July 2003 Newsletter

Association of Contemporary Church Historians

(Arbeitsgemeinschaft kirchlicher Zeitgeschichtler)

John S. Conway, Editor. University of British Columbia

Newsletter- July 2003- Vol. IX, no . 7

Dear Friends,
A thought for today’s distress:

Recently a chapel in Oxford Cathedral was dedicated to Bishop George Bell
of Chichester 1929-58, who was tireless in his efforts to promote the cause
of peace, justice and ecumenical friendship. In the floor in front of
the altar, a stone slab bears a quotation from his writings:
„No nation, no church, no individual is guiltless.
Without repentance, without forgiveness,
There can be no regeneration”


1) Book reviews:

a) C. Brown, The death of Christian Britain
b) Kreutzer, Das Reichskirchenministerium
c) Alvarez, Espionage in the Vatican

2) Book notes:

Joly, Xavier Vallat
Lepp and Nowak, Evangelische Kirche
Palm, Evangelische Kirchentag
Bergen, War and Genocide

3) Recent Articles

4) Research outline – Schoerner, The Myron Taylor Mission

5) New Religious Freedom News Service

1) Book reviews:

a) Callum G.Brown, The death of Christian Britain, London and New York:
Routledge 2001 256 pp.

The provocative title of this study by a senior scholar of Strathclyde
University in Glasgow is bound to cause great controversy, not only for his
sweeping assertions but also for his daring hypotheses. But his intention
is not epater le bourgeois with his challenging conclusion: “The culture
of Christianity has gone in the Britain of the new millennium. Britain is
showing the world how religion as we have known it can die”. Rather his
aim is to dispute the prevailing theories about the process of
secularization as they have developed and dominated discussion for over a
century. To this task he brings a striking vision based on wide research in
conditions of English and Scottish popular religion.

Secularization, as is widely believed in many quarters, began with the
Enlightenment and the growth of rationality. It sought to liberate mankind
from the churches‚ political, social and mental control, by refuting
superstition and unverifiable dogmas, by liberating morality from the
clutches of the clergy, and by offering the prospect of humanistic growth
and progress. For most of the champions of this view, this was a
teleological irreversible process – an end much to be desired.
On the other side, those who deplored what they saw as the falling away
from the faith practices of earlier generations were apt to lay the blame
on the insidious impact of modernization. In their nostalgia, they
envisaged a rural church-going Britain of villages, each with its own
historic parish church, a stable and God-fearing society. The rise of
industrialization, the building of dark satanic mills, and the consequent
evils of urbanization, are held to be the root causes of the regrettable
secularizing effects ever since.

Callum Brown disputes both these views. Instead, he contends that Britain
between 1800 and 1960 was a highly religious nation. This period can be
seen as the nation’s last puritan age, when the majority of the population
voluntarily accepted a strict Christian moral code, drawn from the
teachings of evangelicalism in both its English and Scottish varieties.
This kind of Christianity formed the identity of individual men and women
of all classes. The central chapters of this study examine the nature of
this discourse, particularly in the nineteenth century from literary
sources, and in the twentieth from oral testimonies. In sum, Callum Brown
seeks to show that the nineteenth century saw the greatest and most
successful exercise in Christian proselytizing Britain had ever seen.

De-Christianization, he claims, took place much later and much more
rapidly than previously asserted. Only in the last fifty years has this
decline in religiosity become paramount, but its impact has been far more
influential than has been acknowledged so far. Today a vast chasm
separates us from the world of the 1950s, which Callum Brown believes was
the last high point when religion mattered deeply in British society. But
it stopped mattering in the 1960s, when a sudden plunge took place,
reflected in all pertinent religious statistics. As a sociologist, Callum
Brown is at home with the use of statistics, which are fortunately here
used only sparingly, but at the same time is well aware of the pitfalls
which arise in attempting to quantify such a subjective subject as
religious loyalties and beliefs. But he is not so much interested in
charting the decline of the Christian institutions over the past fifty
years as in the significant loss of the Christian perspective, which had
formed the mental and moral world of the population in earlier centuries.

