germans do? They applied in ten-fold force that brutal and immoral doctrine of Prussian militarism, that ten innocent civilians must be murdered if one who is guilty cannot be detected. The world was deeply stirred by these batches of murder in fifties, but the Pope and the French bishops were silent; and the priest-ridden Petitin was content to appeal to the French people to "stop these criminal outrages against the troops of occupation!" It is true that we get the usual unauthorized report that the Pope protested through his Berlin Nuncio, but we have grown a little cynical about these reports.
The Pope and the French bishops were still silent when Germany pressed Petain to tear off the one rag of "honor" he had kept at his surrender: his vow that he would never under any circumstances hand over the French fleet or French ports in Africa for use against Britain. Petain's Catholic colleagues are in favor of it, and the prelates, the guardians of the honor of Catholic France, are not interested. That is politic's. As I write the news comes that a number of the common priests of France are stung to attack their bishops for their cooperation with this corrupt and cowardly gang at Vichy: a gang which, with German collaboration, uses every device to spread hatred of England and may soon crown their infamy by causing the ugliest and most revolting of all the evil outgrowths of their policy: war between France and England. Already Moslem writers in Turkey are commenting with cynical disgust on the prospect, which seems to them to open, of the fleet of Christian Britain and America at war with the fleet of Christian France in the Mediterranean; the prospect of a Church-ruled France spending its blood on behalf of the power which has always been its bitterest foe and under its present rulers is sworn to annihilate France! In view of Hitler's repeated words about France and what he is actually doing in Poland and Czecho-Slovakia one would very seriously expect the castration of Frenchmen on a ghastly scale when the war is over. And the Pope keeps to his policy of "complete reserve" and permits (or directs) his Black International in France to support cordially, because they are useful to the Church, the miserable or stupid Vichy gang who thus betray the high honor of France and the first principles of civilization.
Mussolini was troubled by the disgust with which the better elements in Italy itself regarded his vile conduct in regard to France. His servile press attempted to excuse it by a campaign of lies about France and Britain, while thoughtful folk still had fresh in their minds the treacherous negotiations which he had Ciano conduct with Britain until the last moment. The Black International of Italy applauded his act with their customary fervor, but we have the assurance of one neutral visitor after another that the urban and better-educated Italians loathe him and his entanglement with Germany, which alone now saves him from destruction. From the year in which, for a heavy bribe, he sacrificed his convictions and the dearly-purchased liberties of Italy to begin the destruction of Socialism for the Church, throne, and capitalism he has brought misery upon the beautiful land.
That is not rhetoric. It is a cold summary of the statistics, published by the Italian government itself year by year and found in any good reference-book to which we look for a more reliable estimate of a country's social and economic health than we are likely to get from political partisans. They show that Italy is a land of poverty staggering under a stupendous load of internal debt.
Two things only, apart from debt and crime, can boast of growth in Italy under Mussolini: the Church and the Army. The Church has incalculably more power and much more wealth than it has had at any time since 1870. Through its cooperation with Fascism it has acquired a supremacy which any educated Italian before 1929 would pronounce, whether he was Catholic or not, absolutely inconceivable in modern Italy. It's medieval Canon Law, which was regarded as dead, is embodied in the civil law and it controls education. It has seen the deadly enemies against whom it was fighting a losing battle -- Liberalism, Socialism, Communism, Freemasonry, and Freethought -- fall under the blood-dripping fascist axe. Small wonder that it loyally carries out the contract of service which it signed in 1929 -- to use all its influence to keep the Italian people obedient to their Fascist masters.
You may have noticed little indications of secrecy, of hidden motivation, in those references to British or American intrigues to get Italy out of the war that one sees occasionally in the papers. This furtiveness does not mean only that international capital wants to be sure that Socialism will not, as Cardinal Hinsley predicted, succeed to the power of Mussolini. It means that American and British Catholics fear still more the consequences to the Church of such a revolution. In no other country in the world can Socialists chant with deeper historical sincerity: "Our Flag is red with martyrs' blood." Some day they may be so wicked as to retaliate. You see, they are without "the restraints of religion".
Mussolini thought that he could disarm the anger of his freethinking Fascist follower's at this restoration of the medieval powers of the Church by making Italy a formidable military nation and restoring the Roman Empire. The second line of his original appeal to the country, after the proposal to destroy Socialism, was that Italy had been scurvily treated at Versailles because the other powers regarded it as too weak to give any trouble. In point of fact it had been treated more generously than its services in the last war merited, but Mussolini soon found that if you roar a lie loud enough it has the accents of truth. He has spoken and written in praise of war -- any war -- more crudely than Hitler and has demanded floods of babies to make great armies. Not that he has any military ability. He never led anything but a mob with cudgels against a weaker mob. It is a fiction that he was wounded in the last war, and, while Hitler can certainly boast that he led the start of the Nazi march on Berlin -- even if he has to liquidate any man who recalls that he ran like a hare at the first shot -- Mussolini remained 200 miles away from the Fascist march on Rome, until he heard that there was no shooting. However, the army, acting with the throne and capital, had put him in power, and he set out to drain Italy of its scanty wealth to equip his invincible legions.
It is one of the most pathetic chapters of his story. In the old democratic days when we used to argue whether a strong man would not rule the state, better than the many-headed some of us were willing to entertain the idea that, at least, he would be more effective in the military field. Italian soldiers are as brave as any but somehow they have written a sorry page of military history. They will hardly boast of the conquest of Abyssinia, which reminds us of a squad of gunmen firing into kids on the streetwalk, especially as the upshot was to present the half-starved people with a desolation, and now they have lost even that. In Spain on a famous occasion they fled like rabbits before the Spanish workers. In Albania they were even worse humiliated, and on "Our Sea," the Mediterranean, their ships scurry to port at sight of an enemy. It has become a joke that the Italians excel in all speed-records. They wait until France is in agony to declare war on it; and they then learn, when they ask for their share of the loot, that even the Germans have a contempt for the military machine that Mussolini has created.
