LONDON (Mar. 2)
The important effect that the election of Cardinal Pacelli as Pope may have on the conflict between totalitarianism and the anti-authoritarian forces was indicated by the first reactions to the election throughout Europe.
The German Press was expected to attack the election in violent terms. In a recent pamphlet issued by the official Nazi publishing house it was stated that Cardinal Pacelli had used his influence to favor “an implacable struggle against Nationalism Socialism.” The pamphlet said that “Pacelli is responsible for the sharp attitude of the Vatican against the Rome-Berlin axis. He hopes to save his political system with the aid of the Western democracies.”
In Italy, first comment was guarded. Giornale d’Italia said that the successful candidate was “the man of God whom Princes of the Church from 15 nations considered to be most worthy.” Hungarian Catholics greeted the election with the hope that the event might not be without its effect on the Hungarian Parliament, which is now considering a sweeping anti-Jewish bill. It was recalled that last year, when Cardinal Pacelli presided over the Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, he made his opposition to pagan racism clear.
In France, a high churchman expressed the prevalent sentiment when he said: “Pius XI survives!” The election was seen in Paris as an energetic retort to the unbridled attacks made on the new Pontiff by the totalitarian press. In Geneva, a League of Nations spokesman commented that the Pope, in assuming the name of Pius, had given notice that he intended to continue the work of his predecessor in the same spirit of solicitude for harmony among peoples and maintenance of individual human dignity.