Thursday, October 3, 2013

ADSS 8.95 Angelo Rotta to Cardinal Maglione - Race laws in Hungary

ADSS 8.95: Nuncio Angelo Rotta to Cardinal Secretary of State, Luigi Maglione

Reference: 5563/41 (N. Pr. 375) AES 4888/41

Location and date: Budapest, 14.06.1941

Summary statement: Racial legislation in Hungary and the intervention of Cardinal Seredi.

Language: Italian


I am sending to you a clipping from the “Pester Lloyd” (1) of 11 June, which refers to the draft laws concerning marriage in Hungary, which will worsen the already bad legislation. (2)

As Your Eminence can see one proposal makes a premarital medical certificate mandatory, and the other forbids, under pain of severe penalties, marriage between Christians and Jews, using the word “Jew” as it has been indicated in the proposed law.

The attack on the rights of conscience and canon law is heightened by the fact that the bond previously required of civil and religious marriages, and protected with severe penalties, practically introduces an impediment to religious marriage.

Since Cardinal Seredi was here in Budapest for confirmations, I went to see him to deal with this thorny issue.

It was only natural that his Eminence the Cardinal was grieved, especially when he told me that he had discussed the matter three days ago with the President of the Council, Mr Bardosy (3).  The President, while recognizing the justified opposition to the laws by the Cardinal and bishops, would not desist from presenting them as he claimed they are supported by public opinion.  The conviction of the Cardinal is that Bardosy and the Justice Minister, [Laszlo] Radocsay (4), both of whom are considered good Catholics, are, more than anything else, acting under German pressure.  His Excellency Barczy, Undersecretary to the President, has confirmed this confidentially to me.  There are two reasons that this project was presented: German pressure and the desire to disarm the Arrow Cross (the Hungarian National Socialists) who exploit dislike of the Jews living among the population.  Cardinal Seredi then told the President that it was his duty to publicly oppose the proposed laws in the Upper House, either in committee or in the plenary session.

Meanwhile, the Cardinal has already written to the bishops to warn them that he will speak in the name of the episcopate in the Upper House on the two bills to defend the rights of conscience and the Church.

As I have said, public opinion is very much against the Jews, and therefore it is difficult to account for any opposition to this law, opposition that has a solid basis, but not easily understood by the masses.

The warm acceptance and approval of the projects from within the ruling party of the Government, as can be seen in other extracts from “Pester Lloyd” (5) over the last year or so, shows the dominant mentality.

However, even if the opposition of the bishops does not produce any practical effects, and leaves them open to criticism, misunderstanding and slander, it will always be an honourable thing that they did.

Although the Protestants are quite liberal, with a sad marriage legislation for about fifty years with regard to mixed marriages, which has clouded many minds, with the result that the true idea of Christian marriage is either lost or weakened.  This has lead to the sad consequence of the weakening of the sense of family and the casual ease with which this serious and delicate subject is treated.

I take the occasion to point out that, as per the second cuttings from Pester Llyod which I have attached, the President of the Council in his report on his trip to Rome (6) spoke of his visit to the Holy Father.  On this subject of Bardosy’s trip, the newspapers have, generally, made simple reports.

Note of the Secretariat:
21.06.1941 (on instructions of His Eminence [Maglione])
The attitude of the Cardinal Primate is good.  The nuncio has, in turn, made known to the government that this attitude is not displeasing to the Holy See. (7)

(1) Not published in ADSS.
(2) See ADSS 6 passim.
(3) Ladislas Bardossy (1890-1946), Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs 1941-42.
(4) Laszlo Radocsay (1878-1968), Minister of Justice 1939-1944.
(5) Extract from Pester Lloyd 14.06.1941, not published in ADSS.
(6) See ADSS 4.395.  The audience was held on 05.06.1941.  See ADSS 4.388n1.
(7) The Secretariat wrote to the Nuncio on 26.06.1941. (AES 4888/41)

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