Benedict backs Pius XII beatification, bestirring Judeo-backlash

Pope Benedict XVI Oct. 9 backed the beatification of World War II-era pontiff Pius XII, defending his controversial legacy and asserting that he “often acted in secret and in silence” to defend Jews during the Holocaust. Celebrating a mass commemorating 50 years since Pius’ death, Benedict said: “In light of the concrete situations of that complex historical moment, he sensed that this was the only way to avoid the worst and save the greatest possible number of Jews.” Benedict said he prayed the process of beatification “can proceed happily.”

The Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano devoted an editorial and two articles to the event, vowing to combat what it called a “black legend” portraying Pius XII as indifferent to the Holocaust or even “pro-Nazi.” The Vatican’s Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone wrote that Pius XII had been “neither silent nor anti-Semitic, but he had been prudent.”

The commemorative mass came just three days after Shear-Yashuv Cohen, the Grand Rabbi of Haifa in Israel, spoke out against beatification of the wartime pontiff. Cohen, who on Oct. 6 became the first Jew to address a synod of bishops at the Vatican, said Pius XII “should not be seen as a model and he should not be beatified because he did not raise his voice against the Holocaust.” Cohen added—in Benedict’s presence—that Jews cannot “forgive and forget” Pius’ public silence about the Nazi genocide.

The process of beatifying Pius XII—launched in 1967 and now approaching completion—would place him one step away from sainthood. Last year, the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints voted to approve a decree of “heroic virtue” for Pius XII, the first formal step in the process. That document is now awaiting Benedict’s signature. The next step is to establish a miracle attributable to Pius in order to declare him “blessed,” and another miracle to declare him a saint. The sainthood drive has sparked bitter debate and tension between Catholics and Jews.

Benedict himself fired back at Jewish critics Oct. 9, asserting that even when Archbishop Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pius XII, served as a papal ambassador in Germany in the 1920s, he saw clearly “the danger constituted by the monstrous ideology of Nazism, with its dangerous anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic roots.”

Benedict said that during the war Pius XII engaged in “an intense campaign of charity in favor of the persecuted, without any distinction in terms of religion, ethnicity, nationality, or political affiliation.”* He cited Pius XII’s famous radio message in December 1942, in which the pope referred to the “hundreds of thousands who through no fault of their own, and solely because of their nation or race, have been condemned to death or progressive extinction.” Benedict called it a “clear reference to the deportation and extermination perpetrated against the Jews.”

Benedict also recalled that immediately after Pius’ death there were expressions of gratitude from Jewish leaders, including Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, who said, “We mourn the loss of a great servant of peace.”

Nonetheless, the Anti-Defamation League used the occasion of the anniversary of Pius XII’s death to re-issue its call for the Vatican to completely open its World War II-era archives. Up to this point, the Vatican has only published selected materials from the war period, citing the normal time lag in opening historical records. “Until the Vatican’s secret archives are declassified, Pius’ record vis-a-vis Jews will continue to be shrouded and a source of controversy and contention,” said ADL director Abraham Foxman. “We strongly urge the Vatican to make full and complete access to the archives of this period its highest priority and call on all interested parties to assist.”

On Oct. 12, the Community of Sant’Egidio, one of the “new movements” in the church born in the wake of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), will lead an annual march in commemoration of the 1,000 Jews in Rome who were rounded up under German occupation in October 1943 and deported to concentration camps—of whom only sixteen survived. Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, the Chief Rabbi of Rome, us scheduled to take part in the march.

The round-up of Rome’s Jews is also a source of contention between partisans and critics of Pius XII. Defenders note that the deportations stopped after less than 24 hours, following complaints from Pius XII, and that of the roughly 7,000 Jews in Rome in 1943, most were saved. Critics say the pope let the round-up happen (in the words of scholar Susan Zuccotti) “under his very windows,” issuing no directive to Catholics or church institutions to protect Jews. (Middle East Online, National Catholic Reporter, Reuters’ FaithWorld blog, Oct. 9)

*“Charity” is National Catholic Reporter’s term, while Middle East Online—along with AFP and CathNews—uses the word “defense.” This is a pretty critical distinction. “Charity” isn’t exactly what victims of the Holocaust needed. Were Benedict’s original comments in Italian, German or Latin? Can anyone find the verbatim text for us?

See our last posts on the Vatican, the politics of anti-Semitism and legacy of World War II.

