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The Roman Catholic Leadership
of the Third Reich


After reading this page, you will understand why the Roman Catholic Church regularly threatens liberal Catholics with excommunication and the like, while rarely doing much of anything to curtail the writings and/or activities of conservatives in their church, no matter how outrageously immoral their behavior.

Catholic & Nazi hierarchy

No matter how immorally the many prominent Roman Catholic leaders of the Third Reich acted, their standing as "good Catholics" was never publicly challenged by their church's leaders until defeat or death had denied these Nazi Catholics the power to do much harm 

The Catholic Fascist dictators of the 20th Century 1

( one of whom was a Catholic priest in good standing with his church
before, during and even after the holocaust ) :
  • Belgium's Leon Degrelle
  • Bohemia-Moravia's
        Emil Hacha
  • Croatia's Ante Pavelic 2
  • Germany 's Adolf Hitler
  • Italy's Benito Mussolini
  • Portugal's Antonio Salazar 3
  • Slovakia's Fr. Josef Tiso4
  • Spain's Francisco Franco
  • Sudetenland's Konrad Henlein
  • Vichy-France's Pierre Laval
  • Vichy-France's Henry Petain

Note 1: The list of heads of state above was originally compiled by a Hugo Borreson, from Virginia, but thanks to information that I learned from Catholic critics, in Oct. of 2008, I removed Augustin Voloshin, Miklos Horthy, Engelbert Dollfuss, Andrej Hlinka and Anton Koroshec from that list as - for various reasons - they did not belong on it. This list features only Catholics who headed the Nazi "axis" nations during the World War II era.
        Although Portuguese fascist dictator Salazar - who spent 8 years preparing to become a priest - was a sympathetic ally of the Nazi, he never formally joined the Axis nations.
       For a more complete list of Roman Catholic dictators around the world see Note 4 below.

Note 2 :

After quickly eliminating the relatively few Jews in their country, the Roman Catholic leaders of Croatia unleashed such mindless fury on their other non-Catholic neighbors that even their German Nazi allies were appalled.
See CatholicArrogance.Org/  CroatianHolocaust.html or wikipedia.org/Ante_Pavelic.

Note 3: Hitler & Tiso
the Nazi head of Slovakia

Note 4: A more complete list of Roman Catholic dictators around the world would need to include Ngo Diem of Vietnam, Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, the Duvaliers of Haiti, and a whole litany of Catholic dictators in the many countries of Latin ( i.e. Roman Catholic ) America.

Efraín Ríos Montt (president of Guatemala from 1982 through 83) was one of the few mass-murdering dictators of Latin America who was NOT a Catholic. He was a minister of the ultra-conservative Pentecostal "Church of the Word" based in California and one of the many conservative "anti-communist" dictators supported by the Reagan administration.

Map of Nazi Europe

The Roman Catholics in Nazi Germany's Leadership :

Among the many Nazi leaders who were Roman Catholics, in addition to Adolf Hitler, were Josef Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Müllerv and Rudolf Hoess, (not to be confused with Hitler's Deputy Fuëhrer and secretary, Rudolf Hess).   Hermann Goering, on the other hand, had mixed Catholic - Protestant parentage, while Rudolf Hess, Martin Bormann, Albert Speer, and Adolf Eichmann had Protestant backgrounds.  Not one of the top Nazi leaders was raised in a liberal or atheistic family.

[ from http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/paul_23_4.html ]
Nazi Leaders

To be sure, the Roman Catholic Church wants to distance itself from all of these monsters now, but it made no attempt to do so at the time, when it could have made a tremendous impact. We only know of two individuals that Hitler killed personally, his wife Eva Braun, and himself. To kill ten million other people, Hitler needed millions of helpers like the ones . He didn't get those helpers from some planet in outer space like Mars. He got about two thirds of them from the two thirds of Germans who belonged to the Protestant churches and the other third from the third of Germans who identified themselves as Roman Catholics, like the guards photographed below by the 2nd in command at Auschwitz, where an average of 6,000 Jews were being exterminated every day, had to be "Christians".



