Cardinal Theodor Innitzer, Archbishop of Vienna, welcomes the German invasion of Austria and exhorts his fellow Catholics to be obedient. Less than a month ago, Innitzer was critical of National Socialism and called for Austria to remain independent.
Innitzer says in his speech:
"The Viennese Catholics should thank the Lord for the bloodless way this great political change has occurred, and they should pray for a great future for Austria. Needless to say, everyone should obey the orders of the new institutions."
Innitzer then goes even further than this by signing a statement of endorsement for the Anschluss with the other Austrian bishops — and Innitzer does so with the addition of "Heil Hitler!" Of course this document is copied and distributed throughout Germany.
Soon after this Cardinal Innitzer is recalled to the Vatican by Cardinal Pacelli, the Vatican Secretary of State and future Pope Pius XII, and told that he has to retract that endorsement. In a new statement, Innitzer says:
"The solemn declaration of the Austrian bishops ... was clearly not intended to be an approval of something that was not and is not compatible with God's law."