Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Wikipedia entry condones 1930s Pope's backing of Franco

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Les Reid of the Belfast Humanist Group has drawn our attention to historical inaccuracies in the Wikipedia entry for Pope Pius XI, whose stance towards various fascist dictators in the 1930s have made him a controversial figure for historians.

In reference to Pius XI's relationship with Spain in the 1930s, Wikipedia reads:

"The republican government which had come to power in Spain in 1931 was also strongly anti-clerical, secularising education and expelling the Jesuits from the country. This encouraged Catholics to support the military coup against the Republican government in 1936 led by General Francisco Franco. The Republicans responded by murdering priests and nuns.[citation needed]

"Pius XI gave support to Franco and the Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War of 1936 – 1939. The Pope distinguished Franco from the totalitarian, anti-religious fascists like Hitler and Mussolini, seeing him as an old-fashioned authoritarian Catholic conservative. In any case, Pius XI concluded a Nationalist victory was necessary for the Church’s sake."

I'm sure many of you will agree this makes for a somewhat interesting interpretation of the Spanish Civil War, Franco and his relationship with the Vatican. Was he really an "old fashioned authoritarian Catholic Conservative"? Was a Nationalist (some would say Fascist) victory "necessary for the Church's sake"?

It looks to us like someone's been editing this Wikipedia entry in order to whitewash over a few shameful episodes in the history of the Catholic Church. If there are any readers out there who are into editing Wikipedia and who know a lot about this period, you may want to make some changes to this article. To use Wikipedia-speak, it seems fair to say the neutrality of this entry could be contested.

As always, thoughts welcome through comments on this blog entry...


jeepyjay said...

It is acknowledged by Wickipedia that this article is in dispute.

People tend to confuse Pius XI (Ratti) and his successor Pius XII (Pacelli), who was something of a "power behind the throne", being Papal Secretary before succeeding as pope in March 1939.

Anonymous said...

Better Franco than bush.

Anonymous said...

If there are any readers out there who are into editing Wikipedia and who know a lot about this period, you may want to make some changes to this article.

Good luck with that but with Wikipedia admins frequently controlling their own personal agenda, and being totally free of any sanction even when exposed e.g

then should WP have some pro Catholic editors the chance of getting change is close to zero.

Anonymous said...

If our commentator from Belfast knew anything about Spain and Spanish history, he would also know that the Republicans were completely taken over by the Communists and run from Moscow. He would know that all Spanish gold reserves ended up in Russia to pay for armaments, hundreds of churches were burned and desecrated, that over 6,000 religious were slaughtered and that Churchill, arch-enemy of Hitler and Mussolini, actually defended Franco in the post-war conferences. And yet, despite the murders and desecrations, the Vatican recognised the Republican government as legitimate, until Franco´s final victory.
Typical of the Brits to know nothing of Spain.