Commonweal, which one day may be known as the Sr. Carol Keehan of Catholic magazines, is at it again in their own subtle and sophisticated way in keeping the slanders against Pius XII alive with an online scholarly article by John Connelly weakened by just a few too many unsubstantiated anti-Pius XII asides in an otherwise very interesting and informative narrative about the role of convert Catholics against Hitler.
[Please see the Comment to this post attributed to Fr. John J. Hughes for specific criticisms of the Connelly excerpt.]
The narrative of Catholic resistance to Hitler rarely includes three sets of facts:
1. The assassination by Hitler’s henchmen of Erich Klausener, the head of German Catholic Action during the Night of the Long Knives in 1934, thus decapitating Catholic Action as a movement in German civil society;
2. The closing of hundreds of German Catholic newspapers, the seizure of German Catholic schools, and deportation of Catholic clergy immediately after Chicago Cardinal George Mundelein’s famous “paperhanger” speech against Hitler in 1937. Please see the references for these at the Archbishop Quigley Seminary Wikipedia page;
3. The German Catholics involved in the various anti-Hitler assassination plots. The hundreds of plotters executed after failed attempts were not exclusively Protestant.
Hitler and Goebbels intentionally set out to destroy Catholic mediating institutions and to decapitate Catholic leadership in German civil society. While this doesn’t account for all of the silence among German Catholics against Hitler, the systematic decapitation of Catholic Action leadership and Catholic mediating institutions is lopped out of the story with regularity.
Moral superiority to Pius XII is part of the bedrock of Catholic progressivism. I wish they would, but I don’t expect the editors of Commonweal to depart from this unfortunate theme any time in the near future. They just can’t seem to let it go, no matter how much evidence piles up to the contrary.
Please see the book, The Pius War, for another view.
For what it’s worth, I have three long-term “beefs” with Commonweal which led me to drop my subscription many years ago, and dispose of an extensive collection of back issues:
2. Commonweal’s prolonging of the slanders against Pius XII, above mentioned.
3. (And this one may be obscure, Catholic “inside baseball,” but it’s a dispute about a Catholic essential) Commonweal’s support for the anti-Fr. Hugo camp in the Catholic Worker. Fr. John Hugo was a pious retreat master who led the “cool” sophisticated Dorothy Day of the New York intellectual night life to embrace a life of Eucharistic prayer and devotion along with her activism for social justice. For some reason, a few in the Catholic Church, and perhaps still at Commonweal, have yet to forgive Fr. Hugo for this. While this theme rarely manifests itself in Commonweal any more, it still irks me to no end when it does.
Dorothy Day’s daily Eucharistic devotion was an integral part of her mission and message. The integration of devotion to the Eucharist with Catholic social action is absolutely essential. Witness the contribution of Msgr. Reynold Hillenbrand to this same essential Catholic theology and practice. Please see my scholarly article on Msgr. Hillenbrand for more.
© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved
Tags: Cardinal George Mundelein, Catholic plotters against Hitler, Catholic Worker, Cogleyweal, Commonweal as the Sr. Carol Keehan of Catholic magazines, Commonweal Magazine, Erich Klausener, Fr. John Hugo, Fr. John J. Hughes, German Catholic Action, Hitler, John Cogley, John Connelly, Joseph Goebbels, moral superiority to Pius XII as the bedrock of Catholic progressivism, Sr. Carol Keehan, Wikipedia