Bolshevism is the mortal enemy of the Church
By Gabriel Wilensky

The Bolshevik Revolution was a watershed event that brought down the
Romanovs and a long tradition of Tsarist rule in Russia. But the October
1917 revolution that took the communist ideas of Karl Marx and twisted them
into the ideas that eventually dominated the landscape of the Soviet Union
brought with it an even more dangerous idea: atheism. The Catholic Church
had been reeling from more than a century of modernist ideals that began
during the Enlightenment and were widely adopted after the French
Revolution. The various populations of Europe had been gradually embracing
secular ideas with a concomitant loss of Church power and control of the
population. In this environment, a revolutionary movement that brought down
an empire and imposed atheism by force clearly posed an intolerable risk to
the Church.

After the Great War, a cataclysmic event that marked the end of the old
order, brought down several empires and dislocated millions of Europeans,
the Church hierarchy had no doubt of whom the real enemy was. Long before
the Nazis came to power in 1933, Pope Benedict XV sent Achille Ratti (the
future Pope Pius XI) to Poland in 1918 to improve the situation of the
Jewish community there, but instead Ratti did everything possible to impede
any Vatican action on behalf of the Jews. He wrote in a report of his
experience in Poland, ³the Jews form the principal force [of Bolshevism] in
Poland² and, relating his experience in Warsaw, Ratti reported, ³I saw that
the [Bolshevik] Commissioners . . . were all Jews.² The association of Jews
and Communism in the Christian worldview would have lethal consequences just
a few short decades later.

There is a report that Archbishop Pacelli (the future Pius XII) gave Hitler
money while he was nuncio in Munich in 1919 so Hitler could fight the
Communists. Would Pacelli actually finance a movement he considered
Œanti-Catholic¹? The answer is, most likely yes. People make deals with all
sorts of people for all sorts of reasons, if it¹s beneficial to them.
Western democracies make deals with their self-declared enemies,
fundamentalist theocracies, openly anti-democratic, anti-liberal,
anti-freedom, anti-women, anti-gay and anti-everything the West stands for,
because the West has something to gain from that sort of relationship. To
Archbishop Pacelli, who had a personal hatred of communists and Communism,
and who understood very well that a Bolshevik victory in Europe would mean
the demise of the Catholic Church, engaging a Catholic rabble rouser and
self-avowed defender of the world against Communism must have made a lot of
sense, even when this Catholic thug may have appeared to be ³anti-Catholic².
I believe this understanding of the dynamics at play dominated Pacelli¹s
life from that point onwards.

I find it completely plausible that Pacelli would have funded an
anticommunist group, and anticommunist the Nazis certainly were. Defenders
of Pope Pius XII typically argue that Pacelli did not become fanatically
anticommunist until after the war when he feared a Communist takeover of
Italy. But in reality Pacelli had become an anticommunist right after WWI
when the communists that had taken over the government of Bavaria attacked
him at the Munich Nunciature. In 1919 Hitler did not have enough sources of
funding. Like any politician of his time, and of any time, he sought and
received funding from many sources, and that surely included the Apostolic

Also, Pacelli continued to invest in this ³anti-Catholic² devil, as as
Vatican Secretary of State during the 1930s he was instrumental in
persuading Pope Pius XI to make enormous investments in Germany, including
investing the vast sums the Vatican received from Mussolini as a result of
the Lateran Pact.

Cardinal Pacelli said that Nazism was a greater heresy than Communism.
However, both Nazism and Communism were secular regimes, so the notion of
heresy when applied to them is nonsensical. So, that Pacelli thought Nazism
was a great heresy is immaterial to any discussion. In any case, neither his
boss Pope Pius XI nor Pacelli himself once he had become pope felt this
³heretical² regime to be sufficiently bad to dissociate the Catholic Church
and the Catholic faithful from it beyond 1933.

Indeed, in 1937 the Dutch weekly Der Deutsche Weg wrote in amazement about
the warm attitude the German bishops showed toward Nazism. They wrote that
³despite the inhuman brutalities perpetrated in the concentration camps,
despite the currency and defamation trials, despite the personal insults
against individual princes of the Church, against the Holy Father and the
entire Church, and in spite of all hostile measures amounting to another
Kulturkampf, . . . the bishops find words of appreciation for what [next to
Bolshevism] is their worst enemy.² As Hitler told Cardinal Faulhaber before
the war, ³The Catholic Church should not deceive herself: if National
Socialism does not succeed in defeating Bolshevism, then Church and
Christianity in Europe too are finished. Bolshevism is the mortal enemy of
the Church as much as of Fascism.²

The Church knew very well that if the Communists won, that would have been
the guaranteed end of the Catholic Church. In the titanic struggle that
ensued during the Second World War, Pope Pius XII knew that the Nazis were
the only bulwark against Communism, and we must keep this in mind when
pondering about the Pope¹s silence vis-à-vis the heinous Nazi crimes
including the extermination of the Jews. As much as the Pope may have
disliked Nazism and Hitler, in his realpolitik calculation the sacrifice of
six million Jews must have been acceptable if that was what it took to save
the Catholic Church from what to them was a mortal and implacable foe.

Gabriel Wilensky

Six Million Crucifixions:
How Christian Teachings About Jews Paved the Road to the Holocaust
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