Humani generis unitas

Humani Generis Unitas  (Latin; English translation:  On the Unity of the Human Race  ) Was a draft for an encyclical planned by Pope Pius XI before His death on February 10, 1939. The draft text Condemned antisemitism ,racism and the persecution of Jews . Because it was never issued, it is sometimes referred to as “The Hidden Encyclical” or “The Lost Encyclical.”  Humani generis unitas  was written by the Jesuits under the leadership of John LaFarge . The draft text remained secret until published in 1995 in France (by Passelecq and Suchecky under the title  The encyclical Hidden of Pius XI ) and in 1997 in English as  The Hidden Encyclical of Pius XI.


In June 1938, Pius XI assigned American Jesuit John LaFarge to prepare a draft of  Humani generis unitas  . Jesuit Superior-General Wlodimir Ledochowski assigned two other Jesuits, Gustav Gundlach and Gustave Desbuquois, to assist LaFarge.  [1]  Working in Paris,  [2]  they produced a draft of approximately 100 pages.  [3]  Another Jesuit translated to Latin and presented it to Ledochowski.  [4]  The draft was delivered to the Vatican in September 1938.  [1]

Some secondary sources, including Cardinal Tisserant ,  [5]  claim that the draft was on Pius XI’s desk when he died of a heart attack on February 10, 1939.  [3]

Pius XI’s successor, Pope Pius XII , did not promulgate the draft as an encyclical. Criticism of Pius XII (notably John Cornwell in his controversial work  Hitler’s Pope  ), cited in this report as evidence of his silence towards anti-Semitism and The Holocaust . In his inaugural encyclical  Summi Pontificatus  on the unity of the human society, in October 1939, the month after the outbreak of World War II ,  [1]  [2]  and analysis of the draft figures prominently in most comparisons of the policies of Pius XII and his predecessor.  [4]

In June 2006, Pope Benedict XVI ordered all records from the reign of Pius XI in the Vatican Secret Archives to be ouvert,  [6]  and on September 18, 2006 over 30,000 papers Were made available to Researchers.  [7]


The first 70 paragraphs, probably authored by Gundlach, are a critique of theological modernism , unorthodox re-interpretation of Sacred Scripture , nationalism , and racism ; the remaining 108, likely authored by all three Jesuits, contextualized the first part of the text with the social role of Catholic educational institutions and anti-Semitism.  [1]

Although the draft clearly condemned racism and anti-Semitism, the document is deeply grounded in anti-  Judaism  .  [2]  The draft criticizes the majority of post-Messianic Jews for not acknowledging Jesus Christ as the true Jewish Messiah .  [8]


Humani generis unitas  clearly condemns American racial segregation and racism and Nazi German anti-Semitism , though without explicitly naming these countries. Racism is a denial of the unity of the human society,  [9]  a denial of the human personality ,  [10]  and a denial of the true values ​​of religion  [11]  There is no relation between race and religion,  [12]  because racism is destructive to any society.  [13]  Racism is destructive not only for social relations within a society but also for international relations and relations between different races.  [14]

Anti-Judaic context

The draft condemns the persecution of Jews. “These persecutions have been censored by the Holy See, but especially when they have worn the mantle of Christianity.”  [15]  But the text hedges with an anti-Judaic theme. “According to the draft,” because of the true nature, the authentic basis of the social separation of the Jews from the rest of humanity … is religious in character. … Essentially, the so-called Jewish question … is a question of religion and, since the coming of Christ, a question of Christianity. ”  [16] The encyclical blames the Jews of the time of Christ Jesus Christ to death: “The very act by which the Jewish people put to death their Savior and King was, in the strong language of Saint Paul, the salvation of the world. ”  [8]  The draft continues by accusing Jews of blind materialism.

