However, we should note that Revelation 17:2 speaks also of the great harlot’s fornication with “the kings of the earth.” Though she has suffered a fall, she is still very much a friend of the world, and she tries to manipulate worldly rulers to gain her ends. (James 4:4) This spiritual harlotry, consisting of illicit relations between Babylon the Great and the political rulers, has resulted in the untimely death of tens of millions of innocent people! It was bad enough that the great harlot was involved on both sides of the fighting in World War I. But her sins in relation to World War II have surely “massed together clear up to heaven”! (Revelation 18:5) Why do we say so?
2. (a) How did Franz von Papen help Adolf Hitler to become the ruler of Germany, and how did a previous German chancellor describe that papal knight? (b) In the Concordat between the Nazi State and the Vatican, what two clauses were kept secret? (See footnote.)
2 Well, to take one example, how did the tyrant Adolf Hitler become chancellor—and dictator—of Germany? It was through the political intrigue of a papal knight whom the previous German chancellor, Kurt von Schleicher, described as “the kind of traitor next to whom Judas Iscariot is a saint.” This was Franz von Papen, who marshaled Catholic Action and leaders in industry to oppose communism and unite Germany under Hitler. As part of a sellout bargain, von Papen was made vice-chancellor. Hitler sent a delegation headed by von Papen to Rome to negotiate a concordat between the Nazi State and the Vatican. Pope Pius XI remarked to the German envoys how pleased he was that “the German Government now had at its head a man uncompromisingly opposed to Communism,” and on July 20, 1933, at an elaborate ceremony in the Vatican, Cardinal Pacelli (who was soon to become Pope Pius XII) signed the concordat.*
3. (a) What did a historian write about the Concordat between the Nazi State and the Vatican? (b) During the celebrations at the Vatican, what honor was conferred on Franz von Papen? (c) What role did Franz von Papen play in the Nazi takeover of Austria?
3 One historian writes: “The Concordat [with the Vatican] was a great victory for Hitler. It gave him the first moral support he had received from the outer world, and this from the most exalted source.” During the celebrations at the Vatican, Pacelli conferred on von Papen the high papal decoration of the Grand Cross of the Order of Pius.* Winston Churchill, in his book The Gathering Storm, published in 1948, tells how von Papen further used “his reputation as a good Catholic” to gain church support for the Nazi takeover of Austria. In 1938, in honor of Hitler’s birthday, Cardinal Innitzer ordered that all Austrian churches fly the swastika flag, ring their bells, and pray for the Nazi dictator.
4, 5. (a) Why does terrible bloodguilt rest on the Vatican? (b) How did the German Catholic bishops give open support to Hitler?
4 A terrible bloodguilt therefore rests on the Vatican! As a leading part of Babylon the Great, it helped significantly in putting Hitler into power and in giving him “moral” support. The Vatican went further in tacitly consenting to Hitler’s atrocities. During the long decade of Nazi terror, the Roman pontiff kept quiet while hundreds of thousands of Catholic soldiers were fighting and dying for the glory of the Nazi regime and while millions of other unfortunates were being liquidated in Hitler’s gas chambers.
5 The German Catholic bishops even gave open support to Hitler. On the same day that Japan, Germany’s wartime partner at the time, made the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, The New York Times carried this report: “The Conference of German Catholic Bishops assembled in Fulda has recommended the introduction of a special ‘war prayer’ which is to be read at the beginning and end of all divine services. The prayer implores Providence to bless German arms with victory and grant protection to the lives and health of all soldiers. The Bishops further instructed Catholic clergy to keep and remember in a special Sunday sermon at least once a month German soldiers ‘on land, on sea and in the air.’”
6. The world might have been spared what great agony and atrocities if there had been no spiritual fornication between the Vatican and the Nazis?
6 If there had been no love affair between the Vatican and the Nazis, the world might have been spared the agony of having scores of millions of soldiers and civilians killed in the war, of six million Jews murdered for being non-Aryan, and—most precious in Jehovah’s sight—of thousands of his Witnesses, both of the anointed and of the “other sheep,” suffering great atrocities, with many Witnesses dying in the Nazi concentration camps.—John 10:10, 16.
[Box on page 11]
THE POPE’S SILENCE
In his book Franz von Papen—His Life and Times, published in 1939, H. W. Blood-Ryan describes in detail the intrigues whereby that papal knight brought Hitler to power and negotiated the Vatican’s concordat with the Nazis. With regard to the terrible pogroms, which included the Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others, the author states: “Why did Pacelli [Pope Pius XII] keep silent? Because in von Papen’s plan for a Holy Roman Empire of Western Germans he saw in the future a stronger Catholic Church, with the Vatican back again in the seat of temporal power . . . That same Pacelli is now wielding the power of spiritual dictatorship over millions of souls, yet scarcely a whisper was raised at Hitlerian aggression and persecution. . . . As I write these lines, three days of slaughter have passed and not a prayer has come from the Vatican for the souls of the contestants, quite half of whom are Catholic. Terrible will be the reckoning when these men, stripped of all their earthly influences, stand before their God, Who will ask for an accounting. What can be their excuse? Nothing!”