Silence at the Vatican
Front Ow' Diplomatic Correspondent
While the whole British Empire remains firmly united in the resolution to maintain the fight against HiMrism, undistracted by the ideological considerations raised by the attack on Bolshevism, it would be foolish to pretend that Hitler's coup has not been welcomed in quarters where there is also sympathy for the Allied cause, We know of no reference made by the Vatican to the new situation, and nothing in the Pope's Allocution on Sunday could possibly be construed as having reference to Russia in particular. It had been expected in some quarters that the Pope would give a lead to the Catholic world.
According to a Rome dispatch to the New York Times, the allocution may he followed by instructions to bishops in which the political rather than the religious nature of such a " crusade " will be recognised and
deprecated. The correspondent states that the Pope is known to have been under heavy pressure to support the formation of volunteer battalions " to fight the Communists."
PORTUGAL'S NEUTRALITY " We do Not Change " The Dian) Du Manila, a leading Portuguese newspaper, comments on the new situation as follows: " In the policy of the new State of Portugal maxims do not change and one of these is our anti-Communist and anti-Bolshevist attitude, It was for this that the Spanish
war was fought. But we shall continue to preserve our absolute neutrality in order that we may be spared from the con
sequences of the war. Let all the people support national unity with calmness and self-discipline. Let all our people be united to support the government which finds its difficulties increased almost daily with the extension of the war. Whatever may come and whatever economic difficulties may he in store for us we will remember that the Portuguese people are Portuguese; nothing more and nothing less."
On the other hand, Novidades, the chief Catholic paper, asks:—" How can we consider this a conflict developing between two antagonistic worlds when we all know that the seed of evil has been carried without hesitation from one side to the other and that both have combined in acts that our morality and oufeelings repudiate, and that all the time they have committed together deeds of injustice and violence which we have never ceased to condemn?"
U.S. CATHOLICS " DIVIDED " on Alliance with " Godless Russia " The attitude of American Catholics to the entry of Soviet Russia into the war is reported as being " divided " by the Times New York correspondent.
" A division among American Roman Catholics," writes the correspondent, " over giving aid to Russia found expression here yesterday in a request by the Catholic War Veterans' incorporated to Mr. Roosevelt that he should reconsider his intention of aiding ' Godless Russia,' and in a manifesto signed by 15 prominent Roman Catholic clergy and laymen declaring that this country must not become confused on the fundamental issue that Hitler must he defeated. Hitler must be stopped, the manifesto said, 'even if that means that we and the Soviet are temporarily on the same side in an effort to resist a common enemy,' " The manifesto said that its signatories knew that Communism was the foe of all religion, but we know too well also that National-Socialism is waging a relentless war of extermination on the Church in Germany, Austria and Poland, an attack which is now spreading to other conquered countries, and which will become world-wide if the Nazis become supreme.' "
SPANISH VOLUNTEERS For Fight Against Bolshevism It was inevitable that both in Spain and Vichy France the attack on the Soviet should be greeted with general enthusiasm, though there is no sign as yet of it having a determining influence on major policy. In Spain there is definite encouragement for the formation of a " Falange Legion " of Spaniards who will join the German forces in the
Madrid Radio has given the following details:---" Two hundred and twenty-two volunteers have joined up at Barcelona in one day and a similar number on the next day:* stated the announcer. " Thousands of young people are presenting themselves at the offices of the Director of the Militia in the capital."
The Legion will be mostly of men 20 to 28. "Pueblo says: " They are determined to fight at the side of out German comrades against the Soviet hordes. and against the criminal doctrine which is responsible for so much suffering in SpaniSh homes and which is a threat to the peace of the world."
GERMANY'S QUARANTINE BARRIER To be Organised Against U.S.S.R.
Vichy, while taking the opportunity of severing relations with the Soviet, will not refuse the demands of French volunteers to
join the light. The Berlin plan, according to [he Swedish GOlesborgs Posten, is to organise " a quarantine barrier " against Russia far more efficient than the Versailles system.
" After total victory the Ukrainians and white Russians will be autonomous and when the frontier regulations are established in the ?Writ! and Leningrad district, a barrier will stretch from the Arctic to the Caucasus, the remaining part of Russia thus losing its character of a sendEuropean .Slate and definitely assigned to Asia."
SOVIET RADIO PROPAGANDA It Plays Into the Enemy's Hands
Soviet Russia is to some extent playing into the hands of these elements by her wireless propaganda.
During the period between August, 1939, and the outbreak of the Soviet-German war the Soviet radio stations did not broadcast in the German language (except the short news bulletins) and limited their propaganda by the broadcasts in French. English and several Oriental languages. And as soon as the Germans occupied some European country, the Soviet broadcasts in the language of that country were greatly reduced in scope and their tone lost all the Communist flavour.
Now the Soviet radio propaganda in European languages Is greatly augmented and the character of this propaganda has become vehemently Communistic. The nations of Europe arc harangued to revolt against their German oppressors in the name of the Communist ideal and to defend the " only Socialist stronghold in the world — the U.S.S.R."
This violent change in the character and tone of the Soviet foreign broadcasts seems to show that Stalin has no intention of repudiating the idea of the world Communist Revolution. but is definitely appealing to subversive influences all over the world. Since these can he of no immediate help to him and since such propaganda is hound to he unpopular in Britain and America, whence any effective
help must come, the plan is a foolish one and it plays into Hitler's hands.
Disquieting also is the order issued by the Soviet authorities last Saturday about the surrender of all privately-owned wireless sets. It is interpreted as testifying to the fact that the Soviets do not trust the people and arc afraid that the German radio propaganda would exercise influence, detrimental to the Government, on the minds of the Russian people.
PRAYING IN MOSCOW —But They Know Nothing About It in London
It would not be surprising if the still religious people of Russia openly turned to God again in the hour of their country's peril, and for propaganda reasons, if for no other, the Soviet authorities would publicise such signs of Russian faith.
In regard, however, to recent reports, a Russian correspondent writes in us:—
" No church in Moscow could ever hold 12,000 people, arid apart from the Cathedral, the few remaining ones are all small. It is likely that thousands foregathered round the churches, but we must wait to see how far the reports given out are sincere or merely inspired by a desire to satisfy Christian consciences in Britain and A merica.'* The CATHOLIC HERALD was unable to obtain any confirmation from the Russian Embassy, " Intourist," the Soviet travel agency, nor from Russia To-day, the Soviet propaganda publication, of -the fact that 25 churches in Moscow were still open. " We know nothing," was the general reply.
German propaganda states that Moscow Cathedral was destroyed and that the Soviet has circulated pictures showing houses and shops on the site. Only two Catholic churches were open in Moscow in 1938.
Mr. Arnold Pittman, described as President Roosevelt's personal envoy to the Vatican. was received in private audience by the Pope last week, says a Rome telegram to Vichy. quoted by Reuter. The audience, which was not announced officially, created great interest in Vatican circles.