These papal sainthoods are an offfence to the victims of abuse.

With all the magnificent perversity for which it’s renowned, the Roman Catholic Church has confirmed moves to make saints of two Popes, Pius X11 and the John Paul 11, both fabled for putting first their absolute defence of the Church as an institution. This is the very posture that incubated the world wide paedophile cover-up scandals, contributed to the world Aids crisis and led to the catastrophic failure (shared by Lutherans and others ), to challenge the rise of Hitler and resist the growing persecution of Jews that led to the Holocaust. By adopting a different position on its role in the great issues of the recent past, the Church is putting itself at odds with prevailing verdicts of history. Which side will win out in the longer term remains to be seen. But the Church also makes claims on the world as it is today and it is hard to see these how strange medieval gestures advance its genuine moral purposes. To grapple with the thinking behind the moves, we have to try to understand that for the Vatican, the Church is no mere institution that serves humanity. It is the Bride of Christ linked to His Body. Beatification leading to sanctification therefore proclaims a holy ideal, however far mere mortals fall short. 2010 will be a big year for Catholic saints. The Pope will mark Cardinal Newman’s elevation by a subdued visit to Great Britain in September. But he won’t be nipping over to Ireland to apologise for the paedophile scandal. The message seems clear enough. The eternal Church believes it operates on a plane above human frailty. But to the rest of us, a stark example of human frailty lies in these perverse preoccupations of Benedict XVI and his cohorts, supported by mumbo-jumbo about miracles. This debases the very causes the Church seeks to proclaim. Meanwhile the flocks give a shrug and the gap between them and the elderly male arbiters of their faith grows ever wider. People make make up their own minds about who is saintly and who is not.

  • Fabianus

    Good news.

    Yet another self-driven nail into the coffin of the Unholy Roman Empire. May it shrivel up and die soon.

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    “These papal sainthoods are an offence to the victims of abuse.”

    Yep, this is absolutely disgraceful. The present pope is dispicable who seems to be stuck in the middle ages.

    And I believe there were 3 new novice priests as guests on the Late Late Show on Friday night…to provide the ‘entertainment’. (Althought I did not see it). Such blatant propaganda for the church. This at a time when the horrors of child rape is to the fore again in the news. The whole lot of ’em should be run outta the country, the bunch of exploitative bastards. Hung high with the bankers and politicians from every lamp post throughout the land and every church set alight….Bring back Cromwell!

    BTW, I remember Tubridy had the eminent professor Richard Dawkins on a few months back and he virtually insulted the man by harking on about ‘god’ FFS….asked the audience who believes in god and up shot nearly everyones hand……both young and old. I thought we were well past that. Gombeen Ireland is alive and well….the antics in Listowel last week proves it too.

  • McGrath

    I guess I figured this all out many years ago when at the first opportunity where I wasn’t forced by my parents to go to church, I didn’t go. Saints, Popes, Services – all a load of bollix, comfort food for the spineless.

  • Fabianus


    “comfort food for the spineless.”

    Bit harsh. I believe such superstition stems from our fear of death. We simply can’t come to terms with the inevitability of our own annihilation. No species can but the difference between us and other animals is that we can imagine our end, and it’s an appalling prospect.

    I’m all for people taking comfort from the false promises religion offers. But I’m repelled by institutions that cash in on gullibility. The Roman Catholic Church with its filthy-rich empire leads the way on this I think.

  • Gréagoir O Frainclín

    “I believe such superstition stems from our fear of death.”

    You hit the nail on the head here!

  • At least the Process should re-open the issue of Pius XII Pacelli and his “accommodations” with the Axis dictatorships through his term as Camerlango and after his elevation to the Papacy.

    John Cornwell’s 1999 Hitler’s Pope has been around long enough for all of us to be aware of the accusations. Cornwell was, in some part, later supported by Phayer. Then there was the concerted sledging of Cornwell and his reputation, specifically by Dalin and Rychlak with howls from the terraces by The Economist, Newsweek and other media outlets.