So Mussolini, seeing his demand of Corsica, Savoy, Malta, Tunisia and the Suez as far as ever from being satisfied, seeing his new empire of sand and rock slipping away, decided to start on Greece. He proceeded loyally on the lines of the New Order, the New Chivalry. We saw that when he attacked Albania he gave a most solemn assurance to the Greeks that he did not covet and would not try to get a single square mile of their territory. In September (1939) he renewed this assurance in a diplomatic correspondence with Athens. But after his cowardly attack on France and his failure to get a single advantage from it he had to find some way of restoring his prestige. Some writers suggest that he was jealous of Hitler and wanted to show that he could win glorious victories without Hitler's advice or help. Doubtless he had some such idea, but he met Hitler at the Brenner on October 4 and quite certainly discussed with him the war he was to begin only three weeks later.
In this age of "invincible might," when you want to smooth the way for the legions as much as possible, you do not "declare war". Some think that that is a practice of the Age of Chivalry, the spirit of which has been suffocated by our modern skepticism and materialism. Rubbish. The Middle Ages were a time of equal treachery and brutality. It was in that dreadful 19th century that nations used to give each other warning that they were going to war, and it is precisely to the standards of the Age of Chivalry, slightly adulterated with Nordic valor -- this may give three hours' notice, during the night, that it is opening fire -- that our Clerical-Fascist age has returned. It is true that since the Italian people themselves had to be prepared, Mussolini got his press to belch journalistic fire at the Greeks and writhe over the "atrocities" the Greeks were committing; and as the Greeks had not at that time any idea of the ease with which they could sweep the Italians before them they nervously disproved the lies and tried to disarm the wrath of Italy.
There was considerable strain but certainly no one thought of war when the Italian minister at Athens sent out invitations for a very festive reception of Greek ministers and foreign representatives at the Italian Legation on the night of October 27. If I here go into detail a little more than usual you will understand what sort of thing it really was that the Italian archbishops and bishops boisterously approved, as usual, and the Pope did not recognize as deserving of censure. The dance was in full swing when, at 2:30 a.m., the Italian minister politely explained to his Greek guests that he must leave them for an hour. All the Greek ministers were present except General Mataxas, the Premier, and, as the Italian minister was absenting himself to deliver a virtual declaration of immediate war on them one will probably have to search long in recent history to find a parallel to this infamy of the Pope's ally.
At 3 a.m. he presented himself at the house of General Metaxas and handed him an ultimatum, of the kind Hitler had several times delivered. It reaffirmed all the lies about atrocities and said that unless the Greeks accepted this charge and handed over certain strong strategic positions of theirs "to the Albanians" by 6 a.m. (three hours later) they were at war with Italy! When Metaxas asked what these strategic points were the Italian minister said that he did not know. Thus do invincible legions, unlike effete democracies, begin their wars. The invasion of Greece, which was fully prepared, began at once; and the whole free world rejoiced when, three weeks later, they heard that the Italians had been swept out of Greece and were making for the sea.
It sounds, perhaps, rather cheap to say: The Greeks, not being Romanists, fight, I am, of course, thinking mainly of the contrast with Belgium and France, not foolishly suggesting that Catholic soldiers are less brave than others. But there is another aspect of the matter, and it concerns us here. The treachery of Belgium and France was, we saw, mainly due to a few highly-placed Roman Catholics who are, to say the least, in very good odor at the Vatican. In Greece there were no Roman Catholics in positions of influence, and the support of the Vatican was entirely on the side of the invaders. There was no Petain or Weygand to recommend the abject surrender of the Greek army, no Level to corrupt the politicians and induce them to listen to the traitors, no Darlan to present the bitterest enemy of the country with its fleet, no cardinal-archbishop to murmur to the people: God wills it. So the Greeks fought, and with a heroism which surprised even those of us who thought we knew them.
It will be convenient to reserve the Vatican's policy in the East for adequate treatment in the last chapter of this book, but a few words must be said here about its application to Greece. The main Christian body in eastern Europe -- broadly, east of a line drawn from the Adriatic to the Polish-Russian frontier -- and nearer Asia calls itself "Orthodox Catholicism" and, whereas it used to be ruled by the Patriarch of Constantinople, it has broken into a number of national Churches (Serb, Bulgar, Rumanian, Russian, and Greek). The name itself suggests that, as we shall see later, the Churches differ from the Roman only in trifling points of doctrine and, in fact, consider themselves more orthodox than the Roman. When I say "trifling" I speak of course, as an Ishmael. The chief point of difference, which stirs passions to white heat and has led to the shedding of much blood, is whether Jesus (who foresaw the 1700 years of bitter conflict) did or did not mean the Roman bishops, when such a thing came into existence, to rule the whole Church. The Greeks repudiated the claim as soon as it was raised in the second century and have repudiated it, on every note of scorn, anger, and disdain, ever since. And during the whole period there was a corresponding eagerness at Rome to bring them into subjection. By centuries of experience the Vatican knows that argument is useless, since its claim rests on a tissue of lies, and it has at all times looked to national disasters to compel the orientals to compromise with their faith.
We moderns are inclined to regard these things as lingering follies of the Middle Ages, like astrology or occultism, and impatiently ignore them, but they are vitally relevant to the question of the Black International and the War. As I will show later, Rome has looked to the East more covetously than ever during the last half century when the growth of the democratic element in the Church owing to its position in the United States, the British Empire, France, and pre-nazi Germany disturbed the essentially oriental mind of the Vatican. I travelled extensively in Greece about Seventeen years ago and noticed that the French, who were then cooperating closely with the Vatican, were surprisingly busy with indirect proselytism. Even in very backward Crete French nuns had opened schools. The kind of education they gave was, of course, ludicrous. There is in Candida a museum of quite exceptional interest but when I ask one of these French-educated young women where it was, she said: "What is a museum?" It is a pure Greek word, and she had lived within half a mile of this famous museum all her life! The whole purpose of the education was to inspire respect for France and the Roman Church.
