Zenit announced that the Pave the Way Foundation unearthed new documents form the Nazi-era that show that the Catholic Church opposed the policies of the Nazis and even excommunicated the faithful who followed them. The article also states these documents were open to researchers, who for some reason never until now read them. This is odd indeed. These documents were open and no one ever found them until now, even when so many scholars scoured the archives, and even when the Vatican itself attempted to clear Pius’ name by publishing 11 volumes of documents? The Vatican didn’t think these were important or relevant?
The explanation is that this is another attempt to mislead. Pure and simple, this is disinformation. It is intended to make the lay public believe that the German Church opposed the Nazis. This is a half truth, because even though it is true that the church had a ban on membership to the Nazi Party, and that those who persisted in becoming members of the party even after warning them were to be denied admission to the sacraments, the ban was in effect only until shortly after Hitler became chancellor in 1933 and after Cardinal Pacelli, then to become Pope Pius XII, made overtures to Hitler which led to the signing of the Reichskonkordat shortly afterwards. This article and Pave The Way Foundation are not making this all-important point on timing clear, and I think it’s appropriate they are asked why. So, Mr. Hasemann is technically correct when he states, “The documents clearly show an ideological war between the Catholic Church and National Socialism already in the pre-war decade. The German bishops and the Roman Curia considered the Nazi doctrine not only as incompatible with the Christian faith, but also as hostile to the Church and dangerous to human morals, even more than Communism.” Again, this was true before 1933 when Hitler took power. After that, the German Catholic Bishops said,
Without therefore departing from the condemnation of certain religious and moral errors voiced in our earlier measures, the episcopate believes it has ground for confidence that the general prohibitions and admonitions mentioned above need no longer be regarded as necessary.
Once the German bishops had lifted the ban, that opened the floodgates to membership in the party and millions of Catholic Germans joined. From that point onwards the growth of the party and the pursuit of its evil policies went on unimpeded. The Church never saw fit to clearly denounce these policies, not even once the nature and extent of the genocide those policies led to became clearly understood. And as opposed to the swift and generalized excommunication of all Communists in the world in one stroke, which the Church had no qualms to do after the war, the Church never threatened to excommunicate nor excommunicated any Catholics who were part of the genocidal rampage against the Jews. Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, Bormann, and many others in the Nazi hierarchy died as Catholics.