Appeal To Pope Francis I Re: A Vatican Justice Delayed For Over 75 Years

March 19, 2013

His Holiness Pope Francis I
The Vatican

Your Holiness,

Please allow me, Your Holiness, to express, in the most respectful and sincere manner, my heartfelt congratulations on your historic election as the prelate of the apostolic Catholic Church. My delight is strengthened further by the international acclamation of your election as well as the recognition of your abiding concern for the poor of the earth as well as respect for human rights and justice.

I would like to state, at the outset, that I am motivated to submit this appeal to Your Holiness not only to express my delight with your election as Pope but also because of your sterling record in owning up for historic injustices. I am referring here to the exemplary and magnificent action taken, under your leadership as the Cardinal of the Catholic Church in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by expressing a collective apology to the Argentine people for the role of the Church in the crimes committed, during 1976-83, by the military junta resulting in numerous kidnappings, and the killing of 30,000 people.

The essence of my appeal to Your Holiness is to use your current substantial influence to finally render justice to the Ethiopian people with the Vatican’s formal and public apology for its complicity with the Italian Fascists as well as to return the looted properties currently in the possession of the Vatican to the Ethiopian people.

Your Holiness’ accession to the throne as the Pope of the Catholic Church is, in my humble opinion, a source of great hope for all those of us who are engaged in the fight for justice on behalf of the Ethiopian people who were victims of the 1935-41 Fascist war crimes in which one million Ethiopians perished by the use of various war materials including the internationally forbidden mustard poison gas sprayed throughout Ethiopia from numerous Italian war planes. 30,000 Ethiopians were massacred in only three days in February, 1937 in the city of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia. In addition, 2,000 churches and 525,000 homes were destroyed. Furthermore, the mustard gas that was sprayed in urban and rural areas caused also a huge environmental disaster including the loss of an estimated 14 million animals. As if to add insult to injury, another disgraceful act has been undertaken on August 11, 2012 when a mausoleum with a public park was inaugurated for the Fascist criminal, Rodolfo Graziani, at Affile, south-east of Rome in the presence of a Vatican representative, Don Ennio Innocenti.

Complicity of the Vatican in the Fascist War Crimes in Ethiopia

The Vatican’s complicity, under the leadership of Pope Pius XI, is a matter of a historic fact of which, no doubt, Your Holiness is fully aware. Nevertheless, simply as a reminder, the following evidence is provided confirming the Vatican’s close partnership with Mussolini’s Fascist Party:

1) According to various reliable sources including Avro Manhattan’s “The Vatican in World Politics”, the Vatican, then led by Pope Pius XI and later by Pope Pius XII, was fully complicit with the Fascist war crime in Ethiopia. Evidence for this fact can be seen from the following, among many others:

(a)   In his book: “The Vatican in World Politics”, Avro Manhattan states that in 1926, Pope Pius XI had declared: “Mussolini is the man sent by Providence”.

(b)   In 1929, the Lateran Treaty was signed between the Vatican and Mussolini’s Fascist Party and this agreement sealed the close relationship and mutual support of the two entities one providing the religious strength and the other the political and financial wherewithal.

The Lateran Treaty being signed by Mussolini and Cardinal Gaspari in 1929

The Lateran Treaty being signed by Mussolini and Cardinal Gaspari in 1929

 Manhattan continued:

“It was the alliance of these two men, Pius XI and Mussolini, that influenced so greatly the social and political pattern, not only of Italy, but also of the rest of Europe in the years between the two world wars. Thus the Church became the religious weapon of the Fascist State; while the Fascist State became the secular arm of the Church.”

(c)   Vatican clergy blessed the Italian Fascist army on its way to commit atrocious war crimes in Ethiopia.

A Vatican priest blessing the Fascist army

(d)   When the Fascist army reached the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Pope Pius XI was one of the first world leaders to express his joy by stating:

“The triumphant joy of an entire, great and good people over a place which, it is hoped intended, will be an effective contribution and prelude to the true place in Europe and the World.

(e)   The Pope’s joy was expressed in more graphic terms by the Bishop of Torano who stated:

“The war against Ethiopia should be considered as a holy war, a crusade (as Italian victory would) “open Ethiopia, a country of infidels and schismatics, to the expansion of the Catholic Faith.”

2) The New York Times report dated February 13, 1937 states:

“Earlier today the Pontiff (Pope Pius XI) had given his recognition of Italian sovereignty over Ethiopia by bestowing his apostolic benediction upon Victor Emmanuel as “King Of Italy and Emperor of Ethiopia.”

 3) The Manchester Guardian report of February 12, 1929 had stated:

“Pope Pius XI is credited with much admiration for Mussolini. That the Italian clergy as a  whole are pro-Fascist is easy to understand, seeing that Fascism is a nationalist, authoritarian, anti-liberal, and anti-Socialist force.”

4) It is well known that there are over 500 important Ethiopian manuscripts and documents that were looted by Italian Fascists such as Ceruli but currently in the possession of the Vatican. These need to be returned to the rightful owners, the Ethiopian people.

5) As recently as August 11, 2012, a mausoleum with a public park was inaugurated for the war criminal, Rodolfo Graziani, at Affile in the presence of a Vatican representative.

Photo of the inauguration ceremony of the Graziani monument

Photo of the inauguration ceremony of the Graziani monument in the presence of the Vatican representative Don Ennio Innocenti

Examples of Fascist War Crimes

As stated above, Fascist Italy had massacred one million Ethiopians by hanging, bombing, shooting, poison gas, throwing from airplanes, burning, etc. Some photographs are presented hereunder as evidence of the Fascists’ “civilizing mission” in Ethiopia:


Fascist soldiers with the head of an Ethiopian patriot


Fascist soldiers with hanged Ethiopian patriots

Call for Justice by the Global Alliance for Justice – The Ethiopian Cause 

I have the honour to bring to Your Holiness’ kind attention that the Global Alliance for Justice – The Ethiopian Cause is conducting an international campaign the achieve the following objectives:

(a)    A Vatican apology to the Ethiopian people;

(b)    Adequate reparations by the Italian Government to Ethiopia;

(c)    Restitution of looted Ethiopian properties in the possession by Italy and the Vatican;

(d)    Dismantlement of the Fascist criminal, Graziani’s mausoleum and public park; and

(e)    The UN recognition of the Fascist crime in Ethiopia.


In conclusion, I pray to the Almighty that Your Holiness will, as the new Pope of the Catholic Church finally deliver the justice that is owed to the Ethiopian people by offering the Vatican’s formal apology and returning the looted properties to the rightful owners.

Most respectfully,

Kidane Alemayehu

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