The Secret History of the Catholic Church
There are about 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. The Pope, the leader of the Catholic church, is the most recognizable religious figure on Earth. Catholicism is mainstream. However, what is not mainstream are some of the more unsavory aspects of the Church. Many of these realities are unknown to most due to active efforts to suppress the information from reaching the broader public. The most glaring and sinister of these realities has to do with the Church’s involvement in politics during the early 20th century.
The blunt truth of the matter is that the movement known as “Fascism” that included some of the most evil and bloodthirsty regimes to date, is all but synonymous with the political activities of the Catholic right wing at the time. Across Europe, the Catholic Church had positive and, in their eyes, symbiotic relationships with many brutal dictatorships across Europe during the early 20th century. In fact, many fascist political parties relied on concordats and agreements with the Church early on to gain legitimacy in the eyes of their respective country’s Catholic majority.
What brought the two sides together was a similar idea of who the enemy was. They came together over a shared antisemitism and hatred of leftism- be it Bolshevism, socialism or communism. The most famous example of this can be seen in Italy.
The Catholic hierarchy had been in open support of the Mussolini dictatorship from very early on. They saw the totalitarian government as a friend in the fight against the rising tide of Communism that was gaining popularity and support not just in Italy, but across Europe. The Church also sought to take advantage of the authoritarian structure in order to enact the Christian will on the public.
By staying in virtually constant contact with Mussolini through his Secretary of State, Pope Pius XI was able to successfully lobby for a variety Christian reforms. Religious education was mandated to be taught in both primary and secondary school. Civil marriages were done away with, with full authority on that issue being in the hands of the Church. Also, divorces were made more difficult. Despite dismantling due process and constitutional rule of law, establishing a iron-fisted police state, and embarking on murderous, imperialistic ruinations of African nations, the papacy still referred to Mussolini as “a man of Providence”.
While probably being the most high profile, the Italian regime was not the only Fascist government the Catholic Church had a relationship- not by a long shot. Austria’s fascist government, led by Engelbert Dollfuss, kept close relations with the Vatican. Most notably, the two parties signed a Concordat in 1933. Once again, the papacy saw the corporatist dictatorship as a means to an end in defeating the dreaded leftists and pushing the Christian agenda down the throats of the nation’s citizens. Turning a blind eye to Dollfuss’ destroying of civil liberties and extrajudicial killings of dissidents, the Church was absolutely delighted that the Austrofascist had agreed to adopt many of the provisions of Canon law.
Another example of the Catholic Church’s involvement with fascists can be seen in the most notorious fascist regime of all- Nazi Germany. Despite Germany fascism not being traditionally Catholic like in Italy or Austria- Nordic and Pagan mythology were significant influencers of Nazi ideology- the Catholic Church still maintained a significant presence. For starters, Hitler was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, prayers were said for him every year on his birthday (April 20th) at the order of the Pope until he died. According to Catholic historian Paul Johnson, at least 50% of the Waffen SS, the militant wing of the Nazi Party, were religious, confessing Catholics. None were ever excommunicated, nor so much as threatened with excommunication. Similarly to the previous examples, the ruling Nazi party was blessed by a concordat with the Church in the year 1933.
While some of the more high profile cases, there are far more instances of the Catholic Church colluding with fascist governments than just these three. Similar things can be seen to have happened with the Franco dictatorship in Spain, Father Tiso’s Slovakia, Salazar’s Portugal, etc. Make of this information what you will. So long as the Church continues to try to conceal this dark and dirty history, we must continue to try to spread it like wildfires so people know the truth.