Vatican hits Axis reports (2-15-41)

Reading Eagle (February 15, 1941)

Denounces stories Pope urges adjustment to ‘new order’
Vatican City, Feb. 15 (UP) –
The official Vatican organ, L’Osservatore Romano, denounced as “false” and “murderous” reports which seek to represent Pope Pius as anti-democratic or favorable to the establishment of a “new order” in Europe.

The Vatican organ did not disclose the source of the false reports against which its attack was directed (L’Osservatore Romano’s comment appeared to be carefully worded. The rumor which drew its fire was a report which tended to indicate Papal sympathy for the Axis cause).

The Pope, once in speaking to a general audience, said:

The untruthful press is no less murderous than armored cars and bombing planes.

The days following this amply have justified the Pope’s denunciation.

Denounces rumors

The rumors which L’Osservatore Romano denounced were these:

  1. Reports that Pope Pius had said Europe must adjust itself to a new order.
  2. Reports that the Holy See had long been opposed to the democratic form of government.
  3. Reports that the situation of Catholics in Germany had been improved.
  4. Reports that Papal representatives had encouraged “troops of one nation which went over to the flag of another belligerent nation.”
  5. Reports that the Pope favored France making an immediate peace treaty with Germany “to avoid complete ruin.”

L’Osservatore Romano said:

We could continue to cite other attempts to harm the truth which are joined to sympathetic campaigns.

Among weak spirits, perhaps, these attempts will attain more or less their desired aim – but not among the faithful who are courageous and who do not believe rumors which contain no truth.

Someone dared to spread a report that the Pontiff had declared it obligatory to adopt oneself to the new European order and that it was known that the Holy See from remote times was against the democratic form of government.

There has also been published a report according to which the Catholic life in Germany is supposed to occur under more and more satisfying conditions. It has been said that a pontifical representative brought the pontiff’s encouragement to officers and troops of one nation which went over to the flag of another belligerent nation; agencies and the press displayed reports that the Pope had expressed the opinion that it would be better for France to make a peace treaty without awaiting for the conclusion of hostilities and thus avoid complete ruin.

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