This page is a discussion of the article Of Church and Reich… Reflections on the statement "Mit brennender Sorge" and on the Concordat of 1933.
Fri, 9 Apr 2010
An interesting read and clearly there are valid points that show a fairly strict and dictatorial religion can go hand in hand with dictatorship. However pagan culture can sometimes also enter the extremist realms. It would be great to believe that every pagan is open and welcoming to their fellow sister and brother no matter what creed race or colour they are sadly some pagans I have met are the least tolerant people and are going down the road of pagan beliefs are the only beliefs and the only right path! I believe all pathways worked with the right connection of the inner spirit lead to the one gateway the one goal! Lets emulate and celebrate our differences and show by our way how a multicultural approach and society are far more fruitful than any rigid religious system.
OM SHANTI Luv and light
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Many thanks for your thoughtful response to what I wrote.
I read out your email at the puja last night. Margaret Fyre was pleased by what you said about multiculturalism, and pagan paths not being the only ones. She is interested in different traditions... Perhaps you've read her poem "On Waking" about different divine messengers.
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Thanks Colin. The poem really resonated with that which is inside my heart. May the mother kali bless and guide you in luv and light
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Well, I've been looking over this just now, having a turn on the Net-computer as the rest of the family's away at a party.
What a subject. It could be the foundation of an entire scholastic lifetime. Anything which I could add to it would be necessarily superficial, especially since the questions merit deep reflection and are far from simple in themselves.
I'll keep looking it over, but I'm not too optimistic as to any outcomes...
Distinctions to be made between Mit brennender Sorge and Non Abbiamo Bisogno (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non_Abbiamo_Bisogno), which was far more confrontational in tone, but was directed against Mussolini and his direct moves against Catholic Action in Italy. Germany was a different proposition, apparently...
Note the more severe initial findings of the Jesuits who prepared the background information. They ran it past the Dominicans, who watered it down considerably (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mit_Brennender_Sorge).
Of course, as you mention, Divini Redemptoris is far more emphatic in its absolute rejection of Communism, particularly - and notably - when it makes claims which overlap those of Christian social duty. Apparently the faithful are not to be mislead by this similarity.
Sing the Horst Wessel, but not The Red Flag...
Thursday, 15 April 2010
> What a subject. It could be the foundation of an entire scholastic lifetime. Anything which I could add to it would be necessarily superficial, especially since the questions merit deep reflection and are far from simple in themselves.
Yes... One reason these questions seem important to me, is that since childhood I’ve encountered material stressing occult and/or pagan aspects of the Nazi period. Probably you’re acquainted with Le Matin des Magiciens by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier (admirers of Charles Fort), which has been translated as The Dawn of Magic and The Morning of the Magicians? We had a copy at home when I was growing up...
Years later, I attended a lecture about the Bhagavad Gita at the Theosophical Society, given by the late Eric Sharpe, a quite liberal religious studies academic at the University of Sydney. He mentioned study of the Gita by National Socialists such as J. W. Hauer, and he seemed to see this as a reason why we as Europeans should be cautious of texts which were "not written for us"...
It may be no bad thing that Pauwels and Bergier drew attention to the role of religious heterodoxy within Nazism. It is a topic worth studying. Nor would I rule out that there can be dangers for some people in the Bhagavad Gita -- practically any classical text can be dangerous for someone! My argument is there are also dangers -- serious dangers -- in transferring responsibility for Europe's own violence onto occult influences from India or Tibet...
> Preliminary observations:
> Distinctions to be made between Mit brennender Sorge and Non Abbiamo Bisogno, which was far more confrontational in tone, but was directed against Mussolini and his direct moves against Catholic Action in Italy. Germany was a different proposition, apparently...
Is Non Abbiamo Bisogno really so different from Mit brennender Sorge?
Certainly it opposes suppression of Catholic Action. The contention is that Catholic Action is non-political, and so should not have been seen as a threat to the Fascist Party. Just as Mit brennender Sorge reaffirms the principles of the Reichskonkordat, Non Abbiamo Bisogno speaks in glowing terms of the Lateran Treaty of 1929 -- the treaty between Mussolini and Pius XI, which created the mini-state of Vatican City as it exists today, declared Catholicism the sole state religion of Italy, and also provided for on-going payments from the Italian state to the Catholic Church...
> Note the more severe initial findings of the Jesuits who prepared the background information. They ran it past the Dominicans, who watered it down considerably (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mit_Brennender_Sorge).
