samedi 30 mars 2013

John LaFarge, le Jésuite américain qui voulait que le Pape dénonce le régime nazi

Le massacre de six millions de Juifs, dont un million et demi d'enfants, pendant la Shoah est l'un des épisodes les plus sombres de l'histoire de l'humanité. Dans un ouvrage, The Pope’s Last CrusadePeter Eisner défend la thèse que si le Pape Pie XII, comme Pie XI avait eu l'intention de le faire, avait condamné le racisme et la nature criminelle du régime nazi, des millions de vies auraient pu être sauvées - rappelons que les Juifs et les Tziganes, qui étaient chrétiens, furent exterminés sans pitié par d'autres chrétiens en raison de leur "race". En effet, si la mort en 1939 n'avait pas empêché Pie XI de publier l'encyclique qu'il avait conçue avec l'aide du Jésuite américain John LaFarge, le feu vert à Hitler aurait viré au rouge. L'Eglise catholique en Allemagne aurait été obligée de se prononcer contre la persécution des Juifs. Beaucoup de protestants auraient été susceptibles de suivre son exemple.  Selon le politicien irlandais et auteur de The Siege: The Saga of Israel and Zionism (1989), une histoire du sionisme et de l'État d'Israël, Conor Cruise O'Brien, Hitler savait parfaitement qu'il pouvait faire ce qu'il voulait avec les Juifs car il avait compris que l'Eglise ne l'attaquerait pas sur cette question.  Si Pie XII a gardé le silence pendant la guerre, il l'a également gardé après la guerre!

Daily Mail: The slaughter of six million Jews during the Holocaust remains among the darkest periods of human history but one author is exploring what could have been, had the Vatican used its platform to speak out in condemnation of the Nazi regime.

Though Pope Pius XII has been labeled Hilter’s Pope for his failure to denounce the Third Reich, author Peter Eisner points to his predecessor, Pius XI, and his attempts to build a church campaign to stand in opposition to oppressive regimes sweeping across Europe.  Pius XI, branded a fearless leader wise to the dangers of Hitler’s ideology, enlisted the help of an American Jesuit civil right's activist and was in the midst of composing a Catholic encyclical to denounce the Holocaust but his message was muted due to his untimely death in 1939.

In his book The Pope’s Last Crusade, Eisner paints of picture of a divided church in the lead up to World War II, with many seeking to thwart the strong willed pontiff resolved to use his position to speak on behalf of the oppressed and the marginalized.

Pie XI
As Hitler and Mussolini ruled with terror across Europe, the pope used increasingly damning language to denounce their regimes but many Catholic leaders feared retaliation for the statements. He sought to take a more formal stand with the composition of an encyclical, an edict sent to Catholics worldwide, to formally call for the end of the atrocities. With the help of an American Jesuit, Fr. John LaFarge [photo], the Holy See was moving toward announcing a definitive Catholic campaign against the racist ideology and religion of nationalism that was being preached.  LaFarge had worked among the impoverished African American community in southern Maryland and then moved to New York to report for the Catholic magazine, America. In this role, he wrote extensively of the evil of the myth of racial superiority and caught the attention of the activist pope. Fr. LaFarge was summoned to the Vatican to meet with the pope and he spent time in Paris drafting a document and sent a draft to the pope for his consideration.

But other factions working within the walls of the Vatican worked actively to suppress the message and just days before Pius XI was set to launch a campaign targeted at the immoral movements pervading Europe, he died in February 1939.

With his death, his declaration failed to reach the millions of Catholics and even non-adherents who looked to religious leader for guidance during the turbulent period. Hitler felt 'he could go to any length with the Jews, without fear of attack from any church,' Irish politician Conor Cruise O'Brien wrote in 1989, according to Eisner's account.

Had Pius XI been able to deliver the encyclical he planned, the green light would have changed to red. The Catholic Church in Germany would have been obliged to speak out against the persecution of the Jews. Many Protestants, inside and outside Germany, would have been likely to follow its example.'

Instead, Cardinal Pacelli, who had worked for the pope as his Secretary of State, became the new pontiff, Pius XII, and ensured the message never saw the light of day, reportedly ordering that correspondence and written messages from Pius XI be burned. Pius XII has been judged for not using the institution of the church to speak for those who could not speak for themselves, choosing to stay neutral in the face of glaring evil.
In a 1972 report about the encyclical that was never released, the editors of the National Catholic Reporter stated 'we must conclude that the publication of the encyclical draft at the time it was written may have saved hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of lives.'
In an effort to repair his tarnished legacy, the Vatican has recently released new documents about clandestine efforts the Vatican undertook to try to protect Jews under the watch of Pius XII.

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