Ratzinger vs. Hitler

The Pope went on: “In this place, remembrance must also be made of the ‘Kristallnacht’ that took place from 9 to 10 November 1938. Only a few could see the full extent of this act of contempt for humanity, like the Berlin Cathedral Provost, Bernhard Lichtenberg, who cried out from the pulpit of St. Hedwig’s Cathedral: ‘Outside, the Temple is burning – that too is the house of God’. The Nazi reign of terror was based on a racist myth, part of which was the rejection of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Jesus Christ and of all who believe in Him. The supposedly ‘almighty’ Adolf Hitler was a pagan idol, who wanted to take the place of the biblical God, the Creator and Father of all men. Refusal to heed this one God always makes people heedless of human dignity as well. What man is capable of when he rejects God, and what the face of a people can look like when it denies this God, the terrible images from the concentration camps at the end of the war showed”.

(Vatican Information System, 23 September 2011)

A few separate points:

1. It is interesting to contrast the rhetoric that Ratzinger quotes approvingly (“Outside, the Temple is burning – that too is the house of God”) with that of Christ (as revealed to John):

Revelation 2:9  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 3:9  Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

2. Remarkably, it appears that Rome never formally excommunicated Hitler.  It’s very nice to say nasty things about him now that he’s dead and gone, but when he was actually killing the Jews, Gypsies, and others, Rome apparently didn’t think it was appropriate to actually excommunicate this “pagan idol.” 

3. I suppose it is obligatory at this point to observe that Ratzinger was evidently conscripted into the Hitler Youth, was drafted into service in an anti-aircraft corps during the war, and was briefly made an American Prisoner Of War.  There’s nothing that I’m aware of that suggests that Ratzinger was particularly supportive of Hitler, even despite his (apparently involuntary) participation in those organizations. 

4. Moreover, it is actually Benedict XVI who wants to take the place of the Biblical God.  I can’t say whether Hitler ever called himself the very vicar of Christ and earthly head of the church, but Benedict XVI certainly claims that for himself.  I can’t say whether Hitler ever set up headquarters in what purported to be the temple of God, but the pope certainly attempts to exalt himself over all that is God’s and seats himself on a throne.  (see 2 Thessalonians 2)

5. The concentration camps were filled with death and horror, I am sure.  What if we compare those few years of Nazi cruelty with the cruelty with which Rome sought to persecute and kill European believers from the time of the Waldensians until the defeat of the Spanish Armada?  Were the Nazis as cruel as the Inquisition?  While there are no photographs to document the acts of cruelty perpetuated by Rome, one can read Foxe’s Book of Martyrs to get some sense of what happened.  Perhaps Benedict XVI’s conscience will persuade him to accept the fact that the Roman church that authorized the slaughter of the Albigensians was one that denied God as much as the Nazi regime did.

All which shows why we must not put our confidence in princes or in the sons of men.  Instead, our hope must be in the name of the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth.


4 Responses to “Ratzinger vs. Hitler”

  1. Coram Deo Says:
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