Pacelli’s Election, Opposed by Nazis, Seen Heavy Blow to Racism
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Pacelli’s Election, Opposed by Nazis, Seen Heavy Blow to Racism

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A heavy blow was dealt to the forces of totalitarianism and racism today when Eugenic Cardinal Pacelli, Cardinal Camerlengo and Papal Secretary of State under the late Pope Pius XI, was chosen as Pope in one of the quickest papal elections in history.

The 262nd Pope, whose election had been openly opposed by the German press as the “hope of the People’s Front and the Jews,” took the name of Pope Pius XII — indicating that he would follow in the footsteps of the late Pontiff, who openly denounced persecution and racial doctrine.

Pope Pius XII is known to be even more hostile to Nasism than was his predecessor. Der Angriff, organ of Reichsminister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, warned on Feb. 22 that “Cardinal Pacelli’s policy would lead to a crusade against the totalitarian states” and declared that if he was elected the anti-Nazi cardinals, Verdier of Paris and Mundelein of Chicago “will return home victorious.”

The overwhelming sentiment for the Papal Secretary of State among the Cardinals was indicated by the facts that (1) he received the two-third majority on the third ballot, less than 24 hours after the conclave had opened, and (2) precedent was broken in electing, for the first time since the office of Secretary of State was created, the man who served as Secretary under the preceding Pope.

It is the general belief that Cardinal Pacelli, as Secretary of State, was largely responsible for the Vatican’s strong attitude against Nazism and racialism. His views on current persecution were made clear in an address to the Eucharistic Congress in Budapest last year.

“Where now,” he asked, “are Herod and Pilate and Nero and Diocletian and Julian the Apostate, first century persecutors all? Ashes and dust are these enemies of Christianity! Ashes and dust and all that they coveted, pursued and perhaps for a brief instant savored of earthly power and glory. The same inexorable law of human frailty that overtook them will hold good for their cognizant disciples and their incognizant emulators — will lay them low and will reduce to dust everything that does not respect the law of fundamental harmony between the natural order of things and the supernatural order.”

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