DENOUNCES ONE-SIDED BREACH OF TREATIES
GRAVE WORDS IN CHRISTMAS ALLOCUTION
Praise For Italy's "Incomparable Minister" : Flaying Words For Swastika
THE POPE IN HIS CHRISTMAS ALLOCUTION, SPOKEN TO THE CARDINALS " ON THE EVE OF THE 10th ANNIVERSARY OF THE LATERAN TREATY," MADE CLEAR (AS FORECAST IN THE " CATHOLIC HERALD ") THAT THE. " GRAVE DANGERS " TO WHICH HE RECENTLY ALLUDED CONCERNED FASCIST ATTACKS ON CATHOLIC ACTION.
The Holy Father's words were among the, gravest and saddest ever tittered by him.
After paying the fullest tribute to the King of Italy and Signor Mussolini, " his incomparable minister," for the achieving of the Concordat, the Pope stated the anniversary could not bring him " the serene joy " he would have wished, but rather " grave and veritable preoccupations and bitter sorrows."
Though Catholic Action is in no way concerned with politics. but rather ensures that good Christians make good citizens, especially in a Catholic country, it was clear that there was a systematic attack on it in many places and from high quarters.
The Holy Father used even graver words about the breach of the 34th Article of the Concordat (the article on marriage) and expressed his solemn concern as " the Head of Catholicism and the Guardian of truth and morality."
Denouncing this breach, the Pope said : " We believe that if, in the case of the observation or nonobservation of every bilateral pact, its interpretation cannot be usurped by one of the parties alone, this is even truer in the case of an interpretation which frees one so resolutely from all engagements to it."
In a bitter outburst of sorrow, the Holy Father enumerated the blows struck at him, blows from which his white hairs might have spared him, amongst them the introduction into Rome itself (on the occasion of Hitler's visit) " of the cross which is the enemy of the Cross of Christ."
In a touching peroration the aged Pontiff spoke of his love for Italy, a love for which he found the best precedent in Our Lord's love for his native land while dedicated to His passion and death for the human race.
The Papal Allocution, writes our Roman correspondent, has made the deepest impression in Rome, even though the Fascist papers have concentrated upon the passages expressing the Pope's admiration for the Duce, and his gratitude for the Concordat. The severe passages have been omitted.
It has been noted that even the Catholic papers (with the exception of the Osservatore Romano) have recently soft-pedalled their criticisms of the regime, which had been strongly expressed at the time of Cardinal Schuster's denunciation of racialism. There can be no doubt that this was due to pressure being brought to bear upon them of the type to which the Holy Father refers in connection with Catholic Action.
In view of the belief in well-informed circles that the State has silently dropped the decree about forbidding Italian marriages with non-Aryans, some surprise has been felt at the outspokenness of the Pope's reference to the breach of the Concordat involved. It is not certain whether it is the principle of the thing to which he refers or whether he is not satisfied that the question is really at an end.
In view of the Rome-Berlin Axis, great Catholic significance is attached also to the Holy Father's plain denunciation once again of the Swastika, emblem of Hitlerism, as " the enemy of the Cross of Christ." No stronger words have been used, even of Communism.