Sunday, July 29, 2012

ADSS 5.123 Tardini and Vatican displeasure with Tiso in Slovakia

Priest-President Jozef Tiso had long been a source of embarrassment for the Vatican.  His clerico-fascism was contrary to the well-known positions on clergy involvement in politics.  In all the concordats signed between the Holy See and European states in the inter-war period, agreement was reached whereby the Church would not permit clerics to have any public political role.  Tiso was a glaring exception.

In September 1941 Slovakia promulgated the Jewish Code, a raft of anti-Jewish laws designed to accelerate the exclusion of Slovakian Jews from the economic, social and cultural life of the nation.  At the same time Tiso gave an address at the consecration of the renovated parish church in the northern town of Považscá Bystrica where he was alleged to have said that Catholicism and Nazism were compatible. These remarks were confirmed in a meeting 0n 21 October 1941 between the Slovak minister to the Holy See, Charles Sidor and Domenico Tardini of the Secretariat of State.  

Tardini immediately sent a message to Giuseppe Burzio, the Vatican's charge d'affaires in Bratislava, to verify the comments.  Burzio replied on 12 November 1941 effectively confirming the truth of the report (ADSS 5.140).  In note on Tardini's report written on 23 October, Giovanni Battista Montini wrote that Cardinal Maglione said that the Pope thought Tiso's name should be taken off the list of Monsignors.  It was about the extent of what the Vatican could do to show its displeasure at Tiso's "heresies".

ADSS 5.123 Notes of Domenico Tardini

Reference: AES 7883/41
Location and date: Vatican, 21, 23,10.1941

Summary statement: The Slovakian minister, Karol Sidor, denounces Nazi influence in Slovakia.

Language: Italian

1. 21.10.1941.  The Slovakian Minister:

a) confirmed to me that Monsignor Tiso has, in a recent address, said that Catholic social doctrine is compatible with Nazism. (2)  The minister said he would send me the text.  I added that these appear to be heresies and I do not understand how Monsignor Tiso, a professor of theology, can say these things and expect people to believe it.

b) expressed wonder at my surprise at the attitude of Dr Tuka (3), the “super” Catholic and pro-Nazi.  The minister [Sidor] does not see how these two things (Catholicism and Nazism) are able to coexist.

c) admitted that the new measures against the Jews (4) are contrary to Catholic principles and recognises that this does not represent the sentiment of the population, but are the result of German impositions.

I added that the Holy See can only regret at what has happened.

2. 23.10.1941

After an audience with Cardinal Maglione, Giovanni Battista Montini wrote:

If it turns out that Monsignor Tiso is reported to have said is true (that Catholic doctrine and social teaching is compatible with the social theories of Nazism) (5), the Holy Father thinks Tiso’s name should be removed from the list of prelates with the title “monsignor”. (6)

Cross references: 
(1)  Josef Tiso, priest-president of Slovakia made the comments in an address on 07.09.1941 in Považscá Bystrica at the consecration of the renovated parish church of Our Lady of the Visitation.  Giuseppe Burzio, charge d’affaires in Bratislava, confirmed the remarks on 12.11.1941.  See ADSS 5.140.

(2)  Charles Sidor, Slovak minister to the Holy See (1939-1945)

(3)  Adalbert Tuka (1880-1946), President of the Council of Ministers 1939-1944.

(4)  The Jewish Code was published on 09.09.1941.

(5)  On the same day, 21.10.1941, a request for clarification of Tiso’s comments was sent to Giuseppe Burzio in Bratislava.(AES 7868/41).  He replied on 12.11.1941, report number 646; see note 1.

(6)   Tiso was named “papal chamberlain” on 21.11.1921 (Benedict XV) and he appeared with this title in the Annuario Pontificio 1922 (p 608).  The title must be reconfirmed at the accession of a new pope.  There was no confirmation either by Pius XI or Pius XII even though his name appeared in other editions of the Annuario, and he was accorded the title “monsignor”.  Tardini pointed this out to the Pope (AES 477/43).  I have not found any further indication that Tiso was stripped of his papal title.

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