By Alan McElwain
LETTER which Cardinal Eugene Tisserant,
The letter, in a file marked "French", was found in the archivei of the Third Reich, preservEd in West Berlin. Gestapo agents in Rome got hold of the letter and sent it in to Berlin with the note: "Here is proof that Cardinal Tisserant is an agent of the allies." In the confidential letter, the Cardinal, then Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Churches, listed atrocities the Nazis committed in Poland.
An Encyclical He then revealed that, since the previous December, he had "been insistently asking Pius XII to issue an encyclical on the individual duty to obey the dictates of the conscience, since this is the vital point of Christianity". The encyclical would have been an indirect attack of Hitler's ideology, which placed the Nazi duty of blindly obeying the Fuehrer's orders above the dictates of individual conscience.
Cardinal Tisserant added in his letter that he feared "that history will reprove the Holy See for having followed a policy that is convenient for itself. This is extremely sad, particularly for one who has lived under Pius Xl". The reference to Pope Pius XII's predecessor, who drove himself to death in his efforts to avert the Second World War, has revived in Vatican circles an old story that Pips XI, finally appalled by Hitler's invasion of Poland in September 1939,prepared a slashing indictment of Nazism in an encyclical, but died, on November 10, 1939, before he could release it.
The story adds that at the conclave to elect Pope Pius XI's successor, Cardinal Tisserant, who knew of the encyclical, asked Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, Vatican Secretary of State, to produce it.
Cardinal Pacelli, who was also "Camerlengo" in charge of the conclave arrangements, did not do so. The conclave elected him Pope Pius XII, and from that time the encyclical was not seen. Cardinal Tisserant, who was 80 on March 24, says that arguments based on Rolf liochhuth's play "The Representative" about whether Pope Pius Xli should have spoken out against Hitler's persecution of the Jews, and his (Tisserant's) appeal to the Pope for an encyclical on the individual conscience, have no relation to one another. lee says that his criticism was not directed at Pope Pius XII but some members of the Roman Curia, who had become "too tranquillised" by the declaration of
as en an open city.
"Any public intervention by Pope Pius would have made the late'of the Jews even worse", Cardinal Tisserant adds.
Rolf Hochhuth, in Paris for the 100th performance of his play there, said he planned to put it on in Rome and had taken an option on a small theatre. Whether he can actually get "The Representative" on a Roman stage remains to be seen.
Opposition to it is growing steadily. TheRome newspaper 11 Tempo front paged an attack on the play and listed a number of legal ways in which a Rome production could he prevented.