Pastoral Letter Criticizing Nazi Government Read From All Catholic Church Pulpits

Pastoral Letter Criticizing Nazi Government Read From All Catholic Church Pulpits

Catholic Clergy Give the Hitler Salute Alongside Nazi Officials
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In Germany, a pastoral letter critical of the Nazi government is read from all Catholic Church pulpits. Written by the German College of Bishops shortly after their conference in Fulda, it reaffirms the bishops' allegiance to the pope and attacks recent Nazi policies which censor or undermine Catholicism.

The letter says:

"The fight against Christianity has become more bitter and clearer. This struggle has as its aim the halting and bleeding of the Catholic Church — the destruction of the church among a people, uprooting Christianity, and the introduction of a faith that has nothing to do with the faith of God hereafter. ...

Catholic citizens wonder whether they hold equal civil rights. Recently, a German Bishop's removal from his diocese [Bishop Johann Sproll of Wurtemberg] was demanded. After his return to his post an unparalleled and ugly tumult of violence was raised against him. German Bishops must fear that they, too, will stand behind him the more truly and solidly the more he suffers on our behalf. ...

Destruction of faith and the downfall of Catholicism is striven for today — this is especially noticeable while youths in camps are hindered from attending church; the aim is to confuse church-goers to force all creeds underground.

Everywhere, even in the schools, the great good of the Catholic faith is suppressed or transformed in accordance with race principles.

Charges of morality have been raised against clerics and then long due trails are not held. Although opponents of the Catholic faith are not hindered by an expression of conviction, all Catholic books and magazines are subjected to the strictest censorship and are often forbidden and confiscated.

All the Pope's friendly words directed at all peoples were construed here as against the German state. The fight against faith finds expression in other fields. For instance, the marriage laws. Even at the issuance of a testament of laws recently, the opportunity was used to speak of greedy, legacy-hunting priests who exploit the dying.

The fight against the Catholic Church is a fight against Christianity. It has even gone so far as the removal, yes, the destruction, of the Christian Cross. ...

Various experiences enable us to establish that attacks in no way have become more temperate or more bearable, but rather much more hostile and violent as well as evident.

These attacks strive after hinderance and sucking away of the life blood of the Catholic Church, destruction of the Church among the people, uprooting of Christianity in general and the introduction of a faith which no longer has the slightest to do with belief in God and the hereafter."

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