    1. don’t forget Petain
      I think the widespread murders of priests, monks and nuns in Spain has been well publicised but let’s not forget that the resistance assassinated Church officials as well as German officers in France.

      1. And let’s not forget…
        …that the anti-clerical excesses of the Spanish anarchists were due to the fact that the Spanish church practically universally supported the oligarchy and Franco’s coup. And significant sectors of the church in France played along with Petain’s invocation of Catholic conservatism to justify capitulation to the Nazis. Not that any excesses by the anti-fascist forces are anything other than an irrelevant distraction from the fact that calling fascism “anti-Catholic” is rank revisionism.

        1. distraction or evidence?
          Moral judgements are a distraction but consider this: it is not unusal for dictators to claim that religion is on their side… that there opponents felt the same way lends a lot more weight to the claim.

          1. You never stop, do you?
            What the hell is your point? Moral judgments are certainly not a distraction, they are precisely what we are discussing. The fact that dictators often claim to have god on their side is a distraction! How does that make fascism, or the Vatican’s connivance with it, any less evil? And the Spanish anarchists, whatever their dogmatism, certainly never claimed to have god on their side!

            I really think you’re just bear-baiting me. I hope so.

            1. just tell me to!
              The morality of the Church is arguably not a distraction (although I feel it is). But the morality of anti-fascists is certainly a distraction in this context.

              I’m not saying that the “spanish anarchists” felt that “god” was on their side but that anti-fascists acknowledged that the Church was on the other side. They didn’t agree with the fascists about much else so I’d say it’s significant.

              Maybe I’m really hard to understand… and maybe you’re trying quite hard to find some ground for outrage.

              Something else: I just noticed you were the one who brought up “fascism”. Their argument is more clever: the clerics are talking about “nazism”… that was somewhat anti-catholic, especially in the 20s. This is manifestly part of the effort to build a sort of ideological firewall between nazism and the catholic fascist regimes. And that effort is arguably revisionist indeed.

              1. It’s against our policy.
                Until you actually deteriorate into hate speech.

                I’m not trying to find ground for outrage, but to understand you. If you agree that the church was (with certain exceptions) on the side of fascism, what were you taking issue with?

                Yes, Ratzinger chose his words very carefully. The notion that the “ideology of Nazism [had] anti-Catholic roots” is a defensible one. But the clear implication is that fascism was anti-Catholic—and that is bunk.

                1. not replying would shut me up too
                  Look, I just wanted to throw in that information about partisans targetting church officials in France because I think that’s not widely known.
                  I also mentionned France because it’s an interesting case w.r.t. the article: the state was catholic as well as virulently anti-semitic. But maybe Croatia covers that already (I don’t know what happened to Jews in Croatia).

                  The only thing I took issue with is the distraction thing.

                  Maybe you read my first comment that way because you expected me to condemn one side or the other. Well, I try not to deal with history in this fashion: I try to understand how it all fits together instead. Frankly, I find your talk of “excesses”, “evil” and such inapproriate… but I think I can see where you’re coming from and I don’t mind you having another perspective.

                  Finally, about the implication you read: the statements are perhaps deliberately ambiguous… your reading is the politically correct one but, among the catholic constituency, there are those who are nominally anti-nazis but actually fascist sympathizers. I think they would read these denunciations of nazism differently. Nazism is a convenient ideological dumping ground for all they wish to distance themselves from about fascism.

                  1. Jews in Croatia…
                    …fared even worse than in France. The Ustashe state was better motivated than the Vichy in that department.

                    You don’t believe in “evil”? You have a moral-equivalist reading of World War II? (I hesitate to ask…)

                    My “reading” of the Pope’s statements may or may not be “politically correct,” but I am pretty sure it is analytically correct, and you seem to agree… Fascism-apologists or crypto-fascist sympathists always split hairs over the supposed distinction between Nazism and Fascism. Ratzo is not doing so openly, but implicitly—which makes it all the more insidious. He comes close to using the propaganda device identified by George Orwell as “meaningless words“: “The person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different.” In this case, he is allowing the hearer to think he means that fascism was generally “anti-Catholic,” when he knows this only even arguably applies to Nazism.

                    1. I don’t hesitate to answer
                      I’m not sure what evil even means. That word has a lot of baggage and I’m not into theology.