It is the disappearance in the last few decades of the Christian, and more
centrally the Evangelical, discourse which Brown sees as the crucial
turning point, after which the vast majority of Britons no longer drew
their sense of identity from this particular religious heritage.

No less challenging are the principal reasons Brown finds to be
responsible. Instead of picking on the alienation of the working classes,
or the defection of the intellectuals, Brown suggests that the crucial
factor was the breach in the relationship between women and Christian piety
in the 1960s, which caused secularization. This startling and novel
hypothesis is based on the premise that the long-standing evangelical
discourse, especially in the nineteenth century, prioritized the piety of
women, leading to the wave of feminisation of the churches, and the
attendant habits of public morality. Its success after 1800 set up the
pattern of religiosity (and respectability) for a hundred and fifty years.
But it was to be overthrown when the younger women of the decade of the
1960s repudiated this categorization of their social identity. Aided and
abetted by their partners, this was the decade when major attacks were
launched against the traditional British morality. The 1960s saw the ending
of moral censorship of literature, the legalizing of homosexuality and
abortion, the granting of easier divorce and the emergence of the women’s
liberation movements. Structural “realities” of social class eroded.
Self-evident “truths” were abandoned. Pop culture produced new “deities”.
The mass cultural discourse changed radically.

The immediate victim was Christianity, challenged most influentially by
the re-crafting of femininity. Indeed, Brown emphasizes, the central
feature was what he calls the simultaneous de-feminization of piety and the
de-pietization of femininity. Feminine rebellion against their
traditional roles gave rise not only to a wholly new consciousness of
male-female relationships but also a large-scale abandonment of the female
relationship to God. This led not just to a collision with the churches
but with Christianity as a whole. It effectively brought to an end a
whole century of endeavour by what Brown calls the salvation industry. And
it has produced a whole generation deprived of the cultural discourse which
formed the identity of their forebears. Brown does not undertake to
suggest what might replace this lost Christian heritage, but notes the
inarticulate character of the current generation’s response to “spiritual”
matters. In place of the Christian tradition we now have a pluralistic,
incoherent co-existence of multiple views, whether for better or worse.

The search for personal faith is now in the “New Age” of cults, personal
development and consumer choice. But, in Brown‚s view, the universal
world-view of Christianity which shaped so many British identities before
1950 seemed impossible to recreate. British culture is now pioneering new
discursive territory. British Christianity is effectively dead, even if the
wishful thinking of surviving church members keeps the skeleton alive for a
few more years.

Callum Brown does not attempt to put his findings in any wider context,
though many of his arguments could be applied, say, to Germany. He notes
that a discursive conflict is still underway in North America, but
completely excludes Ireland, which is certainly an exceptional case. But
questions still arise about his analysis of the British mainland scene.
First and foremost, despite his obvious acquaintance with the religious
heritage of evangelicalism, his arguments for its demise seem
short-circuited, or even one-sided. Larger trends in twentieth century
history than the status of feminine piety surely need to be considered. No
mention at all was made of the disastrous crisis of credibility caused by
the two world wars, especially the first. In the opinion of this reviewer,
the symptoms here so clearly enunciated were the fruit of a deeper
undermining of the faith content in all European Christianity, which can be
dated to 1914-1918. But it would require another book to substantiate such
a claim. In the meantime Callum Brown’s stimulating and forceful account
will provoke much debate and argument, which was presumably his purpose.

b) Heike Kreutzer, Das Reichskirchenministerium im Gefüge der
nationalsozialistischen Herrschaft. Düsseldorf: Droste Verlag. 2000
390pp. ISBN 3-7700-1610-6
(This review first appeared in German History, Vol. 20 No 3, October 2002)

The Ministry of Church Affairs established by Hitler in 1935 was a
desperate measure designed to bring the churches into line with Nazi
policies. It was doomed to failure throughout its short existence. Not
only did the churches resent the re-imposition of state control, after this
had been abolished in 1919, but even more strikingly the Nazi hierarchy was
split over the whole project, and effectively sabotaged the plans of the
one and only Minister, Hanns Kerrl.

