... was the day when the Gestapo raided diocesan offices and presbyteries all over Germany. The previous day, Palm Sunday, when the churches were packed, priests all over Germany had read publicly the Encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge [=With Burning Sorrow?] of the Holy Father Pope Pius XI [thanks to Fr Ray for reminding us]. It had been smuggled into Germany in the Nuncio's Diplomatic Bag and secretly printed (as when the secret press was thumping away in the attic of Stonor House to produce S Edmund Campion's Decem Rationes); secretly distributed by special couriers and proclaimed in every pulpit. And nobody leaked it; at least, not in time for the government to intervene. It burst upon the Fuehrer and his admirers as the most wonderful surprise. Not many people in the state apparatus will have had much sabbath rest that Sunday, as arrangements were frantically made to secure all copies for destruction. Rumour has it that in some places a copy was hidden in the Tabernacle. Unrubrical, as you will remind me; but, dare I say it, most wonderfully suitable.
According to some reports, it had been drafted by Cardinal Faulhaber, Fr Ratzinger's ordaining bishop, no 'leftie' but an old-style conservative German nationalist; and toughened up a little by Cardinal Pacelli. Sadly, since I am not a Germanist, I am reduced to reading it in an English translation. But it still strikes me as immensely moving: to hear the authentic voice of the Vicar of Christ roundly condemning the Zeitgeist in such ringing and unmistakable tones brings tears to my eyes. Those were the days! I commend it to you, if you have not read it recently, or at all. I wonder how we shall celebate its 80th Anniversary next year?
It condemns the ideology of Race and of Blood, and of a Superman who mystically incarnates in his own person those dangerous myths. But in its essence, it condemns something that is still very much with us today despite any legislative proscriptions of Nazism: the attempt, any and every attempt, to set up a rival to Christ the King.
At one point, I even found myself fancifully wondering if the Sovereign Pontiff had looked prophetically into the future and discerned the shadowy figures of the Obamas of our own time. You will recall that at the heart of the project of the Obamas for destroying the Catholic Church is the slick and dirty legerdemain by which Freedom of Religion is replaced by Freedom of Worship; Circeian magic or a conjurer's substitution trick which permits to Christians whatever silly jiggery pokery we like to get up to within our church buildings just as long as we don't try to proclaim our Holy Faith in any public forum; just as long as we don't have the impertinence to hope that the Law of Christ the King might be expressed, or even tolerated, by the laws of men.
Evil wears a different face and speaks a different patois in every different era. The smart thing is to be able to spot it despite the disguises.
Pius XI's Mit Brennender Sorge is a condemnation of all the Obamas of all the ages.
Long live Christ the King!