                      Moral-equivalency (if I get what you mean) presupposes a moral reading while I try to keep out of that… so I think “amoral” would be better.

                      I get the feeling that you’re very much interested in having the moral highground intellectually but, in my opinion, morality is best used to evaluate one’s behaviour.

                      In this case, the facts are so repulsive that I really don’t see the point in elaborating on the moral implications anyway.

  1. the original comments:
    Unsurprisingly, it’s charity and defense if you translate it literally: “opera di carita che promosse in difesa dei perseguitati”

    I would caution against reading too much into the particular words used unless you are quite familiar not only with the language but also with the specific cultural context the statement came out of.

    1. Thank you
      That was very useful, appreciated. So, “work of charity that promoted the defense of the persecuted,” no? I wish news accounts would stick to the verbatim. Perhaps you would like to fill us in on what “specific cultural context” you feel we are missing.

      1. I’m not qualified to translate.
        The cultural context would be that of the catholic elite. I’m not privy to it.
        I don’t even know if that might be a translation from German or something.

        But I do know that caritas has a theological meaning that goes beyond charity for example… I don’t know if “opera di” is sufficient to disambiguate considering that the pope is supposed to have a special theological role.

        1. I’m a journalist, I don’t mind
          In The Four Loves, CS Lewis identifies caritas as the Greek agape: selfless, altruistic love. Let’s assume Benedict meant that and not mere “charity.” I’d still like more evidence than the text seems to provide. The only actual “work” it seems to cite is one line from Pius’ 1942 radio address.

          An “amoral” view of the world (especially such matters as these) is of limited utility. There is much to be said for a distanced and sober consideration of objective facts—but at a certain point, the inevitable question arises of towards what aim?

          1. The Catholic Church and the Shoah
            A few historical points 1. The burning of Churches, the raping of nuns, the murder of priests were in full swing in Andalusia and other parts of Spain well before the military rising. 2. There was no criticism of Pius XII before the 1960’s with the publication of Hochuth’s largely fictional play “The Representative”. Criticism was initially Communist inspired in an attasmpt to discredit the Church in Eastern Europe. 3. The criticism in the 90’s came from dissident Catholic sources attempting to discredit authority in the Church and was the work of journalists not historians. 4. Jewish historians such as Friedlander have taken a fairly moderate line on the Papacy, while Rabbi Dalin and Martin Gilbert have defended the Pope. Lewy however points out that the line between prudence and cowardice is often a fine one.

            1. A few responses.
              1. I wrote that “the anti-clerical excesses of the Spanish anarchists were due to the fact that the Spanish church practically universally supported the oligarchy and Franco’s coup.” (Emphasis added.) Certainly there were anti-clerical excesses before the military rising, although I think they have been exaggerated.

              2. Reckoning with the Holocaust generally stepped up a generation after the fact in the ’60s and ’70s. So just because criticism of Pius XII emerged after the publication of a questionable work doesn’t mean a causative relationship. They could both be separate manifestations of the same trend.

              3. I think your “dissident Catholics” might take issue with that characterization.

              4. History hasn’t treated the “prudent” under totalitarianism very well.

          2. the meaning of life
            Not really… but that’s where we’d end up if we pursued questions such as “towards what aim?”. Perhaps we’ll talk about that another day? In the meantime, I’ll just say that consideration of objective facts is something it pleases me to do.

            I didn’t say I have an amoral view of the world by the way… only of history. One can arguably use morality in order to change the world. The results are sometimes horrible but I can’t fault the sentiment: I have morals too. Changing history on the other hand… that’s called revisionism.

            The post by Anonymous is a good example of the dangers involved in moralizing history. Historians are not in the business of criticism, being moderate or defending authority figures… and when they do, the result should not be called history.
            What sources could one possibly use to determine when Andalusian nun-raping was in full swing? If that’s not grasping at straws, I don’t know what it is… certainly not a historical point.

            That said, since you’re repeating your line about this Bill, I’ve got to say that your attribution of those anti-clerical “excesses” to anarchists and/or anti-oligarchy sentiement is simplistic and tendentious. But this is surely way off-topic.

            As to the pope’s speech, you’re quite right: it’s lacking in substance. I think papal statements are supposed to have supernatural power but still… you’d expect him to mention something the he’s done.
            Perhaps what he says about Pius XI is even worse though. I just noticed he talks specifically about fascism there in a way that would probably not please (crypto/neo)fascist catholics so I think we (me especially) need to eat some of our words: he’s explicitely revisionist regarding fascism as well.

