WESTERN MAIL & SOUTH WALES NEWS, August 17th 1934
VATICAN versus MUSSOLINI
War That May Rend Italy
OF THE CHILDREN
By GARETH JONES
The traveller who
approaches Trieste from the north looks out on one side upon the deep blue,
crystal clear Adriatic, and on the other upon a rocky region, where a few
scattered shrubs grow and where scarcely a drop of running water is to be seen.
In this almost
pathless district, the Austro-Hungarian and Italian armies battled against each
other for two years over such positions as Gorizia, Montfalcone, Monte san
Michele, Doberdo, and Timavo (the river whose praises, Virgil sang).
Today only the
War cemeteries remain as a memorial to the strife of nearly 20 years ago.
But a new war is brewing in this region, a war which may spread throughout
Italy. It is not a war for trenches or hills or towns, but for the souls
of the Italian children, a war between the Roman Catholic Church and the Fascist
I have good
authority for stating that there may soon be a break between the Vatican and
Mussolini. On the horizon there is a fierce struggle between Church and
In this war, a
few shots have already been fired in Trieste, where the fight between Church and
State is twofold. In other parts of Italy the bone of contention is one
only sway over the child; but here a second cause of strife enters that is of
particular interest to Wales, namely, the language question.
around Trieste, which borders on Yugoslavia, is to Italy what Wales is to
Britain. There live in the countryside here about 1,000,000 Slovenes, who
speak a Slav language and to whom Italian is foreign. The Italians are
doing all they can to crush the Slovene language.
The Bishop of
Trieste is combating the Italianising influence. He believes that all
peoples have a right to worship in their own language, and he is fighting for
the Slovene minority. He has, however, been forbidden to publish a Prayer
Book in the Slovene language.
revolt which would spread through Wales if Welsh Prayer Books were abolished!
Priests have already been imprisoned here for upholding the Slovene language.
PRIESTS ACCUSE FASCISTS
Catholics are exceedingly bitter because the Slovene language is being
persecuted. But throughout Italy the Church is beginning to revolt against
Fascist domination over the minds of the children.
priests are accusing the Fascists of breaking the Concordat, the agreement
reached between the Pope and Mussolini. They are regretting that the
Vatican is not bolder in upholding the rights of Roman Catholics. They are
beginning to demand a new Concordat.
the use of Mussolini standing up for the rights of Catholics in Austria if he
tramples upon them in Italy?” they ask.
PARADES INSTEAD OF MASS
The Fascists are
accused of purposely alienating children from the church by making them parade
at the very hours when they should be at Mass.
There is also
among priests a fear that Mussolini is not properly informed about the religious
situation in the country; that the local Fascist authorities, who are notorious
in some towns for their corruption and swindling, are sending false reports to
their leader on the sentiment of the people, and that the Vatican is over-timid
in hesitating to press their point of view.
The Church will
not remain hesitant for long, however, and a new war between the Vatican and
Mussolini may soon rend Italy.