. The clergy all knew how much Hitler needed all of these helpers and how mad it would have made him if they were to tell the millions of their sheep how horribly sinful it was for them to have any part in the Jewish Holocaust. And the pope himself deliberately chose not to inform the consciences of his German subjects. As Lewy reported,

"When Dr, Edoardo Senatro, the correspondent of L'Osservatore Romano in Berlin, asked Pius XII whether he would not protest the extermination of the Jews, the Pope is reported to have answered, "Dear friend, do not forget that millions of Catholics serve in the German armies. Shall I bring them into conflicts of conscience?" The Pope knew that the German Catholics were not prepared to suffer martyrdom for their Church; still less were they willing to incur the wrath of their Nazi rulers for the sake of the Jews whom their own bishops for years, had castigated as a harmful influence in German life."... The failure of the Pope was a measure of the Church's failure to convert her gospel of brotherly love and human dignity into living reality."
        (The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany, p 304 )

For much more on the collaboration of leaders
of the Catholic Church with the Nazis, check out

Pope Pius XII was quite happy to wield his powerful excommunication tool shortly after World War II to dissuade Italian Catholics from even joining the Communist Party, which was very popular in their country at the time. Yet, throughout the 12 year Nazi reign of terror, not one of the multitude of Nazi leaders who were Roman Catholic was ever excommunicated for their crimes against humanity, no matter how monstrous! What's more, the ban on membership in the Nazi Party which the Catholic Church had imposed prior to Hitler's successful power-grab in 1933, was actually lifted that year, at the very time that the Nazis gained the ability to actually act on what had only been terrible ideas prior to 1933.
        In 1955 Pope Pius XII himself proved how effective a tool excommunication could be when he used it on the Argentine dictator,Juan Peron for jailing several priests and nuns who had objected to his abusive rule. In just three months Peron's regime collapsed and he had to flee the country in fear of his life, never to return.

Nazi officials attending the
opening ceremonies of the Party congress :

Nazi Leaders

from left to right Joseph Goebbels, Robert Ley, Heinrich Himmler, Victor Lutze (the only non-Christian), Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler and Julius Streicher. (Nuremberg - June 9, 1938)

Religious statements made by
some of Hitler's fellow Christian Nazi leaders :

In his book, "The Myth of Hitler's Pope"

one of the main thrusts of ultra-conservative Rabbi David Dalin is an attempt to shift blame for the Nazi Holocaust from the Catholic Pope in Rome to the Muslim Mufti in Palestine.  Although the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini, may well have been a more willing collaborator of Hitler's than was the Pius XII - and therefore more culpable morally -, how crucial to Hitler's diabolical mission was the Mufti's support?

I don't know how many Muslims there were in Germany to be moved by the Mufti to embrace the Nazi agenda, but my reading tells me that some 98% of Germans were either Catholics or Protestants.  Allowing for the Jews, the Jehovah Witnesses, the atheists and agnostics, the "Bolsheviks" that Hitler claimed were under every bed, how many of the balance were Muslims?  Compared to the number of Catholics and/or Lutherans who helped Hitler by rating out their neighbors, sharing their church records to help the Nazis distinguish Christians from Jews, filling the ranks of the millions of people needed to serve as police, soldiers, sailors, airmen, train operators, guards, executioners, crematorium operators, etc., etc., how many Muslim followers was the Mufti able to persuade to do Hitler's bidding?  The answer, of course, is only a tiny, insignificant fraction of the number of Christians who did the bidding of their Nazi Catholic and Protestant leaders.  

See our extensive refutation of Rabbi Dalin's book
at CatholicArrogance.Org/Catholic/Hitlerspope.html.

        Here is an example of the moving music that was used to promote patriotic sentiment among the Nazi SS : waffenss/WWII.mp3.

The largely Roman Catholic leadership of the Nazi regime :

The leadership of the Nazi regime was a virtual Catholic men's group, a chapter you might say of the Knights of Columbus or Knights of Malta.
        Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Josef Goebbels, Reinhard Heydrich, Heinrich Müller, Rudolf Hoess, Julius Streicher, Fritz Thyssen (who bankrolled the Nazi rise to power), Klaus Barbie, and Franz Von Papen were all Roman Catholics, as were the heads of all of these NAZI countries : Leon Degrelle of Belgium, Emil Hacha of Bohemia-Moravia, Ante Pavelic of Croatia, Konrad Henlein of Sudetenland, Pierre Laval and then Henry Petain of Vichy-France. and the R.C. priest, Msgr. Josef Tiso, of Slovakia. (who wasn't even defrocked after the defeat of the Nazis).
        Although these were among the most visible Catholic lay people in their countries at the time, did Pope Pius XII excommunicate a single one of them? NO. How can anyone say that this pope did "all that he could", when he failed to take this obvious measure so as to make it clear to the millions of Catholic faithful who were enabling the Nazis to carry out their campaigns of mass murder, not only against Jews, but against their fellow Catholics in Poland, that they should have no part in these monstrous of crimes and most mortal of sins? Apologists for Pius XII who claim that their crimes caused these people to be "automatically excommunicated" miss the point that excommunication isn't intended to tell GOD who is a Catholic and who isn't but to tell THE FAITHFUL whom to shun.
        On the other hand, after the Nazis were defeated and no longer posed any threat to the pope, the Vatican, or the Catholic Church anywhere, did Pope Pius XII allow the Vatican to be used to protect thousands of Catholic war criminals such as the above to escape punishment for their war crimes? YES. Whose side was the pope on?
        Here are some of the more infamous war criminals the Vatican protected from prosecution:

