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By Avro Manhattan, Copyright 1949 by Gaer Associations, Inc.

(First published in England by C.A. Watts & Co., Limited, London)

The following is a rare and out of print book.

Avro Manhattan is world-renowned authority on Roman Catholicism in politics. A resident of London, during World War II he operated a radio station called “Radio Freedom,” broadcasting to occupied Europe. He also wrote political commentaries for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). (Ref: http://www.srpska-mreza.com/library/facts/manhattan-vatican.html)


Avro Manhattan

Avro Manhattan

The importance of this book cannot be exaggerated. Properly understood, it offers both a clue and a key to the painfully confused political situation that shrouds the world. No political event or circumstance can be evaluated without the knowledge of the Vatican’s part in it. And no significant world political situation exists in which the Vatican does not play an important explicit or implicit part. As Glenn L. Archer, Executive Director of Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State, puts it, “this book comes to grips with the most vital social and political problems of our day. The author presents with singular clarity and without bias the conflicts between the Roman Church and the freedoms of democracy.” This book is valuable also in that it brings to light historical facts hitherto kept secret, many of them published here for the first time. The author coped with great difficulties when he attempted to compress into the confines of a single volume the great mass of material available. For that reason he had to leave out many valuable discussions. And some were omitted because the cases dealt with remained still unresolved. That is the reason no mention is to be found of the case of Archbishop Stepinac of Yugoslavia, and there is only a brief mention of the case of Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary—cases which at the time this book was published were on the schedule of the United Nations for investigation. But sufficient evidence is presented in other cases to enable the reader to evaluate current events and similar situations. ———Guy Emery Shipler June 199449


Within the last few decades, amid the rumblings and the ruins of two World Wars, the United States of America has emerged paramount and dynamic on the stage of global politics.

From across the great land mass of Eurasia, Russia—the bastion of Communism, equally dynamic in its struggle to build up new political structure—is challengingly waiting for the tumbling of the old pattern of society, confident that time is on her side.

At the same time, the Catholic Church, seemingly preoccupied only with its religious tasks, is feverishly engaged in a race for the ultimate spiritual conquest of the world.

But whereas the exertions of the U.S.A. and of the U.S.S.R., are followed with growing apprehension, those of the Vatican are seldom scrutinized. Yet not a single event of importance that has contributed to the present chaotic state of affairs has occurred without the Vatican taking an active part in it.

The Catholic population of the world—-400 millions—-is more numerous than that of the United States and Soviet Russia put together. When it is remembered that the concerted activities of this gigantic spiritual mass depend on the lips of a single man, the apathy of non-Catholic American should swiftly turn to keenest attention. His interest, furthermore, should increase when he is made aware that the United States is intimately involved in the attainment of both the immediate and the ultimate goals of the Vatican.

These goals are:

1. The annihilation of Communism and of Soviet Russia.
2. The spiritual conquest of the U.S.A.
3. The ultimate Catholicization of the world.
Do these goals seem fantastic?

Unfortunately they are neither speculation nor wild and idle dreams. They are as indisputable and as inextricably a part of contemporary history as the rise of Hitler, the defeat of Japan, the splitting of the atom, the existence of Communism. Indeed the inescapable alternative by which mankind today is confronted is not whether this will be the American or the Russian Century, but whether this might not after all become the Catholic Century.

Surely, then, the nature, aims and workings of the Catholic Church deserve some scrutiny. The American citizen, perturbed by the past, bewildered by the present and made increasingly anxious about the future, would do well to ponder the exertions of the Vatican in contemporary American and world politics. His destiny as well as the destiny of the United States, and indeed of mankind, has been and will continue to be profoundly affected by the activities of an institution which, although a church, is nonetheless as mighty a political power as the mightiest nation on the planet.

————Avro Manhattan London, 1949


To write about the influence exercised by religion in general, and by Christianity in particular, in the affairs of a century preoccupied with gigantic ethical, social, economic, and political problems, might seem at first a waste of time. For religion, although still deeply rooted in the modern world, is no longer a factor that can seriously compete with the more cogent forces of an economic and social nature by which our contemporary civilization is convulsed.

Religion has lost, and continues to lose, ground everywhere. The individual, as well as society, is far more concerned with weekly wages, the exploitation of raw materials, the financial budget, unemployment, the race towards perfecting the best tools of destruction and untrapping cosmic forces, and thousands of other problems of a practical nature.

