By Chet Yarbrough
The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe
Written by: David I. Kertzer
Narration by: Stefan Rudnicki
DAVID KERTZER (AUTHOR, ANTHROPOLIGIST, PAUL DUPEE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR, HISTORIAN SPECIALIZING IN ITALIAN STUDIES)
David Kertzer reminds society that organized religion is only human. Religions are subject to the goodness and sins of human nature. Whether one believes in a Supreme Being or not, actions of organized religion are freighted with human error.
Kertzer is only one of many who have exposed the perfidy of organized religion. His target, in “The Pope and Mussolini, is the Roman Catholic Church.
Cardinal Ratti becomes Pope Pius XI during the ascension of European Fascism and Nazism in the 1920s and 30s. Ratti is characterized as a pedantic, conservative, and sometimes bellicose Christian believer in the Roman Catholic Church. As a religious pedant rather than trailblazer, Pope Pius XI focuses on returning Roman Catholicism to a former time of independence and influence. No price appears too high; Pope Pius XI’s purchase price paves the way for state Fascism (total control of government and society) in Italy.
POPE PIUS XI (1857-1939) Cardinal Ratti becomes Pope Pius XI. Ratti is characterized as a pedantic, conservative, and sometimes bellicose Christian believer in the Roman Catholic Church.
Kertzer recounts early 19th century history of the Roman Catholic Church. The secular government of Italy confiscates Church lands. That taking decimated Catholic wealth, restricted Popes to the Vatican grounds, and reduced Papal control of the Holy See. More significantly, it reduced the church’s power to influence believers. After 1860 and until the Lateran Treaty negotiated between Mussolini and Pope Pius XI, the Church is treated as a part of the state of Italy, subject to secular rule.
Pope Pius XI agrees to support the government of Benito Mussolini in 1929 in return for the creation of an independent Papal State in Rome. Mussolini agrees to pay the church approximately $100 million for formally confiscated church land. Pope Pius XI acquires for himself and future Popes the right of independent rule, religious interpretation, and Catholic dictation. In return Mussolini gains the support of the Roman Catholic Church, the dissolution of Catholic political parties, and a title as II Duce, “The Leader” of Italy. At the stroke of a pen, Mussolini becomes a hero of Italian Catholics (over 90% of the population) and the totalitarian leader of Italy.
BENITO MUSSOLINI (1883-1945, PRIME MINISTER OF ITALY 1922-1943, LEADER OF NATIONAL FASCIST PARTY)
Kertzer notes there are common goals for Mussolini and Pius XI in the Lateran treaty which separates church from state. Both covet power. Both dislike the idea of a Catholic party interfering with religious or state matters. Both desire elimination of factional interference in government and religion; i.e. Mussolini’s Fascist control of government and the Pope’s control of Church doctrine.
Seeking sovereign independence of the Holy Sea. Pius XI becomes head of state of the smallest state in the world. $100 million is paid to the church for confiscated land since 1860.
Pius XI is the first Pope to broadcast on radio in the early 1920s. With the Lateran Treaty of 1929, the Papal State is created; after 58 years of refusal to become part of Italy. Prisoners in the Vatican before 1929, the Lateran Treaty required elimination of the Catholic Italian Popular Party, a political organization.
DAVID KERTZER “THE RELATIONSHIP OF BENITO MUSSOLINI AND POPE PIUS XI (1922-1939):
An unintended consequence was to reinforce Fascism in Italy. With the ascension of Pope Pius the XII, the Nazi government is solidified. The trade-off for the Roman Catholic church is an increase in international influence. At the same time, pagan worship of fascism by Church youth groups diminishes the church’s moral stature.
POPE PIUS XII (1876-1958, FORMERLY CARDINAL PACELLI)
Pope Pius XI refuses to excommunicate Hitler, Mussolini gravitates to Nazism, and Pius XII ignores Nazi atrocity.
The Lateran treaty is a slippery slope for both Nazi Germany and the Roman Catholic Church. Mussolini and Pius XI are blinded by hubris and false piety.
Mussolini is shot by his countrymen, hung by his heals for destroying people’s freedom, and losing a war that compromised and betrayed his county. Pius XI compromises his morals and paves the way for Pius XII, a closet Christian anti-Semite, who becomes a Hitler’ stooge by tacitly endorsing the immorality of belief in ethnic purity.
The closing years of Pius XI’s reign is marked by a closer association with democracies as the Western nations and the Vatican found both were threatened by totalitarian regimes and ideologies of Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. However, with Pius XI’s death and ascension of Pope Pius XII, distinction between totalitarianism and democracy diminishes.
Pope Pius XII—Hitler’s Pope. FORMER CARDINAL PACELLI Hitler and the roman catholic church: <iframe width=”854″ height=”510″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/2x_MdS88qr8″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>
***IRONIC SPEECH POPE PIUS XII SPEAKING ENGLISH TO TROOPS WHO LIBERATED ROME:
Kertzer offers insight to what really happened in Italy in the 1920s, 30s, and early 40s but the story resonates with all organized religions. Jewish isolation of Palestinians, ISIL’s attempt to resurrect the Caliphate, Muslim repression of Kurds, Taliban Muslim cruelty in Afghanistan, Chinese suppression of Uighurs, and Protestant proselytizing around the world are cut from the same flawed fabric; i.e. the flawed fabric of human interpretation of humanly manufactured texts and religions.
In the name of God, organized religion’s killings continue. If there is a God, he/she is not evil; i.e. only humans are evil.