Page 8, 8th April 1938

8th April 1938
Page 8
Page 8, 8th April 1938 — Austria And The Vatican

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Austria And The Vatican

THE way the Vatican becomes news whenever its pronouncements can be used to support anti-Fascism is quite remarkable. Let it speak in far stronger language about Russia, Mexico or Spain, and scarcely a word will be reported in the press. The contrast proves the weight of the Papal influence in the modern world and the insincerity of those who are affected by it.

This week a very natural and understandable contrast or even difference of view between the Austrian Hierarchy and the trend of thoughts at the Vatican has manifested itself, and immediately it is raised to the dignity of a crisis. We know why.

There are, we fear, many even among Catholics who would be sorry to read of an accord between Germany and the Vatican since it would deprive them of a powerful weapon in the campaign against authoritarianism. Luckily we may trust the Pope and the Bishops in Germany and Austria to act solely in the best interests of Catholics in those countries and the whole Church without the slightest regard to the feelings of party and class politicians in either camp. The present difference of view has arisen solely through spiritual causes, the Austrian Bishops thinking of the better good of their flock in circumstances of unparalleled difficulty, the Vatican remembering that the interests of Catholics in Germany and other countries and the good and purity of the Church in general have equally to be taken into account. it Cardinal Innitzer, with his eyes on the trees inside the wood, is justified it may mean the beginning of a better era as between Church and State in the Reich; if the Vatican, seeing the wood as a whole, is the better judge of the position it means that we must be resigned to more persecution if the Church in Germany is not to resign itself to the position of a mere devotional sect. In this latter event it is certain that the Church in Austria will defend Catholic integrity and claims as fiercely as have the Catholics of Germany, but we may hope and pray that the first alternative will prove the correct one and that from this " crisis " may come an era of comparative peace for the Catholics of Greater Germany.


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