Catholic Church in Nazi Germany: Reichskonkordat

Signing of the Reich Concordat (July 20, 1933)

Signing of the Reichskonkordat in Rome

July 20 1933

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The defining moment of Catholics in Nazi Germany was the signing of the Reichskonkordat. This treat between Nazi Germany and the Vatican served two purposes. It provided the Nazis with a much needed legitimization and millions of new voters to back them in elections, as the centre party was all but dissolved. The church in return received a semblance of autonomy, they were allowed to continue running secondary and post secondary schools and were allowed to continue with their religious practices, for the most part, unmolested by Nazi officials. However, no amount of negotiations could realistically bring the parties completely together. Basic Nazi ideology clashed with main tenants of the church. The ramifications of the concordat cannot be understated. The Vatican was able to protect their own in a changing political landscape. One of the most important underlying aspects of the agreement, was that it bought the Nazis a semblance of silence from the church. No sweeping damnations towards the treatment of the European Jew was forth coming from the Vatican even though the church had an obligation to speak against humanitarian issues. Pope Pius XII remained silent on the number one Nazi priority the Jew, refusing to rock the boat with the peace he created when he negotiated the concordat himself in 1933.

Catholic Church in Nazi Germany: Reichskonkordat