1923 Letter Shows the Future Pius XII Opposed Hitler

Magazine Cites Document from Vatican Archives

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ROME, MARCH 5, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A letter written in 1923 by the future Pope Pius XII shows his early opposition to Nazi anti-Semitism.



The magazine Inside the Vatican obtained a copy of the letter written by Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pius XII. It was discovered in the last few days in the Vatican archives by a historian. The archives for the period 1922-1939 were opened in mid-February.

The letter dated Nov. 14, 1923, was written by then Archbishop Pacelli, the Holy See's ambassador in Bavaria, in southern Germany, to Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, Vatican secretary of state under Pope Pius XI.

The letter refers to Adolf Hitler's failed attempt to take over the local government in Munich in the National Socialist Party's putsch of Nov. 9, 1923 -- just five days before the day this letter was written.

In his letter, Archbishop Pacelli -- contrary to the allegations of a number of recent authors such as John Cornwell (author of "Hitler's Pope") on the relations between Pius XII and the Nazis -- denounces the National Socialist movement as an anti-Catholic threat and at the same time notes that the cardinal of Munich had already condemned acts of persecution against Bavaria's Jews.

For the complete text of the letter, translated into English, see http://www.insidethevatican.com.