THE POPE, Yesterday's Fascist Buttress, Becomes Today's Last Hope Of Democracies PLAYING A LONE HAND
" HITLER WANTS MUSSOLINI TO EXPEL THE POPE," writes Mme Tabouis, France's most-quoted journalist, as title to article and poster of the Sunday Referee.
The Catholic Herald correspondent in Rome exposes this " irresponsible nonsense " below, but points out how " Pius XI, who was yesterday called the tool of Mussolini and arch-ally of Fascism is today painted as their bitterest enemy."
There can be few better proofs that the Pope stands above all politics, seeking only to further the Kingdom of God in the world.
From Our Own Correspondent
With a highly sensational article entitled " Hitler wants Mussolini to expel the Pope," Mme. Tabouis stages her return to the columns of the Sunday Referee after her summer holiday. Mme Tabouis, foreign news editor of the Paris Oeuvre and author of Blackmail or War, is perhaps best known for her discovery (by methods all her own) and publication of the secret Hoare-Laval proposals—a premature disclosure which nearly brought about the fall of the British Government and certainly robbed the Emperor Haile Selassie of even a shred of Abyssinian territory.
MME TABOUIS'S STORY Next Conclave Outside Italy Fresh from her holiday Mme Tabouis turns her Pen to the Papacy. For sheer irresponsible nonsense it would be. difficult to beat the article in last Sunday's Referee.
This is Mme Tabouis's story: France, almost to a man, is watching the struggle between the Pope and the dictators (odds on the Pope winning). In Italy the struggle is growing more intense and despite the apparent agreement over Catholic Action, Mussolini's hatred of the Pope increases, he raves against the " old so-and-so " and declares that Hitler has good reason in wishing to persuade him to give the Pope asylum no longer. In France they are convinced that the Pope and the Cardinals will be driven out of Italy and will reside at Avignon, and already the Cardinals have decided to hold the next conclave outside Italy; the French, however, find the possibility of an American Pope rather alarming, but appreciate the point of a Pope with lots of cash and a non-European, Violent disorder has broken out in several Italian cities, priests have been beaten up, and the Osservatore Romano is unobtainable at the newspaper kiosks as it is seized by the police. The Pope, after consultations with the Primate (sic) of Cologne, the Nuncio to Warsaw, Cardinal Pacelli and various foreign Cardinals, has decided to create more non-Italian Cardinals.
RACIALISM QUARREL Duce Not a Fool What are the facts? The recent quarrel over racialism and Catholic Action between the Vatican and the -Italian Government was one of the inevitable and perennial clashes between Church and State which occur when there is need for .demarkation of their respective spheres over some point which does not lie strictly within their obvious spheres.
This particular issue arose over the doubt as to whether Italian racialism was a movement in the philosophical and religious order or biological and political; reassurances having been given to the Holy See that it belonged to the latter order, it was found possible to come to an agreement. It remains to be seen if the Italian Government will keep it within this sphere.
A satisfactory agreement has apparently been found and there is no reason to believe otherwise. His Holiness spoke on Saturday last of " sad hours which seem to have passed." Whatever may be Mussolini's personal views about the Pope, he is far too great a statesman to throw the Roman Question back into the meltingpot, the tenth anniversary of the solution of which will be celebrated before the world next year precisely as a tribute to his genius. To suggest that Mussolini will invade the sovereign Vatican City State and drive the Pope into France is to state that the Duce is the biggest knave and fool in Europe. To suppose that the Pope and the Sacred College would return to Avignon is to state that the Pope knows no history and that their Eminences haven't a brain between them. And is a conclave likely to be safer under the watchful eyes of the Front Populaire and Mme Tabouis than in the Vatican City State? Given the present structure of the Curia nothing is more unlikely than any appreciable increase in the number of nonItalian Cardinals: no doubt such an increase might be of some advantage to the Church and the Papacy, but one must be careful not to let the wish be father to the thought. POPE PLAYS A LONE HAND Unsupported by Temporal Powers The traditional policy of the Papacy remains unchanged. Given the violence of the persecution in Germany and the close alliance between Italy and Germany, the Vatican tends to look with favour towards France, England, and America where the Church enjoys freedom and peace to go about its mission. But such favour does not mean " leaning on the democracies."
The Pope must play a lone hand beeaUse the ends that the Papacy seek are different in every way from those of other sovereign powers.
Because the German Government is hostile to him, the Pope must do all the more to work for religious peace there so as to guarantee liberty for the Church to do her essential work in Germany. The Pope does not want to beat Hitler : all he wants to obtain from Hitler is the observance of his word when he negotiated the Concordat: in other words the Pope asks nothing more of Hitler than liberty for the Church and an end to a religious war which places such a cruel dilemma before individual consciences.
What is of real interest arising out of Mme Tabouis's effusion is that the wheel has come full cycle and Pius XI who was yesterday called the tool of Mussolini and arch-ally of Fascism is today painted as their bitterest enemy.