Conspiracy of Silence (Church persecutions)

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Conspiracy of Silence is a term used by the Catholic Church by and since Pope Pius XI to describe the lack of reaction among Western democracies to the persecution in the 1930s of Christians by Nazis and Communists in such countries as Mexico, Spain, Germany and the Soviet Union.[1]

While numerous German Catholics, who participated in the secret printing and distribution of the encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge, went to jail and concentration camps, the general reaction among Western democracies was not to comment on the matter, a phenomenon that Pope Pius XI labelled bitterly as "a conspiracy of silence."[2] His protests were not published worldwide and had little resonance at the time in the secular media.[3] For Roman Catholics in Germany, the issuance of the papal protest only resulted in increased persecution, which was not covered by non-Catholics in Western countries. [4] The Conspiracy of Silence was related first to their silence on the persecution of the Church in Mexico, Spain, and the Soviet Union, and also included the silence of secular powers against the horrors of National Socialism.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Encyclical Divini Redemptoris, § 18 (AAS 29 [1937], 74).
  2. ^ August Franzen,Papstgeschichte, Herder Freiburg,1988, 395
  3. ^ Franzen, 395
  4. ^ Franzen, 395