Yet to assume as is generally the case, that religion is today relegated into the background whence it cannot to say serious extent influence the course of political events either in the domestic or international spheres, would be to maintain an illusion that does not correspond to actuality.

Especially is this so in the case of one particular brand of Christianity—-namely “Catholicism”. For Catholicism, notwithstanding its enormous loss in numbers and influence, is more alive and aggressive than ever, and exercises a greater influence on the national and international events which culminated in the First and Second World Wars than at first seems possible.

This is sustained, not by mere theoretical assertions, but by crude reality. Other religions or religious denominations continue to exercise a more or less great influence on modern society, but their ability to shape the course of events cannot in any way be compared with that of the Catholic Church.

This is due to several factors peculiar to the Catholic Church of which the most characteristic are the following:—

1. (a) Catholicism’s numerical strength, its nominal members, a few years after World War II, approximately 400,000,000. (b) The fact that the bulk of Catholics live in the leading continents–e.g., Europe and the Americas.

(c) The fact that the Catholic Church has Catholics in every corner of the world.

2. The spirit that moves the Catholic Church and which makes it act with the firm conviction that its fundamental mission is to convert the whole of mankind, not to Christianity, but to Catholicism.

3. The fact that the Catholic Church, unlike Protestantism or any other religion, has a formidable religious organization spreading over the whole planet. At the head of this organization stands the Pope, whose task is to maintain and proclaim the immutability of certain spiritual principles on which Catholicism stands. His efforts are directed to the furtherance of the interests of the Catholic Church in the world. The cumulative effort of these factors is the creation of a compact religious-spiritual bloc, which is the most efficient and militant power of its kind in the modern world.

The Catholic Church, more than any other religious denomination, cannot confine itself to a merely religious sphere. For the fact that it believes its mission to be that of maintaining and furthering the spiritual dominion of Catholicism brings it immediately into contact—and very often conflict—with fields adjoining religion. Religious principles consist not only of theological and spiritual formulæ, but invariably of moral and ethical, and often of social elements. As they cannot be neatly dissected, and as it is impossible to label each one separately according to its religious, moral, ethical, or social nature, it is extremely difficult to separate them. Whenever religious dogmas are favorably or adversely affected, moral, ethical, and social principles are automatically involved.

As religious principles affect ethical and social principles, the step from these to the economic, and finally political, sphere is very short. In many cases this sequence is unavoidable, and even when it is thought advisable to keep religious problems within the purely religious field, this is in reality an impossibility, owing to this multiple nature of spiritual principles. The practical consequence of this is that, whenever a given Church proclaims, condemns, or favors a certain spiritual principle, its condemnation or support reverberates in semi-religious and even non-religious fields; consequently the Church, whether willingly or not, influences problems which are not its direct concern.

In the particular case of the Catholic Church, this is brought to an extreme, for the simple reason that Catholicism is more rigid than any other religion as regards the spiritual field. To this is added the fact that a good Catholic owes blind obedience to his Church and must put his Church’s interest before any social or political matter. Since this body comprising millions of such Catholics, living all over the world, hangs on the words of the Pope, it is easy to see the long-range power that the Catholic Church can exercise in non-religious spheres.

To given an illustration: the Catholic Church, in its quality of a religious institution, asserts that when a man and a woman are united by the sacrament of matrimony, no power on earth can loose the bonds between them. Modern society, on the other hand, admitting that a marriage might be a failure, has created a set of ethical and legal tenets according to which those bonds may be cut. As the Catholic Church considers this to be wrong, it endeavors to fight such principles by all means in its power. It not only condemns this to be wrong, it endeavors to fight such principles by all means in its power. It not only condemns them in the religious-moral field, but orders all Catholics to reject and fight the principles and practice of divorce. Thus, when a Catholic becomes a member of the legislative body of a given country where a Bill legalizing divorce comes up for discussion, he must put his religious duty first and fight and vote against such a Bill. In this way the religious issue of divorce becomes not only a question of moral and ethical principles, but also a social problem of great importance.

Another typical example is that, whereas modern society and modern ethics have accepted the theory and use of contraceptives, these are condemned by the Catholic Church, which asserts that the only function of the union of the sexes is procreation. This it asserts regardless of social or economic factors, such as whether the children thus born will have sufficient food to eat, whether they will get adequate education, and so on. The cumulative result of this religious injunction is that millions of married couples, to obey the law of their Church, procreate regardless of their own or their country’s social and economic condition, thus producing or aggravating serious problems of a demographic, economic, or political nature.

