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Hitler and the Vatican by Peter Godman
notes & commentary by William P. Meyers

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Hitler and the Vatican: Inside the Secret Archives That Reveal the New Story of the Nazis and the Church. The Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. New York 2004. ISBN 0-7432-4597-0

But the Church spent an extraordinary amount of effort attacking nudism during this period [p. 40-42]. The Church and Mussolini cooperated in the campaign against nudism [p. 46-47].

Alois Hudal, an Austrian, was an interesting character. He had worked with Pacelli to negotiate a Concordat with Austria. Godman, typically, fails to give readers perspective by explaining that a Catholic, fascist-style dictatorship had been established, with the Vatican’s blessing, in Austria before Hitler came to power in Germany. Hudal worked hard to bring Hitler closer to the Church and the Church closer to Hitler [P. 43-45 and remainder of book]. Hudal aspired to imitate “Tacchi Venturi, the Jesuit who smoothed out the differences between Pius XI and Mussolini behind the scenes.” [p. 54]

Note that L’Action Francaise, part of the Catholic fascist movement in France, which ultimately brought Petain to power, was condemned by Pius XI in 1929 not for being thugs, but for not accepting Papal authority. [p. 46]

The Church never put Hitler’s Mein Kampf on its Index of Prohibited Books, but it did eventually ban The Myth of the Twentieth Century. Godwin mentions that 75,000 copies of the book were sold. That is a substantial number, but it means that less than one in ten Nazis owned the book. There were far more Catholic Nazis and Nazis who owned Bibles than there were owners of The Myth. [p. 47-50] Hitler later said the Catholic Church made The Myth famous by banning it. [p. 53]

The task of writing the Nazis up for condemnation was given to the Jesuits. The task of deciding whether and on what grounds the Nazis might be condemned was up to the Supreme Tribunal, which operated under rules developed in the Middle Ages. The doctrine of race was what most concerned the Jesuits, as their mission was to convert all races to Catholicism. [p. 58-62]

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