OME DECEIVED APEST UBLICITY
"Italian Paper Forecasts Nazis Condemned
Pope's Sorrow " Like Thorn in Hearts Of Sons Of Italy"
THE IMPRESSION CREATED IN ROME, BY THE VATICAN'S ATTITUDE TOWARDS HERR HITLER'S VISIT, IS PROFOUND.
A silence unprecedented in the history of journalism marks the Pope's disapproval and pain: the Osservatore Romano, semiofficial Vatican newspaper, has not made one mention of Hitler's visit to Rome.
Further, the Pope ordered the Vatican museum to be closed for the duration of the visit, and would not allow the Swastika to be displayed on churches.
" The sorrow of the Pope has been like a thorn in the heca-ts of all the Catholic sons of Italy," writes the Catholic Avvenire d'Italia. This paper even foresees the formal condemnation of Ilitlerism by the Church.
On the other hand, the Popolo d'Italia, generally regarded as Mussolini's mouthpiece, has published a pungent reply to the Pope's words deploring the appearance of the Swastika in Route.
Parodying the 'very words of the Pope, the Popolo d'Italia writes: " . . we would say to the Father of all of us Catholics that today it is very dangerous to speak of the Cross of Christ and wave it about like a weapon . . . He might find himself abandoned and desperately alone---' to pray and pray and pray.' " Each day that Hitler has been in Italy, the Osservatore Romano's main front-page article has been on—the Budapest Eucharistic Congress.
While all Italy's secular press displayed day by day news of Hitler's visit with a vehemence unprecedented in Italian journalism, the Osservatore, front the editorial offices of which the celebrations could be both seen and heard, maintained utter silence on the matter.
Last Thursday, however, it seemed that this silence had given place to a competitive acclamation of the Hitler visit.
Headlines in the Osservatore proclaimed ht unusually large type " HISTORIC MEETING OF VHATERNITY AND PEACE" and all Rome thought for a moment that these lines must refer to the meeting of Hitler with Mussolini. On reading down the article, however, it was soon seen to be a further report of the preparations for the Budapest Eucharistic Congress.
OFFSETTING THE INSULT
From Our Own Correspondent It would seem that it is intended to offset the insult to the Papacy in Rome by the Eucharistic triumph at Budapest.
Rome was filled with Nazi clamour; the newspaper headlines, the illuminations, the decorated streets, all praised Hitler and his works.
In the midst of all this the silence of the semi-official Vatican organ was deafening. It was unbelievable that a newspaper could totally ignore world-shaking events taking place not a mile away from its editorial offices.
But each day the Osservatore gave place of honour to the preparations for the world manifestation of faith at Budapest.
" Misleading " Headlines On Thursday, the fourth day of Hitler's visit those who go by headlines were caught out.
" At last!" they said, " the silence is broken." A large three-column headline announced : " Historic Meeting of Fraternity and Peace. Enthusiasm of the Crowds —Homage of Culture and Art—Triumphal Sights—World Interest—Profound Attention of all Nations."
The article was eagerly read—but it was found to be about the preparations for the international Eucharistic Congress at Budapest. On nearly every other day as well the place of honour was given to the Budapest Congress . . . it was faithfully recorded that the King of Italy paid a visit to a camp of young Fascists, but no mention was made of the fact that this camp was organised for Hitler's visit.
The Swastika Over Rome
The only allusion to Hitler's visit was the report of the Pope's expression of grief that the Swastika was triumphing in Rome over the Feast of the Holy Cross.
The Swastika, in fact, causes such pain to the Holy Father, for the persecution which it symbolises, that at Castel Gandolfo, the attendants obliged a, visitor to take off his Hitler badge.
The Popolo d'Italia published an article protesting against the Pope's attitude. Another newspaper wrote: " Is not the Vatican newspaper compelled, under the Concordat existing between Italy and the Holy See, to observe a minimum of respect towards the guests of the King-Emperor?
Italian Catholic Comment " It is certainly far from edifying to see an old, austere journal like that of the Vatican City lose its reason and sense of proportion."
But the Italian Catholic papers have loyally recorded that Hitler's coming to Rome, without any attempt on his part to come to terms with the Pope or mitigate the severity of his persecution of the Church, has caused the greatest grief to the Pope.
" Inevitable Condemnation" The Avvenire d'Italia, a Catholic newspaper, wrote in a leading article:
" Italian Catholics had hoped that Herr Hitler's visit to Rome wotild prove a favourable occasion for the beneficent clarification of relations between the Holy See and the Reich.
" The melancholy death of this hope was an extremely hard blow for Italian Catholics. The Pontiff's sorrow was a thorn in the hearts of his children throughout Italy, who are now closer to him and concerned over their German brethren.
" The war of the State against the Church in Germany will undoubtedly result in further black pages in history. The heresy is now rushing towards its inevitable condemnation."
The Catholic newspaper of Milan, Italia. also says that Italian Catholics associate themselves with the grief of the Holy Father, and pray that peace may soon be re-established between Church and State in Germany.
DID NOT WIN THEIR HEARTS
From Our Diplomatic Corresfkmdent There is no doubt about the tremendous impression made in Rome by the Osservatore Romano's boycott of Herr Hitler's visit and by the Holy Father's reference to the Swastika and the closing of the Vatican museum.
It can hardly be said that Herr Hitler won the hearts of the Romans, and the attitude of the Vatican became the subject of gossip and talk all over Rome, hairdressers, taxi-drivers and barmen being the most vociferous on the subject, stating that "St. Peter was having his own back " when the rain poured down all Saturday morning!
The fact is that the Romans are intensely proud of having the Pope in their midst and the failure of Herr Hitler to visit His Holiness has certainly offended them.
This failure was due to Hitler's omission to ask for an audience. The Pope went to Castel Gandolfo on the exact date previously announced so as not to give any
impression that he was waiting about in Rome in the hope that Hitler would ask for an audience at the last minute.
That the Pope should wait on in Rome hoping for an audience was advocated by many ecclesiastics, but was finally put out of consideration by Cardinal Faulhaber, Cardinal Primate of Germany.
But the fact remains that Herr Hitler found himself strong enough to ignore the Pope. It means either that German and Italian Catholicism and the Holy See can be ignored and insulted with impunity by Herr 'Hitler, or that Herr Hitler has under-estimated their strength and made a most tremendous blunder.
Only the immediate future can show, and thus one naturally turns one's thoughts to Budapest, where, after the humiliation of (Continued at foot of next column)
the Papacy in Rome the Legate of the Pope, Cardinal Pacelli, is to assist at the great Eucharistic triumph. In view of the Pope's reference to the Swastika, an article in Le Temps on the Congress is of extreme value: " A great drama of conscience is being played on the Danube. Cross or Swastika, which will win?
" The spiritual conflict between the two Crosses is latent, but certain. ...
" In these circumstances how much greater is the interest and significance of the international act of faith and loyalty which Hungarian Catholics are holding in Budapest „ I"