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Manchester Guardian Article, Feb. 12, 1929 “Fascism and the Vatican”

Alex Constantine - February 14, 2011

" ... The Vatican has considerable Fascist sympathies. Pope Pius XI is credited with much admiration for Mussolini. That the Italian clergy as a whole are pro-Fascist is easy to understand, seeing that Fascism is a nationalist, authoritarian, anti-liberal, and anti-Socialist force. ... "

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 12 February 1929

imagesCAXMT05U1 - Manchester Guardian Article, Feb. 12, 1929The concordat between the Quirinal and the Vatican signed in Rome yesterday is an event of such profound significance that no one can tell what its ultimate consequences will be.

One thing seems to be sure – Mussolini has achieved a great diplomatic success, perhaps the greatest of his career. On this there is general agreement. His gain is absolute. Whether the Vatican's gain is so absolute, seems a little uncertain. There is evidently much Italian nationalist sentiment in the Vatican itself. In other words, the Vatican has considerable Fascist sympathies. Pope Pius XI is credited with much admiration for Mussolini. That the Italian clergy as a whole are pro-Fascist is easy to understand, seeing that Fascism is a nationalist, authoritarian, anti-liberal, and anti-Socialist force.

Will the concordat mean closer cooperation between clerical reaction and the various forms of political reaction (such as Fascism) all over Europe? It is impossible to tell as yet, but the question is one that gives Continental Liberals some uneasiness, and there must be some misgivings even amongst progressive Roman Catholics. To many the Pope's spiritual sovereignty is a mystical conception that is violated by any temporal sovereignty, however small the realm over which it is exercised. That this temporal sovereignty should include membership of the League of Nations is a dangerous thought.

Happily there is a clause in the concordat by which the Vatican State expresses its wish to "remain extraneous to the temporal competitions between other States, as well as international congresses convened for this purpose." Presumably the League is such an "international congress." It does indeed seem improbable that either the Roman Catholic hierarchy or the Roman Catholic world would wish to see the Vicar of Christ dragged into the very temporal battles that are fought in the public arena at Geneva. It is reported from Rome that the care of the Roman Catholic missions in the Near East shall be conferred upon Italians. If that is so, Italian influence in the Near East will be reinforced at France's expense, for until now the missions have been in French hands. And yet another question may have to be answered, not yet, but some time. The Fascist dictatorship is strong. But the day will surely come when it will go the way of all tyrannies. What will be the attitude of a free Italy towards a Vatican State so intimately bound up with the Fascist dictatorship?

These archive extracts are compiled by members of the Guardian's research and information department. Email: research.department@guardian.co.uk


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  1. The good old Grauniad (so-called because of its famous typos – they stopped when it went elecronic – tho’ for several weeks its native tongue was called ‘Englick’, has always been deep into No Popery. It was the paper -from the 18202 – of the Manchester Liberals. They hated the RC Church because it was ‘reactionary’. Meaning it had problems with working children as young as six to death in mills ans factories.

  2. The idea of a person being The Infallible Representative of Jesus Christ on earth is a tremendous presumption and the source of all cults of personality. Jesus said,”If you wish to be the leader of all, you shall be the servant of all”, not just your self-interest and your flawed interpretation of theology. This has always been the problem; some colonist using scriptures to validate his/her personal self-will. That Liberation Theology got as far as it did when it did, is more than just a minor miracle considering the ambitions of the traditionalist elites in the Catholic Church. That movement was a reinvigorating one for a church that had seriously lost it’s way. God Bless you this Theophany. No one in the Orthodox church claims to be the infallible representative of Jesus Christ on earth and is for that more realistic and humane.

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