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Radio Interview

PopeCrusade_desk (2)


August 13, 2013

On March 19th, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergolio was elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, taking the name Pope Francis. He is the first Jesuit to ascend to the papacy, and his election has refocused world attention on the Vatican and its role in world.

Peter Eisner is a journalist and author who lives in Bethesda, and in his new book, he examines the role of another, much lesser known Jesuit, during the transition between Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII at the start of the second World War. The book is called The Pope’s Last Crusade: How an American Jesuit Helped Pope Pius XI’s Campaign to Stop Hitler, published by William Morrow.

Tom Hall talks to Peter Eisner about popes Pius XI and XII, and the Jesuit who went from serving the poor southern Maryland to helping the Vatican (almost) condemn the Nazis in an official encyclical. LISTEN

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Command Post: The Pope’s Last Crusade


Focus On: WWIIThe Pope’s Last Crusade: How an American Jesuit Helped Pope Pius XI’s Campaign to Stop HitlerBy: Peter Eisner | March 25, 2013
Tags: WWII

As the Nazis increased their threats against the Jews, the pope realized that today it was the Jews, but then it would be the Catho­lics and finally the world. He could see in the day’s news that the Nazis would stop at nothing less than world domination.

Pius envisioned a gesture that would go beyond daily condem­nations of each atrocity uttered by the Nazis. He sought a verbal offensive with a major statement that would attack the underpin­nings of the Nazi machine. Pius appeared to have found the vehi­cle; he had received a copy of a book, Interracial Justice, written by an American Jesuit named John LaFarge. The book portrayed the lives of American blacks who lived in the poorest strata of society. It said the church had to establish itself as a moral force in combat­ing racism in the United States. The pope did not know LaFarge was in Europe and en route to Rome.

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