News reaches London this week that Cardinal Hlond has recently handed to Pope Pius XII further documentary evidence on the Nazi persecution of the Church in Poland.
According to the Cardinal Primate's documents, which bring the story of Nazi oppression of religion up to January, 1941, more than 700 Polish priests have been killed, shot o'r tortured to death.
In a broadcast on the Home Service last Friday, Fr. Martin D'Arcy, S.J., 'Master of Campion Hall, Oxford, summarised the Nazi treatment of the Church and Catholics in Poland.
" In suffering Poland," said Fr. D'Arcy, " where the poor people are powerless, we see unveiled the appalling fate of those who believe in Christ. For evidence of this we have the careful report submitted to the Vatican by Cardinal Blond, Primate of Poland, and also that • of Mgr. Sigismund Kaczynski. I quote from them; ' It goes without saying that the Nazi aim is to deChristianise as rapidly as possible these countries which are attached to the Catholic Faith, and the results are as follows: 95 per cent. or the priests have been imprisoned, expelled, or humiliated before the eyes of the faithful. The Curia no longer exists; the Cathedral has been made into a garage, as at Peplin; the bishop's palace into a restaurant: the chapel into a ballroom. Hundreds of churches have been closed. The whole patrimony of the Church has been confiscated, and the most eminent Catholics executed. . . . All the religious emblems in streets and public places have been removed, and Hitlerian agents blaspheme or denigrate the Catholic faith in public.'
VATICAN COMMENT " In the archdiocese of Poznam alone five priests have been shot, 27 put in concentration camps, 190 in other prisons, 5 expelled, 11 have died in prison, 11 are seriously )ll, and 122 parishes arc entirely without priests.
" Heir is the comment on such deeds and their authors by the Vatican Radio: • But the crowning iniquity in an administration that has never ceased to claim it had no Eraims against religion lies in the cynical suppression of all but the merest suggestion of religious worship in the lives of this most pious and devotional of the peoples of Europe. . . . The thousands of churches of Poland. second homes for old and young from morning till sunset ever since the nation was horn and baptised in the Catholic faith, Are deserted and closed for six and a half days of the week, separating an afflicted people from the altar of its hopes and sacrifices. It adds up to a fearful total and a tremendous responsibility: one more grievous affront to the Moral conscience of mankind; one more contemptuous insult to the law of nations; one more open thrust at the heart of the father of the Christian family, who grieves with his dear Poland, and begs for peace with decency and justice from the throne of grace.' "