  • Blinded by a vision of material domination and gain, the Israelites lost what they themselves had sought. A few chosen souls, among whom were the disciples and followers of Our Lord, the early Jewish Christians, and, through the centuries, a few members of the Jewish people, were an exception to this general rule. By their acceptance of Christ ‘s teaching and their incorporation into His Church, they shared in the inheritance of His glory, but they remained an exception. “What Israel was seeking after, but it has not been obtained, and the rest has been blinded” (Romans 11: 7).  [17]  The text argues that
  • By a mysterious Providence of God, this unhappy people, destroyers of their own nation, misguided their leaders to a divine evil, doomed, as it was, to perpetually wander over the face of the earth, were nonetheless never allowed to perish, but have been preserved through our own time. No natural reason appears to explain this age-long persistence, this indestructible coherence of the Jewish people.  [18]

Reaction of Pope Pius XII

According to the authors, Pius XII was not aware of the text before the death of his predecessor.  [19]  He thing not to publish it. HOWEVER, His first encyclical  Summi Pontificatus  (  On the Supreme Pontificate  , October 12, 1939), published after-The Beginning of World War II , Has an echo of the previous title in icts title:  On the Unity of Human Society  and uses Many of the arguments of the text, the most popular of the negative characterization of the Jewish people and rabbinic religion contained in the text of the draft.

Summi Pontificatus  sees Christianity as universalized and opposed to every form of racial hostility and claims of racial superiority. There are no real racial differences: the human race forms a unity, because “one ancestor [God] made all nations to inhabit the whole earth”.

  • What a wonderful vision, which makes us contemplate the human race in the unity of its origin in God, in the unity of its nature, in a body language and a spiritual soul; in the unity of its immediate end and its mission in the world; in the unity of its dwelling, the earth, which benefits all men, by right of nature, may be used to sustain and develop life; in the unity of its supernatural end: God Himself, to whom all ought to tend; in the unity of the means for attaining this end … in the unity of the redemption wrought by Christ for all  .  [20]

This divine law of solidarity and charity ensures that all are truly brethren, without excluding the rich variety of persons, cultures, and societies.  [20]


  1. ^ Jump up to: d  Richard G. Bailey. August 2001. ” The Hidden Encyclical of Pius XI .”  Canadian Journal of History  .
  2. ^ Jump up to: c  George Sim Johnston. 1999, October 8. ” Pius XI’s” Hidden Encyclical “on Anti-Semitism: An Appraisal .”
  3. ^ Jump up to: b  The Holocaust Chronicle. 2002. ” 1937: Quiet before the Storm .” p. 112.
  4. ^ Jump up to: b  Frank J. Coppa. 1998, September 22. ” Pope Pius XI’s” encyclical “Humani Generis Unitas Against Racism and Anti-Semitism and the” Silence “of Pope Pius XII .”  Journal of Church and State  .
  5. Jump up^  Passelecq and Suchecky, p. 151.
  6. Jump up^  Zenit News Agency  . 2006, July 2. “Benedict XVI Archives Opens on Pius XI  [  permanent dead link  ]  .”
  7. Jump up^  Frances D’Emilio. 2006, October 13.”Newly opened files helping historians to understand the priorities of future wartime pope, Pius XII.” Associated Press .
  8. ^ Jump up to: b   Humani Generis Unitas  , paragraph 135
  9. Jump up^   Humani Generis Unitas , paragraph 112
  10. Jump up^   Humani generis unitas , paragraph 113 seq.
  11. Jump up^   Humani generis unitas , paragraph 116 seq.
  12. Jump up^   Humani Generis Unitas , paragraph 120
  13. Jump up^   Humani Generis Unitas , paragraph 123
  14. Jump up^   Humani generis unitas , paragraph 130
  15. Jump up^   Humani Generis Unitas , paragraph 131
  16. Jump up^   Humani Generis Unitas , paragraph 133
  17. Jump up^  Saint Paul adds: “But by their offense,” that is, through the Jews’ rejection of the Messiah, “salvation has come to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:11).  Humani generis unitas , paragraph 136
  18. Jump up^   Humani Generis Unitas , paragraph 136
  19. Jump up^  Letter of Father Maher to Father La Farge, March 16, 1939
  20. ^ Jump up to: b  Pius XII,  Enc. Summi Pontificatus  , paragraph 3


  • Passelecq, Georges; Suchecky, Bernard.  The Hidden Encyclical of Pius XI: A Missed Opportunity of the Church Facing Anti-Semitism  . Editions La Decouverte, Paris 1995. (engl)  The Hidden Encyclical of Pius XI  Harcourt, Brace, and Co., 1997.
  • Encyclical  Summi Pontificatus  on the Vatican website

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