The Church asserts that it has the right to teach moral principles as well as religious ones. It declares, for instance, that the right of private ownership is inviolable, which is against the principles of a great movement of social, economic, and political character known under the general term of “Socialism.” As Socialism, in its various shapes and forms, is a purely social and political movement, trying to enforce its principles on the economic, social, and political life of society, it follows that it is bound to incur the hostility of the Catholic Church. Such hostility automatically leads the Church into social and political arenas. Catholics, because they must blindly obey their Church, must fight the theory and practice of Socialism; and this they do in their capacity as citizens, Members of Parliament, or as individuals in the ranks of some powerful political party.

There are innumerable cams of this kind, from which it is evident that the Catholic Church cannot avoid interfering in social and political issues. The practical result of this interference of religious and moral tenets in non-religious fields is that the Catholic Church is continually intervening, in one way or another, in the social and political life of society in general and of certain countries and individuals in particular. This interference may be of a mild or violent nature, depending on the reaction of the non-religious spheres to the voice of the Church.

Thus it happens that Catholic countries, where the legislation of the State has been drawn up according to the principles of the Catholic Church, find themselves in harmony with the Catholic Church’s condemnation or support of any issue. For instance, a Catholic Government will introduce laws forbidding divorce, penalizing the use of contraceptives, and banishing all activities propagating the idea that private

ownership is evil and should be abolished. result will be that in such a country Parliament will pass these against divorce, will close shops selling contraceptives, and imprison any individual and ban any movement actively hostile to the idea of private ownership.

But when, instead of an obedient Catholic Government, the Catholic Church is confronted by an indifferent, or even hostile, Parliament, then conflict is inevitable. The State and Church declare on each other. The conflict may end in stalemate, or a compromise may be reached, or the struggle may take the form of relent and open hostility. The State will pass such legislation as it :deems necessary, regardless of the Church. It may allow divorce, and it may recognize -the right of a given political party to wage war on private ownership. The Church then replies by ordering its clergy to preach against such laws -and advising all Catholics to oppose them and the Government that passed them. All papers owned by Catholics take a stand against the Government, and individual Catholic members of the Government vote against any legislation that conflicts with the principles of the Church; while religious, social, and political organizations formed by Catholics boycott such laws. A political party, possibly a Catholic party, is created, whose task is to bring about a Government in harmony with the Church and to fight those parties which preach doctrines contrary to those of Catholicism. A bitter political struggle is initiated.

At this point it should be remembered that the Catholics opposing either their Government or other political parties are guided (a) by the rigid and dogmatic tenets of Catholicism, and (b) by the Supreme Leader of the Catholic Church-namely, the Pope.

It is asserted by Catholics that the Pope never interferes in politics. We shall show later that he does interfere sometimes directly; but even if this were not so, it is obvious that he interferes in politics indirectly each time that he orders Catholics to fight certain legislation or a social doctrine, or political party which, in his opinion, conflicts with Catholicism. To quote a classical example: when Leo XIII wrote his Rerum Novarum, although he did not directly interfere with the politics of his time, he charged full tilt into the political arena by explicitly condemning the social and political doctrines of Socialism -and by advising Catholics to organize themselves under Catholic trade unions and create Catholic political parties.

This power of the Catholic Church to interfere in social and political spheres is rendered infinitely more dangerous by the fact that it is not limited to any given country: it reaches all countries in which there are Catholics. Thus there is no continent where the Pope cannot influence, to a greater or less degree, the social and political life of the community.

It is evident from this that the Catholic Church can exercise an indirect as well as a direct influence, not only in the internal problems of -a country, but also in the international sphere. By creating or supporting certain political parties and by combating others, the Church can become a political power of the first magnitude in any given country. This attribute is enhanced by the fact that the Catholic Church can act as a political power also in international problems. It may, for instance, influence certain Catholic countries and Catholic Governments either to support or to fight issues of an international character, or it may indicate its wishes to international gatherings, such -as the League of Nations. Thus, between the two world wars, it made obvious a desire that Soviet Russia should not be admitted to the League, and during the Abyssinian War it claimed that sanctions against Fascist Italy should be lifted.

What proportion of the Catholic populations follows the lead of the Catholic Church in social and political matters? This question arises in view of the enormous inroads of scepticism amongst the masses, and the increasing hostility shown by a great section of modern society to the direct and indirect interference of the Church in political problems.