    We might in the course of the Process be able to see more clearly why (for example) Dalin was so emphatic to substitute the Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, as the villain of the piece. Conspiracy theorists, please pile in now.

    With any luck, we might also be assisted in comprehending the curious moral blindness of the Vatican to the Croat Ustaša.

    Where all this might come closer to home is the activities of the theocrats in the Catholic Church, such as Fahy and his Maria Duce group (minuscule in numbers, but seemingly very well financed).

  • Coll Ciotach

    Excellent news – the great Pope Piux XII, publiser of Mit Brennender Sorge – the first document criticising Nazism by any world leader – for which the Church was prosecuted by the Nazis. A man who showed the world the path to take with Hitler but was left isolated by the great and good.

    An example to us all.

  • Fabianus


    I love sarcasm. I go in for it myself now and then.

  • Coll Ciotach


    When you have no argument no doubt

  • Coll Ciotach @ 06:42 PM: a remarkably right-on conservative assertion from a self-described left-hander.

    There’s another confusion there: Mit Brennender Sorge was promulged, over the name of Pius XI Ratti, in time for for Passion Sunday (14 March) 1937. Its authorship is generally ascribed to Cardinal-Archbishop von Faulhaber of Munich. Yes, there is a preface, over the name of Cardinal Secretary of State Pacelli: it is merely a summarised history of the Reichskonkordat and the Nazi breaches of that. At no point can I see an explicit condemnation of Hitler personally or the wider implications of Nazi policy. There is no denunciation of anti-semitism nor, unless one decodes the natural-law statements, of the sterilisations and suppressions. The Encyclical rejects Blut und Boden and Rosenberg’s search in the Old Testament symbolism for a new paganism and a cult of idols (implicitly including that of the Führerprinzip); and condemns the threats to Catholic domination of schools and to Catholic office-holders.

    The assertion that Mit Brennender Sorge is the first denunciation of Nazism by “any world leader” depends on a subjective conceit of what and when constitutes a “world leader”, and ignores many previous statements, not least those emerging from the Kremlin. It excludes, for example, Churchill, after dining with Prince Bismarck, 19 October 1930.

    Meanwhile it is salutary to compare the strong, but moderated tone of Mit Brennender Sorge with the parallel excoriation of Communism in Divini Redemptoris of a week later.

  • Fabianus


    “When you have no argument no doubt”

    Oh, there is always doubt. It’s part of what makes us human.

    See for instance how stout-fellow Malcolm casts it in abundance.

  • Coll Ciotach


    I cannot see how you cannot but see Mit Brennender Sorge as anything but a condemnation of Nazism – it is a condemnation from start to finish, including the inherent racism. As far as Churchill – in 1931 he was far from being a world leader. am not aware of Stalin condemning Hitler for anything more than the usual communist-nazi rivalry. However if he did power to him for that. And conversley if Hitler condemns Stalin power to him for that. Perhaps you can tell me which leader of the world apart from rival despots condemned Hitler and Naziism before the Pope?

    As for Faulhauber – he drafted it and Pius XI thoughht it was not strong enough – but Pacelli – latterly the Pius XII- mediated between the two. So he amended it. That is why it carries his name as he had to stand over it. It is not generally ascribed to Faulhauber at all.

    As for Divini Redemptoris it was, I believe and I stand to be corredcted, the work of Pius XI so you are not comparing the works of the same author. Are you keeping scores of attacks on Communism and Nazism? – I thought the Church would be credited with being even handed enough to attack both.

  • Coll Ciotach @ 07:25 PM:

    An interesting alternative history, but one I think you may have difficulty in standing up.

    Why not start with Saul Friedländer? He saw the April 1933 boycott of Jews and Jewish businesses as:

    … the first major test on a national scale of the attitude of the Christian Churches toward the situation of the Jews under the new government.