How the French, under the direction of the Vatican, lost all the ground they had gained, turned the respect of the Greeks into hatred, and made way for the Germans, by helping the Turks to defeat the Greeks I have explained elsewhere. Constantinople was at that time under an International Commission. The Turkish troops were fenced off a score of miles away, and Constantinople, without any sort of real force or authority in it, lay open to the large Greek army which I saw preparing to march upon it from Adrianople. But the Vatican was very strongly opposed to the Greeks taking over the ancient metropolis of oriental Christendom, as this would have given the heads of the Greek Church a commanding position, in the Orthodox world. At this time, we must remember, the Orthodox Church was in ruins both in Russia and Turkey, and the heads of the Greek Church were as eager to reorganize and control them as the Vatican was.
Such was the situation in Greece before the war. The Vatican- French treachery had made the Greeks more bitter than ever against Rome, and in 1940 there were only about 35,000 Roman Catholics in the entire population of 6,300,000. The Vatican now looked to Italy to promote its ambition to secure religious control of the East, and its interests so closely coincide with the greed of the Fascists that we are not surprised that in this case we do not get even one of those unauthorized claims that the Pope sent a letter of protest to the King of Italy about the repulsive treachery of the attack on Greece. He very studiously said nothing.
I am not in these booklets trying to drag in the Vatican at every step. There is no need for straining the evidence or starting suspicions. When we tell all the facts, as so very few papers or writers do, we find that there is not a section of the world- battlefield in which the interests of the Papacy do not coincide with the aim of the brutal aggressions of the Axis. That is a simple issue and easily proved. The recklessness of procedure is on the part of Catholics who ask us to believe that, while there is in fact this coincidence, the Pope is far too austere and mindful of the interests of civilization to take advantage of it. We have seen the opposite in every chapter.
But the hope of Mussolini and the Pope that Greece and the route to Egypt and the East could be secured without the intervention of the Nazis, who would as usual take nine-tenths of the spoils, broke against the splendid spirit of the Greeks. On November 18 Mussolini again summoned the Roman people to the Palazzo Venezia and roared to them that his legions were marching to victory. They were, as all the rest of the world knew, marching -- and very smartly -- in the opposite direction and were beginning to lose even Albania. One wonders what would have happened, and how much the world-tragedy might have been shortened, if the Yugo-Slavs had joined the Greeks at that time and the British had moved more swiftly and generously to their aid. A splendid barrier of mountains stretched from the Adriatic to the Aegean, and what the Greeks, Serbs, and British did with comparatively weak forces in 1941 shows what might have been done while the Greeks were still fresh in 1940.
Am I going to drag in the Vatican here also? There is no need. It is impossible to ignore its work when you consider all the facts. It was the Vatican, acting, through the Catholic Croats and in the closest association with Mussolini, that prevented, or played a very important part in preventing, the unity of Yugo- Slavia, which, after the expulsion of the pro-German Regent, was effected too late to save the country. That we shall see in the next chapter, but a few words must be said about the base conduct of Hungary and Rumania -- and with certain reserves we must add Bulgaria -- which enabled Hitler to move gigantic forces to the very frontier of Greece and Yugo-Slavia while still protesting that he sought only to maintain peace in south-eastern Europe.
Hungary, which has saddened it's admirers, of whom I count myself one, by licking the jack-boots of Germany and lying down to be trodden on by its troops in their treacherous march eastward, is in effect a Catholic country, and its Catholic hierarchy has been for some years in the closest touch with the Vatican. It therefore lays no strain upon our judgment to find evidence of Roman influence on its rulers.
The Magyars, a very estimable people and superior to the Rumanians, Serbs, and Bulgarians by their long absorption of Austrian culture, are, as everybody knows, of Asiatic origin, but their subjection to Austria during centuries enabled the Roman Church to capture most of them. Catholics are, it is true, only 65 percent of the population, but Protestants are only 35 percent, so that the Catholic hierarchy has almost a monopoly of ecclesiastical power, and this is significant in a land that is still overwhelmingly religious. In the year 1937 the Church held its great international festival at Budapest, and Cardinal Pacelli went in person to preside, The fact that it is an unusual honor for the Papal Secretary of State to make much a journey shows what interest Pacelli had in the Church's policy in that country, and not even a more solidly Catholic country ever received the Pope's representative more ceremoniously. The dictator, the fleetless admiral, Horthy, is a Protestant, but he lodged Pacelli in the royal palace, and the foreign correspondents commented on the cordial friendship that ensued.
It was the time when the simple-minded Mussolini's belief that Hitler was leaving to him the control of Austria, Hungary, the Balkan countries, and the Near East was being rudely disturbed. Hungary, which had followed his model of dictatorship, had for years looked to him. Now that Hitler had annexed Austria it had reconsidered its interests and drawn nearer to Germany; and with Germany Pacelli was, we saw, pressing hard at that time for an ever-closer alliance. Horthy dragged his country into an enthusiastic cooperation with Germany in the destruction of Czecho- Slovakia; and the Vatican, we also saw, was equally interested in that shameless outrage.
For historical reasons into which I cannot enter here the Magyars hated the Czechs as much as they hated the Russians, and they would need little persuasion from Pacelli to throw open their roads, rails, and river to the men who were going to crush Bolshevism in Russia, which was the ostensible aim at that time of Germany's thrust eastward. They hated also the Serbs, and in this case no one who has travelled from Budapest to Belgrade over the immense fertile country they lost to Serbia can fail to sympathize with them; though the chief guilt must be allotted to the Versailles Conference. When, therefore, Mussolini so pitifully failed in his campaign to win Greece for Italy and the Vatican and Hitler proposed to shift his victorious armies from France -- no foreigners had hailed the miserable Vichy group more loudly than the Catholic Magyars -- they strewed his route with flowers. The first stage in the Papal crusade for the extinction of Bolshevism in Russia was opening. We will, of course, not forget that Horthy and his sleek supporters were just as anxious for political reasons to see the central shrine of Socialism destroyed and that they have made great profit by their alliance with Germany. Yet the coincidence of the interest of the Church of Rome and its paramount position in Hungary must be equally recognized. A few years after the close of the last war, travelling through Hungary, I found the Magyars looking to the British more than to any other country in Europe. German gold and ecclesiastical intrigue have changed all that.
