Saturday, September 14, 2013

The pope and the Nazis –then and now

George Santayana, poet and philosopher once said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  We won’t see the vatican writing press releases on their past friendship with Adolph Hitler or their present Nazi ties.  But if we don’t remember the past we will find ourselves in the same place, reliving the same horrors.

In 1933 the then pope, pius XI, decided that being a Nazi was better than being a communist because the church didn’t want to share its money and riches. The pope’s plan was to appease Hitler so that catholic clergy in Germany could keep their comfortable lifestyles. The pope’s ambassador in Berlin (Cesare Osenigo) said he was “jubilant” about Hitler's rise to power, hoping that Hitler’s new government would treat the German church as well as Mussolini treated the church in Italy.

Hitler knew that the pope and the church were greedy.  He said: “We should trap the priests by their notorious greed and self-indulgence…. They will swallow anything in order to keep their material advantages….”  (reference: The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany”, Guenter Lewy, 1964).

Because the church and Hitler were so cozy, everyone trusted Hitler and that allowed him to get more powerful.  He had enough time and fooled enough people so that crimes against humanity like the Holocaust could take place. This agreement between church and Nazi clearly showed the mindset of the church. The church sees itself as a “perfect society,” and responsible for protecting itself first – not its parishioners. As the head of the church, the pope is its chief protector – of the church, not of us.

The church and Nazi ties today

Yes, the church still has Nazi ties.  Nicole Winfield reported (09/16/11 Huffington Post) that Jewish groups are worried about the vatican’s relationship with a group of catholics, including a bishop, Richard Williamson, who denies that the Holocaust ever happened. This Swiss-based society of st. pius X  believes that Christ's death was the fault of all Jews and didn’t want to be under Vatican control. The previous pope benedict said that they could come back into the “fold” without having to give up their beliefs and lifted Williamson’s excommunication.

Does that mean the pope shared the same pro-Nazi beliefs?  This group is a danger because they have six seminaries, three universities and 70 primary and secondary schools around the globe. In addition to Williamson it has three other bishops, more than 550 priests and 200 priests in training. Are they training to incite another Holocaust?   The new pope doesn’t talk about these skeletons in the vatican closet.