Jewish Issue Seen “one of Gravest” Confronting Cardinals on Eve of Papal Vote

In a dispatch to the New York Times from Vatican City, Michael Williams, noted American Catholic editor and writer, said today that the Jewish issue in Italy was growing more tense and was “one of the gravest” of the problems under consideration of the Cardinals gathered here for election of a new Pope. Citing the recent arrest of a Spanish priest now in Rome and a group of alleged Jews on charges of violating the currency laws as symptomatic, Mr. Williams declared:

“That the feeling against the Church since the stand that Pope Pius took on the anti-Jewish policies of Germany and Italy is much stronger in Rome seems certain. One informant of exceptional trustworthiness said that he was convinced. . . that Italian Government employes had received word to pass along to others that the radio would supply all the news of the forthcoming conclave that sensible people would want and far more comfortable circumstances than by standing for hours in St. Peter’s Square. In short, great popular demonstrations of interest in the Church are not desired by those elements in the Italian Government which desire to force the Jewish issue and the struggle with the Church that must come as a consequence of its application. Another fact that emerged with clarity is that the anti-Jewish policy is popular only with extreme elements in the Government that desire to stake all things on it and similar developments of stark totalitarianism. Apart from such zealots, there is no public support of the anti-Jewish laws. They sorely puzzle the average Italian.”

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