Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

A conception of the state which makes the young generations belong entirely to it without any exception from the tenderest years up to adult life cannot be reconciled by a Catholic with the Catholic doctrine nor can it be reconciled with the natural right of the family. It is not possible . . . to reconcile with Catholic doctrine the pretense that the Church and the Pope must limit themselves to the external practices of religion, such as Mass and the Sacraments, and then to say that the rest of education belongs to the state.

* * *

. . . what is to be thought about the formula of an oath which even little boys and girls are obliged to take about executing orders without discussion, from an authority which . . . can give orders against all truth and justice and in disregard of the rights of the Church and its souls . . . and to have them swear to serve with all their strength, even to the shedding of blood, the cause of a revolution that snatches the youth from the Church and from Jesus Christ and which educates its own young forces to hatred, to deeds of violence, and to irreverence, not excluding the person of the Pope himself. . . . When you place the question in such terms the answer from the Catholic point of view and also from a human point of view is, inevitably, only one . . .: such an oath as it stands is illicit.

Source: Encyclical Letter of His Holiness, Pope Pius XI Issued June 29, 1931 ( Washington, D.C., 1931), pp. 7-8, 12-13, 14-15, 19-26. Italian text in Acta Apostolicae Sedis ( Rome, 1931), XXIII, 285-312.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

References for Document 143.

Protestantism and Nazi Germany


145
German Christian Platform May 26, 1932

The nationalist extremism of postwar Germany found expression in the neopagan racist German Faith Movement and, in a party that had much more significance for German Protestantism, the German Christians. Led by Pastor Joachim Hossenfelder (b. 1899), the German Christians demanded an Aryan church corresponding to the "German spirit," politically Nazi, and embracing all German Protestants. Practically this program meant uniting all Landeskirchen into a single Reichskirche with Nazi leadership and ideology and authoritarian government. The principles of the movement were formally set forth in a Berlin convention that met June 6, 1932. (However, interpretation of German Christian

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