Monday, February 22, 2016
The Trials and Ordeals of a Cornered Pope ((Pius XII) (An Essay/Theme))
Pope Pius XII is an interesting subject, especially during his papacy, during WWII. His actions can be viewed as having potentially multiple meanings. We even have to step into the phenomenal, or unbelievable consciousness of the pope, and the human condition of the times. His life during this brief time can be viewed metaphorical, as he resists the Nazi occupation in his own way, not the way we might have done it but his way. At one point he sees, ultimately sees, he has no control, and death, perhaps irrational for the observer outside the walls of the Vatican, irrational, but for the living under the Nazi regime, inevitable. Italy and Germany were in a like manner, stepbrothers, figuratively speaking (and the Vatican was at the edge of their horizon): For Pope Pius XII, the philosophical of the absurd was taking place. He sees a regime who can and will, and is killing at will, indifferently killing the whole of humanity that gets in its way, although there are exceptions, but few. The Jew per near a complete genocide, the Catholics took their share of hardships also, respectively, murder was the name of the game, or sentenced to prison, work camps, condemned in the long run, with very little emotion. ((Orders, they were all given orders the Nazi Regime to kill or murder, and that held precedence, and at the Nuremburg trials, many accused of these murders, would scream “They were orders,” but are we not accountable for orders, to do them or deny them accordingly? Another issue for another essay.)(On the other hand, a tad off the subject, Hitler and his gofers, all carried the same tendency, that religion has an inclination to cause or exacerbate human conflicts. And perhaps it has, if one is to look at the backbone of the Crusades, and the rise of the Islamic State, that there is a cost that religion imposes, which was a fabric of Communism; Hitler saw that religion stifles progression, but it produced a moral way of life, and thus for the moment acceptance of the implausible, what he felt was unlikely to survive his regime could be tolerated for the time being, and taken advantage of; in other words, Catholicism, or Lutheranism, or the Baptist (as I am), they all could be used to tranquil the masses, in causing an uproar, by allowing a high clergy, like the Pope to reside at his residence unharmed, making Hitler look better in the minds of the world.))
But what I was leading up to is: What kind of man is this Hitler, who looks at a Christian or a Jew, in particularly at the Jew as a plague! A plague of millions of rats, initially unnoticed by the populace outside of Europe. At that very moment, hysteria is mounting in the Vatican the halls are full of spies, in particular the OSS (whom later on would become the CIA). Yes, even Hitler’s henchmen, in particular Himmler, had a desire to barbecue Pope Pius XII; that is, feed him to the lions like Nero did at the coliseum, make a spectacle of him: he was in essence up for execution.
At this juncture, the Pope unsure of Hitler’s or Himmler’s next human reaction, the Pope becomes the catalyst, one of the facilitators of covert action against Hitler, a coconspirator, or accessory to three botched attempts on Hitler’s life, three assassinations that failed (as several wartime documents would surface in the 21st Century; documents and interviews with the American intelligence agent who wrote them, during this wartime period.)
So thus, the Pope was in an underground movement, what he couldn’t do in the open he would try in the dark vaults of the Vatican, to see Nazism and Hitler dead as a doornail, realizing Hitler’s philosophy of Nihilism, inferring, life is: nothingness or oppression, as a viewpoint, this being the very philosophy of anti-theology, and he wanted to impose it on all Germans, and then onto the rest of Europe. The Pope sees Hitler as a form of ‘Tuberculosis’. He is the bubonic plague. Yet at that very moment, the world sees him as doing nothing, and living comfortably in his Vatican bed of a hundred pillows, and eating T-bone steak!
In a way, Italy and Germany are sealed off from Europe, the Pope prohibited, like China has prohibited the once young Dalai Lama to leave his prison cell, thus, the Pope is restricted to the Vatican. Under Hitler’s watchdogs. I’m sure the Pope felt separated-effects, like isolation, introverted. So he devised along with his helpers, different plans, to do away with Hitler. One must remember, he could have been smuggled away, like they did with the old Dalai Lama, in 1959, when China massacred the inhabitants of Tibet, per near like a second genocide in less that 25-years, and took possession of Tibet, forevermore, claiming Tibet was part of China in the 15th Century. But Pope Pius, stayed; forwent his pontifical lectures on good and evil, forwent the broadcasts he could have done, giving his condolences to those affected by Hitler; instead he stayed and lost the opportunity to advance his status as a good pope fighting the good cause, and acted exhaustively to help the Jews, the few he could hide, and develop this plan of ‘doing away with Hitler’ in the dark, and as we all know, the situation worsened.