Bulgaria and Rumania have, like Greece, very small and powerless Roman Catholic minorities: 45,000 in 6,500,000 in Bulgaria and about one million out of 15,000,000 in Rumania. More than 80 percent of the inhabitants of each country belong to national branches of the Orthodox Church which broke away from the Greek Patriarchate at Constantinople in the nineteenth century. Their interest from our present viewpoint is that they are sections of that vast world of anti-Papal Catholicism which the Papacy hopes to control through the victories of Hitler and Mussolini. I could quote evidence from the Osservatore that there was much activity of Rumanian and Hungarian bishops at the Vatican, but we will not be tempted to exaggerate their influence.
It may not be without interest to the reader to point out that the Black (Orthodox) International in Rumania and Bulgaria is quite as bad as its Roman counterpart. In both, countries the priests have been silent while, in the last ten years, the freedom which the people had won by their revolt against Turkish rule has been strangled by Fascism, and in both the great body of the clergy are as gross as they were in Russia before the Revolution. I liked the Bulgars better than the Serbs when I moved amongst them, but the face's of the peasants in a crowd in which I was packed one holiday are still vivid to me in their sheer animality. We hear of no clerical protests against the appalling outrages these Bulgar peasants have committed in the villages they have taken from the defeated Serbs and Greeks. For decades they have given, unrebuked, free rein to the most violent inter-racial passions and religious hatreds.
The leading authority on religion in this part of the world, Stephen Graham, himself a devout member of the Church of England, which has tried for years to outstrip Rome in getting reunion with them, assures us (Stephen Graham's News-Letter, July, 1941) that the Rumanian priests are as gross as those of Russia were in Tsarist days, yet that they and their people were disgusted with the political -- I would almost say Romanist -- subservience of the higher ecclesiastical authorities. The picturesque Carol adopted Fascism on Italian lines in 1939 and Nazism of the German type or an iron tyranny, in 1940. He demanded and got the support of the bishops. Graham says:
"Both clergy and laity were angered and disillusioned by the subservient attitude of the higher ecclesiastical administration to the misdeeds of the government, which, indeed, reached such a point that the Church approved from the pulpit terrible murders and horrors which had been unknown hitherto in the political history of Rumania" (p. 3).
The Rumanian Church had so strongly supported the murderous Iron Guard that the blackguards actually pressed it to canonize the notorious Codreanu! This passage is taken from a religious news sheet, the chief aim of which is to win an admiring interest in the Orthodox Churches.
The Balkan problem -- the Balkan Cauldron experts have called it for years -- is very complicated, and Versailles made it far worse by its transfers of territory from one to another. All the Balkan and Danubian countries feared Germany, but the fate of Poland, and later Norway, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium warned them what to expect. They preferred the unheroic virtue of the Swiss and Swedes who boast that they have kept out of the war. "Why should we disturb you", a German recently said to one o these Swiss boasters, "when you provide us with 4,000,000 slaves who feed themselves?" Ingloriously their capitalists put on fat from war and food supplies to Germany and close their eyes to what would happen if Germany won. One thing only could have saved the Balkans: a loyal and determined League. But the languid efforts of France and Britain to secure it were mocked by the customary vigor, ability, and unscrupulousness of the German effort to prevent it. Until 1940 this job had in the main been left to the Italians, and I have shown how the Black International worked with them. This was most notable of all in Yugo-Slavia upon which, and Greece, the armored divisions of Germany now converged along the friendly route provided by Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria.
The uncouth name Yugo-Slavia -- the land of the "Southern Slavs" -- had to be coined by Versailles for the state, the bundle of very varied and conflicting Slav provinces, which it created as a reward for Serbia for its loyalty in the last war. It is true that the overwhelming majority of the 14,000,000 people are Slavs, but when you remember that the bitterly antagonistic Poles and Russians are both Slavs you smile at the idea that this slender racial bond must make for brotherhood. Blood may be thicker than water but it has no priests to chant its virtues. It is far feebler than the influence of a creed in an illiterate and priest-ridden population.
And Yugo-Slavia might be called a natural battle-ground of creeds. The Serbs -- they dislike the common practice of calling them Servians as the word is derived from the Latin for "slaves" -- the main body of the population and the highest (or least backward) in culture, belong to a Serb Orthodox Church, a national branch of the oriental Christianity which spread over Europe from Constantinople to Russia and the Balkans. They form about half (48 percent) of the population but are the ruling class and have certainly been autocratic in their treatment of the provinces which were annexed to their kingdom by Versailles on the specious ground that they were once part of the ancient kingdom of Serbia and their people are of the same race as the Serbs. The real reason was, as I said, that during the last war the Allied statesmen had made lavish promises of territory to keep Serbia and Greece from submitting to Germany. The Germans and Italians now, naturally, posed as the redeemers of oppressed national fragments from "the injustices of Versailles", and the Italians have inflamed the rebellious feelings of the minorities (whose territory they wanted for Italy) almost from the date of Mussolini assuming power.
But what concerns us here is that to the racial subdivision there was added the far fiercer flame of religious hatred, the feud of the Orthodox and the Roman Churches. On this the Italians relied, and they had the very zealous assistance of the local and the Italian hierarchy and the Pope. I have described the historic line of separation of the Latin and Greek Churches as running, broadly, from the Adriatic to the Russo-Polish frontier, which is the general line, in the south, of division of the Latin and Greek halves of the old Roman Empire. But the Latins always claimed the land (Dalmatia) to the east of this which is now a province of Yugo-Slavia and is as resolutely sought, on account of its good harbors by the Italians. East of this again are the non-Serb provinces of Monte-negro, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Slovenia. These became part of the Turkish Empire in Europe, and the population of Bosnia is still mainly Moslem. But at the break-up of the Turkish Empire in Europe they passed to Austria-Hungary, and, though they hated it, its priests "converted" large numbers to the Roman faith. It is in this northern fringe of Yugo-Slavia, from the sea to Slovenia, that the 5,000,000 Roman Catholics, as against the 7,000,000 Orthodox Catholics of Serbia, live. You have a useful analogy in the case of Irish Catholics being controlled by English Protestants, but in Yugo-Slavia the Romanists were much nearer in number to the Orthodox, and their next-door neighbor, Italy, was a great power that had every interest in inflaming the religious quarrel with the Serbs. Of late years the next neighbor, Hungary, has also intrigued to recover control of the provinces, and its Catholic clergy have been just as interested as the politicians.
