Friday, August 19, 2005

Why you can't learn history just from newspapers.

Pope Benedict XVI encouraged "sincere and trustful dialogue" between Christians and Jews, and condemned the "unimaginable crime" of the Holocaust, during an August 19 visit to the synagogue in Cologne. The "long and often painful" history of relations between Christians and Jews had its most frightening moments in the 20th century, the Pontiff said, stressing that the Holocaust was the product of "a made racist ideology, of neo-pagan conception."

"Neo-Pagan?" Neo-Paganism hadn't even been born yet! It was still gestating in the womb of Romanticism, and wouldn't even begin to emerge until after World War II.

Nor did Hitler shower any favor on Germany's incipient Pagan groups. Among the first to be sent to the concentration camps along with the Jews were the Gypsies, all fortune-tellers and occultists, the followers of Rudolf Steiner, the Ariosophists and the followers of Wotan.

Contrast this with Hitler's treatment of Christians, especially Catholics. On July 20, 1933 Monsignor Pacelli, Papal Nuncio (later Pius XII) and Vice-Chancellor Papen signed a Concordat. The Nazis made the Roman Catholic Church the official church of Germany, mandated Christian prayers both in school and in military formation, and inscribed "Gott mitt uns" on the Army's belt buckles.

We are talking about the same Hitler who said:

"The national government ... will maintain and defend the foundations on which the power of our nation rests. It will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality."1
"Today Christians ... stand at the head of Germany ... I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit ... We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press - in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past ... (few) years."2


1. The Speeches of Adolph Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872.
2. Ibid, pg. 871-872.

Hitler: "It would seem to me that nothing would be more foolish than to re-establish the worship of Wotan. Our old mythology ceased to be viable when Christianity implanted itself." _Hitler's Secret Conversion_, eds Cameron and Steven, London, 1953.

". . . I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord's work." Mein Kampf

Now I can understand the new pope wanting to gloss over a "long and often painful" history that includes things like the 19th Century Vatican City custom of forcing a local Jewish man into a barrel on holy days, rolling the barrel down a hill and cheering if the man was dead when they opened it up. Or the equally lovely law they had which insisted that Jewish orphans couldn't be adopted by anyone but Christians. But really, how can you have a "sincere and trustful dialogue" with someone who can't even keep his facts straight?

I'm sorry. I really didn't intend to get on my soapbox. I also don't mean any disrespect to Catholics. But when people start stretching the truth that much, you have to wonder when they're going to start breaking it.

No comments: