The Pope’s Last Crusade: How an American Jesuit Helped Pope Pius XI’s Campaign to Stop Hitler
As the days passed in 1938, Pope Pius XI was becoming more and more outraged at Hitler’s persecution of European Jews. An American Jesuit, John LaFarge, is selected by the pope to write a papal encyclical condemning Hitler and Mussolini. He drafts the document but is called home unexpectedly to attend to his family members’ ailing health. Handing over his work to the Jesuit superior general, LaFarge is assured that it will promptly be delivered to the pope. But unbeknown to LaFarge, the Vatican is divided in its views on Hitler and many disagree with the pope’s strong stance against anti-Semitism. A plan is devised to keep the encyclical out of the pope’s hands. Eisner’s book is well researched but very slowly paced. Not recommended for a casual read, The Pope’s Last Crusade will be of most interest to those wanting to learn more about church history and WWII.