Such language as that used by Dr. Goebbels, particularly when indulged-in during a protest against alleged outrageous language on the part of another, was not likely to ease the situation, and the Vatican's reply. according to the Germans, did no more than suggest that the Cardinal's speech had been only a case of " tit for tat."
As a result the German Ambassador was withdrawn until further notice and, last Saturday, another Note was delivered in which it was stated that
" The German Government took it for granted that the Holy See would at once repudiate the utterances of the Cardinal which had become known to the entire world, correct them and express its regret, as has • always been customary in international intercourse.
" The German Government," the Note continued, " are consequently forced to the conclusion that the Holy See leaves uncorrected these public attacks by one of its highest dignitaries upon the person of the German Head of the State, and thereby. in the eyes of the world, actually upholds them.
" The Holy See will realise that its unexpected and incomprehensible behaviour in this matter, as long as it is not remedied, has removed the prerequisite of a normal cultivation of relations between the German Government and the Vatican. For this development the Vatican alone bears full responsibility."
This crisis which threatens a complete rupture between the Holy See and Germany and the possible beginnings of a persecution of the Church of an unprecedented violence has really been caused by the great challenge contained in the Papal Encyclical, Mit Brennender Sorge, and the present events are only the occasion.
It is not surprising then that the diplomatic history should be unrolling itself against a background of increased Catholic fervour and preparation.