—But Under Rosenberg, Theological Director, Renovation of Religious Life Continues
i?Trom Our German Correspondent Mgr. Cesare Orsenigo, the Papal Nuncio in Berlin, has had a two hours' conversation with Herr von Ribbentrop, Hitler's Foreign Minister.
Nothing is knovvn about the conversation, but probably Austria and Sudetenland, and possibly the whole delicate problem of relations between the German Reich and the Holy See were discussed. It is unlikely that any essential change in the situation will happen in the near future.
The systematic de-Christianisation of German life has been making steady headway these last years. It could be noticed again in the way in which the schools, the Press, the radio, the Hitler Youth and all other institutions of the Nazi regime tried to deprive Christmas of its Christian meaning and even to use it as a means of anti-Christian propaganda.
In its issue of December 22, Des Schwarze Kcrrps wrote: " This night of Weihnachten belongs to us.
" We have celebrated it around our camp fires and with burning wheels thundering down the valleys when no Celtic missionary, preaching a foreign gospel, had yet set his foot on German soil. We have celebrated it on lonely places and in out-of-the-way valleys when the hangmen of charity threatened everybody who would cling to " pagan " customs. We have celebrated it when the scribes of Rome and Constantinople had not yet reached agreement about the question whether the birthday of the founder of their religion was to be celebrated on January 1 or January 6."
Similar articles appeared in the whole German Press, and the National-Socialist Teachers' League issued instructions forbidding to talk about Christmas in school in any " confessional" (I.e., Christian) way. The radio was particularly active in that respect.
Field-Marshal Georing and Herr Rosenberg happen to be born on the same day. Their fourty-sixth birthday was celebrated throughout the Reich with great solemnity, and their merits were duly emphasised.
An article in the Volkischer Beobachter on Rosenberg's birthday praised the theological director for his work since 1034:
" Since Rosenberg's appointment," ft was declared, "the reattsation of the Nazi ideology ha's made progress step by step, and owing to his energetic attitude the ideological renovation of all spheres of cultural, scientific, religious and political Life has been initiated."
German Catholics and Protestants know only too well what that " ideological renovation of religious life" means.
School " Reform"
In the North German country (the former Grand Duchy) of Oldenburg as well as in the Westphalian city of Gelsenkirchen (the population of which is 345,000) all Catholic and Protestant schools have been transformed into Nazi common schools. So also have Bavaria, Saxony, Thuringia, Baden, Wurtemberg, Oldenburg, the Palatinate, the Saar territory and Austria, been entirely deprived of Catholic elementary schools, In large parts of Prussia, e.g., in Treves and the Moselle valley, it is the same.
Over 10,000 Catholic schools have been suppressed by the Nazis. In the above-mentioned provinces Catholics are worse off than the Jews from the point of view of education. There are several hundred Jewish schools, while there is not a single Catholic elementary school left.
In the rest of Prussia the abolition of Catholic and Protestant schools will certainly be finished before the end of the current year.
Newspapers, as much as schools. have been subjected to Rosenberg's " ideological reform."
The Reichspost, of Vienna, disappeared shortly after the Ansehluss. It had been
Austria's leading Catholic newspaper. Germania has now been stopped. On January 1 of this year, almost without warning, thousands of Catholics were surprised to bear that it would no longer appear.
Only one publication in Greater Germany now exists for the " comfort " of Catholics. It is the Schonere Zukunft, and is partly under the control of the Ministry of Propaganda. It dare not publish one ward that might offend the Nazis.
Its circulation has dropped 2,000 in the last year.