It might be said, the world sat back and watched, looked the other way, said it was a European problem, WWII. And Americans simply went to watch the movies, ate their candy frost at the parks; asked one another: was there really a plague (a war, a genocide) going on in Europe? Out of sight, out of mind. I mean if the world could not stop Hitler, or was unwilling to, what did they expect one Pope to do? I mean, Washington had the information from the spies in the halls of the Vatican. The OSS as I mentioned, were there. Yet America was silent. How many people had to die before America would react? In WWII, 80-million people were killed. Was not Washington, privy to the documents their agent hand? And now, 70-years later, the documents come up because of one man, doing research. Was not the Pope kind of a silent, Richard the Lion Heart? Was the Pope a demon or a saint? He is either one or the other, and there doesn’t seem to be anything in-between.
If he had killed Hitler as he and his associates wished, he would have been a hero, but like President Jimmy Carter, who failed in the attempt, to rescue 50-Americans taken hostage by Iran, was looked upon as a failure president. Now Obama, rewards Iran by lifting the embargo, and giving them back 100-billion dollars once frozen in banks, he looks like the hero, not Carter. Political chips fall as they will, like gravity, they roll down to the abyss. I mean, now, we have inspired the enemy, who supports Russia and the Syrian President al-Assad, and the near genocide now going on in Syrian. Iran is no friend to the Jew, Christian, or America.
So the Pope had hope, even though his crusade looked careless. But the question comes to surface: did he fight the good fight, against the unspeakable evil. We must look at the parable of the talents, at the man Jesus gave one coin to, and the other nine, he gave 10-coins to (thereabouts), and the one who got the one coin, buried it and gave it back to Jesus. And what is the lesson? It is not, that it is better to have tried and failed, than not to have tried at all. The message to God is: he tried! In other words: he did the best he could with what he had, at the time. Well, that’s how I see it anyhow.
The question comes up also: did the Pope collaborate with the Nazi Regime? It would carry the unexpectedly echoes of such a reality, so people would not be snatched from their homes by the gestapos—I would think, and imprisoned or sent to work as slaves in labor camps. Everything is not black and white, there are a lot of ashen areas here. We can look at the war I was sent to, Vietnam, 1971. President Bush avoided the Vietnam War by being allowed into the National Guard (favoritism: who you know counts), and many college kids were exempt, by running into the nearest college, I wanted to go, volunteered, when I didn’t have to go, I was exempt because of a bomb falling on my leg in West Germany, —I couldn’t run like a regular soldier was expected to; this all happened a year prior. Like the Pope, you do things because you feel them right; he didn’t run away, he went forward, but silently, lest he be dog meat for the Germans.
I felt at the time I went to war in Vietnam, communism was an epidemic, and needed to be stomped out, young as I was, perhaps foolish. What could I do sitting at Fort Lewis, getting sore heals from marching to and fro! I believed if you’re going to be a soldier, then be one, or get out of the game. What Hitler wanted with the Pope alive, is what Russia wanted with America dead. Deprivation of the symbol of freedom. That is why Russia and China fought and still fight proxy wars with America.
Why did Hitler not kill the Pope? This is kind a repeat, with a little more reasoning, and feeling behind it, it is my opinion of course. There are certain laws of nature we know not by reason but by vivid immediate feelings that we must if possible, avoid that immediate feeling that goes along with a behavior, or action, or reaction! Why? Because if adopted by all men, would render social life impossible. In other words, monkey see, monkey do. Religion is based on faith, morals, and ethics, for Hitler’s army he wanted them to abandon this theology and acquire his values, but should all society do likewise at that very moment in time, no! Hitler was saying in essence, to kill indiscriminately for his end-means (and to create doubt in everyone’s mind beyond the horizon), was okay (the German people didn’t even know what he was up to half the time); on the other hand, should everyone think like him, which he knew they didn’t, and his way of thinking become a universal law, God forbid, so he had to take advantage of the moment. Let them see the Pope, the man with morals, free, as he imprisoned the world, unnoticed.
Copyright © February, 20, 2016, by Dennis L. Siluk, Dr. h.c.