Tuesday, April 19

Of Nazis

Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have many things in common -- victimization by the Nazis is one.

As one blogger, rather on the progressive side, is reminding us, the same article which reported on Ratzingers "Nazi connections" reports that his involvement in the Nazi's "Hitler Youth" movement was compulsory. Indeed, the Ratzinger family was itself persecuted by the Nazis.

As the article details:

"The son of a rural Bavarian police officer, Ratzinger was six when Hitler came to power in 1933. His father, also called Joseph, was an anti-Nazi whose attempts to rein in Hitler’s Brown Shirts forced the family to move home several times.

"In 1937 Ratzinger’s father retired and the family moved to Traunstein, a staunchly Catholic town in Bavaria close to the Führer’s mountain retreat in Berchtesgaden. He joined the Hitler Youth aged 14, shortly after membership was made compulsory in 1941.

"He quickly won a dispensation on account of his training at a seminary. “Ratzinger was only briefly a member of the Hitler Youth and not an enthusiastic one,” concluded John Allen, his biographer."

Aside from providing fodder to the intellectually-simplistic hateful, the lack of any real substance in the Pope's coerced connection to (and indeed, persecution by) the Nazi party hopefully means focus on these connctions will not last long.

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