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April 20, 2005

Israel's cool with Popenfuhrer

Israel Praises Pope Despite Past Nazi Ties[AP]

Ct of DKos says it's inappropriate to bring up Pope Ratz' sordid past. I don't see why. Ratz' defenders argue that he spent his entire life atoning for his collaboration. What has he really done to atone?

Pope John Paul apologized for the "failure of many Catholics to oppose the Nazi extermination of the Jews during World War II." [Belieftnet].

This and other apologies occurred during Ratzinger's tenure as God's Rottweiler, so he's at least doctrinally committed to being ashamed of himself. However, his own statements about his past suggest something less than absolute contrition. Years later, Ratzinger is trying to minimize his moral responsibility by pleading youth and coercion.

It is perfectly legitimate to point out that Ratz cooperated in the day and made excuses after the fact. That's not the level of moral leadership one might expect from St. Peter's representative on earth.


A "fuhrer" furor is dogging the papal candidacy of Germany's top Roman Catholic cleric — over revelations he was a member of the Hitler Youth.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger — a favorite to become the next pontiff — joined the Nazi children's corps in 1941 as a 14-year-old and was later an anti-aircraft gunner.

At one point, he guarded a factory where slaves from a concentration camp were forced to work. He was later shipped to Hungary, where he reportedly saw Jews persecuted.

Ratzinger, a staunch conservative dubbed "God's Rottweiler," has said he joined the Hitler Youth when membership became compulsory. He and his brother were later drafted but deserted. The cardinal claims he never fired a shot and that resistance would have meant death.

Not so, Germans from his hometown of Traunstein told The Times of London.

"It was possible to resist, and those people set an example for others," recalled Elizabeth Lohner, 84. "The Ratzingers were young — and they had made a different choice." [NY Post]

Hat tip to Americablog.


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"In the face of evil, doing anything in opposition is greater than doing nothing. "

Not necessarily. Often, an oppressor wants an example. While they are in a position of strength, the oppressor wants defiance so that they might crush it brutally for the edification of others. That way, when the oppressor is in a position of weakness, the terror lingers and forstalls resistance when it could be useful. By providing that example, the defiant one aids the oppressor.

While it is true that the oppresser will get their example one way or another, making him work for it is the better course. If you can actually force the oppressor to nakedly pick a random individual "to be made an example" this will delink punishment and resistance. Later, when the oppressor is at a moment of weakness, the terror is linked not to defiance, but only to the oppressor. This makes defiance easier.

As this debate has continued, more information has snuck out, information that would have remained hidden if everyone did the demanded "look the other way" routine some here have advocated. . .

The Pope has said that to resist the Nazi’s was futile and his apologists have said that it was a sure death sentence. Surely no one who spoke out against the Nazis and survived, right?

From the Washington Post today . .

"One of the [Pope's] town's most vocal critics of the Nazis was a local priest, the Rev. Josef Stelzle. According to an account in John L. Allen Jr.'s biography of Ratzinger, Stelzle was arrested in 1934 after preaching an anti-Nazi sermon but was released within days. Despite orders to stay out of Traunstein, he returned within a year and continued to criticize the Nazis, yet survived the war."

Huh. But, joining the Hitler Youth was compulsory; he was forced to join, right?


"There were boys in Traunstein and in the surrounding area who managed to avoid being in the Hitler Youth. Rupert Berger is the same age as Ratzinger and was ordained as a priest in the same class and seminary as Ratzinger in 1951. Berger's father was sent to a concentration camp for a month because of his anti-Nazi activities; his son refused to join the youth organization.

"There were teachers who exerted pressure and also other teachers who were against the Hitler Youth," Berger said, speaking at the door of his Traunstein home on Wednesday. "My father said, 'I give you the freedom to choose.' " But Berger did not blame Ratzinger for joining: "The majority went. That does not make all of them Nazis ... I wouldn't say that Ratzinger made a choice. He rather slipped into the Hitler Youth thing.

Huh, so it wasn’t a death sentence to refuse to join the Hitler Youth. And other Seminarians refused to join while Ratzinger “slipped into the Hitler Youth thing.” Are there more details on how it was he joined?

"In the book "Salt of the Earth, Ratzinger says he was forced to enroll in the movement in 1941 by the director of the seminary. According to the historian Haselbeck, the move was an attempt by the director to ensure that the seminary remained open."

Forced by the director of the seminary? Well, under that extreme duress, all the seminarians joined right?

"Georg Zandl, 81, a retired priest who also attended St. Michael's, said he did not recall everyone being forced to sign up, but almost everyone did. "We felt we had to join, but inside ourselves we all rejected it," he said."

Well, even if he was “forced” to join by the director of the seminary, he at least did not participate, right?

"[Ratzinger] has said he stopped attending Hitler Youth meetings, which became a problem because without a certificate of attendance, he could not get a reduction in school fees -- "which I really needed badly," he recounted in "Salt of the Earth."

Well, reduced school fees is a pretty demanding moral imperative. Fortunately, Pope Benedict XVI has learned from his own youthful failings that school fees and other “moral imperatives” trump doing the right thing, right?

TODAY (from the BBC through Atrios) See

"Pope Benedict XVI has responded firmly to the first challenge of his papacy by condemning a Spanish government bill allowing marriage between homosexuals.
The bill, passed by parliament's Socialist-dominated lower house, also allows gay couples to adopt.

A senior Vatican official described the bill - which is likely to become law within a few months - as iniquitous.

He said Roman Catholic officials should be prepared to lose their jobs rather than co-operate with the law."

Well, I don’t know what to say. Concerns like pleasing your seminary director and getting reduced student fees excuses joining and participating in the Hitler Youth, but Roman Catholic officials in Spain will have to quit their jobs and beggar their families to resist the evils of gay marriage. Somebody explain to me the internal logic of this conundrum. One the one hand, cooperating with the evil of a government dedicated to the eradication of millions of people, on the other hand, ratifying handing our marriage licenses to homosexuals.

'According to an account in John L. Allen Jr.'s biography of Ratzinger, Stelzle was arrested in 1934 after preaching an anti-Nazi sermon but was released within days. Despite orders to stay out of Traunstein, he returned within a year and continued to criticize the Nazis, yet survived the war."'

1934 was not 1941. Tens of thousands of people were actively speaking out against the Nazis in 1934. It was before the entire officer corps took a personal oath of loyalty directly to Hitler. The parliament had not been dissolved, Hitler was Chancellor, not Fuher.

Still, the rest of your post was meaningful.

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