Monday, January 28, 2013
ADSS 3.1.22 Montini notes: Papal "silence" ...
In the opening weeks of the war there was expectation from many sources that the Pope would speak out forcefully and condemn German atrocities in Poland. Pius had adopted a strict formal and public neutrality upon the outbreak of the war, understood by most as a political requirement of his position, but not as a "muzzle" for his voice in speaking out against moral evil. Giovanni Battista Montini who worked beside Pius XII throughout the war noted that the perceived silence of the pope was going to be a major obstacle to overcome, if it was overcome at all. This was to be a vexatious issue throughout the entire war.
Giovanni Battista Montini
Reference: AES 7478/39
Location and date: Vatican, 08.10.1939
Summary statement: The press does not explain the Pope properly – negative opinion follows. Necessary to explain to the Pope’s opinion towards Poland.
After an audience with His Holiness.
08.10.1939: Perhaps it would be good to prepare an article that explains the attitude of the Holy Father with regard to Poland. (1) From various sources it is insinuated that the Holy Father does not speak as expected, has not invoked the principles, deplored the aggression etc. La Croix, for example reported the record of the Pope’s speeches, mutilating them so that the French public can not know the true tenor of the words and the attitude of the Pope. (2) The Italian and French press give such a succinct report that the people believe (as is clear from the letters that arrive at the Holy See) that the Holy See remains indifferent or silent etc.
It might take an occasion to explain what is and has been the real attitude of the Holy See: His Holiness did not fail to recall the “principles” (Cf speeches at the presentation of credentials of the ambassadors of Poland and Belgium etc). On the occasion of audiences, where a word of “consolation” had been requested (such as Cardinal Hlond to the Holy Father) His Holiness spoke with great affection and so on.
(1) See ADSS 3.1.28
(2) The French Catholic paper La Croix published on 14.10.1939 the full official text of the speech with the remark that delays in the post had resulted in the full text not arriving in time for publishing.