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Vatican Secret Diplomacy

Vatican Secret Diplomacy: Joseph P. Hurley and Pope Pius XII

Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Vatican Secret Diplomacy
    Book Description:

    In the corridors of the Vatican on the eve of World War II, American Catholic priest Joseph Patrick Hurley found himself in the midst of secret diplomatic dealings and intense debate. Hurley's deeply felt American patriotism and fixed ideas about confronting Nazism directly led to a mighty clash with Pope Pius XII. It was 1939, the earliest days of Pius's papacy, and controversy within the Vatican over policy toward Nazi Germany was already heated. This groundbreaking book is both a biography of Joseph Hurley, the first American to achieve the rank of nuncio, or Vatican ambassador, and an insider's view of the alleged silence of the pope on the Holocaust and Nazism.

    Drawing on Hurley's unpublished archives, the book documents critical debates in Pope Pius's Vatican, secret U.S.-Vatican dealings, the influence of Detroit's flamboyant anti-Semitic priest Charles E. Coughlin, and the controversial case of Croatia's Cardinal Stepinac. The book also sheds light on the powerful connections between religion and politics in the twentieth century.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-14821-3
    Subjects: History, Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-7)

    THIS BOOK is a political biography of a religious person. It is the story of one man’s struggle to clarify patriotic loyalty to his country in light of his commitments as a Roman Catholic leader in time of war, both hot and cold. Joseph Patrick Hurley was a man of prayer, patriotism, and sacrifice for his church. He engaged at high levels in the diplomacy of war and peace, both for his church and at the behest of his government. Much of his diplomatic work was carried out in secret and was deliberately hidden from his close friends and colleagues....

  5. CHAPTER ONE A Priest in the Family
    (pp. 8-28)

    THE LATE SPRING OF 1940 was a period of hot diplomatic action in Rome. As the Luftwaffe dropped bombs on Britain, German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop sat down with Benito Mussolini and gleefully recounted the recent successes of the Nazi war machine. Poland, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway were under German control. On June 22 France fell to humiliating defeat, signing an armistice with Nazi officials at Rethondes, where in 1918 the French had played the role of victors at the armistice ending World War I. “The press hints that the ‘final phase’ of war has been decided,” broadcaster William...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Diplomatic Observer: INDIA AND JAPAN, 1927–1934
    (pp. 29-48)

    THE SECOND TIME AROUND, Hurley began to recognize the significance of Mooney’s invitation to Bangalore. Accepting Mooney’s offer meant forgoing the traditional path to a prestigious Cleveland pastorate. Even so, he probably realized that the long-standing seniority system meant that many of the pastorates were already “sewn up” by senior clerics and so-called irremovable rectors. In addition, any jockeying for a pastorate could have been riddled with difficulties, both potential and actual, given the ethnic tensions that afflicted the Cleveland Diocese. Mooney’s offer of a post in India would allow Hurley to abandon the mundane world of diocesan politics and...

    (pp. 49-70)

    THE EXPLOSION happened at three in the morning. A bookish Franciscan monk, sleeping on the second floor of Father Charles E. Coughlin’s residence in Royal Oak, Michigan, was “awakened by a terrific noise and the sudden shaking of the house.” In March 1933, as Father Coughlin, America’s “radio priest,” was ascending to the acme of his fame, someone allegedly broke the basement window, lowered a small wooden box filled with gunpowder into his basement, and lit a fuse. Coughlin immediately claimed that the “bombing” was the work of thugs allied to “certain local bankers,” at odds with his recent preaching...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR An American Monsignor in Mussolini’s Italy
    (pp. 71-92)

    “THE VITTORIO EMMANUEL MONUMENT was faintly illuminated with rows of flaming torches up to the Coliseum which was red with flames against the night.” As the wife of the U.S. ambassador to Italy, Caroline Phillips was provided a front-row view as Hitler, Goebbels, and deputy Nazi chief Rudolf Hess made their dazzling nighttime entry into Rome in early May 1938. “Down the street as he came were the red, white, and green bandera, the black Fascist banner and the German flag with its black swastika. The Square and streets were filled with people behind wooden barriers, soldiers were lined in...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE “Spies Everywhere”: HURLEY AT VATICAN CITY, 1940
    (pp. 93-108)

    SOON AFTER Cardinal Pacelli’s coronation as Pope Pius XII, a flurry of diplomatic activity took place between the Vatican and the United States. This new activity meant that Hurley’s role as the resident American at the Vatican would become more valuable. It also meant that his emergent Americanism would be put to a test of allegiance. If Hurley fully aligned himself with Pope Pius XII’s new and nuanced diplomacy, chances were that a prestigious east coast or large midwestern bishopric awaited him. The new American diplomatic moves culminated on December 23, 1939, when Pius XII and Franklin Roosevelt finally reached...

