Edith Stein Inspired Encyclical, Report Says

Pius XI´s Document Against Anti-Semitism

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ROME, JULY 15, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A letter by Edith Stein warning about Nazism inspired Pope Pius XI to write the encyclical «Mit Brennender Sorge,» against the anti-Semitism in Hitler´s Germany, a TV documentary says.

Italian Television Network Sat2000´s program «The Art of Living: The Century of Martyrdom» reported, «Stein wrote a letter to the Pontiff, Pius XI, when the racial persecutions began that later ended in the Nazi horror.»

In the text of the letter, the philosopher and convert-turned-Carmelite nun «foresaw with great anticipation all the negative consequences of the Hitlerite fury.»

The show´s producers reported that Pius XI ordered the Vatican State Secretariat to thank Stein´s family and sent them a blessing. The producers also mentioned several reasons why the Carmelite´s words may have been decisive in the Pope´s writing of the 1937 encyclical. Stein´s letter is kept in the Vatican Archives and has never been published.

Stein was born into a devout Jewish family in Breslau, Germany (now Broklaw, Poland), in 1891. As Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, she died in an Auschwitz gas chamber on Aug. 9, 1942. She was canonized in October 1998.

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