Heike Kreutzer is the first scholar to undertake a complete research of the
records of this Ministry, which for decades were held by the authorities in
East Germany and inaccessible to most western scholars. Now that the
archives have been reunited, a full picture can be obtained. The story is
a regrettable piece of chicanery. But Kreutzer ably elucidates the main
lines of why the Ministry was established, how the hapless and outgunned
figure of Kerrl attempted to gain political momentum, and his successive
failures. She is also good at documenting the intrigues of the anti-Kerrl
factions, which carried much more weight in the notoriously feuding
structures of the Nazi government. She therefore sees the fate of this
Ministry as part of the “authoritarian anarchy” which characterized the
Nazi regime.

In 1933 Hitler hoped that the churches would enthusiastically join in his
attempt to remodel German society. But institutionally, the church
leaders clung to their autonomy, and blocked the dynamic momentum of the
Nazi ideology. In this situation, the Nazis‚ failure to develop a
coherent church policy became apparent. To be sure, its radical wing,
including Hitler, instinctively repudiated both Christianity and its
institutions. But other Nazis, like Kerrl, were still inclined to mobilize
the national sympathies of churchmen and therefore saw the usefulness of
church structures for the Party‚s goals. The initial attempt to align the
Protestant churches with the Nazi wishes, through the appointment of the
newly installed Reich Bishop, Ludwig Müller, was counter-productive. So
too the Catholics, despite the Concordat, opposed the attacks on their
milieu. Setting up this new Ministry was supposed to lead to a coherent
policy, but in fact satisfied no one.

Kerrl’s naively pietistic view that National Socialism was identical
with true Christianity, or that Jesus wasn’t really a Jew, only led to
ridicule from his more powerful rivals, Bormann, Rosenberg or Goebbels.
Indeed the latter rightly noted that “Kerrl wants to preserve the churches,
we want to liquidate them”. With colleagues such as this, it was not
surprising that Kerrl never gained weight in the Party, nor Hitler’s
backing. In any case the Ministry was too small and too new to carry
influence, despite all of Kerrl‚s bravado. Frustration and resignation
marked his period in office. Perhaps luckily, before his internal opponents
could eliminate him politically, Kerrl died in December 1941, and was given
a grandiose Nazi funeral.

Kreutzer’s last two chapters deal respectively with the policies adopted
towards the Catholic and Protestant churches, and form the meat of this
study. In 1933 Hitler signed the Concordat with the Vatican for the sake
of the international prestige involved. But Nazi radicals resented the
legal constraints on their totalitarian ambitions. The head of the Catholic
section of Kerrl’s ministry, an ex-priest Joseph Roth, whose hatred of his
former associates now led him to champion the Concordat‚s annulment,
abetted them. Despite a number of attempts, in the end Hitler, for a
variety of reasons, drew back and left the situation unresolved. So too,
Kerrl’s policy towards the Protestant churches ended in failure. His
initial display of goodwill by building a coalition of moderate elements
was undermined both by the Nazi extremists and by the suspicions of the
more stringently dogmatic Confessing Church about the Party‚s intentions.
Neither of these groups accepted Kerrl’s view that Christianity and Nazism
could be combined in harmony. Kerrl never possessed the influence or the
power to resolve this dilemma. In February 1937 his policy was openly
sabotaged when Hitler intervened to order new church elections – which in
fact never took place. By the end of the year, Hitler abandoned all
attempts to bring the churches into line, and in fact never officially met
with Kerrl again. When he died, Kerrl’s policy was in ruins.

