Pope Benedict XVI is visiting the United Kingdom this week. It is the first state visit of a Pope to the UK since 1982. Not only is there the issue of clerical child abuse to deal with but Benedict stepped in the crap by suggesting that the Nazis and Hitler were atheists. Obviously he knows about Nazis having been in the Hitler Youth but he doesn’t know his history very well.
The Pope said on 9/16 in front of Queen Elizabeth II:
Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny”
Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society. In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate.
Jaw drops on floor….
Even a middle school student of history KNOWS that Hitler and the Nazis were NEVER atheist or anti-theist. NEVER were.
Religious conservatives like Pope Benedict like to rewrite history and attempt to associate Hitler with atheism since it fits their narrative. In fact Hitler was another in a long line of Catholic fascists in history – the same religion that gave us the Spanish Inquisition.
All one has to do is read what Hitler wrote and said during his time:
“I believe today that I am acting in the sense of the Almighty Creator. By warding off the Jews I am fighting for the Lord’s work.”
Adolf Hitler, Speech, Reichstag, 1936
And that is just one of many quotes proving the Pope’s comments were ignorant.
Evan Harris in The Guardian wrote:
Secularism is unfairly characterised and attacked by religious leaders as a way of seeking to protect their privileges.
Secularism is not atheism (lack of belief in God) and nor is it humanism (a nonreligious belief system). It is a political movement seeking specific policy end-points. Many secularists are religious and many religious people – recognising the value of keeping government and religion separate – are secular.
The Catholic Church has been good at collaborating in order to preserve their power and privilege. The Church did that with the Nazis when they signed The Reichskonkordat
This agreement did some of the following:
* Unhindered correspondence between the Holy See and German Catholics. (Article 4)
* The right of the church to collect church taxes. (Article 13)
* The oath of allegiance of the bishops: “Ich schwöre und verspreche, die verfassungsmässig gebildete Regierung zu achten und von meinem Klerus achten zu lassen” (English: I swear and vow to honor the constitutional government and to make my clergy honor it; Article 16)
* State services to the church can be abolished only in mutual agreement. (Article 18)
* Catholic religion is taught in school (article 21) and teachers for Catholic religion can be employed only with the approval of the bishop (article 22).
* Protection of Catholic organizations and freedom of religious practice. (Article 31)
* Clerics may not be members of or be active for political parties. (Article 32)
A secret annex relieved clerics from military duty in the case that mandatory military service should be reinstated.
There is some feeling that the Pope slandered secularism and atheism to distract from the clerical child abuse issue in the media. That could be a reason he made such a stupid statement about Nazi history.