The encyclical cycle

September 9, 2010

The story of the "lost encyclical" (Books, Pope and Devil: The Vatican's Archives and the Third Reich, 19 August) is an oft-revived one, with the suggestion that an encyclical drafted for Pope Pius XI condemning anti-Semitism was "quietly buried" by his successor, Pope Pius XII.

In their 1995 book about this draft (translated into English as The Hidden Encyclical of Pius XI, 1998), Georges Passelecq and Bernard Suchecky demolish this notion despite themselves. The draft, prepared by John Lafarge and others, was firmly entrenched in the mindset of its time (the 1930s) and even earlier. Michael Marrus' review of the book, published in Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Winter 1997), is recommended reading in this regard.

Helena Scott, School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages University of Westminster.

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