Franz von Papen and Eugenio Pacelli Sign the Concordat Hot

Franz von Papen and Eugenio Pacelli Sign the Concordat

German Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen, Vatican Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli Sign the Concordat
Source: Deutsches Bundesarchiv

German Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen and Vatican Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, sign the Concordat between Nazi Germany and the Holy See (Reichskonkordat).

This treaty guarantees the rights of the Catholic Church in Germany but also provides for the Nazi government a much-needed boost in stature and moral legitimacy.

This Concordat remains in force even after the end of World War II.

One of the key agreements of the Concordat is that the Nazis promise to protect Catholic education in exchange for a ban on all official Catholic political activism — "Political Catholicism."

The Vatican readily agrees to this, leading to the dissolution of the Catholic Center Party, the one remaining political party in Germany that stands any chance of rallying political opposition against the Nazis.

Cardinal Faulhaber sends a handwritten note to Hitler saying:

"What the old parliaments and parties did not accomplish in 60 years, your statesmanlike foresight has achieved in six months.

For Germany's prestige in East and West . . . this handshake with the papacy, the greatest moral power in the history of the world, is a feat of immeasurable blessing."

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