In nominally Catholic countries (France, Italy, Spain, Poland), notwithstanding the widespread indifference of the population, the Catholic Church still exerts a very deep influence, rendered, effective by the efforts of a zealous minority. It has been estimated that a nominally Catholic country is divided into the following propor. tions: one-fifth actively anti-clerical, one-fifth zealous Catholics, and the remaining three-fifths neither actively hostile to nor sup. porting the Catholic Church, but on certain occasions throwing their weight in favor of the first or the second group. Even on the basis of these proportions, the Pope would have a formidable army of active Catholics fighting his battle in the social and political spheres; and this in every nominally Catholic country in Europe and the Americas. In Protestant countries, where Catholics are in a minority, the proportion of the Catholic population who are active Catholics is usually far higher than in Catholic countries. When these active millions move together to achieve the same aim-namely, to further the power of the Catholic Church in society-being directed under a single leadership, being made to act according to a well-defined plan, and entering the political -arena in the internal and external spheres, it does not require any great imagination to grasp the extent of the influence they ran exert.

The master-mind directing the moves of these various Catholic organizations and parties in the fields of regional, national, and international social and political struggle naturally resides in the centre of Catholicism-namely, the Vatican. The better to exert its double activity (religious and political), the Catholic Church has two facets: first, the religious institution, the Catholic Church itself; secondly, the political power, the Vatican. Although they deal separately, whenever convenient, with problems affecting religion and politics, the two are in reality one. At the head of both stands the Pope, who is the supreme religious leader of the Catholic Church as a purely spiritual power, as well as the supreme head of the Vatican in its quality of a world-wide diplomatic-political centre and an independent sovereign State.

According to circumstances, the Pope, to further the power of the Catholic Church, approaches a problem either as a purely religious leader or as the head of a diplomatic political centre, or both. The role of the Catholic Church as a political power becomes prominent when the Pope has to deal with social and political movements or with States with whom he wants to bargain or to strike an alliance in order to fight a common enemy.

It sometimes becomes necessary for the Catholic Church to ally itself with forces which not only are non-religious or non-Catholic, but are even hostile to religion. This occurs when the Catholic Church, being confronted by enemies which it cannot overcome alone, sees itself compelled to find allies who also desire the destruction of such enemies. Thus, for instance, after the First World War, when it seemed as if Bolshevism would conquer Europe, political movements in various countries with the intention of checking it. These found an immediate and ready ally in the Catholic Church, whose fulminations against the Socialist doctrines were becoming more and more virulent with the increase of the danger. Some of these movements were known by the names of Fascism, Nazism, Falangism, and so on. The Pope made these alliances effective by employing the influence of the Catholic Church as a religious institution, and of the Vatican as a diplomatic-political centre. In the first case the faithful were told that it was their duty to support such-and-such politician, or party, who, although not Catholic, yet was bent on the destruction of the mortal enemies of the Catholic Church. In the second case bargains were effected through its nuncios, cardinals, and local hierarchies. Above all orders were given to the leaders of Catholic social-political organizations or Catholic parties to support the Vatican’s chosen ally. In certain instances, even, they were bidden to dissolve themselves in order to give way to a non-Catholic party which had better chances of bringing about the destruction of a given political movement hostile to the Catholic Church. We shall have occasion to examine striking examples of this later on in the book.

To carry out these activities in the religious and non-religious fields the Pope has at his disposal an immense machinery by which he can rule the Catholic Church throughout the world. The main function of this machinery is not -only to serve the purpose of the Church as a religious institution, but also as a diplomaticpolitical centre. For social and political matters the Catholic Church has a second vast organization which, although separate from the first, is nevertheless correlated with it. Although each set of machinery has a specific sphere in which to act, both are made to move in order to achieve the same aim: the maintenance and futherance of the dominion of the Catholic Church in the world. As the one is dependent upon the other, and as both are very often employed at the same time, it would be useful to examine, not only the specific task of each, but also the goals they have to reach,, their methods of working, and, above all, the spirit in which they are made to function.

Before proceeding further, let us glance at the official seat of the Catholic Church- namely, the Vatican State.

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About James Arendt

Born in 1950 and raised in Chicago Illinois, USA.
Served in the USAF from 1970 in San Antonio, Texas, Biloxi Mississippi, Sacramento California and Asaka, Japan and honorably discharged in 1974.
Became a full time missionary for Christ and served in Russia, China and Japan for 44 years and counting.
Lives by faith in God's supply with no fixed job or income.
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