POWER OF AMERICAN CATHOLIC OPINION
THE WHOLE WORLD, AND GERMANY IN PARTICULAR, HAS BEEN SURPRISED BY THE NATURE OF THE RECEPTION ACCORDED TO AN AMERICAN CARDINAL VISITING ROME.
Cardinal Mundelein, Archbishop of Chicago, is regarded in Germany as a symbol of the Reich's hostility, both to the Vatican and the United States. His attacks on Nazism have been prominently publicised in the press of all countries during the last eighteen months.
Widely circulating rumours that Cardinal Mundelein is exploring the possibility, at President Roosevelt's request, of the resumption of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the United States after a break of 70 years, are impossible to confirm.
Cardinal Mundelein, who is a close personal friend of Roosevelt, was the latter's guest during the recent Navy Day review.
He was the Papal Legate at the New Orleans Eucharistic Congress which has just been concluded, and in this capacity has made an official report to the Pope.
The special notice given by the Italian Government and the controlled Press to the Cardinal's visit is thought to be a stroke of genius on the part of the Duce, who seems to have analysed both world-Catholic and American opinions and Hitler's blunder in offending both.
From Our Own Correspondent ROME.
Cardinal Mundelein's reception in Fascist Italy, on the occasion of his official visit to the Holy Father to report on his work as Pontifical Legate at the New Orleans Eucharistic Congress, has been remarkable.
The. Cardinal is much disliked by the Nazis and taken by them as representative of all they hate, both in the Church and in the United States. In view of the Rome-Berlin axis it might have been expected that he would have been received with formal honours, but nothing more.
On the contrary the Cardinal, who reached Naples on Saturday on board the Italian liner Rex, was greeted with the highest honours and the greatest enthusiasm.
After landing, and having received military honours both at the quayside and at the station, he was taken to Rome in Signor Mussolini's special train, lent for the occasion to the United States Embassy.
Papal Audience The Holy Father received the Cardinal in an audience which lasted forty minutes. Previously, thg American prelate had met the Cardinal Secretary of State. Sunday's Osservatore Romano devoted two long columns to a study of the Cardinal's lifework.
The exceptional cordiality of the reception and the way in which Pontifical, Italian and American organisations worked together to welcome America's best-known prelate, have given rise to the rumour that the visit has an ulterior significance, viz., the resumption of diplomatic negotiations between the Holy See and Washington and the raising of the Apostolic Delegation in Washington to the rank of a Nunciature. President Roosevelt is believed to favour this plan. However this may be, the interest of the visit lies more in the reception given to the Cardinal at Naples by the Italian Government. Cardinal Mundelein is known to be the arch-enemy of Hitler and is " Public Enemy No. 1 " to the Nazis. It is therefore a little curious, to say the least, that so notorious an enemy of the other partner of the Rome-Berlin axis should be feted with such extraordinary pomp and ceremony on arriving at Naples, and that the Duce should place his own special, train at the disposal of the Cardinal.
Power of U.S.A.
It is evident that the Italian Government appreciates, whereas the German Government evidently does not, the immense influence of the Catholic Church in the U.S.A. and especially of Cardinal Mundelein, a great friend of the President. At the same time, this extraordinary welcome to the enemy of the Nazis is an indication of the difficulties of the Rome-Berlin axis since the arrival of the Germans on the Brenner. As your correspondent has suggested before, it is not at all unlikely that Mussolini will use the persecution of the Church in Germany as the excuse when he wishes to weaken the uncomfortable and unpopular manage de convenance with Berlin.
Purely Precautionary There is certainly no desire to set Italy against Germany, but rather to free Italian diplomatic action and to take reasonable precautions against the vastly stronger German power. A popular ideal would be a Four Power Western Pact, the chief impediment to which is here believed to be France.
The bitter attack on Cardinal Mundelein in Dr. Goebbels's Angriff on the occasion of the Roman visit contrasts oddly with the Fascist reception. It is also true that attacks on the Church in the extreme Fascist organs have become rarer, though Signor Farinacci's Regime Fascista is still ready on every occasion to tell the Church not to interfere with politics and racial persecution.