Heike Kreutzer thus provides the archival evidence for an analysis whose
main lines were already well known. For reasons of length, she refrained
from including any documents from church archives, which would have shown
their reactions to the contradictory and convoluted policies of the Church
Ministry. But her achievement is to show clearly enough the malevolence of
the Nazis‚ attempt to impose their will on the German churches. Sad to
say, very much the same policy was adopted by the Communists in the German
Democratic Republic after 1949, with equal lack of success. But that is
another story.
J S.C.

c) David Alvarez, Spies in the Vatican. Espionage and Intrigue from
Napoleon to the Holocaust. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas.
2002. 341pp

Some years ago David Alvarez assisted Fr. Robert Graham in writing a book
on the Nazi agents who tried to infiltrate the Vatican bureaucracy at the
height of the Second World War. His researches led him on to investigate
the subject over a longer period, and to look at how the Vatican‚s
operations became an object of espionage and intrigue over the past two
centuries. At the same time, he also looks at the kind of responses the
papal officials endeavoured to put in place to thwart such unwelcome
activities, as well as to provide successive Popes with their own body of

Up to 1870 the Papacy exercised territorial sovereignty over large parts
of Italy. It was therefore suspect to other powers, such as France and
Austria, whose agents often successfully intercepted the Pope‚s mail or
waylaid his messengers for their own ends. When the newly established
Kingdom of Italy conquered the Papal States, the Pope refused to recognize
his defeat, and broke off relations. Consequently, the Italian
government could only resort to clandestine means of keeping tabs on this
enemy, and built up a large network of informers in the now tiny state. By
the end of the nineteenth century, the Vatican’s international standing had
sunk very low and consequently it was regarded as hardly significant by
other powers.

But, in 1914, both sides in the Great War began to recognize the potential
value of having Papal moral support. They sought to find out more about
the Vatican’s policies and priorities, sometimes legally through accredited
diplomats, sometimes illegally by reading the Papal ciphers – which alas!
were shockingly primitive. Benedict XV was the first Pope to realize that
espousing the cause of peace could enhance papal influence. His successor,
Pius XI, similarly added prestige by abandoning the Vatican’s territorial
claims and relied solely on the weapons of the spirit. But anti-clericals
continued to be hostile, suspecting that the Pope had spies in every
Catholic parish, linked in a vast international network. Alternatively they
could believe that political conspiracy was one of the sacraments of the
Catholic Church. Others were dismissive: – “how many divisions has the

But, in effect, by the time of the Second World War, many nations were
sufficiently concerned to try and find out what the Pope was up to. It was
not only the Nazis who kept a close watch, or deciphered the papal
dispatches. Alvarez spells out the various stratagems adopted by a number
of interested powers and has researched widely in the intelligence files in
Paris, Rome, Madrid, London and Washington. He successfully captures the
atmosphere of rumours and intrigue which prevailed at the Holy See – in
part because it was so small and intimate that foreign diplomats and
journalists had very little to do but speculate. Covert political
warfare and disinformation were common hazards. The Vatican authorities
were obliged to spend far too much of their time setting things right or
issuing denials of far-fetched allegations.

For its part, it was only after the Vatican established professional
courses for training its own diplomats that it could be in a position to
carry out its worldwide political missions with success. The future Pope
Pius XII was one of the more prominent of these first recruits. But even
when he ascended the papal throne in 1939, the Holy See’s diplomatic corps
was tiny, and not all of its appointments were a success, as
Pacelli’s successor in Berlin, Cesare Orsenigo, demonstrated.

