Saturday, September 24, 2011

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.



Coram Deo said...

Good thoughts, TF. I was pleased to discover that I had precisely the same things in mind when reading Papa Bene's quote as you cited in point 4 and 5 respectively. Well said!

In Christ,

John Bugay said...

Hi T-Fan, thanks for bringing these things to the front. It’s clear that Rome would like to sweep them aside and forget about them, but there is very much in their past that everybody needs to remember.

"The Big Lie"

the Inquisition

Agarrate said...

Poor scholarship and bigotry passing as "incisive" commentary. "To the glory of God'? Hardly! Do some reading, get familiar (at least) with the facts before you "comment".

It may seem "remarkable" that Hitler was never formally excommunicated, but Hitler was never acting as a faithful Catholic, nor representing Catholic teaching nor acting out the teaching of the Catholic Church- thus, no formal excommunication. Further, excommunication is not a punishment for sins ; it goes to heretical teaching.

Now, shall we examine the fruits of John Calvin's Geneva; see, The Right to Heresy (Zweig) comparing Calvin’s 16th Century Geneva with Hitler’s Nazi Germany. What about the complicity of the German (Protestant) churches and Bishops in the rise of Hitler's State?

Francis Turretin said...

1) Poor scholarship? Really? What error was made? You don't identify any errors. You simply make a vague suggestion to "do some reading" and get "familiar" with "the facts."

2) Bigotry? Similar problem. You don't actually identify any, you just hurl the empty accusation.

3) Excommunication isn't just for heretical teaching but also for serious sins. Maybe you should learn a little more about your church before erranly complaining about bad scholarship and bigotry.

4) In fact, one of the Roman Catholic Nazi leaders was excommunicated. Can you guess why? He married a Protestant woman. Might not one think that Rome's priorities are a little out of whack when marrying a "separated sister" is grounds for excommunication but the Holocaust is not? Or does that take bigotry and bad scholarship?

As for your attempted tu quoque, let it sit. The comparison between Nazi Germany and Calvin's Geneva is sufficiently absurd on its face. Even if it were true, however, we don't make the fantastically ridiculous claims for our churches that you make for yours. We don't turn a humble preacher like Calvin into a pope, nor do we make the German protestant churches the touchstone of Christian communion like Rome makes herself.