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The Hidden Encyclical of Pius XI Hardcover – October 15, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (October 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151002444
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151002443
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 1.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,778,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 Paperback edition.

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.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amanda McCoy on September 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting tale of an encyclical that never saw the light of day, especially because it was an encyclical against racism clearly aimed at Hitler. But the authors misintepret the document's import.
They act as if this draft encyclical would have been the first time the Church denounced the Third Reich's anti-Semitism. In fact, Pius XI had solemnly condemned it in the encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge (1937), written in German and read from the pulpit of every German church. He also denounced it in several addresses to the College of Cardinals.
They also miss the fact that Pius XII incorporated large chunks of this encyclical into the first encyclical he published after being elected pope in 1939. As Pierre Blet shows in his fine work on the Vatican archives, Pius XII continued to hammer home the Church's opposition to anti-Semitism in many cables to papal ambassadors, authorizing them to save Jewish lives through Vatican passports, false baptismal certificates, and the granting of sanctuary in church buidlings.
The "hidden encyclical" only confirms the public words and actions of Popes Pius XI and XII against racism, especially in its Nazi guise. Oddly, however, the authors twist this evidence into something suggesting just the opposite.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kermit on January 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The concept of this book was admirable and the text of the encyclical is intriguing but a lot of the narrative is dull and repetitive. Its a good piece of information that could have been presented in a more readable manner.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
The book has some interesting threads from an historical point of view however after having read through the "super sleuth" story in the lead half of the book, I was somewhat disappointed by the text of the letter itself. It was too academic in my mind and less papal. But back to the detective work - ultimately I found the book to be overly ambitious (the subject doesn't warrent it) and somewhat arrogant as if the encyclical itself is above the Church and must be taken to be heavenly. In the end the work did not receive papal blessing nor was it even published at the appropriate time to evoke the appropriate ecclesial mood amidst a public rally
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