Paper: Hitler Wanted Pius XII Kidnapped

THE GUARDIAN, Jan. 17 — Pope Pius XII was such a threat to National Socialism that Adolf Hitler ordered him kidnapped, according to an Italian newspaper.

Avvenire, official daily of the Italian bishops, reported Jan. 15 that in May 1944, Hitler instructed General Karl Wolff, chief of the SS in Italy, to seize the Pope and the Curia from the Vatican, along with its archives and art, and imprison them in Germany. According to Wolff’s 1972 affidavit, he refused to carry out the order and instead warned Pius XII.

Wolff explained that the kidnapping was to have preceded the “abolition” of Christianity and its replacement with Hitler worship. Less than a month after Wolff was to have snatched Pius XII, the Germans abandoned Rome.

Italians Seek to Divorce the Dead

LONDON INDEPENDENT, Jan. 11 — Pope John Paul II is expected this week to express his strong objection to the “culture of divorce,” the latest manifestation of which is the explosion in the number of money-motivated Italians seeking posthumous marriage annulments.

Under Italian law, first wives who procure annulments from the Vatican are able to disinherit subsequent wives; widowers who procure annulments of their first marriages are able to disinherit their first families; and divorced husbands who annul their marriages are not required to pay alimony.

About 100,000 Church annulments are granted annually, about half to American Catholics.

Pope ‘Indefensible’ From Terrorists?

DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR, Jan. 14 — Despite “creditable” warnings of a terrorist threat against his life last year, Pope John Paul II refused to wear a bulletproof vest.

According to The Pope’s Guardian Angels by Glauco Benigni, the Holy Father, while “far more important” than most heads of state, is “essentially indefensible” from terrorist attack. Francesco Pasanisi, head of papal security from 1979 to 1981, told Benigni, “Often we would ask him to exert more caution, such as refraining from accepting flowers or gifts from the faithful or avoiding direct contact with the crowd … Yet he always declined to heed our advice.”

According to journalist Salvatore Mazza, the Holy Father’s indifference to personal security is explained by his absolute belief in Providence.

Ferrari Presents John Paul With Wheels

ANSA, Jan. 11 — It is often said that sport is a rival Italian religion. Ferrari’s Formula 1 racing team is particularly venerated, so it is fitting that it has paid its respects to the Holy Father.

Ninety-five members of the Ferrari team, including Michael Schumacher, were granted a private audience with Pope John Paul II Jan. 11, the Italian news service reported. Ferrari presented him with a 1:5 scale model of the car with which Schumacher won his record seventh world championship last year.

Afterward, Ferrari announced it would donate a rare Enzo roadster to be auctioned by the Catholic relief agency Caritas to raise funds for tsunami victims. The car is expected to raise $1.3 million.

Schumacher said of the audience, “It was all very moving, and it is difficult to explain how I feel. It was incredible to see how strong he is.”