            1. The meaning of your posts
              I’m flattered you find this website thought-provoking enough to become a Frequent Poster, but I’m going to have to ask you to be a bit clearer. I have no idea what comment you are responding to when you write “Not really… but that’s where we’d end up if…” Not really what? Where would we end up?

              I certainly don’t believe in twisting history to fit ideological agendas, but nor do I think any aspect of history can be neatly divorced from the political context we live in today. Nobody would care about Pius XII if anti-Semitism didn’t remain a threat.

              Before you throw around adjectives like “simplistic” and “tendentious,” you might want to brush up on your Spanish Civil War history. The anti-clerical “‘excesses'” (why the scare quotes?) were indeed perpetrated by the anarchists, and were indeed rooted in the reactionary posture of the church. This is all well-established.

              As to the pope’s speech, if he said things that would not please the crypto/neos, how is he being explicitly revisionist?

              1. context, context, context
                If you’re missing it (“it” refers to the title), you’re going to miss the point for sure. I know it’s hard enough even with the context… sorry about that.

                Here’s the priceless bit about Pious XI:
                “… Pio XI, in un’epoca contrassegnata dai totalitarismi: quello fascista, quello nazista e quello comunista sovietico, condannati rispettivamente dalle Encicliche Non abbiamo bisogno, Mit Brennender Sorge e Divini Redemptoris.”
                I think you can figure out for yourself what might annoy fascists, what’s revisionist and how political correctness often gets to kill two birds with one stone. The stuff he references is available in english if you care to find out just how principled and devastating those condemnations were.

                As to the off-topic stuff…
                I’m glad you’re civil now but you’re still assuming I’m ignorant when I disagree (not that I claim any expertise on this one).
                Yes, anarchists have killed priests and such… but the anti-clerical violence really was widespread. There was apparently a lot of latent anger that probably can’t be neatly summed up. I think that those who blamed anarchists for the whole thing or even most of it had an agenda (or were tools). Of course, there’s also the perennial question: who should we call anarchists?
                As to motives, I like your more general “the reactionary posture of the church” better… but I think it doesn’t convey very well the fact that the political polarization went so far that church buildings and personnel were considered military or terrorist threats. And then there were other motives such as looting the fabled riches of the church.

                You’ll forgive me for not elaborating further on the other tangents you didn’t get.

                1. When have I ever not been civil?
                  I certainly haven’t been military.

                  With all due respect, if I am “assuming you are ignorant,” it is because you are displaying ignorance. The anarchists (CNT-FAI) were major players in Spain in the ’30s. They were in control of Catalonia and much of Aragon for the first ten months or so of the civil war (July ’36-May ’37), and were also very strong in Andalusia before the Nationalists took power there. They were responsible for all the church-torchings, as far as I know. The Republic was responsible for its own abuses (including treacherously crushing the CNT-FAI), but it didn’t burn down churches. Can we please save our arguments for subjective matters?

                  As to motives, they were strictly ideological, not military or mercenary. The peasant and proletarian backlash against the church was clearly rooted in its closeness to Spain’s reactionary oligarchy. Not to rely on anarchist historians (nor to disparage them), I can recommend Gerald Brenan’s The Spanish Labyrinth and Robert Hughes’ Barcelona.

                  Yes, I get your point about the papal revisionism. Although at least he is playing to the post-war anti-fascist consensus, and not to the crypto/neos. Hypocrisy being the homage that vice pays to virtue and all that…

                  1. in the other threads
                    It seems there there’s one thing we agree on: our last two posts have convinced both of us that the other is displaying ignorance (though I would not have put it that way if it wasn’t for you going there first).

                    I’m sure I would read Brenan with much interest but, if I’m not mistaken, Spanish Labyrinth is not a history of the civil war. I’m not saying the guy can’t write history for lack of academic cred: Bloch’s towering standing doesn’t make his valuable book on 1940 history either.
                    Try Broue & Temine (especially the first part) for a cogent overview. Broue was a bolshevik but it was recommended to me by anarchists which is a good omen in my book. It’s fairly short, unacademic and quite readable. It is of course biased but I think you can handle that. I assume some would say it is dated, a more serious shortcoming.

                    Oh, and since I can’t email you… thanks for the 1857 show!

