Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 18, 1955

The Pope And Peron

Luther W. Martin, St. James, Missouri

Some eight years ago (June, 1947), Eva Peron, the wife of the dictator of Argentina, received an audience with Pius XII, at the Vatican. Upon that occasion, the Roman pontiff bestowed a 'decoration' upon both Eva (now deceased) and upon her husband, Juan Peron, who only recently (June 16, 1955) was excommunicated from the Roman Church by the Pope.

It seems that the head of the Roman Church may bestow, at his discretion, any number of 'decorations' of varying importance upon those persons who happen to bask (at the moment) in his pleasure. At the time of the Peron decorations, rumor had it that the strong man of Argentina was not too pleased with the decoration awarded to him. He received "The Grand Cross of the Plan" .... whatever that is. It is alleged to be the third ranking Vatican decoration, and dates from the year 1847. The supposed purpose for its being given is to 'reward conspicuous deeds in behalf of the Church.'

Some Vatican personages have said that Peron wanted the highest award, which is called the "Supreme Order of Christ" ... and if not that, then at least, the second greatest award, termed "The Order of the Golden Spur." Exactly how much the dictator's personal feelings have entered into his controversy with the Church, in Argentina, cannot be accurately determined.

World War II. .... End Of The Reformation?

Near the beginning of World War II, "Monsignor (My Lord)" Sheen, associate professor of philosophy in Catholic University, Washington, D.C., (now Bishop Sheen, of Admiral TV sponsorship), spoke on the subject entitled, 'The Crisis of Christendom.' This address was made before a meeting sponsored by the Mary Manse Alumnae Association. In this speech, Sheen said .... "WE ARE LIVING AT THE END OF AN ERA, USHERED IN BY THE PROTESTANT REVOLT 400 YEARS AGO — A REVOLT THAT DENIED AUTHORITY, SO THAT AS A RESULT WE HAVE BEEN LIVING WITHOUT GOD, WE HAVE TOSSED HIM OUT OF HIS OWN WORLD."

Please remember, October, 1942, when the above statement was made, was early enough in World War II, that no one knew which side would emerge from the conflict, victorious. At that time, both Hitler and Mussolini had the papal blessing. At that time, the Axis powers appeared to have things well in hand. If the Axis powers had won the war, perhaps Sheen would have been correct in stating that "We are living at the end of an era, ushered in by the Protestant Revolt 400 years ago ..." The only authority denied by the reformers was the Papal authority. Apparently this was the denial of authority that Sheen thought would be brought to an end by World War II, and that with Axis support, the Papal authority would no longer be denied.

The Vatican 'About-Face'

We copy as follows from Mr. Blanshard's book entitled "American Freedom and Catholic Power," page 241: "Unfortunately it must be pointed out, at the risk of seeming to be unappreciative, that there were more Catholics who fought against the United States in the last war than for it, and that the Church dignitaries blessed them all with equal unction. The Pope, as Primate of Italy, naturally blessed his own people with considerable warmth when they fought against American troops, and he also blessed German soldiers at the Vatican several times during the war. The benediction was duly noted by the semiofficial Vatican newspaper, Osservatore Romano. He did not protest when Italian bishops enthusiastically wired Mussolini their pious hope that he would 'crown the unfailing victory of our arms by planting the Italian flag over the Holy Sepulchre.' (New York Herald Tribune, June 28, 1940.)"

Before Pius XI became Pope, while he was still Cardinal of Milan, he gave Mussolini's blackshirts a place of honor in the unveiling ceremonies for the Unknown Warrior in the Milan Cathedral. Copying again from Blanshard, Ibid., page 245;

"On December 20, 1926, Pius XI declared that Mussolini was 'the man sent by Providence,' and his successor as Cardinal Archbishop of Milan called Mussolini 'the New Constantine.' ... In the United States ... the Bishop of Cleveland called Mussolini the 'Man of Destiny,' and Cardinal O'Connell of Boston, who had received a high fascist decoration, exalted him as 'a genius in the field of government, given to Italy by God'."

On page 256, Mr. Blanshard wrote:

"The Catholic Church co-operated gladly with the semi-fascist dictatorship in Argentina when it was established in 1943, and it helped swing enough votes to Peron in the election of 1946 to give him victory. He responded with a decree making the Roman Catholic religion part of the curriculum of the public schools ... In return for the concessions that Peron made to the Church, the Argentine hierarchy has bestowed on him its effusive blessing. Eva Peron's 1947 tour of Europe, after she had been honored by Franco (The Spanish dictator, L.W.M.) with the ancient decoration of Isabella the Catholic, reached a climax in an audience with the Pope ...."

"The New York Herald Tribune of June 25, 1947 said that Peron was hoping 'with the aid of Spain and the Vatican, to build a third great bloc of nations capable of holding a balance of power as between the United States and Russia ... the tie that binds it is to be a common faith in the Roman Catholic Church?

All of Peron's hopes for a further wedding with Romanism are now shattered.

In the past, the Roman Catholic Church has been a 'fellow-traveler' with such dictators as Hitler, Mussolini, Peron, and Franco. Only time will reveal the extent of her political maneuvers for the future. She is still, no doubt, looking for the 'end of the era, ushered in by the Protestant Revolt of 400 years ago.'