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Pope Reported Set to Excommunicate Hitler

December 12, 1938
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Certain informed Catholics just back from Rome expressed the belief today that Pope Pius may soon excommunicate chancellor Adolf Hitler, who has never renounced his catholic faith. The catholic spokesmen said that the Vatican’s indignation over Nazi methods and ideology had increased since Anschluss with Austria and that the Holy see seemed to be expecting new attacks against its moral and material interests in Germany. In this connection, they referred to the Pope’s recent address to several hundred newlywed couples in which he spoke of “the great danger which is about to become a terrible reality.”

The opinion prevailed in Catholic circles that the anti-Semitic persecutions would be followed by persecution of Christians. The long imprisonment of Pastor Martin Niemoeller, a leader of the confessional branch of the evangelical church, is regarded as a prelude to this.

There is no way of confirming the excommunication report, but if the action were taken it would mean that premier Benito Mussolini, King Victor Emmanuel and all other Italian Catholics could no longer have any relations with the German chancellor. The political repercussions of Hitler’s Excommunication were impossible to predict but they undoubtedly would be unprecedented.

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