Tuesday, April 19, 2005

New Pope 

You know, I can't really judge every person who lived in Germany and in some way aided the Nazi party - particularly those people who were children or teenagers at the time. I imagine that if I myself had grown up in that place and that time, I may not have had the moral courage to avoid compulsory Nazi youth activities and armed service. And I would think that any person who engaged in such service could repent and go on to become a great and moral man. However, if I was going to elect a moral and religious leader - a man who, if I understand it, will be the very voice of God himself, I might have selected someone who had no ties to the Nazis given that, you know, they're the most evil group of people who ever lived. But that's apparently not the way the Catholic Church sees things! Oh well, let's hope he's at least a bit more anti-raping little boys than the last Pope was.

(If you don't click on the link, it appears that Ratzinger was involved in Nazi youth activities for a short time, but left to study for the priesthood. At the very end of the war, when he was 18, he joined the German army, but never got past basic training. But you know what? An 18 year old - especially an educated one -probably should have known what was happening in Germany at the time, what with the slaughter of whole races of people going on. Again, is every German who was a teenager at the time and did nothing somehow a bad person? I don't think so - that's probably just an unfair burden to place on children. Are they disqualified from becoming the voice of God on earth? In my mind, yes. But then, I also think women are capable of giving speeches in Latin and blessing water and shit. So I guess me and the Catholic Church don't see eye to eye on a lot of things.)

UPDATE: On The Corner, there is some linkage that seems to suggest that Ratzinger actually deserted the German army - a move that could have resulted in execution. I think the argument still kind of stands, but obviously this should be taken into account. It is nice to see that KJL seems to think this is sort of a joke, with the title of the post being "Nazi!!". I leave it to our reader to decide the truth.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Re-reading that Corner post, it quotes a Wall Street Journal news e-mail that says: "[Ratzinger] claims to have opposed Hitler's Nazi regime in Germany, but said resistance would have been hopeless." Now, in fairness, that isn't a direct Ratzinger quote, but if he said anything like that, then I wouldn't let him teach Sunday school, let alone be Pope. Resisting the Nazis was "hopeless"? What in the fuck does that even mean? And who cares? And wasn't there an active resistance movement in Germany at this time? And if you are a Christian, isn't it better to be killed than to do something that is evil? Again, I'm not talking about standards for judging every day people, I'm talking about standards for judging the most important religious leader in the world. I truly hope for the sake of the world that he didn't say anything remotely like that.

UPDATE BY GOLDBERG: Via Kevin Drum, an excerpt from a Washington Post profile that makes me think that the new Pope indeed still harbors some, if not racist, then racialist, sentiments.
He publicly cautioned Europe against admitting Turkey to the European Union and wrote a letter to bishops around the world justifying that stand on the grounds that the continent is essentially Christian in nature.
There's also some talk in that profile about his opposition to "liberation theology," but I don't know what that is. Does anyone?
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