The situation is, as will now be understood, very complicated, and the kingdom of Yugo-Slavia has been so unstable since 1919 that many experts predicted that the next European war would originate there. It will be remembered that it was the assassination of an Austrian Archduke in that region which gave the Kaiser the pretext for starting the war of 1914. What the experts and the papers always hesitate to point out, however, from fear of Catholic reprisals, is that the Roman Church was just as much interested is Mussolini in detaching these Catholic regions from the rule of the Orthodox clergy and bringing them under Catholic Italy and Hungary.
This intrigue naturally became more active as the Vatican enlarged its ambition and began to dream of taking over the various sections of the Orthodox Church itself. As we shall see, the only difference in point of doctrine, the manner of the "procession" of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, is one of which these illiterate masses cannot have even the glimmer of an understanding. I doubt if you would get even one in 10,000 educated American Catholic's to give you an intelligible idea of the dogma. The hard core of resistance is to the Pope's claim of authority, and this is not a matter of argument. Count Sforza tells us in one of his works that when he spoke to the Serb Patriarch about the Roman attempt's to effect a union that prelate replied: "There is only one obstacle -- the vanity of the Bishop of Rome". In such cases Rome has always found political power much more effective than persuasion.
Mussolini was put in power by the army and the capitalists of Italy in 1924, and it was part of the program by which he had won a large and empty-headed following of ex-soldiers that he would win that part of Yugo-Slavia of which, he said, the Versailles Conference, had cheated Italy. Very widespread unemployment had followed the demobilization of the army, and the unscrupulous Duce easily traced this to the evil conduct of Versailles. Italian intrigues on the other side of the Adriatic was doubled after the infamous bargain of the Vatican with the Fascists in 1929. By 1932 there were bloody riots against the pro-Italians in Yugo-Slavia, and the religious element in the intrigue was so obvious that in 1933 the Jesuits and certain congregations of nuns were suppressed. For the last ten years, in fact, the bitter quarrel of Croats and Serbs which did more than anything to weaken the defence of the country has been so patently religious as well as political that the leading authority, Stephen Graham, an Anglo-Catholic, says (Stephen Graham's News-Letter, March, 1940) of the struggle of the Croats: "This is a Catholic movement and has to some extent affinity to Rome and Budapest." He later explains this "affinity" to mean that the movement was subsidized by Roman and Hungarian gold, and he declares that half the bitterness is due to the feud of the Roman Catholics and Orthodox Catholics: in other words, to the greed of the rival branches of the Black International for wealth and power.
Into the maze of Yugo-Slav politics which arose from this situation I must not enter. Suffice it to say that the Serb government, which was more than half-Fascist, relying on electoral corruption and a muzzled press, was violently assailed by a combination of Serb radicals and agrarians with the Catholic Croats. This gave the Vatican an opportunity for one of those underhand interferences in politics which, though heatedly denied by Catholics at the time, transpire by the dozen in later history. Just as the Church had offered to sell -- to procure in return for advantages to itself -- the docility of Irish Catholics to England and of Polish Catholics to Germany, as we read in the official life of Leo XIII, or as it offered to keep the Alsace-Lorrainers docile to France, so it would use its Black International in Croatia to damp the fires of the agitation if the Serb government would grant its requirements. Pacelli was now Secretary of State and the characteristic author of this proposal.
All through history the Papacy has made these secret agreements with monarchs, while its local priest's posed as ardent supporters of the people's patriotism. It makes a mockery of the, parrot-cry that the Pope never interferes in politics. Political activity is turned into a pure moral duty by recalling to the people, when it is in the interest of the Church, such texts as "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's" or "Be ye subject to the higher powers." It is the duty of the Church to enforce the words of Jesus and Paul.
The Concordat was secretly signed by Pacelli and the heads of the Serb government in 1935. It gave the Roman Church a number of new bishoprics and raised some bishops to the rank of arch-bishops. It authorized priests to give Roman Catholic instruction to their children in the public schools and undertook to enforce legally the promise of an Orthodox partner to a mixed marriage that all children of the marriage should be Roman Catholics even if the Orthodox parent repented of having given the promise. It even embodied in the civil law the provision of the Canon Law that a Catholic priest could not be condemned in the ordinary civil court for certain grave offenses. It was a monstrous price to pay for a promise that the Croat and Slovene and Dalmatian priests would be ordered to drop their political encouragement of the rebels and use their influence to cheek the agitation. When, in fact, the terms leaked out there was such widespread indignation that the Serb government dared not present the Concordat to Congress for ratification. The Croats themselves realized that it was an attempt to sell their patriotism and resented it. When at length, in 1937, the government, seeing the gathering gloom in Europe and the need for political unity, presented to Congress a Bill based upon the agreement with the Vatican, there was a procession of bishops and priests through the streets of Belgrade, and the Holy Synod excommunicated the Premier and all who voted for the Bill.