The Vatican itself was not above covert operations designed to advance the
Catholic cause. But the clandestine moves undertaken, for example, in the
Soviet Union in the 1920s, in an attempt to ordain secret bishops, were
singularly inept and led to total failure. The more recent example of
China would seem to have fared no better. Relations with these hostile
dictatorships varied between fervent and outright denunciations on the one
hand, and attempts to work out a modus vivendi on the other. Since these
aims contradicted each other, success was very limited, as Alvarez shows.
Even after the 1929 Lateran agreements between the Vatican and Italy had
restored some normality in their relations, Mussolini’s agents still kept
the papal retinue under surveillance, mainly through junior officials or
“loyal” Catholics who could be suborned. Journalists were easily bribable
– and some of them were priests. At the same time, the Vatican’s
telephones were regularly tapped. An Italian spy was smuggled into the
Secretariat of State. After 1933, the Nazis also sought to mount their own
intelligence leads in to the Vatican, led by a renegade priest Albert
Hartl. Here Alvarez recapitulates his earlier work, covering too the
debatable moves when the Pope assisted members of the German resistance
movement by passing on – very cautiously – their messages to the British
government. These moves became known to the Nazi hierarchy, and elaborate
measures had to be taken to divert their suspicions. Alvarez most
successfully conveys the whole cloak-and-dagger atmosphere of those years.
He also does not fail to point out that the Vatican authorities were never
very security conscious, and that they had neither the resources nor the
appetite for serious counter-espionage. Despite this rather obvious fact,
many powers, including the United States, continued to believe that the
Vatican housed a treasure trove of political, economic, and military
secrets assiduously collected and transmitted to Rome by faithful Catholics
around the globe.

Alvarez thus does us a useful service in debunking most of the myths about
“papal power”, and in describing the failure of most efforts to reveal the
Vatican’s alleged “secrets”. Of course, it was not his aim to analyze the
actual policies pursued by Pope Pius XII. Instead he exposes the vast array
of misinformation invented by agents starved of real news, but busy
peddling rumours to gullible governments, trying to penetrate the closed
secretive world of the Holy See. In reality, the papal intelligence
activities were very limited, and fell far short of the fantasies of the
often hostile web-spinners. The Secretariat of State and most nunciatures
were understaffed and highly conservative in their modes of operation. The
officials were often ill informed about world affairs. The worldwide clergy
were never mobilized to provide political intelligence. The Vatican’s
communications were regularly deciphered or intercepted.

Alvarez builds a good case for minimizing the Vatican‚s intelligence
achievements in the age of the dictators. But he omits perhaps the most
inhibiting circumstance, especially towards the end of the war. This was
the sense of impending disaster, as the Europe so beloved by the Popes was
bombed to bits by weapons of mass destruction. The claustrophobia suffered
by the Vatican and its impotence to bring about a cessation of hostilities
were even more significant. Even if the Vatican had had the espionage
network its enemies assumed, these factors could not have been overcome.
Alvarez’s survey concludes with the correct observation that the Vatican
never had the resources to match the intelligence activities of other
powers. It sought to protect its interests and to project its influence as
best it could with inadequate means. This still remains the Vatican’s
unresolved dilemma.

2) Book notes:

a) Laurent Joly, Xavier Vallat. De nationalisme chretien a
l‚antisemitisme d‚Etat. Paris: Grasset 2001. 466pp

Xavier Vallat is known to history as the Commissioner General for the
Jewish Question in Marshal Petain‚s Vichy Government. He became notorious
as the architect of what his biographer calls „the most elaborate and the
severest series of regulations in Europe‰ directed against the Jews. His
antisemitism was not, however, a copy of Nazi racial hatred. Rather, it was
formed by a mixture of Catholic prejudice, anti-communism, anti-Free
Masonry, and xenophobia. The Jews, Vallat believed, incorporated these
perils and had to be kept under control. Only those Jews prepared to be
fully integrated to French national values could be exempted. As a
politician of the extreme right, a militant Catholic, and a leader of World
War veterans, Vallat welcomed the Vichy regime as a means of putting France
back on the right track. But his fanaticism proved too much and he was
dismissed in May 1942, i.e. before his successor collaborated in sending
deportation trains from Paris to Auschwitz. But Vallat certainly prepared
the way for most of the foreign Jews in France to lose their lives. Laurent
Joly seeks to explain why in this fully researched biography.

