Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Was the Pope in the Hitler Youth? -- Benedict vs. Lombardi on the historical record.

The pope and Hitler Youth (Benedict’s own words), by John Allen, Jr. National Catholic Reporter:
During a press briefing in Jerusalem today, the Vatican spokesperson, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, chided reporters for repeating what he called a falsehood – namely, the claim that the young Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, was once a member of the Hitler Youth. "The pope was never in the Hitler Youth: never, never, never," Lombardi said.

Unfortunately for Lombardi, his assertion is contradicted by a fairly unimpeachable source: the future pope himself.

Pope’s Wartime Past Becomes an Issue, by Rachel Donadio (New York Times) In seeking to clarify Pope Benedict XVI’s association with the Hitler Youth, the Vatican further muddied the waters.

1 comment:

  1. The Pope's membership in the Hitler Youth should not be an issue. Way before 1944, all members of the Hitler Youth (including the future Pope) were basically drafted into the organization; any parents who resisted were punished. Besides, in 1944, German military manpower and materiel were at such a low point that teenagers had to be used at such sites as anti-aircraft batteries, as the future Pope was used.

    By the same token, Fr. Lombardi's stupidity reflects the fact that centralized, isolated bureaucracies are pathetically inefficient and incompetent. That has nothing to do with Catholic theology; just go to your neighborhood DMV.