Yes, it's important to remember that there were a range of views within the church, and a process of discussion... After Mit brennender Sorge, Pius XI and his assistants drafted an encyclical called Humani Generis Unitas, about Jews and anti-semitism. While the draft speaks of the blindness (to Christ) of Judaism, it objects in clear language to anti-semitic measures which treat scrupulously law-abiding citizens like criminals, and war heroes like traitors...
But that one hadn't reached the publication stage when Pius XI died, and his successor Pius XII didn't continue the project... So it didn't have a direct effect on relations between Church and Reich.
> Of course, as you mention, Divini Redemptoris is far more emphatic in its absolute rejection of Communism, particularly - and notably - when it makes claims which overlap those of Christian social duty. Apparently the faithful are not to be mislead by this similarity.
> Sing the Horst Wessel, but not The Red Flag...
Divini Redemptoris can be understood historically as a response to certain things, such as anti-church violence by revolutionaries in Russian, Mexico and Spain (three countries mentioned in the text itself).
However, the church leaders might have responded to those things in a different way -- they could have paid more attention to why people in various countries (and not only Marxist-Leninists) were angry with the church (and not only with the Catholic church).
Instead of which, this encyclical blames "the ancient tempter" (paragraph 2), "truly diabolical" propaganda (paragraph 17), "occult forces" (paragraph 18).
A liberal website I've looked at
presents Divini Redemptoris as a model for what Mit brennender Sorge should have been like... I see the anti-red encyclical rather as a demonization that (intentionally or otherwise) made it more likely that Catholics in various parts of Europe would support a crusade against the Soviet Union.
What do you think Zibethicus?
Friday, 16 April 2010
Subject: The Church and WILHELM Reich!
I'm not making fun of your scholastic endeavours, the connection just occurred to me...
I read your article. I have to admit I knew absolutely nothing about the Catholic (or any Christian) Church's connection with the Nazis. Most unsettling. Of course, the papal role is a political one, first and foremost. I do admire the Jesuits for their independent thought, and stance from time to time (I believe their "leader" is called The Black Pope!).
I'm rather curious to know more about your parents now you have mentioned "The Dawn of Magic" on the bookshelf. Did they have any religious affiliations? What prompted your research on this subject?
Divine messengers are all around us, I'm sure. I welcome their intelligence!
Sunday, 18 April 2010
> I'm not making fun of your scholastic endeavours, the connection just occurred to me...
Well, it does bring out the fact that Reich is an old German word, and not associated exclusively with Nazism.
> I read your article. I have to admit I knew absolutely nothing about the Catholic (or any Christian) Church's connection with the Nazis.
I don't blame you for not knowing about it. There are moments in 20th century history that have become (so to speak) iconic -- like the Munich Agreement, and Pearl Harbour -- and others that haven't, and the Concordat of 1933 is definitely in the 2nd category.
Still, there has been some substantial recent writing in this general area. E.g. The Holy Reich by Richard Steigmann-Gall, which focuses on support for National Socialism within the Protestant churches of Germany.
> Most unsettling.
Does that mean it is a topic to be avoided? Or a nettle to be grasped?
> I'm rather curious to know more about your parents now you have mentioned "The Dawn of Magic" on the bookshelf.
Have you read The Dawn of Magic, Lindy? It was (and in a way still is) important for me, perhaps because it was the first book I read about what the Nazis thought, as distinct from what they did. I actually have the book (yes, the same copy I read back then) beside me right now.
A quote from The Dawn of Magic... "That Hitler was a psychopath, even a paranoiac, is not disputed; but psychopaths and even paranoiacs are to be found everywhere." Yes. The authors may not be right about everything, but they do make some important points.
> Did they have any religious affiliations? What prompted your research on this subject?
They was nominally Anglican, and I attended an Anglican school in Perth for 10 years. I remember regular prayers for "the Queen, and those in authority under her". My father had a very big collection of books, on subjects including Jungian psychology, fantasy fiction (e.g. Tolkien, Charles Williams, James Branch Cabell, H.P. Lovecraft) and a few non-fictions on occult subjects, including a life of Aleister Crowley.
My mother had a sense of connection to Christianity but didn't go to church much when I growing up. She explained Jesus to us as a healer and teacher. She sometimes mentioned (for want of a better word) mystical experiences that had come to her, such as feeling the presence of someone who had died. Also sometimes talked about experiences in Europe and Britain before and during the Second World War, as I mentioned in a Ferment article last year. If you missed that article and are curious, it is at http://home.pacific.net.au/~ferment/lowpoint.html.
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
…Do you know of Wilhelm Reich? He was ahead of his time re mind/body connections and seen as a heretic in his day.
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Yes, I know of him.