                    1. Well, I’m glad we agree on something
                      Except you fail to point out what I am ignorant of. Do Broue & Temine contradict me on the anarchists being responsible for the anti-clerical excesses?

                      The Spanish Labyrinth is, by the subtitle, “An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War.”

                      Did you listen to my radio show on the Internet over there in North Korea or where-ever you are? That’s flattering.

                    2. do we really want to go there?
                      I would gladly discuss the Spanish civil war with you but I don’t feel I’ve got the knowledge it takes to lay out a comprehensive picture and I don’t think we can move the discussion forward without spilling a lot of virtual ink on the facts.
                      If you want to spend some time to the topic, why not pick up some of the writings of someone who’s actually qualified instead?

                      While what you wrote is at odds with some details as well as the general drift of Broue and Temine (among others), I don’t think they directly contradict your main point because you used judicious “as fas as I know” and because they’re not in the business of alloting blame for anti-clerical violence. To the extent that they do get into responsibilities, I think that they mostly do it in order to explain the military and political failures.

                      A decent summary of the mess in Spain would have to take more than a few lines obviously but the little you did write is misrepresenting what was going on in my opinion, starting with how you characterize the makeup of the democratic camp: the big split in the first part of the war was between the Basque nationalists and the leftists rather than between the CNT and “the republic”. And then there’s the split between the leftist leaders who were nominally in charge and the people… recall that the peacetime government had failed to keep the peace in spite of all its professional cops and prisons. Whatever their misgivings or lack thereof regarding violence, many CNT leaders were concerned about international opinion too. In any case, the violence and the anti-clericalism in general didn’t stop where socialists were more influential than anarchists but rather where the Basque nationalists had the situation under control. That said, there were differences between one aera and the other and anarchist influence was indeed correlated with anti-clerical violence… it’s not hard to find evidence for that but it’s not the whole picture even if you take the correlation to be direct or indirect causation.

                      I think that’s more than enough ill-informed commentary on my part so I won’t elaborate on the other stuff unless you really want me to.

                      Based on your earlier sneering, I thought you had guessed I was writing from “old Europe”.
                      We have some non-commercial radios but the MORC is of course unique. I make it a point to at least check the topic every week… and I couldn’t pass 1857.

                    3. Where is “there”?
                      Around it goes.

                      I have read a great deal on the Spanish Civil War, although not Broue & Temine. I’d love to know what they say that contradicts what I’ve written here, because I don’t think I’ve said anything which is controversial or contested. Except maybe the bit about the Republic’s crushing of the CNT-FAI being an “abuse” as opposed to what the orthodox Marxists see as a necessity—but even they wouldn’t contest that it happened.

                      The one on-topic point of contestation here is whether it was the anarchists as opposed to the Republic who were responsible for the anti-clerical violence—and by that I mean burning and desecrating churches, not confiscating their lands. You still haven’t even made clear whether Broue & Temine contradict me on this.

                      It is an irrelevant aside, but the “big split” was between the Basque nationalists and the left in the Pais Vasco. In Catalonia, the “big split” was assuredly between the anarchists and the Republic.

                      I was joking about North Korea, obviously. Yes, I had deduced that you are in “old Europe,” probably France. I’m trying to figure out whether you are an ex-pat.

                    4. “there” is arguing about Spain
                      This is a poor venue for trying to discuss such matters when we don’t even have a common vocabulary: I don’t know what you mean by the “the republic” in this context for instance. The CNT had a popular front policy and was acting in the name of the republic, isn’t? So why does the UGT and not the CNT get to be part of “the republic”? Later, I’d see why but at the start… beats me.

                      I’m not sure I understand why you focus on church-torching. Surely casualties are more important than buldings… there were extrajudicial executions all over the place.
                      And I don’t remember anything about people burning and desacrating churches. If I had heard or read about such an incident it’s not the kind of detail I would remember. If that’s your definition of anti-clerical violence, I’m happy to let you claim whatever you want about it. It’s not what we were talking about upthread though.

                      Now, as to your curiosity…
                      You said there was no mercenary or military motives for anti-clerical violence. If you put your definition aside, Broue and Temine certainly do. Snipers were using chruch property. The church itself acknowledged that even priests (not just rank catholic extremists) were active in the conflict. And they talk about the looting as well as the formal seizures.
                      You said the anti-clerical “excesses” were perpetrated by the CNT. Broue and Temine probably don’t say in so many words “pay attention, these arsonists did not carry CNT cards”. Why would it even be an issue? They talk about revolutionaries, workers and such instead. But it’s clear from the details that, in some cases at least, they aren’t talking about the CNT… would its members (and only its members) be excited by a hysterical rumor about priests poisoning children for instance?

