Support of Austrian Catholic Hierarchy for Hitler Draws Critical Comments Hot

Support of Austrian Catholic Hierarchy for Hitler Draws Critical Comments

Cardinal Theodor Innitzer, Archbishop of Vienna
Source: Wikipedia

L'Osservatore Romano comments on the statement of the Austrian Catholic hierarchy, issued the previous week by Cardinal Theodor Innitzer in support of Adolf Hitler, National Socialism, and the integration of Austria into the German Reich.

The official newspaper of the Vatican doesn't reject the statement and simply says that it

"was written and subscribed without any previous understanding with or later approbation by the Holy See, and on the sole responsibility of the episcopacy."

So the Vatican will not endorse the statement, but also won't reject it. The previous evening, though, the Vatican Radio carried a broadcast from Gustav Gundlach, one of the authors of the "hidden encyclical" Humani Generis Unitas, a denunciation of racism and anti-Semitism. Gundlach talks about false political Catholicism:

"This false political Catholicism the behavior of Catholics, whether simple faithful believers or official dignitaries, when it is dictated solely by excessive tactics and prudence, by a weak-willed adaptation to actual or anticipated facts.

There is no doubt that in the course of history this false political Catholicism has caused the most serious harm to man and to esteem for the Church, and by the same token, to the minister of souls, especially in a time when the adversaries of Christianity boast of their own intransigent principles and accuse Christians of spiritual feebleness."

This is a strong statement, applicable to the Vatican itself as it is to the Austrian episcopate, which is perhaps why the Vatican distances itself from this talk in a few days.


Cardinal Theodor Innitzer Delivering A Speech In Vienna In 1933

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