The Concordat was never ratified but these facts will be enough to convince any man of the justice of the title of this chapter. Even when autonomy was granted to the Croats in 1939 the religious feud continued. The situation of the country gave the greatest concern in spite of the soothing assurance's of the pro- German Regent. Austria had gone and the fatal wound been inflicted on Czecho-Slovakia in 1938. The black shadow of German militarism crept nearer, and the statesmen of the western democracies hugged their policy of appeasement like little girls hugging a pretty doll. Mussolini struck in Albania, and Hitler completed the destruction of Czecho-Slovakia and began to talk about Dantzig. Schacht, Germany's economic wizard, came to Yugo-Slavia and bound it to Germany by arranging a monopoly of half its trade. Yet, in spite of the reiterated statements of Italy and Germany that Yugo- Slovia was not in the least danger the wiser of its statesmen saw through the trickery and tried in vain to unite with Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Greece for self-protection. There were nominal adhesions, but signed and sealed international compacts were by this time a dollar a dozen in Europe. German penetration increased. The invasion of "tourists" went on, and the Fascist Regent Paul advised the formation of a complete Corporative State.
I must confine myself here to the share of the Black International in prolonging the period of discussion and weakness until it was too late to save Yugo-Slavia. The leader of the Catholic Slovenes was, like the leader of the Catholic Slovaks in Czecho-Slovakla, a political priest, Father Koroshits, and he was so open a Fascist that he got himself appointed Minister of Education in the Serb government. The Croats continued throughout 1940 to agitate for independence and began to look to the Germans as deliverers from the tyranny of the Serbs. When, in April, the Germans occupied the Croat provinces and they declared themselves independent of Serbia, the declaration was followed by a band playing "Deutschland Uber Alle's" (Annual Register).
The war was as repulsive in its beginning as all other enterprises of the leaders of that New Order with which the Church co-operates everywhere. Too late the Serbs realized the treachery of the Regent and dismissed him (March 29, 1941). Germany and Italy (which had been effusive in its professions of friendship throughout 1940) fabricated the usual atrocity stories and posed as the saviors of the poor down-trodden minorities. Historians will one day raise a question of the sanity of this age of ours. Who, they will ask, could be deceived by this trickery after four or five un-scrupulous uses of it? Why make any excuse at all if you mean to violate international law by deceiving your opponent until the last hour? What can be the mentality of men who think that neutrals must not say a word about the vile and unprecedented outrages they commit because they blandly describe it as "total war"? And what shall we say of bodies of Christian clergy and their bishops who will not even whisper that their "total war" is just a reintroduction of savagery into warfare and who excuse their own cowardice or self-interest on the plea that they are prevented by their sacred office from interfering in politics?
The blow was launched on April 12. There are military expert's today who wonder whether Hitler did not make a fatal blunder in engaging in the very costly campaigns in Yugo-Slavia and Greece instead of advancing upon Russia in the spring: which is equivalent to saying that he had not even the shadow of a military excuse for his ghastly treatment of the two small countries. Certainly they would not have deserted their neutrality if he had pushed on to Russia through Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria. If the plan was to level a route to Turkey and the East it has obviously miscarried. However, we are here concerned with the share of the Black International.
There have been men and women of honor in all ages who have refused to accept any profit or advantage from a dishonorable act. The Papacy and the Black International never did. They at once consolidated their gain in respect of the first of their aims: the detachment of the Catholics of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Slovenia. Croatia was relinquished to the Italians who created a kingdom for one of their princes and let the Roman Church get busy everywhere. So brutally was the work done that the highest authority was conferred on a man, Anton Pavelitsch, who was notoriously a leader of a gang that specialized in the kind of murder that is politely called assassination. A French court had found him guilty of implication in the murder of King Alexander and had sentenced him to death. He had escaped and lived under the protection of Italy until the day of his usefulness to Italy and the Church arrived.
Under this Catholic ruffian the Romanist priests at once entered upon the same kind of brutal coercion of members of the Orthodox Church as the Polish priests had conducted in the Galician Ukraine. In November a British paper that is usually careful not to offend Catholics, the News Chronicle, reported as follows:
"Four bishops and 100 priests of the Orthodox Church at Noshia, Croatia, have been murdered, it is stated. The Patriarch Gavrilo has been ill-treated and imprisoned in a monastery at Belgrade, and the Archbishop of Zagreb has been whipped and banished to Belgrade. The Serbian priests have been replaced by Bulgarians. The Hungarians also are stated to have hanged a number of priest."
This news gets through because not a word in it suggests to the general reader that the Church of Rome is responsible for these murders. In the light of the explanations I have given my readers will have no difficulty. They will readily understand that the Bulgarian priests who were substituted for the murdered Orthodox priests were certainly not priests of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church which is as hateful to the Vatican as the Serb Orthodox Church. They were Bulgar Roman priests who had to be brought in because the Croats are bitterly opposed to Italians. Notice also the reference to the Catholic Hungarians. Only a few months before Hungary had signed a pact of lasting peace and eternal friendship with Yugo- Slavia. Now its priest-ridden peasant soldiers behave like savages to the Slavs who belong to the wrong Church.
I, as, I said, do not drag in the Church. You cannot lift a corner of this veil of tragedy that lies upon Europe without finding its ministers there, and always on the side of the Axis and its Catholic satellites. The Church, Catholic papers and orators tell you, is, and must be, neutral. Isn't it a singular thing that wherever we turn we find it supporting the forces of barbarity and drawing profit from their victories? A strange neutrality! The plain truth is that it is neutral, and very scrupulously neutral, only as regards the support of the forces that in the name of civilization are trying to cheek the hordes of savagery. But we shall see this more plainly if we devote a chapter to the coincidence of the aims of the Church and those of its White Knight, the Italian Jackal.
My experience in lecturing to skeptical audiences in Britain, especially when questions are invited after the lecture, is that no part of my message to them is so apt to be challenged as my indictment of the Roman Church. I very commonly find myself contradicted by Freethinkers, sometimes lecturers or writers on Freethought, who try to persuade the audience that from the circumstances of my earlier life my knowledge is less broad than theirs or that I have a "complex" in regards to the Papacy. They are apt to protest, with an air of superior knowledge or liberality, that "one Church is just as bad as another." How any man can say anything so stupid when, as even school-children know, the Church of Rome adds a score of absurd doctrines (confession, indulgences, transubstantiation, etc.) to those doctrines which are common to all the main branches of the Christian Church and most of these doctrines are notoriously medieval fabrications for the sole purpose of enhancing the power of the priests it is difficult to understand. But the man who protests that he means that all Churches are equally bad in practice or in their mischievous influence on life betrays how scanty and superficial is his knowledge of history and his analysis of contemporary life.