And now that I come to think about it, he wrote a book called The Mass Psychology of Fascism, which I must confess I haven't read. It might be interesting to compare his theories re fascism with the views of church leaders... Or with Jung's views...
Thursday, 22 April 2010
Was reading about the diverse lives of Pius XI and XII at lunchtime today.
The Church has a role in discussing the issues related to the social order. Social and economic issues are vital to her not from a technical point of view but in terms of moral and ethical issues involved. Ethical considerations include the nature of private property.  within the Catholic Church several conflicting views had developed. Pope Pius XI declares private property essential for the development and freedom of the individual. Those who deny private property, deny personal freedom and development. But, said Pius, private property has a social function as well. Private property loses its morality, if it is not subordinated to the common good. Therefore, governments have a right to redistribution policies. In extreme cases, the Pope grants the State a right of expropriation of private property. 
While numerous German Catholics, who participated in the secret printing and distribution of the encylical Mit brennender Sorge, went to jail and concentration camps, the Western democracies remained silent, which Pope Pius XI labeled bitterly as "a conspiracy of silence". As the extreme nature of Nazi racial antisemitism became obvious, and as Mussolini in the late 1930s began imitating Hitler's anti-Jewish race laws in Italy, Pius XI continued to make his position clear, both in Mit brennender Sorge and in a public address in the Vatican to Belgian pilgrims in 1938: "Mark well that in the Catholic Mass, Abraham is our Patriarch and forefather. Anti-Semitism is incompatible with the lofty thought which that fact expresses. It is a movement with which we Christians can have nothing to do. No, no, I say to you it is impossible for a Christian to take part in anti-Semitism. It is inadmissible. Through Christ and in Christ we are the spiritual progeny of Abraham. Spiritually, we Christians are all Semites"  These comments were subsequently published worldwide but had little resonance at the time in the secular media. 
Humani Generis Unitas
The text of a possible encyclical Humani Generis Unitas, The Unity of the Human Society, that Pius XI commissioned to denounce racism in the USA, Europe and elsewhere, colonialism and the violent German nationalism was published by Georges Passelecq and Berard Suchecky under the title L'Encyclique Cachee De Pie XI 
Following Vatican custom, his successor Pope Pius XII, who according to the authors, was not aware of the text before the death of his predecessor,  chose not to publish this encyclical.
Wanna particularly draw your attention to this unissued ecyclical;
The “encyclical” clearly condemns American racial segregation and Racism and Nazi German anti-Semitism  Racism is a denial of the unity of human society. , a denial of the human personality  and a denial of the true values of religion  There is no relation between race and religion  last not least because racism is destructive to any society  The text points out that racism is destructive not only for social relations within a society but also for international relations and relations between different races. 
The encyclical condemns the persecution of Jews as well. “These persecutions have been censured by the Holy See on more than one occasion, but especially when they have worn the mantle of Christianity".  “This unjust and pitiless campaign against the Jews has at least this advantage”, according to the “encyclical”, because the true nature, the authentic basis of the social separation of the Jews from the rest of humanity … is religious in character. …Essentially, the so-called Jewish question … is a question of religion and, since the coming of Christ, a question of Christianity.  The encyclical blames the Jews of the time of Christ for having brought their own Messiah Jesus Christ to death: "The very act by which the Jewish people put to death their Savior and King was, in the strong language of Saint Paul, the salvation of the world".  The encyclical continues by accusing Jews of blind materialism.
"Blinded by a vision of material domination and gain, the Israelites lost what they themselves had sought. A few chosen souls, among whom were the disciples and followers of Our Lord, the early Jewish Christians, and, through the centuries, a few members of the Jewish people, were an exception to this general rule. By their acceptance of Christ's teaching and their incorporation into His Church, they shared in the inheritance of His glory, but they remained and still remain an exception. 'What Israel was seeking after, that it has not obtained; but the chosen have obtained it, and the rest have been blinded' (Romans 11:7)."  The encyclical argues, that
"By a mysterious Providence of God, this unhappy people, destroyers of their own nation, whose misguided leaders had called down upon their own heads a Divine malediction, doomed, as it were, to perpetually wander over the face of the earth, were nonetheless never allowed to perish, but have been preserved through the ages into our own time. No natural reason appears to be forthcoming to explain this age-long persistence, this indestructible coherence of the Jewish people."
Reaction of Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII, who according to the authors, was not aware of the text before the death of his predecessor,  chose not to publish this encyclical. However, his first encyclical Summi Pontificatus (October 12, 1939), published after the beginning of WWII, has the identical title On the Unity of Human Society and uses many of the arguments of the text, avoiding most of the negative characterisation of the Jewish people and rabbinic religion still contained in the text of the original encyclical, planned and written before the invasion of Poland and the start of the Second World War. 