    Cardinal Faulhaber then wrote to Chancellor Pacelli advising that protest was futile: “Jews can help themselves” though it was “especially unjust and painful that by this action the Jews, even those who have been baptized for ten and twenty years and are good Catholics are still legally considered Jews” and so lose their professional positions.

    At least Faulhaber was consistent: “I defended the Old Testament. I did not take a position in regard to the Jewish question of today.”

    Or what about Edith Stern, the Catholic convert? Her Jewish origins excluded her from her post as a philosophy teacher, and she joined the Cologne Carmelites as Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Then she wrote to Pius XI, asking he:

    deplore the hatred, persecution, and displays of anti-Semitism directed against Jews, at any time and from any source.

    Time passed … Four years passed …

    Where in Mit brennender Sorge is there any condemnation of Nazism or Hitler by name? The Catholic apologists’ vindication of its force relies largely on the Nazi over-reaction.

    In the same week as Mit brennender Sorge, Cardinal George Mundelein of Chicago, and so a long way from the nice diplomatic finanglings of Rome, was explicit:

    Perhaps you will ask how it is that a nation of sixty million intelligent people will submit in fear and servitude to an alien, an Austrian paper-hanger, and a poor one at that, and a few associates like Goebbels and Göring, who dictate every move of the people’s lives?

    That found an echo with Pius XI, who applauded the city and Cardinal Mundelein:

    who is so solicitous and zealous in defence of the rights of God and of the Church and in the salvation of souls.

    What about the “lost encyclical” Humani generis unitas, commissioned by Pius XI in early 1938, but never published? The general assumption is that, with Pius XI failing daily, Pacelli suppressed it. As Peter Godman (a Catholic apologist) shows, two previous documents, specifically condemning Nazism were produced in 1935 and 1936: both were also suppressed, for political and diplomatic reasons.

    The Nazis found Pacelli a soft touch, especially in comparison to Pius XI. We see this in a report Ambassador von Bergen made on 23 July 1937:

    In striking contradiction to the behaviour of the Pope, however, are the statements of the Cardinal Secretary of State … Pacelli received me with decided friendliness and emphatically assured me during the conversation that normal and friendly relations with us would be restored as soon as possible; this applied particularly to him …

    Coll Ciotach‘s posture in this thread is to propose Pius XII Pacelli as a saintly and honourable man. My counter-proposal would be that the only issue is:

    whether he allowed his autocracy (blatant in his behaviour) and anti-semitism (evident in his own statements) to blind him to the dictators, and to Nazism in particular;


    “Pope Pius XI and his secretary of state, Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII … [were] bound … by legalisms, propriety and an almost obsessive desire to maintain the facade of reciprocity embodied in the Vatican’s Concordat with Nazi Germany. Both fully recognized that Nazism was incompatible with Christian doctrine, and therein lies the real tragedy … two tormented but indecisive men.”

    Neither seems a deserving route to sainthood.

  • Fabianus


    My goodness, you have certainly done your homework! Hats off.

    I believe it’s significant that Hitler often spoke disparagingly of the Christian Churches, that of Rome in particular. He regarded the RCC as being particularly corrupt.

    He told his henchpersons:

    I promise you, that if I wish to, I could destroy the Church in just a few years. It is hollow, it is rotten and false through and through. One push, and the whole structure would collapse.

    We should trap the preachers by their notorious greed and self-indulgence. We shall thus be able to settle everything with them in perfect peace and harmony. I shall give them a few years’ reprieve. Why should we quarrel? They will swallow anything in order to keep their material advantage. The parsons will be made to dig their own graves; they will betray their God for us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and incomes.

    I have to confess that I consider it truly remarkable that, seventy years on, we still have gullible people taking these churchmen seriously. Has nothing been learned? The Vatican is as corrupt as it ever was—perhaps more so.

    And morally bankrupt. The present pope’s abysmal turning of a blind eye to the Irish priests who raped children speaks volumes. I honestly can’t fathom how decent people in the RoI can still attend mass each Sunday and countenance lies and hypocrisy preached from pulpits.