The general public, relying for most of its information upon a press which is compelled by Catholic influence to suppress large numbers of facts of vital importance, can be excused for ignorance of the particular mischievousness of the Black International. That religion is of great importance in maintaining the standard of our civilization is a cliche of modern editorials and is unfortunately stated too often in recent sociological manuals; and to this is very often added a special tribute to "the venerable Church of Rome", its "august head", and its international organization of (on the latest claim I find in a Catholic Directory) 360,000,000 Catholics. Hence such charges as I here bring against the Black International seem to a member of the general public strange and strained. He had understood that it was just a question whether the Pope could or could not be expected to censure Hitler or Mussolini, and, in fact, that the Pope had frequently censured the former. I have shown that in ten years of increasing menace to civilization the Church has never censured either of the master-bandits except when they refused to carry out their promises to itself, but it is far more important to realize yet almost totally hidden from the general public that the ambition of the Papal Church coincides in a remarkable manner with the ambition of the arch-murderers and fully explain its cooperation with them.
This has appeared at each step we have taken in the present booklet, and it will be well in conclusion to make it our direct theme for a few pages. The ambition of the Black International coincides in two directions with that of the gangsters who terrorize half the world today. The first point is that the Papacy deeply desires that, extinction of Socialism which Fascists and Nazis have accomplished in a score of countries and promise, if their armies are victorious, to accomplish everywhere. I have shown this, and will further enlarge on it in a booklet on Russia. But I would remind the reader how this consistent and essential policy of the Vatican is only a continuation of the policy of violence it has sustained since it acquired power in the fourth century. From the reawakening of Europe in the twelfth century to the French Revolution it has had millions of victims; and of the half-million unarmed men and women who have been put to death for demanding democracy in the state and freedom of discussion in religion between the French and the Russian Revolutions all but a few thousand were done to death by Catholic authorities cooperating with and instigated by their priests. That fact alone makes a mockery of the foolish cry that "one Church is as bad as another". And if the leader will recall the facts I gave in the first and second books of this series -- that Catholic countries almost alone support the enemies of the human race today, that they are themselves on the Pope's recommendation or approval practically all Fascist, and so on -- he will have a much clearer understanding of the world-situation. But I have space only to deal with the common aim of Mussolini (and now of Hitler) and the Pope, and this again is to a great extent rooted in Rome's real hatred and dread of democracy.
In their survey of the conflicts of national aims during the last hundred years historians very commonly use a German phrase (Drang nach Osten), to express a fundamental cause of clashes. It means "the drive to the East" and, since what we call the Far East is shut out from the horizon of European powers by the vast wilderness of eastern and central Asia, it means an urge to expand south-eastward in Europe: the lure of the sun, the blue sea, and the warm fertile lands that the Greeks felt 3000 years ago, that led even Napoleon into a rash adventure, and that has been an important factor in European polities ever since. Germany at the close of the last century impelled Russia to adventures in the Far East (and its first clash with Japan) so as to divert its ambition from Greece, Turkey, and the Near East, which Germany itself coveted.
Mussolini's dream of restoring the Roman Empire necessarily included this expansion. He began, we saw, by dangling before the eyes of the more thoughtless Italians a promise that he would get, by war a few provinces (Dalmatia, Corsica, Malta, etc.) that ought to belong to Italy. When he saw how supinely the western world tolerated the growth of his army and his ambition he dreamed of becoming an Augustus or a Diocletian. The Roman Empire once spread over the Balkans, Egypt, and Asia Minor as far as Persia. The new eagles of the new invincible legions would advance along the same routes.
What concerns us is that the Papacy even more cordially supported him in his larger and more mischievous ambition than in the earlier. The Vatican was little interested in the transfer of Dalmatia, Savoy, and Corsica, which were already Catholic, but the dream of an Italian Empire such as Mussolini now imagined was a very different matter. Just such a dream had fascinated the Vatican itself for nearly a century. It was called the reunion of the Churches, but the Vatican knew from painful experience of the futility of its missionaries that it would accomplish nothing without compulsion. It had in recent years an emphatic assurance of this. The Poles, as I explained elsewhere, took over several million Orthodox Catholics in the provinces which Versailles took from Russia for them, but argument about the supreme position of the Pope was found to be entirely useless and the most savage persecution had to be employed to persuade some of them that the Pope is the real Father of All Christians.
Greek and other oriental Catholics had, as I said, for the most part repudiated the Pope's claim ever since it was fabricated in the second century, but Rome had never despaired of securing their submission. By the Middle Ages these easterners were so hardened in their anti-Roman faith that argument was useless, and the Popes had to look out for political opportunities. Thus Innocent III, the greatest of the Popes, promised to overlook the appalling behavior of his Crusaders in the thirteenth century -- instead of going to "the Holy Land" they took Christian Constantinople and robbed and desecrated its churches -- if they would secure the submission of the Greek Church to him. When the, Turks in the fifteenth century swept over the Greek Empire and the Greeks appealed to the Pope to rouse Christendom to a new Crusade he tried to make it a condition that the Greek Church should first submit to him. The Turks mastered the whole of the Greek empire and for several centuries suspended communication between East and West, but when, in the second half of the nineteenth century, the Turks had degenerated -- that is to say, their Sultans and ruling class degenerated, for the Turkish people were as robust and decent as ever -- while the peoples of Europe got modern armaments and detached province after province from the Turkish Empire, the ambition of the Papacy revived.