Summi Pontificatus sees Christianity being universalized and opposed to every form of racial hostility and against racial superiority. There are no real racial differences, because the human race forms a unity, because "one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth".
"What a wonderful vision, which makes us contemplate the human race in the unity of its origin in God. . . in the unity of its nature, composed equally in all men of a material body and a spiritual soul; in the unity of its immediate end and its mission in the world; in the unity of its dwelling, the earth, whose benefits all men, by right of nature, may use to sustain and develop life; in the unity of its supernatural end: God himself, to whom all ought to tend; in the unity of the means for attaining this end;. . . in the unity of the redemption wrought by Christ for all." 
"This divine law of charity assures that all men are truly brethren, without excluding the rich variety of persons, cultures and societies." 
This issue gets more fascinating - and deeper - the more one looks into it. Was Pius XI held back from more outspoken criticism of Nazi doctrine by his own anti-Judaism - as distinguished in this article from anti-Semitism ?
And can this distinction be validly made?
I'm not offering answers here - the questions are difficult enough.
But I thought you might like to know that I've been thinking about it all...in whatever time's available...
Friday, 23 April 2010
Thanks for your thoughtful and thought-provoking message, with the excerpts from Wikipedia and your concluding questions.
I must say, firstly, that I have serious reservations about the way Wikipedia currently deals with these encyclicals.
One reason I felt the need to write an article about Mit brennender Sorge was that I felt there was a huge gap between what Wikipedia says about that text, and what the encyclical itself says. The Wikipedia article has improved a little since I first looked at it last year, but I still do not think it gives its readers much of an idea either of the content of the document or of its historical context.
From my point of view the best thing about an article like that consists of the links at the end, where you can go to the actual documents being misrepresented.
> Wanna particularly draw your attention to this unissued ecyclical;
> > The “encyclical” clearly condemns American racial segregation and Racism and Nazi German anti-Semitism 
I've only seen a section of this draft encyclical, at
However, that is enough to show that Wikipedia is right about at least one very important point -- the draft (unlike any of the completed encyclicals I've seen) really does speak clearly and strongly about "the present persecution of the Jews"
As a result of such persecution, millions of persons are deprived of the most elementary rights and privileges of citizens in the very land of their birth. Denied legal protection against violence and robbery, exposed to every form of insult and public degradation, innocent persons are treated as criminals though they have scrupulously obeyed the law of their native land. Even those who in time of war fought bravely for their country are treated as traitors, and the children of those who laid down their lives in their country's behalf are branded as outlaws by the very fact of their parentage. The values of patriotism, so loudly invoked the benefit of one class of citizens, are ridiculed when invoked for others who come under the racial ban.
> > Pope Pius XII, who according to the authors, was not aware of the text before the death of his predecessor, chose not to publish this encyclical. However, his first encyclical Summi Pontificatus (October 12, 1939), published after the beginning of WWII, has the identical title On the Unity of Human Society and uses many of the arguments of the text, avoiding most of the negative characterisation of the Jewish people and rabbinic religion still contained in the text of the original encyclical,
In Summi Pontificatus Pius XII may avoid negative statements about Jews and their religion, but (as far as I can see) he also avoids the clear and strong reference to persecution of Jews found in the passage I've just quoted from Humani Generis Unitas. Actually the only direct reference I've found to Jews in Summi Pontificatus was to the effect that the distinction between Jew and Gentile does not exist within the Church (paragraph 48).
> This issue gets more fascinating - and deeper - the more one looks into it. Was Pius XI held back from more outspoken criticism of Nazi doctrine by his own anti-Judaism - as distinguished in this article from anti-Semitism ?
And can this distinction be validly made?
I'd suggest that not only Pius XI, but many European Christians (Protestant and Orthodox, as well as Catholic), responded to the fascist movement in ways that were influenced by a traditional anti-Judaism; as well as by perceived connections between Jews and the revolutionary left.
Regarding the distinction between anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism...
The draft of Humani Generis Unitas itself draws a distinction between the traditional position of the church in opposing the Jewish religion (as a rejection of Christ), and the acts of certain persecutors who refuse to acknowledge that any Jew could be worthy of human respect.
I'd suggest that the distinction made there is an entirely valid one, in its own terms.
Similarly, a Pagan or a Shakta might perhaps criticize the Christian religion for not understanding (or not sufficiently understanding) the divinity of Nature (Prakriti).
But does that mean that such a Pagan or Shakta would have to approve of a political movement which treated like vermin any human being from a Christian family?
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