  • Brian MacAodh

    One push and the rotten structure would collapse? That is what he said about the Soviet Union.

  • Fabianus


    And how right he was. Shame the oppressed had to wait until 1989 to bring down the Berlin Wall.

    Given that the Vatican is protected by little more than the Swiss Guard—hardly Vopos—it ought to be piece of cake to bring it down. And good riddance.

    Catholics, wake up.

  • Paddy

    For tjhose wondering where anti Catholic venom comes from, it is alive and well. Hitler’s Pope has been shown to be a mere propaganda piece. The Poles were Catholics and Germany’s Catholic groups were the last to fall to Hitler, who did not suffer fools gladly.

    Amazed to see Fabianus inciting terrorist acts on the Vatican. Still, old habits die hard, I guess.

  • Fabianus


    “Amazed to see Fabianus inciting terrorist acts on the Vatican. Still, old habits die hard, I guess.”

    LOL! A terrorist, moi? I can only attribute such an unwise comment to the fact that you don’t know me. If you did, you’d know how laughable that is.

    I believe you missed this comment I posted to the Donal Murray thread:

    I hold no brief for religion but in my view the people should wrest control of their Churches from the clergy. The latter have shown, and continue to show, that they can’t be trusted with it.

    It’s the age-old story: give a man power and he’ll eventually abuse it. Perhaps there should be a demolition of the whole edifice of the Vatican and a return to a simpler way.

    Hmm, didn’t Luther, Zwingli et al try something similar? 😉

    Poor Martin Luther, the gentlest of men, if we’re to believe his mum. No terrorist he.

    I doubt he’d have taken the stand he took if Rome and her bishops hadn’t gone too far with their excesses. But they did, and Luther had a bellyful of it. This was not the Church his Saviour had envisaged.

    Similarly, I can’t see another Luther staging a protest in our day. The RC Church would need to really go overboard, like aiding and abetting child rapists for example.

    Oh, wait…

  • Fabianus


    While I’m at my keyboard, pouring out all that venom, I’ll add this:

    If I attack the pope and his bishops I’m not attacking Catholics but their leaders.

    An analogy would be an attack on Israel because of her misdeeds. That would be anti-Israel not anti-semitism.

  • Paddy @ 04:15 PM declaring “Hitler’s Pope has been shown to be a mere propaganda piece” is an assertion, not an argument. For those able to think it through, I gave the briefest outline of the debate in post #6 above. What we do know (and this is my assertion) is that there has been a continuing, focused and concerted attempt to undermine Cornwell.

    If Paddy @ 04:15 PM takes his unsupported view from Dalin, he should equally be aware that Dalin has been critiqued, pretty savagely, by Rittner & Roth. What Dalin cannot deny are the original source materials on which interpretations can be made. What Dalin does is a whole mess of subjective and ad hominem attacks on anyone with whom he differs, including a fair bit of red-baiting.

    For those who prefer their views pre-prepared, pre-digested and pre-ordained, there is a reading list of apologists for Pius XII on-line.

    A thought: in the early 1930s there were over 23 million German Catholics, a third of the population: the Anschluss would later increase those numbers and that proportion. The Catholic Church had its own political party, the Centre Party [DZ], which had been unafraid to take on Bismarck in the Kulturkampf. However, in 1933, the DZ’s craven votes for the Nazi Enabling Act were decisive (Pacelli “guiding” Ludwig Kaas to that decision, against the wishes of most Catholic bishops). In effect the DZ voted for its own extinction, for the neutering of its considerable popular base. Persuade me that was as honourable as the stolid opposition (at considerable personal peril) of the SPD. So, with Pacelli’s Concordat, the DZ was folded, and many – if not most – of its members joined the Nazi party.

    Where in that little episode was saintly example and leadership?

  • Fabianus


    Your writing puts me in mind of that of the incomparable essayist Hubert Butler.

    I wonder whether you ever met him. I’d love to have done. He had your wonderful sense of (and making sense of) recent European history.