                      You know full well (if you read much about the civil war) that there was a further breakdown of law and order in much of Spain following the insurrection. People seized the weapons they could and attacked the military, the police, and other (potential) fascist allies… yet only anarchists would attack the church? Not even the socialists who fought alongside them?

                      The bottom line is that I strongly doubt anyone has a halway decent breakdown of the identity of those who attacked the church. Circular reasoning (they burn churches because they’re anarchists therefore churches were burned down by anarchists) needn’t apply. It’s hard to prove a negative, I’ll give you that.

                      No, I’m not an expat (do I sound like one?).

                    5. Then we’re already “there.”
                      You continue to flabbergast me. One minute you sound like you are fairly erudite on the Spanish conflict; the next, like you don’t even know the basics. The Republic was the Popular Front government in Madrid. The CNT (though not the FAI) was indeed part of the Popular Front until the purge of May ’37.

                      The Republic’s “extrajudicial executions” were mostly (alas) of anarchists and other disloyal elements on the left. There were reports of desecrations (cemeteries being exhumed, turning churches into barracks and dance-halls, etc.). The reports of priests being killed and nuns being raped are greatly exaggerated from what I have read—although I admit that most (by no means all) of what I have read is from anarchist sources. (E.g. JosĂ© Peirats’ Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution)

                      Certainly priests who served as snipers could expect to get shot. But the anarchists shut down the churches in the areas they controlled as a matter of policy. I do not believe they killed the priests as a matter of policy.

                      I said the anti-clerical “‘excesses'” (again, why the scare quotes?) were carried out by anarchists. But that was probably more of a FAI tendency than a CNT one. The two groups broadly overlapped, but there were also tensions between them, especially in the pre-purge period when the CNT was onboard with the Popular Front.

                      The attacks on the church were chiefly in Catalonia, where the CNT-FAI effectively took power in July 1936. In Catalonia, the CNT-FAI was allied with the (much smaller) socialist POUM, but no account I’ve read implicates them in attacks on the church. There were no widespread attacks on the church in Asturias, the socialist and UGT stronghold.

                      You’ve put me in the unusual position of defending the Republic and attacking the anarchists! I’m used to the other way round!

                      You only sound like an ex-pat in that you write English like a native-speaker.

                    6. indeed. I’ll try to wrap up…
                      …by staying as close to the facts as possible. Hopefully this will make you understand I’m not speaking from ignorance. I can’t vouch for any of this myself (not having reviewed the sources or interviewed witnesses) but it is straight from acutal history written by a professional. Forgive me for the nit-picking:

                      There were many extrajudicial executions committed by working-class armed groups in the wake of the insurrections. Priests and such were killed but targets included politicians, bosses, military officers (including some of the much-needed republicans), phalangists and so on.
                      You should find mention of this in Brenan. Look for “paseo” in the index if there’s one.
                      As for reports of anti-clerical murders being exagerated, two (2) clerics are said to have survived the purge in Lerida (on account of being left-wingers) for instance.

                      Chruches were closed in pretty much every city (the more remote places may well have resisted this) except for the Basque aera. The UGT opposed their re-opening until the stalinists got the upper hand in late 1937. Even posession of catholic paraphrenilia was seen as an offense (so as to prevent private ceremonies from taking place).

                      The CNT actually had a lot of people in the Asturies. Churches were destroyed there too. Church personel fled to Basque country en masse. I have no idea who’s responsible… but the UGT, unlike the Basque nationalists, certainly didn’t protect them.
                      The CNT was (informally anyway) allied with the UGT, thanks to which the UGT actually had more people in the militia comitee ruling Catalonia than the POUM actually. They acted together all over Spain and colluded against the government’s attempt to restore its power.

                      Please understand I’m not defending or attacking anyone.

                      Perhaps one day you will get a better idea of how widepread anti-clericalism was and much power this “Republic” of yours had on the ground during the revolutionary phase.

