What did Father Josemaria think of Hitler and the Nazis?
In chapter 7 of her book El Hombre de Villa Tevere, Pilar Urbano records:
José Orlandis recalls that in September 1939 (…), “I was alone with the Father in his office and without my asking him anything, he confided to me, ‘This morning I offered Mass for Poland, a Catholic country, which is suffering terribly under the Nazi invasion’.”
Domingo Diaz-Ambrona has left written evidence of a chance meeting with Monsignor Escriva on a train between Madrid and Avila, one day in August 1941. “I had just returned from a trip to Germany, where I had sensed that Catholics were afraid to show their religious convictions. This made me suspicious of Nazism; but, like many Spaniards, I couldn’t really see the negative aspects of the Nazi system and the philosophy behind it, because I was blinded by German propaganda, which presented it as the force which would annihilate Communism. I wanted to know his opinion. I was very surprised by the priest’s uncompromising reply. He had accurate information about the state of the Church and Catholics under Hitler’s regime. Monsignor Escriva spoke to me in strong terms against this anti-Christian regime, with a forcefulness born of his great love for freedom. In Spain at that time, when the Nazis’ many crimes were not yet known about, it was uncommon to find people who condemned the Nazi system so roundly.”
Father Josemaria was opposed to every form of totalitarianism, especially Nazism.
By the end of the thirties, the majority of Spaniards, having lived through the unfortunate experience of the civil war, had deep reservations regarding communism. The same thing did not happen with regard to Nazism. As a matter of fact, not only did the official propaganda, for one reason or another, conceal the crimes of National Socialism, but the Spanish government even prohibited publication of the papal document condemning Nazism. Hence, our founder had to speak out against Nazism, on a number of occasions, as part of his priestly ministry. Precisely because the regime in Germany was looked upon with sympathy in some government circles, he felt it his duty to put on guard those who were overlooking the aberrations of Nazi ideology. He warned against not only its totalitarian nature, but also its discrimination against and persecution of Jews, Catholics, and others, and the paganism so characteristic of Nazi racism. He made great efforts to make known the contents of the papal document condemning Nazism, and to spread it privately. (Cavalleri and Del Portillo, Immersed in God, 1992/1996, p. 22.)
Amadeo de Fuenmayor described Monsignor Escriva’s attitude – “his condemnation of Nazism was decisive” — and gave a long list of “expressions referring to Hitler and his racist system which we heard him say on many occasions.” The following were some of them:
“I abominate all totalitarian regimes.”
“Nazism is a heresy, as well as being a political aberration.”
“I was delighted when the Church condemned it: all Catholics had been thinking the same thing about it in their hearts.”
“Every kind of racism is contrary to God’s law, the natural law.”
“I know there have been many victims of Nazism, and it hurts me. Even one person made a victim for his faith or race, would have been enough to make me condemn the system.”
“I have always thought Hitler was an obsessive, miserable man. A tyrant.” (Pilar Urbano, El Hombre de Villa Tevere, chapter 7.)
Pedro Casciaro said, “With regards to Fascism and Nazism there were no cases of confrontation, as Opus Dei began its stable activity in Italy and Germany when those regimes were no longer in power. On one occasion I heard him [Monsignor Escriva] speak admiringly of Cardinal Faulhaber, who during the Nazi period had had the courage to publish some Advent lectures given in Munich Cathedral.” (Ibid.)
- Pedro Casciaro, Dream and your Dreams will Fall Short, Princeton N.J., 1997
- Cesare Cavalleri and Alvaro Del Portillo, Immersed in God, Princeton N.J. and Manila: 1996
- John F. Coverdale, Uncommon Faith, Princeton N.J. and New York: 2002
- François Gondrand, At God’s Pace, London and New York, 1989
- Andres Vazquez de Prada, The Founder of Opus Dei, vols. 1 and 2, Princeton N.J. 2001 and 2003
- J. M. Cejas, Jose Maria Somoano en los comienzos del Opus Dei, Madrid: Rialp, 1995
- P. Urbano, El Hombre de Villa Tevere, Barcelona: Plaza & Janes, 1995
— Cfr. URBANO, P., El hombre de Villa Tevere, Plaza & Janés, Barcelona 1995, p. 118.
List of Contents
- Is it true that another priest was killed by mistake for Father Josemaria Escriva?
- Why did Father Josemaria go into hiding?
- How did Father Josemaria exercise his priesthood during the Spanish Civil War?
- How and why did Father Josemaria decide to escape across the Pyrenees Mountains?
- Why Burgos?
- Which side were Opus Dei members on in the Spanish Civil War?
- What did Father Josemaria think of Franco and his activities during the Spanish Civil War?
- What contact did Father Josemaria have with the Franco regime?
- What did Father Josemaria say about the reprisals carried out by Franco’s followers during the Spanish Civil War?
- What did Father Josemaria think of Hitler and the Nazis?