I have been reading Double Cross: the Code of The Catholic Church, by David Ranan, which was recommended to me by someone commenting here – anticant I think it was.
Anyway, it’s certainly a page-turner.
The book runs through Catholic behaviour down through the centuries, right up to the current problems with child-abusing priests. There are many jaw-dropping revelations.
Of course, it’s wise to approach such books with a sceptical eye, but it does seems very well researched and careful. Those bits of Catholic history I know a little about, such as the Galileo affair, are certainly accurate. Ranan doesn’t slide into the easy and sloppy exaggerations that less fair-minded books sometimes make.
One of the most shocking claims Ranan makes is that Catholic Bishop Hudal, a Nazi and Hitler supporter who actually published a book called “The Foundations of National Socialism”, worked from the Vatican to rescue Nazis and help them escape to South America.
Hudal was helped by SS Colonel Walter Rauff, the inventor of the mobile gas van.
This was a major Vatican-based operation involving other Catholic bodies including Caritas International, the Catholic relief agency, and spread over many countries.
The Vatican went to great lengths to save many prominent Nazis including:
Franz Stangl, commander of Treblinka, who killed nine hundred thousand.
Gustav Wagner, deputy commander of Sobibor, who killed a quarter of a million Jews,
and, wait for it…
Adolf Eichmann - architect in chief of the Final Solution.
Yes, Eichmann was shipped off to Argentina by the Vatican.
“The Church did not forsake the Nazis. She may try to maintain that any action undertaken to help them flee justice was carried out by persons acting as individuals representing their own interests. However, the collective magnitude of these actions, the number of people involved, and the resources used in terms of money, properties and personnel, tell a different story…. It was a Church operation.”
If true, that's absolutely extraordinary.