b) C.Lepp and K.Nowak eds., Evangelische Kirche im geteilten Deutschland
(1945-1989/90), Gottingen: Vanderhoeck & Ruprecht 2001 346pp

Claudia Lepp and Kurt Nowak have edited a useful introductory survey of
the history of the German Evangelical Church between 1945 and 1989/90.
Several well-known scholars have contributed their perspectives around the
central question: can the history of this church be described as being of
one piece, or did the separate paths between the western Bonn Republic and
the German Democratic Republic mean that in fact two separate churches
existed which require different treatments. The contributors deny this, but
admit the complexity of trying to maintain a unified historiography. The
difficulties are spelt out in one of the essays, which points out that the
overthrow of the communist regime led to similar conditions as had happened
with the defeat of the Nazi regime in 1945, when the necessary purgation of
the church was accompanied with moralistic judgments, based often on highly
problematic source material. Particularly the use of the former Stasi
(secret police) materials raises major issues for historians.

c) Dirk Palm, “Wir sind doch Bruder!”. Der evangelische Kirchentag und die
deutsche Frage 1949-1961, (Arbeiten zur Kirchlichen Zeitgeschichte. Reihe
B:Darstellungen, Bd 36) Gottingen: Vanderhoeck & Ruprecht. 2002 360 pp

The latest in the prestigious series of scholarly treatments published by
the official church history office of the German Evangelical Church deals
with the story of possibly the most successful experiment in church life
since 1945. Inspired by several notable laymen in the desolate aftermath
of the Nazi era, this plan was to organize large-scale church rallies which
would serve three purposes: first, to provide a meeting ground for the
informed laity to become better acquainted with their faith; second, a
vehicle for expressing the Church’s desire for national unity, despite the
political divisions; and thirdly, to act as a rallying ground for
Protestants to show the flag. The second of these themes is taken up by
Dirk Palm to show how these biennial rallies – which still continue –
served the purpose of holding on to the idea of German unity, even though
the politicians on both sides of the Iron Curtain made things difficult.

d) Doris L.Bergen, War and Genocide: a concise history of the Holocaust,
Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield. 2002. xi+ 263 pp. ISBN
0-8476-9630-8 USD $ 24.95.

Doris Bergen is well-known to our readers as a frequent and welcome
contributor, and also as the author of the fine study of the pro-Nazi wing
in the German Evangelical Church, The Twisted Cross. She has now put us
all in debt for this introductory primer on the history of the Holocaust,
which will be particularly valuable for undergraduates, who need to study
the background and causal factors behind the launching of this most
terrible piece of mass murder. Bergen‚s achievement is to show how these
killings were related to the rest of the German war effort in its pursuit
of so-called racial purification and territorial expansion. She therefore
includes the story of the other earlier victims of Nazi ferocity, the
mentally-handicapped, the Roma or gypsies, the Polish and Soviet civilian
populations, especially intellectuals, as well as smaller groups such as
Jehovah‚s witnesses, or homosexuals. These all fall under her scrutiny as
suffering from the state-sponsored programs of violence and atrocity
function. Her chapters are in fact related to the teaching needs of
students, who will find their questions carefully addressed, along with
useful list of sources, and suggestions for further reading. Her
photographs help to focus attention to the fact that these mass murders
happened to real people. Luckily such books as this will help to ensure
that such terrifying violence is not forgotten, or regarded as merely a
long-past historical event.

3) Recent Articles

a) Gary Bullen,, Reinhold Niebuhr and the Christian
Century in Journal of Church and State, Vol. 44, no.2, spring 2002.

This article outlines the debate within American Christian pacifist circles
during the 1930s, when Niebuhr increasingly took a “realistic” line, while
the editors of the Christian Century advocated abstention from war up to
the very last minute, accusing Roosevelt of war-mongering. The arguments
have hardly changed in the intervening 70 years.

b) Michael Casey, From religious Outsider to Insider. The rise and fall of
pacifism in the Churches of Christ in Journal of Church and State, Vol.
44, no.3, summer 2002.

