Neutrality of the Catholic Church during the World War 2
During the Second World War, Pope Pius the eighth occurred as the pope of the time. Many vicious actions took place during this period. Despite this, the Catholic Church opted to remain silent to every bit of violence that happened to the citizens.
Before the European wars commenced, Benito Mussolini and Pietro Gasparri held posts of Prime Minister and Secretary of State respectively in the Vatican Republic. In February 1939, these two personalities signed a fundamental treaty known as the Lateran Treaty. One of the key clauses that occurred present in this act included the fact that the Catholic Church would maintain neutrality during the entire war period. (Koch) The then Pope, Pius the eighth, made several unsuccessful attempts to preach peace to the perpetrators of the European wars before they began. Eventually, after the start of the World War 2, the Catholic Church took up its neutral state. (Sittser) One of the main reasons why the Catholic Church remained neutral in this tragic era included the fact that the Lateran Act prohibited its contribution to the war.
A clause in the Act said that the Catholic Church should remain neutral during the Second World War. Thus, this occurred as enough a hindrance for this church to participate in any kind of opinion-making concerning the war. The Pope carried out various steps in order to enable the Vatican shut itself completely from matters pertaining to the Second World War. For instance, all the magazines made for the Vatican stopped providing news concerning the weather forecast. Moreover, the radios no longer gave the same kind of news.
This happened since the Vatican City knew that such information would enable the Europeans in planning aerial battles. Another reason as to why the Catholic Church remained neutral in the World War 2 includes the fact that they avoided victimizatin by the Italians. Their neutral state occurred fundamental in helping them evading any kind of intentional or even accidental attacks. Moreover, this occurred as a crucial step since in case they took sides, this would only provide Hitler with more victims to attack. There occurred a wild raw between Jews and non-Jews in this era.
Jews encountered immense violence from non-Jews. Moreover, the Jews were killed in large numbers. For this reason, the Pope, Pius the eighth, tried to rescue them by deporting them to Spain. Despite these attempts, Jews still died in the Holocaust. As the events continued to worsen, the Catholic Church still opted to remain neutral.Several other popes and cardinals, like Cardinal Theodor Initzer, tried to convince Pope Pius the eighth to campaign against the deportations since Jews got transported to death camps.
Moreover, Harrold Tittman, who was the then Assistant Chief of the U.S. delegation, pleaded the Pope to try to end the vicious acts. The Pope refused claiming that interfering with the events would pose immense risks on the Catholic Churches that existed in lands that belonged to Germany. (Vidmar) The Pope condemned the atrocities that took place during this period, although he expressed his disgust in the most concealed manner.
It occurred difficult to judge what he meant from some of his statements since he always generalized matters and knowing his stand appeared rather difficult. However, his opinion on the violence that befell the Roman Jews occurred vividly from some of the statements he made. His indifference towards the evil manner in which the Roman Jews were treated was clear. This portrayed itself clearly, when he acted contrary to his neutral state at that particular time. When he heard of the supposed deportation of very many Roman Jews to the gas camps, he immediately hid about 500 of them in the church.
Although he never revealed to the people off Nazism by name, his stand occurred clear to everyone. Hence, the laws that governed what the Catholic Church stood for, as well as the church’s aims in maintaining peace occurred as the main reasons for neutrality. The Catholic Church evaded actions and statements that would go against their status as a neutral body. However, this appeared as a challenging obligation amid all the ruthlessness that Roman Jews encountered. As a religious entity, the Catholic Church was meant to intervene and stop the violence.
However, this occurred difficult for it, since it possesses laws to abide by; laws that were already written and could not possibly be gone against. The Catholic Church also remained neutral in order to avoid the subsequent victimization of more people. In case the church decided to take sides, this would only increase the number of war victims.In conclusion, although the Catholic Church took up neutrality as a state during World War 2, this was not entirely how things occurred. On various occasions, the Pope faced an obligation to act silently against the vicious deaths of Roman Jews.
For instance, when he heard of the deportation of Roman Jews to the gas camps, he took a step of holding some of them refuge in the church. This occurred as one of the acts carried out by the Pope during this period that contradicted his supposed state of neutrality. (Bowen) In addition to this, the Pope behind the curtains carried out more actions. These included asking for emergency passports for Roman Jews to go Latin-American countries. This step too succeeded and Roman Jews who managed to travel saved themselves from the Holocaust. Finally, at no single occasion did the Pope protest against the vicious acts of Hitler.
This occurred as a step to emphasize the neutrality of the Catholic Church and to avoid giving Hitler the pleasure of possessing more victims.