It was then that Greece, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Serbia won their independence of the Turks and the higher clergy in each decided, in harmony with the patriotic movement, to declare their independence of the Patriarch at Constantinople (the Greek Pope) and set up the national Greek (and Russian), Rumanian, Bulgar, and Serb Orthodox Churches. Since no such thing as a Church, much less a supreme head of the Church, is contemplated in the New Testament -- the text about Peter and the Church is, of course, a late and ridiculous interpolation -- they had the right to do so, but we should understand that it is just these rival ambitions of the higher clergy in each country that prevent union. The Roman Church likes to call it "reunion" but the Churches were united on the basis of Papal supremacy which Rome declares essential. The statement on the subject in the Catholic Encyclopedia, that in the early ages all churches in East and West acknowledged the supremacy of the Roman bishops is the high-water mark of "Catholic Truth", for it is exactly the reverse of the truth. In doctrine there is only one major point that divides the Latin and oriental Catholics, and no one but a trained theologian can understand the verbiage in which the difference is expressed. According to the Latins the Holy Ghost "proceed's" from (but is co-eternal with) the Father and the Son, but according to the Greeks from the Father only. Ask the most cultivated or most zealous of your Catholic friends what that means and, if you do not give him time to consult his Encyclopedia -- ten to one his priest cannot explain it -- yon will be entertained.
This break-up of the Turkish empire and of the spiritual kingdom of the Greek Pope stirred the Vatican to a new hope. Leo XIII began 70 years ago to make preparations for the conquest of the eastern Churches, of which only small fragments here and there, called Uniates, were subject to Rome. Benedict XV resumed the work in 1917, when the Turks were hard pressed by the Allies, and the late Pope Pius XI took a most ardent interest in the work. Special colleges and sections of the Congregation of Propaganda at Rome prepare priests for the great work of taking over. But the Vatican is aware that there is not the least prospect of winning the easterners by argument and it, as in all previous ages and as in the "reunion" of its tens of millions of apostates in Italy, Spain, France, and Spanish America, bases its entire hope of a spiritual conquest upon a political or military conquest of the Balkan countries and the Near East by some power with which it has an understanding. There are in these countries, apart from Russia, to which I will devote a special book, about 50,000,000 Catholics and only about 7,000,000 of them acknowledge the Pope. It is, surely, now as plain why the Pope never condemned the brutal invasion of Greece and Yugo-Slavia as why he never condemned the treatment of France.
The British Catholic writer W. Teeting (The Pope in Politics) gives another reason, and it is sound, though American Catholics do all in their power to suppress it. He says of the late Pope (whose policy the present Pope inspired and continues):
"The Pope is himself temperamentally more interested in the question of Reunion with the Eastern Churches and with conversions in the mission field. He had hoped during his Papacy to arrange such a Reunion with the Orthodox Churches so that the growth of democratic Catholicism in the New World would be counterbalanced" (P. 3).
It is not a question of the temperament of any Pope -- for that matter Pius XII is far more aristocratic than Pius XI was -- but of the permanent policy of the Black International, and it is misleading to place so much stress on the New World. Teeling points out that the New World or America has come in the course of modern developments to have 400 Catholic bishops against 650 in Europe and says that the Vatican fears that this democratic New World may come to have the majority. That is misleading because the great majority of the 400 American bishops are in the Latin Republics -- there are only 140 in the United States -- and they dread democracy and loathe Socialism (its inevitable offspring in Vatican eyes) as much as the Pope does. At the very time when Teeling wrote his book they were cooperating with the secular authorities in a truculent suppression of democracy in nearly every Republic of South and Central America, and we know how they loathe it in Mexico.
Look at it this way. There are still about 280 bishops in Ital and more than 150 in France, Spain, and Portugal, and they, like the Spanish-American bishops, have cooperated in the complete destruction of democracy in their countries. The Catholic bishops of Germany and Belgium have done the same. But the Vatican has no hope of seeing an anti-democratic attitude in the 320 archbishops and bishops of the United States and (except Quebec) the British Empire, for it would ruin the prospects of the Church in those countries if they let it be known that it is anti-democratic. They must even toll the grotesque lie -- since the Church obviously supports Fascism in every country where it has power -- that the Pope loves democracy and Catholic principles are in perfect harmony with it; What the Church loves is the gold of democracy -- of America and Britain -- but he and the miserable brood of Italian bishops who fatten on it fear that, as they must continue to create new bishops and cardinal's in these profitable, but poisonous (democratic) sections of the Church the Italian monopoly of power and wealth is in danger and the essentially authoritarian teaching of the Church is menaced. For a time they saw the danger increase as the Church in France, Germany, and Italy had to meet the needs of the new age by starting Christian Socialist or Catholic Democratic movements, as I have elsewhere described. That danger is happily (from the Papal viewpoint) removed by the truculent establishment of Fascism, but the future is uncertain. Hence the need of a counter-balance by bringing in the Greek and other eastern Churches with their innumerable bishops and archbishops.
In this the Vatican betrays once more how false is that reputation for psychology and "insight" which its propagandists have won for it. It is building upon a theory of the psychology of the Slav and of the oriental which has long been discredited. It was common in the last century to say, and it is still far too often said by literary men, that the Slav and the oriental mind is docile, passive, and naturally submissive to authority. Not only does the modern science of psychology reject these old superficial theories of racial psychology but recent developments in Russia, China, and India ought to have taught every man how nonsensical they are. It is just as absurd to credit the Vatican with broad outlook and penetrating insight. These Italian parasites are a bunch of Chinese mandarins who are an anachronism in the modern world.
It, at all events, explains the coincidence of the policy of the Vatican with that of the Italian jackal. The Pope refuses to condemn he rape of Abyssinia -- a monstrous moral outrage -- though British and American Catholics clamor for a condemnation, and, at the very time when Cardinal Hinsley assures them that he heard the Pope call it a "barbarous outrage", the Pope bestows the Golden Rose on the Queen of Italy as Empress of Abyssinia. He get's his "unauthorized" agents to say how he was disturbed by Mussolini forcing the gates to the East (Albania) and does not say a word about Yugo-Slavia and Greece, but his whole Italian hierarchy boosts the campaign, and his priests and nuns follow in the wake of the barbarized soldiers. He is following the whole Drive to the East with the liveliest hope and expectation. He is not a Man of Blood like Mussolini or Hitler. In the time-honored fashion of the Roman Church he gets "the secular arm" to shed the blood for him.
|Top of Page|