CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (Jul. 29)
Mentioning Italy by name for the first time, Pope Pius today delivered the most direct of three attacks on racialism and “excessive nationalism” within one month. In an address to students of the College for the Propagation of the Fatih at his Summer estate, the Pope deplored the “unhappy imitation” of Germany and said that racialism was contrary to the fundamental dictates of the Catholic Church.
Pope Pius told his visitors their arrival coincided with receipt of an “important communication” on the subject of racism, but failed to divulge the, exact nature of the message. Real racism, he proclaimed, is to be found, not in complicated theories now being widely propounded, but in institutions like the college for the propagation of the Faith, where 37 nations are united, “all sons of the same mother, the same family, and all brought up at the same table, with the same truth and the same virtues.”
Decrying the new doctrine, the Pope harked back to the Italians of bygone ages, who, he said, had far more correct notions of race. when they spoke of race, he declared, the old Italians expressed themselves in “the most beautiful, the most sympathetic and the least barbarous” fashion by saying the came of “Italian stock.”
Clarifying his own position, the Pope said that just as one speaks of “species,” one can speak of “race,” which should mean that men are above all a single and great species and a single family of living beings, engendered and creating. Thus the human species is alone universal and Catholic He admitted that within this universal species there is place for special races, with diverse variations and nationalities. He likened mankind to a vast symphony, where each instrument is different and has its special score but is linked with the whole by a powerful and basic motif, from which rises an inspired resonance colored by varied tones and expressions. Even so there exists in the human species a single great and universal race, a single and universal human family, which has multiform variations, he continued.
“We want no divisions in the human family, and we consider excessive racism and internationalism as barriers raised between men and men, between peoples and peoples,” he said. ‘But somebody trying to catch the ball on the rebound, has affirmed that between the Catholic Action and the Fascist Party there is thus an irremediable doctrinal divergence.” This was regarded by observers as a direct reference to a recent article in Regime Fascista, published by Roberto Farinacci, member of the Fascist Grand Council and anti-Semitic spokesman, which questioned the compatibility of membership in the party and in the Catholic Action.
Turning to his direct attack on the Government’s recent “Aryan” doctrines, the Pontiff castigated the Fascists for borrowing from the Nazis, whose theories he has often and openly assailed in the past. “We ask ourselves,” he said, “why Italy, through unhappy imitation, felt it necessary to follow the Reich’s example.”
Recalling he was the son of a Milanese, who expelled the Germans from Milan in 1848, Pius said this was not the reason for his condemnation of Nazi ideology and its imitation by Rome, for he had no prejudice against the Reich.
“It is because the Latins never spoke of ‘race’ or anything like it,” he explained. “They used expressions such as ‘Italica stirrs’ (Italian stock), which were much more beautiful and sympathetic. Things must be called by their real name if one does not wish to run grave risks, notably that of Losing his own name and understanding of things,” the Pope added.