Sunday, July 29, 2012

ADSS 5.140 Burzio's meeting with Tiso on the Povazcsa speech

Following from the last post, this is the account of Giuseppe Burzio's interview with Jozef Tiso where the priest-president gave his version of the speech he made at the consecration of the church in Povazcsa Bystrica.  At the heart of Tiso's ex tempore comments was the statement that Catholic social teaching and the social practice of National Socialism were compatible.  Burzio reported the conversation to Rome with the final observation that despite various interpretations of what Tiso may or may not have said and the appeal made by Bishop Michael Buzalka, the final outcome was not a happy one.

ADSS 5.140 Giuseppe Burzio to Cardinal Maglione

Reference: Report number 646 (AES 477/42)
Location and date: Bratislava, 12.11.1942

Summary statement: Regrettable comments made in an address of Jozef Tiso.

Language: Italian


In response to your dispatch number 7868/41 of 21 October 1941 (1) I have the honour to report to your Eminence the following:  President Tiso gave an address in Povazcsa Bystrica, in the diocese of Nitra, on Sunday, 7 September 1941 on the occasion of the consecration of the new parish church.

As is his custom, he spoke without having prepared a speech in writing.  The text was published by newspapers issued by the unofficial Slovak Agency which are sent in a separate envelope. I have added a literal translation of the offending part of the speech.

On 10 September, during an audience in relation with the promulgation of the Jewish Code, President Tiso pointed to the passage in his speech in Povazska Bystrica and said: “Today, newspapers highlighted my recent speech with appropriate comments that I had nearly decided to support that the principles contained in the encyclicals and the principles of National Socialism are identical.  I have only spoken of the social aspects of National Socialism and its practical application and, as regards the encyclicals, it is clear that I have referred only to the social aspects.  In short, I wanted to say the National Socialism has, in the social field, put into practice many of the principles contained in the encyclicals: it is only in this sense that I have spoken of an identity between them.  Moreover, Slovak National Socialism intends to implement social reforms in the spirit of the teachings of papal encyclicals”.

Faced with this explanation is the text published by the unofficial Slovak Agency, the genuineness of which cannot be reasonably doubted, since the speech was pronounced through the microphone and played back on film.

The day after the audience, I had the opportunity to read the whole speech of President Tiso and found another no less astonishing statement: “The encyclicals of the pope are just dogmatic or moral teachings which have supreme principals that the Pope leaves the application to the leadership of an individual nation according to the conditions of life of each of them”.

I spoke once with the Auxiliary Bishop of Tirnavia (2) who like many others who had noticed the statement.  He went immediately to the President of the Republic, and told him the sentence was incomplete, and told him that he remembered very well that he had said: “the encyclicals of the pope are not just dogmatic and moral etc.”(3)

This explanation can be accepted since it is common knowledge that reproductions on film can often have gaps.  Even so, the corrected phrase is not a happy one.

Cross references: 
(1) See ADSS 5.123.
(2) Michael Buzalka (1885-1961), auxiliary bishop of Trnava (Tirnavia); Paul Janatausch (1870-1947), Apostolic Administrator of Trnava (1922-1947) ADSS printed both names – I am not sure why.
(3) Emphasis added.

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