Monday, December 5, 2011

ADSS 8.426 Note by Domenico Tardini on Slovakia

In the ultra-careful world of Vatican diplomacy even the private notes between members of the Secretariat of State were couched in restrained language.  In this note penned by Domenico Tardini, we come as close as possible to an expression of controlled anger at the seemingly impossible situation in which the Vatican found itself.  Without any ambiguity, Tardini wrote that the world would understand that the Holy See had no way of controlling Hitler; but how could it understand that Rome could not control a priest.  And herein lay the great weakness of the Roman system: the Pope was as strong and powerful as the Catholic world in its global diversity allowed him to be.  If a priest, in this case Jozef Tiso, would not accept the authority of the Pope and be obedient, and if the local bishop to whom this priest had promised "respect and obedience" could not rein him in, there was not much anyone else in the hierarchy or Curia could do.



ADSS 8.426

Reference: AES 5085/42

Location and date: Vatican 13.07.1942

Summary statement: Steps taken by the Holy See for the Jews of Slovakia.

Language: Italian

Text:

I can send the memo to the English Minister [D’Arcy Osborne] to you. (1) It would be good to also recognise the action of the Slovak bishops who protested [against the deportations].

NB: The trouble is that the President of Slovakia is a priest. Everyone understands that the Holy See can not put Hitler in his place. But who can understand that it can’t restrain a priest?

Attachment: From the Secretariat of State to the British Legation.

With reference to the notes 39/2/42 (2) and 39/6/42 (3), respectively on 25 March and 6 July [1942] the Secretary of State of His Holiness is pleased to inform His Britannic Majesty’s Legation that it did not fail to make repeated representations to the Slovak government in favour of non-Aryans who lived there, seeking to support the action taken in this direction by the bishops of Slovakia.

The Secretary of State had the honour of giving verbal notice to the Legation of these steps and has also reported them to the Apostolic Delegate in London.(4)

References:
(1) Follows.
(2) ADSS 8.328
(3) Not published. 06.07.1942 Osborne asked for information on the activities of the Holy See reported in an article in the Basler Nachrichten (Basel News) on Alexander Mach.
Cf ADSS 8.334.
(4) ADSS 8.345, note 1.


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