"Conflict C using Gulf Among erman People"
Nazis Made No
Attempt To Stop Them
EXPULSION OF MGR. SPROLL
MYSTERY SURROUNDS THE EASE WITH WHICH THE GERMAN BISHOPS WERE ABLE TO DENOUNCE THE NAZI GOVERNMENT ON SUNDAY, IN A PASTORAL WHICH WAS READ FROM THE PULPIT IN EVERY CHURCH IN THE COUNTRY.
The pastoral, which has followed the conference of the German Hierarchy at Fulda, was more outspoken than any previous Fulda pastoral, and it is thought strange that no steps were taken to prevent it being read, for though its actual text had been kept a secret there could have been little doubt as to the general trend of its contents.
The Nazis have confined their activities against the Church in the last week to expelling Mgr. Sproll, Bishop of Rottenburg, from his diocese and with vague and unofficial threats of further reprisals.
" THE CAMPAIGN MUST CEASE " From Our German Correspondent Last Sunday the common pastoral letter of all members of the German hierarchy--with the exception of the Austrian Bishops—was read from the pulpit in every German church. It had been drafted by the Episcopal Conference of Fulda. The document is extremely energetic in its terms and states that the Nazi campaign against the Church has become worse, and that it must cease.
The pastoral letter refers also to the Nazi campaign against the Bishop of Rottenburg, reported below, and says " A German Bishop had been requested to leave his diocese, and, when he came back, demonstrations and acts of cruelty of the most scandalous kind were put into action against him. The German Bishops may therefore be alarmed by the possibility that they will one day be systematically delivered up to excited mobs."
The German Bishops also defend the Holy Father against the campaign of insults and defamation in the Hitlerite press. They write : - " The honour of the Holy Father has been attacked in the most insulting manner. We, the G e r man Bishops, wish to assemble the more loyal and the more loving around him who has to suffer for our sake. A purer and more truth-loving future will recognise that all statements and all measures of the Pope have only been dictated by the intention of preserving the German Catholics' faith."
The Bishops declare that they will not tolerate without resistance outside interference in affairs of the faith. They know that the Church has survived twenty centuries and that " the gates of hell shall not prevail against her in our days no more than ever before or hereafter."
" We demand," write the German Bishops, that the war on Christianity shall cease."
This is the most plainly-worded declaration of opposition to the antiChristian actions of the German Government which has yet appeared.
From now on the fight between the Church and Nazis in Germany will be more bitter and more open.
It is believed in some quarters that further legal measures against the Church will now be enacted.
THE BISHOPS PASTORAL
The following is the substance of the pastoral: Today the struggle has not become milder or more tolerable, but fiercer and more bitter than ever. The object of their enemies has also become clearer—it is nothing less than the suppression and slow bleeding to death of the Catholic Church, the destruction of the Church's influence among the people, the uprooting of Christianity itself and its supersession by a faith which has nothing to do with belief in God.
Attack on the Pope
Thousands of Catholic citizens are today asking themselves how their duties to Church and State can be reconciled. The Bishop of Rottenburg has been forced to leave his diocese, and, on his return, has been set upon with unexampled acts of violence. German Bishops are bound to fear that at no very distant time they may all be subjected to similar treatment, systematically planned and carried out. The enemies of the Church have not even feared to attack the Holy Father. We German Bishops stand behind him all the more firmly and loyally because he suffers on our behalf.
Today in Germany every effort is being made to undermine faith especially in young people, who are often prevented by party organisations from going to church. All the great and good aspects of the Catholic faith arc systematically suppressed in the schools, or taught to the children from a racial standpoint. While enemies of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany are allowed to express their opinions without hindrance, all Catholic books and periodicals are subjected to the strictest censorship and often banned or confiscated.
"Soviet Alliance " The Church has been accused of standing in alliance with Soviet Russia, and any friendly words which the Pope may direct at another nation are interpreted in Germany as being directed against the German State. In fact, however, the Catholic Church is the implacable enemy of Bolshevism.
The fight against the Catholic Faith is also expressed in other ways—for example, in the Nazi marriage laws. The German Bishops feel bound to declare in all solemnity that they cannot compromise with these laws. The German Bishops have conformed to the German State in its new form, but they must now make
a clear declaration. " Never, from benevolence or from mere patience, will the German Catholic Bishops tolerate any inroad upon their Faith, any limitation of the rights of the Church, or any attacks on their personal courage or character.
The Church Will Stand Firm
" The Catholic Bishops know what the Catholic Church is : it is the expression of Christ, the Holiest among men and the Eternal Son of God. They know that the Catholic Church has survived battle, within and without, for 2,000 years, and that it will stand lirm in the future, the Church of which Christ said : The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.' "
The fight is not against the Catholic Church alone, but against Christianity as a whole. Many great Germans—soldiers, scholars, scientists and technicians—have professed their allegiance to the Church, and countless people still profess it. There is but one foundation, Christ. Just as there are rocks which have never been conquered by the foot of man, so is there one rock which will never be conquered—the Rock of Peter upon which the Church of Christ is built. In all openness, the German Bishops demand that the tight against Christianity be brought to an end, since this conflict is causing a great gulf to open among the German people.