The Power Struggle for Peace and Conflict Between the Catholic Church and the German Nazi Regime During World War II
Anthony Ambrosius Aurelius
“Eugenia Pacelli (pronounced “yuu-gee-nee-yah pah-chell-ee”) who became Pope Pius XII is a controversial figure in papal history as he condemned the war effort during both World War I as a member of the Catholic clergy and during World War II as leader of the Catholic Church. Pope Pius XII has been recommended for canonization but his application has been frozen temporarily as the Catholic Church and the world discusses whether or not Pius XII is of the vicar of Christ, as it is believed he could have done more to intercede within the global conflict of World War II.
After the loss of World War I, Germany fell into a power vacuum with many youth, capable working class people unable to find work. As a direct result, these individuals started developing organizations which eventually over time developed into the Nazi Party. Oppressive government regimes across Europe gained political traction by blaming outsiders, immigrants, and Jews for the post war economic and political crisis.
Pius XII was an interesting figure in Catholic history as he was a diplomat and so very experienced in international politics and foreign policy which allowed him to recognize and understand the terrible consequences of strong arm regimes like that of Adolf Hitler’s in 1930’s Germany. The German Nazi Party took a firm position upon secularism, with Jews in the Catholic Church directly within the crosshairs of the organization which viewed this group as a large threat to German stability. Pope Pius XI asked Pacelli to act as Head of State for the Catholic Church, a position which Pacelli accepted prior to becoming pope in 1939.
On February 11, 1929, the Catholic Church negotiated and signed the Lateran Treaty with the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See settling the Roman Question which was a dispute regarding the temporal power of the popes as rulers of a civil territory in the context of the Italian Risorgimento, with the Risorgimento being the political and social movement that consolidated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of the Kingdom of Italy in the 19th century. Because the Italian government was a dictatorship during this era for all intents and purposes, the Lateran Treaty allowed for the return of territorial sovereignty and independence, making Vatican City an independent nation-state. In exchange for Vatican autonomy, Pius XII”