The Hidden Encyclical of Pius XI
by Georges Passelecq and Bernard Suchecky is about "a bungled effort at compassion"--one of the most important Catholic documents of the 20th century, which was intended to denounce Hitler's anti-Semitism but was never completed. The reasons for this document's commission and suppression, as described by Passelecq and Suchecky, compose a scandalous indictment of Italian church-and-state relations. When Pius XI accepted a stark separation of church and state in the 1930s, he effectively undermined Catholic political groups, an act which eased the rise of European dictators and led to World War II. The Hidden Encyclical
is suitably critical of Pius without lapsing into Vatican bashing. It's a sober, rueful, and straightforward story about the tragic cost of exalting Truth over love. --Michael Joseph Gross
--This text refers to the
From Library Journal
In June 1938, three Jesuit priests drafted a work that might or might not have changed European history. Humani Generis Unitas (The Unity of the Human Race) was Pope Pius XI's encyclical to address the encroaching modernity of Fascist Italy and the rising tide of national racism. Unfortunately, Pius's death the next year ended whatever life this manuscript had. Authors Passelecq, a monk, and Suchecky, a historian and film writer, linger too long over the monumental efforts to uncover this manuscript. Much better are their analyses of Catholicism's self-interest inherent in the draft, the "administrative inertia" that squelched its publication, and the painful realization that racism, at least for this encyclical, did not necessarily include anti-Semitism. Recommended for collections seeking depth in studies on anti-Semitism and 20th-century Catholicism.-?Sandra Collins, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Lib.
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