  1. Adolf Eichmann, "the architect of the Holocaust", ,
  2. Alois Brunner, referred to as his "best man" by Eichman,
  3. Dr. Josef Mengele, "the Angel of Death",
  4. Franz Stangl, commandant of the Sobibór and of Treblinka extermination camp,
  5. Gustav Wagner assistant to Franz Stangl,
  6. Klaus Barbie, "the Butcher of Lyon",
  7. Edward Roschmann, "the Butcher of Riga",
  8. Aribert Heim, Mauthausen concentration camp's "Dr. Death",
  9. Walter Rauff, believed responsible for nearly 100,000 deaths
  10. Otto Wächter, who from 1939 on, as governor of the Cracow district, Wächter organized the persecution of the Jews and ordered the establishment of the Cracow Ghetto in 1941. Wächter is mentioned as one of the leading advocates in the General Government who were in favor of the Jewish extermination by gassing and as a member of the SS team who under Himmler's supervision and Odilo Globocnik's direction planned Operation Reinhard, the first phase of the Final Solution, leading to the death of more than 2,000,000 Polish Jews. After the war Wächter lived in a Roman monastery "as a monk", under the protection of Bishop Hudal, until 1949, when he died "in the arms" of Bishop Hudal at the Roman hospital of Santo Spirito.
  11. Andrija Artuković, "the Himmler of the Balkans"
  12. Ante Pavelic, head of Catholic Croatia, arguably the most murderous regime in relation to its size in Axis-occupied Europe.

"Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler and most members of the party's "old guard" were Catholics", wrote M. Frederic Hoffet. "It was not by accident that, because of its chiefs' religion, the National-socialist government was the most Catholic Germany ever had. . .  This kinship between National-socialism and Catholicism is most striking if we study closely the propaganda methods and the interior organisation of the party. On that subject, nothing is more instructive than Joseph Goebbel's works. He had been brought up in a Jesuit college and was a seminarian before devoting himself to literature and politics. . .  Every page, every line of his writings recall the teaching of his masters; so he stresses obedience. . .  the contempt for truth. . .  "Some lies are as useful as bread!" he proclaimed by virtue of a moral relativism extracted from Ignatius of Loyola's writings..."

Frederic Hoffet: "L'lmperialisme protestant" (Flammarion, Paris 1948, pp.172 ss).

Nazi leader excommunicated:

In 2008, an internet apologist for Pius XII who calls himself "Tribunus" described this web page of mine as follows: "Your highly unoriginal and mendacious information is simply a regurgitation from your own black propaganda web-site," and proceeded to inform me that Pius XII had in fact excommunicated some of the above.  When pressed, he could give me only one example. Here's what I learned, after a minute's research, about that one example :

"From 1940, the Belgian Roman Catholic hierarchy had banned all uniforms during Mass. On July 25, 1943, in his native Bouillon, (the head of state) Degrelle was told by Dean Rev. Fr. Poncelet to leave a Requiem Mass, as he was wearing his SS uniform, which Church authorities had strictly forbidden. For assaulting, beating up and sequestering the priest, Degrelle was excommunicated. The excommunication was later removed after confession by the Catholic chaplain of the Walloon Assault Brigade when it became clear that the unit was to be engaged on the Cherkassy front line." ( so as to avoid his being sent to hell if he should die in battle with this unforgiven deadly sin on his soul)

[ from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A9on_Degrelle ]

It is obvious from this episode that the Catholic Church's position was torture and kill all the Jews you like, but don't you dare put a finger on a Catholic priest.

One Catholic who is proud of "top Nazis being Roman Catholic":

        After reading this web page of mine, one good Catholic wrote to tell me : Date: Sun, April 27, 2008
"I really did not know that.  It has made me very proud to be a Catholic.
Kind Regards.
Pat O'Callahan"

"MY idea of Catholics to be proud of :

Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, the officer who came closer than anyone to removing Hitler with a suitcase bomb was a devout Roman Catholic. God bless him, that was a truly heroic way of giving his life for his country.

Gordon Zahn was a Catholic social scientist who went to Germany in the 1970's in search of evidence of heroism on the part of Roman Catholics. What he found and eventually wrote about was quite the opposite of what he had hoped to find. Among other findings was the fact that there were only seven known cases of "conscientious objectors" among Catholics during the entire Third Reich. Thanks to Zahn's writing about one of these, one of these was beatified in 2007, and I have published a page about a hero his church won't canonize, because his lonely heroism is a perfect illustration of the truth of the prophet's cry, "Where there is no vision, the people perish".

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