Page 1, 26th August 1938

26th August 1938
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People: Starace, Vignoli
Locations: Berlin, ROME


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From Our Own Correspondent


From the very beginning of the recent disputes between the Vatican and the Italian Government over Catholic Action and Racialism, your Roman Correspondent consistently maintained that Sr. Mussolini would never allow the quarrel to develop into anything comparable with that of 1931. The new tnodus vivendi between the two sovereign states brought about by successful negotiations between Sr. Starace, Secretary of the Fascist Party, and Sr. Vignoli, President of the Central Office of Italian Catholic Action, therefore conies as no surprise.

No Victory, No Defeat

Mussolini is determined that the tenth anniversary of the Lateran Pacts shall be celebrated in an atmosphere of the greatest cordiality of relations with the Vatican.

The Holy See itself. deeply conscious of the benefits of ten years of religious peace in Italy, is anxious to maintain a real working understanding with the Italian Government.

There is no need to see in the new agreement a victory or defeat for either side, rather a statesmanlike realisation of the benefits of religious peace both for Church and State, as both the Catholic Avvenire d'Italia and Sr. Gayda in last Sunday's Voce d'Italia made clear.

Pope's Vigilance

But the Pope remains vigilant.

When receiving the newly ordained priests of Propaganda on their departure for the Missions, His Holiness had promised to visit the students of Propaganda at their summer villa, and his visit there on August 21, the day after the new agreement was made, came as no surprise: but there is significance in his choice of day and his words on the curse of exaggerated nationalism show that this new agreement does not mean that the Holy Father will be any less vigilant over excessive nationalist tendencies in Italy or elsewhere.

The point ot view of the Italian Authorities both on anti-Semitism and Catholic Action should be noted if a fair estimate of the questions at issue is to be arrived at.

The Rome Correspondent ofthe Journal de Geneve states (Wednesday, August 17) that the rise of anti-Semitism in Italy has been caused, not so much by an imitation of Germany as by the fact that during the Abyssinian War the Jewish element abroad allied itself with the enemies of Italy.

After the fall of Addis Abbaba and the end of sanctions, when the policy of Eden and the Popular Front in France drove Italy further into the arms of Germany, international Jewry became, with the final cementing of the Rome-Berlin 1L iS, all the more hostile to Italy.

Further, the writer maintains, the exclusion of foreign Jews from all. Italian schools and universities has been caused by the fact that these students, having once obtained their degrees, return to their countries where they join the anti-Fascist movements.

Political Catholics

On the question of Catholic Action in Italy, the Fascist Party have always, rightly or wrongly, suspected that certain ex-menabets of the old Catholic Popular Party had entered Catholic Action in order to carry on their political aim under the protection of the only non-Fascist organisation permitted in Italy.

There is no possible doubt that this has come. to the front Once more and was the real point at issue between the two Powers, and the reason why Sr. Starace contemplated making incompatible membership of both the Fascist Party and Catholic Action.

Such a step will not now be taken, as Sr. Gayda indicates (in the Voce d'Italia) when he says: " The clear line of demarcation having been fixed by common consent, even the most fervent Catholic can remain a most intransigcant Fascist."

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