Thursday, October 3, 2013

ADSS 8.111 Angelo Rotta to Cardinal Maglione: Race laws in Hungary

ADSS 8.111 Angelo Rotta, Hungary to Cardinal Maglione

Reference: report nr 5706/41 (N. Pr 386), AES 5596/41

Location and date: Budapest, 06.07.1941

Summary statement:  Racial laws in Hungary; steps taken by the nuncio and opposition of representatives of the clergy.

Language: Italian

I have just received last Monday, 30 June, your Eminence’s dispatch number 48/41 of 26 June concerning the unhappy draft laws concerning marriage, the discussion of which was urgently requested of and granted by the Parliament.

On the preceding Saturday, 28 June, I had asked for an audience with the President of the Council (2), which was granted to me on Tuesday 2 July.  Thus I was able to state not only in my name, but also expressly on behalf of the Holy See, our valid grievances about the proposed laws, which are prejudicial to the rights of the Church and to conscience.

I reported to His Excellency Mr Bardossy the exact words of your Eminence’s dispatch about the pain of the Holy Father and the mind of the Holy See in respect of these proposals: Words which Mr Bardossy has noted, as well as the date of the encyclical Casti Connublii (3) to which I referred as the most comprehensive and authoritative exposition of the doctrine of the Church concerning marriage.

As you may well believe, Mr Bardossy found this incorrect, but it seemed he was on horns of a dilemma as he attempted to justify the position of the Government.  To speak frankly, it was not a pleasant situation having to speak of the Hungarian legislation concerning marriage.  Although I did not use the word “divorce”, I had to speak of it, since as they say, “don’t speak of rope in the house of the hanged”.  

The practical result, at least for now:  the law that was already being discussed in Parliament was approved on Friday 4 July with some modification but nothing that effects the substance.  Towards the middle of the month the law will be presented to the Upper House, where I think it will be approved, if only to avoid embarrassing the government with the risk of a crisis where no one would be sure of where it would lead.

While not lessening the pace suggested by Your Eminence with the government, it was no longer necessary because the priest, Közi-Hovráth (4) made a statement opposing the law on behalf of the priests in the Chamber of deputies, as can be seen in Annex A which I have enclosed (5).  In the Upper House, his Eminence, the Cardinal Primate (6) is preparing to protest further, lest the silence of the Holy See be misinterpreted.

I have also added another clipping from “Pester Lloyd” which contains the speech of the Minister of Justice given in the Chamber on 2 July. (7)

I have not been able to meet with Cardinal Seredi, who is absent from Budapest; but I will see him before the start of the debate in the Upper House.  I will not fail to report to him the benevolent and encouraging words from your Eminence contained in your aforementioned dispatch.

(1) See ADSS 8.95, note 5
(2) Ladislas Bardossy, (1890-1946), Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, 1941-1942.
(3) Pius XI, Casti Connubii, 31.12.1930 AAS 22 (1930), pp 539-592.
(4) Jozsef Közi-Horváth (1903-1988), United Party deputy, 1939-1945. Fled Hungary in 1948; eventually settled in West Germany.
(5) Not published in ADSS.
(6) Cardinal Justinian Seredi
(7) Not published in ADSS.

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