                    7. Enough with the scare quotes

                      Well, you are sending me back to books I haven’t looked at in years, and Brenan does reference reports of anti-clerical atrocities in Asturias (while portraying them as not corroborated). There is no index reference for “paseo.” Nor does he mention your Lerida massacre. I am pretty sure you are wrong about the UGT and CNT “acting together all over Spain…against the government’s attempt to restore its power.” I don’t believe the UGT broke with the Popular Front. I would like to know your source on this claim.

                    8. OK, I’ll use words my way…
                      … and here’s my ill-informed opinion: history trumps ideology and the CNT was essential to the republic. It stumbled but ultimately betrayed its ideals and allowed itself to be destroyed for the sake of anti-fascism… and that was the end of the republic. Even the hardline FAI-istas did more to save the republic than to undermine it. Many of these guys could have been charged with war crimes though.

                      You sent me back to the books so it’s only fair I do the same. But please don’t indulge me if you have better things to do with your time.

                      See if you can find Peiro writing in Liberta about the wanton violence in Brenan. If you have an old edition you might find it on page 323 with a little luck.

                      I didn’t say the UGT broke the popular front and I don’t think the CNT broke it either… that’s what I’m trying to tell you: in the wake of the insurgency, for all the squabbles, there was not that much difference between the CNT and the other orgainsations capable of fielding an effective fighting force to stand up to the military (with the same exception I keep making).
                      If not for the CNT and the UGT coming together to lead the people, we wouldn’t be talking about this. Arming the people (by raiding church facilities if need be) was the only way to win this showdown. They first called for general strikes together but that wasn’t engough obviously. The CNT as a whole didn’t want to seize power (they tooks pains to make a show of that) and didn’t plan for it anymore than the UGT.

                      How to win an actual war against a properly deployed and supplied military (and against Hitler and Mussolini!) was another matter. But at the height of the militia euphoria, the UGT didn’t want to hand its newfound power over to the state anymore than the CNT. So, according to Broue and Temine, the Caballero column threatened to terminate the government on the 20th of August if it procceeded with its mobilization plans. It may well have harmed the chances of the popular front but I very much doubt it was the intent.
                      Does Brenan or some of your other books talk about Claridad‘s initial line on the role of the militias? Koltsov wrote that Caballero’s position was (on the 27th of August) that the people’s militia didn’t answer to the government and that the anarchist and socialist unions should sweep away the bureaucrats and lead the people to victory. Seeing that, if one puts aside the Basque nationalist zone, the CNT and the UGT had several times as many armed men than all the other regular and irregular forces on the democratic side together, you can perhaps see the logic.
                      I wonder how you explain the UGT seats in Catalonia if not for its reconciliation with the CNT by the way.

                      But that was the initial phase. Much pettiness and backstabbing followed.

                    9. Try using them clearly
                      I have no idea whether your “it” which “stumbled” is the Republic or the CNT, or what you mean by “allowed itself to be destroyed for the sake of anti-fascism.” But perhaps this thread has gone on long enough…

                    10. next week: Kronstadt
                      Yeah, this has gone on long enough and I need an editor.

                      I hope you didn’t skip over the whole thing for a messy paragraph full of unconventional ideas though.
                      There’s no need to reply but I did take the trouble of translating the stuff you asked for so I want to make sure you read it.

  2. Pius killed Christians too.
    With the 50th Anniversary of the death of Pius XII, the Vatican is again pushing for his sainthood. While Pius can be legitimately criticized for his tepid condemnations of the Nazi Holocaust there is no question he was complicit in the deaths of at least 500,000 Orthodox Christian Serbs, Jews and Roma murdered in Croatia, Bosnia, and Krajina during the Second World War by the Axis allied Croatian regime.

    See Attached Press Release or

  3. Pacelli’s take on Spain
    Since Pious XII is the topic of this thread, I thought I’d post his own view on the significance of the events I’ve been discussing with Weinberg.

    He made this victory speech to the spanish faithful and their noble leader entitled “con immenso gozo”… here’s a choice part featuring a shoutout to his indios fans:
    “La NaciĂłn elegida por Dios como principal instrumento de evangelizaciĂłn del Nuevo Mundo y como baluarte inexpugnable de la fe catĂłlica, acaba de dar a los prosĂ©litos del ateĂ­smo materialista de nuestro siglo la prueba más excelsa de que por encima de todo están los valores eternos de la religiĂłn y del espĂ­ritu.”

    Get the whole thing there: