Two Famous Cases
of the"Leakage" `1\:,1 ISSI()N
Adolf Hitler, son of Alois Schicklgruber and Klara Poelz1, was baptised a Catholic. His mother was a good Catholic, who took her young Adolf to Mass every Sunday, and it was her fervent hope that he would train for the priesthood, saying Mass one day in his birthplace church of Branau-on-the-Inn. She gave him Catholic books to read, notably a life of St. Francis of Assisi.
Benito Mussolini was born in the Italian'hamlet of Varano di Costa and likewise baptised a Catholic. His mother, too, appears to have been a good Catholic: " My greatest love was for my mother " and his greatest sorrow was the news of her death. Mussolini also described himself as " deeply a Catholic."
The subsequent ruin of a Faith, normally given and normally nurtured in Catholic home, Catholic country and Catholic school, is a matter of history. What was the cause? God alone can say ; but their famous, destructive, wrecked and doomed lives attest to the possible consequences of a loss of faith—a leakage—which has been shared by numberless souls, too often under conditions where parentage, atmosphere and education have been much less favourable than in the case of the two world dictators who died within a few days of one another, their chosen erzalz religions having destroyed them and their countries and come near destroying our world,
HITLER Hitler seems definitely to have renounced the Faith to substitute for it the fanaticism of National-Socialism and Pan-Germanism, whose springs apparently were in a volume about the Franco-Prussian war of which he stated that it was his " greatest spiritual revelation." In our files we can find only one illustration of the connection between Hitler and the Church with the apt caption " The only photograph of the Reichsfuhrer coming out of a Catholic church—which he inspected solely
as an enthusiastic architect!" His persecution of German Catholics; his betrayals of the Concordat ; the view taken of him by Pius XI when Rifler visited Rome—these are well-known.
Mussolini, for his part, never renounced his Catholic Faith, but he appears not to have practised it from an early age. He realised its intrinsic importance, however, and, above all, its value to the State. Hence the Lateran Treaty and his care never to break ;•• openly with the Papacy despite the SS clash between the philosophy of Fascism and that of Catholicity. His private life was of a nature to give constant public scandal.
An Easter Pastoral by Cardinal dalla Costa, Archbishop of Florence, discussing the political and social duties of the Christian woman, is quoted in Osservatoi e Romano.
The pastoral affirms that the Christian woman can and must come out of home and family whenever necessary. It urges women to use their right to vote in striving to attain religious freedom, the recognition of Christian marriage and education, the freedom of religious instruction in public schools, and the maintenance of a high standard of public morality.
When we looked through our files to discover pictures illustrating any connection between Hitler and the Church or Catholic personalities, all we could find was the above picture carrying its significant caption. It illustrated the dismal story of how Hitler was brought up a Catholic and lost his Faith—for the downfall of his country. the misery of millions of his fellow human-beings and his own mysterious end framed in the hollow emotional paganism of Wagner's Gotterdammerung.