21 March 2016

Monday in Holy Week, 1937 ...

 ... 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!

16 comments:

Barona said...

A wonderful post. What may be even worse is the ignoring of Quas Primas by churchmen in yet relatively free countries. The social encyclicals of Pius XI - founded on doctrine - are not popular with churchmen of today. Nor sadly, of yesterday.

Richard P said...

Well said, Father. The devil in Brothers Karamazov was dressed very nicely.

Edward Ahlsen-Girard said...

"With Burning Concern"

Vince K said...

Dear Father - It appears that the chronology here is a bit confused. Mit Brennender Sorge was given on Passion Sunday, March 14, 1937, which was one week before Palm Sunday, as these are two distinct Sundays in the old calendar. Easter in 1937 was on March 28th (according to an Easter calendar program I found on the internet), so the Gestapo must have either waited a week and a day if they raided on Monday in Holy Week or it must not have been Monday in Holy Week if they raided the day after Mit Brennender Sorge was given.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I read it again recently and was struck by the placing of Our Lord at the centre of our lives and not the state.

By contrast, we live in the era of the con artist. One recalls Chaucer’s tale as told by the Franklin where a would be seducer secures the services of a magician-scholar to con a flirtatious (we all have our faults) but betrothed woman. Our World today is controlled by such scholars peddling their snake oil through academe or the fourth estate.

What is our future? Surely the time has come to embrace the “magnum silentium” as suggested by one time protestant-cum-atheist MacIntyre. Pope Benedict’s mysterious retirement is probably the greatest achievement by any Pope since the council. Like Celestine he will be canonized but not for his scholarship (is he that good?) but for his embrace of silence. He is now living like Saint Benedict.

What a wonderful thing to be able to say.

Belfry Bat said...

"Anxiety", rather than "Sorrow", I think, is the usual rendering.

Ben of the Bayou said...

Vivat!

Jacobi said...

It was a warning delivered to Western bishops as well as German bishops by a dieing Italian Pope, with some instinct for these things, about an ancient and on-going fault in the Germanic character.

It turned out to be so prophetic, and the echoes of it are still reverberating through Europe today.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

This reminder of yours is well timed for there has been a rise in racial identify politics in the west, especially in America, with claims being made that men must form themselves into groups according to race or ethnicity if they are to survive - but such an error has been exposed, hasn't it?

The putative blackguard, against whom dynamic silence has been applied, Dr. E. Michael Jones, has spoken well in his warning that ethnos absent logos is a deadly affair.

We must organise our own selves around Jesus Christ and His One True Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, not a race.

Victor said...

According to the German wikipaedia (and why should we doubt her?), "Mit brennender Sorge" was signed by the Holy Father on March 14th and read from the pulpits on Palm Sunday, March 21st. So with all due respect, dear @Vince K, I would say that you are wrong. Perhaps you confused the date of signing and the day of publication?

Justina said...

¡Que viva!

Reread Cardinal von Galen's homilies, too--especially the parts about totlitarian attempts to squelch the Christian education of children. (Can you say, "Common Core"?)

Patrick Sheridan said...

My father was born in 1957, twenty years after the publication of this document. How is it relevant to me, and my generation? It seems to me that we make such a fuss about Nazis these days. Does anyone here know a Nazi coeval with Hitler, or Himmler? No, they're all dead, and most of them died before we were born. Kristallnacht, Auschwitz, &c have nothing to do with me.

Highland Cathedral said...

Mentioning Cardinal von Galen gives me an opportunity to mention something not connected to the Pope's Encyclical. Cardinal von Galen was a fierce opponent of the Nazi programme of euthanasia. Which brings me to disability. Which brings me to this rather unpleasant anti-Catholic diatribe on the BBC website:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/features/summer_holiday.shtml
How kind and generous of the BBC to be publishing such material.

Matthew Roth said...

Nazi ideology on Jews, “others,” (such as Roma and Travellers) and the disabled and elderly has been absorbed by both the left and the right. It’s rather quiet, rather than out and out prejudice, in my observations. Also, it’s part of the replacement of Christ the King with liberal social democracy in an increasingly angsty world.

Victor said...

@Patrick, the atrocities committed by the Nazis were against God and Mankind. Since you are a man, they have everything to do with you.

GK Chesterton said...

If by race you mean the making of one particular race a Superman, yes. Otherwise no. All races are described as such in both old and new testaments. And they are established by God and given boundaries by Him. Should you hate your cousin, this is wrong. Should you not love your brother, that is also wrong. Nations are merely extended families that are likewise also related to one another (I'm distantly related to Finns and more distantly related to Nigerians).

This has been a Christian religious perspective for a very long time. Most of the atheist powers have actually fought against it with their creed of interchangeable humans.