BUY THE BOOK
How an American Jesuit Helped Pope Pius XI’s Campaign to Stop Hitler
What would have happened before the start of World War II if a great moral voice could have convinced world leaders that the Nazis had to be stopped? THE POPE’S LAST CRUSADE is the fascinating, untold story of Pope Pius XI’s personal campaign against Hitler, Mussolini and antisemitism.
PETER EISNER tells a timely history about how religious leaders acted when faced with worldly decisions. The story carries clear overtones to the present following the choice of Pope Francis I, the first Jesuit pontiff.
On June 25nd 1938, Pope Pius XI enlisted American Jesuit John LaFarge to draft a declaration condemning Nazism and anti-Semitism in the form of a papal encyclical−one of the highest public statements employed by the Holy See−in an attempt to rally world leaders to stop Hitler, Mussolini, and the Nazi onslaught before the start of an impending European war. LaFarge’s recent book, Interracial Justice, which argued that “racialism and nationalism” were fundamentally the same, had come to the Pope’s attention, and Pius XI was confident LaFarge was perfect for the task.
Pope Pius XI’s campaign to stop Hitler was halted by his own death in 1939, at which time Cardinal Pacelli was ordained Pope Pius XII. For seventy years, only parts of this story have been known. With materials heretofore unpublished in English, THE POPE’S LAST CRUSADE reveals Pius XI’s courageous stance, and his intention to declare the Vatican’s rejection of Nazism. With great intrigue and suspense, Eisner deftly recounts how, after the death of Pius XI, Cardinal Pacelli, in league with other conservative churchmen, purposely put a stop to LaFarge’s encyclical, and how, willing to appease Hitler, they plotted in the background to block one of the most significant and progressive pronouncements ever commissioned by the Vatican.
PRAISE FOR The POPE’S LAST CRUSADE
“Eisner brings up important history here….sobering to think what could have been.” — Library Journal
“This narrative reads like a detective story or a true spy tale.” — Americans for Religious Liberty.
“An exciting reminder of how Vatican machinations continue to haunt history.” — KIRKUS REVIEWS