  10. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  11. CHAPTER SIX An American Bishop in President Roosevelt’s Court
    (pp. 109-130)

    IN 1940 the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida, was largely undeveloped. Its territory was vast, lines of communication were slow, and its Catholic population was dispersed throughout a predominantly Protestant southern state. Though a United States diocese, it was almost as if Pius had sent Hurley back to the missionary trail. Forty percent of all churches in the diocese were undeveloped mission churches, and a large part of Catholic outreach was conducted in 150 impermanent and shacklike wooden church structures known as mission stations. But although it was impoverished, one thing his diocese did have on its side...

    (pp. 131-153)

    HISTORIANS OF WARTIME PROPAGANDA often make the distinction between “black” and “white” propaganda. On the one hand, white propaganda is largely factual, and its source can usually be identified. The objective is to “spin” or distort the reporting of actual news toward a desired end. Black propaganda, on the other hand, is information that is purported to emanate from a source other than the true one. In at least one sense, black propaganda operates from a position of deceit. For this type of misinformation to be accepted by the target audience, it is imperative that the credibility of the originator...

    (pp. 154-175)

    “IN 1945,” former Office of Strategic Services officer Martin S. Quigley has written, “Yugoslavia was a country of particular concern for the Pope, [Under Secretary of State for Ordinary Affairs Giovanni Battista] Montini, and [Under Secretary of State for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs Domenico] Tardini. Officials at the Vatican were sure that true peace would not come to areas of Europe taken over by the communists, if there were efforts to enforce Russia’s domestic policy against religion.” On the ground in Yugoslavia, Catholics also operated under a cloud of fear, and some expected reprisals for Nazi collaboration if a communist system...

  14. CHAPTER NINE Betrayal in the Balkans: THE STEPINAC CASE
    (pp. 176-195)

    “I AM NOW SEEING the motion picture of totalitarianism for the fourth time,” a despondent Hurley wrote to Edward Mooney shortly after the Stepinac verdict. “Japan, Italy, Germany, Yugoslavia—the colors have changed, but it is the same theme. In this last showing, however, the technique is far more perfect.” “The story is one of unquestionable persecution,” he confided, “and of a gradual liquidation planned in a knowing and efficient way: the terror is tangible.” With Tito’s reign of terror working at full steam, Hurley wondered about the silence of the United States on Archbishop Stepinac.¹

    In late 1946 State...

  15. CHAPTER TEN Standing Alone between Church and State: HURLEY AND AMERICAN ANTICOMMUNISM
    (pp. 196-212)

    ARRIVING BACK IN St. Augustine in the fall of 1950, Hurley was, as one contemporary described him, “a changed man.” He had become more conservative, and much more critical of his country’s foreign policy. The American abandonment in Yugoslavia spelled a drastic political reorientation for the archbishop. He felt spurned by his country, its Democratic president, and the party of his earliest political allegiance—the party of Roosevelt. He was politically dislocated, cut asunder from the tenets of Americanism, patriotism, and religious parallelism that he had so eagerly imbibed since his youth. There was no longer a harmonic convergence between...

  16. CHAPTER ELEVEN Last Years, Final Struggles
    (pp. 213-228)

    THE 1960s should have seen Hurley move into his final years at a relaxed pace. He had served the church well as an administrator, bishop, and diplomat. Pope Pius XII had died in 1958 at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome, and Hurley perhaps believed that he could finally put away his misgivings about Pius’s earlier political choices. Pius’s successor, Angelo Roncalli, took the name Pope John XII and breathed fresh air into the church with his jovial and warm personality. Now bereft of a personal relationship with the pope, by the early 1960s Hurley seemed content to be back in Florida....

  17. NOTES
    (pp. 229-274)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 275-283)