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Pope Francis

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Church of Spies: an inside look into the Vatican's plot to take down Hitler

2016-04-09

Mark Riebling is the author of "Church of Spies,”  a book that sheds some light into a secretive plot by the Vatican and Pope Pius XII to bring down the Nazi Party by overthrowing Adolf Hitler.

MARK RIEBLING
Author, Church of Spies
"I was working in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., in 1994 when I discovered ten documents that implicated Pope Pius XII and his closest advisers in three plots to remove Hitler, this was directly contrary to everything I had been taught to believe about the Church during World War II. It portrayed Pius XII the most controversial Pope in history, not as a pro-Nazi villain but as an Anti-Nazi hero.” 

However, Josef Muller is perhaps the main protagonist of his book, who is referenced as "Joey Ox.” Ox was an immense alley to Pope Pius XII, as he made a number of trips to the Vatican and was the middle-man between the German resistance and British intelligence that sought out a plan to remove Hitler's regime with an anti-Nazi civilian government supported by the German military.

MARK RIEBLING
Author, Church of Spies
"The Vatican has a very sophisticated intelligence system. It doesn't have an intelligence service or organization but built into the Church by its very nature as a communications network and the capability of doing things in a non-public way. This goes back to the earliest days of the Church, when the Church was really a clandestine organization in ancient Rome and the first Christians did not know that they would become the official religion of the Roman Empire.”

Riebling describes this book as a moral adventure story about the realities faced during the Second World War.  

Mark Riebling recently had the opportunity to meet Pope Francis and give him a signed copy of his book in Spanish. After Pope Francis, he hopes that this model of interfaith based on friendship and bonding presides the legacy he will leave behind. 

He points out that believers and non-believers need to work together against those that would deny us all liberty of thought and belief. 

MARK RIEBLING
Author, Church of Spies
"One of the most amazing discoveries for me in 'Church of Spies' is the degree to which the German Jesuit fathers were intimately involved in clandestine operations to remove Hitler from power, dressing in disguise, pretending to have girlfriends, and strolling the rail way stations arm and arm with women to persuade the SS that they weren't really priests. Doing things like stealing the blue prints to one of Hitlers bonkers and providing them to Hitler's would be assassins.”

"Church of Spies” tells a story that is very relevant to the problems we face today, where the main characters are real people who have to face reality with a sense of courage under extraordinary circumstances. 

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