A companion piece about this small sect in the
southern states of the USA. Originally social outcasts with strongly
apocalyptic views, they have now joined the mainstream, which their
forebears loathed. Their early primitive pacifism has been replaced by
patriotic urgings to support America’s holy wars.

c) Michael Phayer, Pius XII and the Genocides of Polish Catholics and
Polish Jews during the Second World War, in Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte,
Vol.15, 2002, no 1.

This article explains the motivations of the Vatican‚s response to the
atrocities committed in Poland by the Nazis. Although limited only to the
Catholic church, Phayer ably describes the dilemmas faced by Pope Pius XII,
as well as the demonic determination of the German attempt to root out the
church‚s place in Polish life, in conjunction with the similar
determination to exterminate the whole Jewish race. Only the failure of the
campaign against Russia forced the postponement of the forcible
extermination of the rest of the Polish population, which instead was
obliged to take up forced labour. In the aftermath, Phayer suggests that
the Vatican played down the German crimes in Poland in the interests of
post-war reconciliation and reconstruction.

4) Research project by Alexander Schoener, M.A., Catholic University of
Eichstaett, Germany Myron Taylor’s Mission to the Vatican 1940-1950

Myron C.Taylor, former Chief Executive of U.S.-Steel, and then special
envoy of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Evian Conference on
Refugees in 1938, was appointed the President’s “Personal Representative”
to Pope Pius XII at Christmas time 1939. Taylor took office in January 1940
and also continued his mission under the Truman administration until he
resigned in January 1950. Taylor’s appointment was a substitute for
establishing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Vatican,
suspended since 1867. Because of widespread anti-Catholicism in the United
States, this decision was hotly debated among the American public.
The main goal of this dissertation project will be an overall appreciation
of Taylor and his special diplomatic mission, in order to exemplify the
basic structures, problems, objectives and priorities of both the Vatican’s
and the United States‚ foreign policy and diplomacy during the Second World
War and the immediate post-war years.

First of all, the general background and the developments leading up to
Taylor’s appointment will be analyzed. Then, one has to ask what exactly
both sides expected from this mission, how these expectations changed in
the course of the years, and finally to what extent these were fulfilled.
Another crucial question will be how much importance the American
government assigned to Taylor’s reports. i.e. what their actual impact on
the formulation of the “greater lines” of U.S. foreign policy during these
years really was. The Vatican – like the other neutral states – was
widely seen as a “listening- post” at that time, also by the American
government and intelligence services. It will be interesting to see what
kind of information Taylor and his assistants passed on to their
government, especially if there were any contacts with members of the
German resistance through this channel, and also to what extent Taylor
communicated to his superiors news of the fate of the European Jews living
– and dying – under German occupation.

A comprehensive history of the Taylor mission using all available
documentary material is still a desideratum. Particularly Taylor‚s post-war
activities have hardly been analyzed up to now. Also to be explored more
fully are some important factors like Taylor‚s personality, the way he
perceived his mission, how American government and State Department
officials, as well as Vatican dignitaries and other diplomats accredited to
the Vatican judged him, his work and influence.

5) New Religious Freedom News Service

In the past few years there has been evidence that attacks against freedom
of religion have been increasing. Forum 18 News Service is a Christian web
and e-mail initiative to report on threats and actions against the
religious freedom of all people, regardless of their religious affiliation,
in an objective, truthful and timely manner.

Forum 18 is an Oslo, Norway based group committed to religious freedom for
all on the basis of Article 18 of the Declaration of Human Rights. F18News
will initially report on countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern
Europe, but will expand to cover other areas where Forum 18 considers there
is a need for good reporting and where commentary of the highest
professional standards can be provided.
Subscribe via Forum 18 http:// www.forum18.org

Best wishes for the summer holidays – for those in the northern hemisphere!
John S.Conway