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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

'The pope was never in the Hitler Jugend'

Criticism at a festive and cordial occasion is never wise and will always lead to ugliness and unfortunate verbal incidents. It can always provoke equally ugly retorts. The Israeli statements were not always wise or diplomatic, and did not preserve the dignitas and proper comportment of a sovereign state as they should (see The Pope in Israel)  and those of the Vatican are equally insensitive.
 The Vatican spokesman states:
He said that the pope should not have to "repeat all the time in every speech all the points that are being made."
It is too bad that Lombardi does not like to hear uncomfortable things. With respect, it is necessary to repeat the lessons of Anti-Semitism because it is not a dead issue. Because within the Church there are those who deny that it is true, who worship "Martyrs" like  Andreas of Rinn and  Simon of Trent, and  who claim that the Inquisition was a myth. There is a Biship who denies the  Holocaust and a prayer for the conversion of the Jews, and there is more than one sainted pope who was a persecutor of the Jews.  When the Judensau is removed from all the churches in Europe, then perhaps it will be easier to forget. It is necessary because not long ago a certain Vatican official belied the entire history of forced conversions by declaring self-righteously that there is no compulsion in religion according to Catholicism. 
Membership in Hitler Jugend was not exactly voluntary as is clear from the memoirs of Gunther Grass, and in any case, a child is not responsible for his or her actions. The pope did chose to wear the uniform of the Catholic Church, however, and when he gives a talk at Yad Vashem, during a visit that will probably be unique, it is certainly the time to condemn the Nazi atrocities in no uncertain terms. Therefore Lombardi's attack should better have been an apology.  
But we could have done much better without all this pointless and tactless rancor on both sides.
Ami Isseroff  
'The pope was never in the Hitler Jugend… and he should not have to apologize for being forced to wear Wehrmacht uniform,' says Vatican spokesman in terse defense of Benedict XVI following tepid reception to much-anticipated speech at Yad Vashem
Ronen Medzini Published:  05.12.09, 15:28 / Israel News 

The course of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Israel has been decidedly less smooth than Catholic leaders might have hoped, perhaps prompting Vatican Spokesman Federico Lombardi's strongly-worded rejection of the criticism leveled at the Holy See following his speech at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial on Monday.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday at a special press conference in Jerusalem, Lombardi accused the pontiff's detractors of having ruled against the pope's address before it was even delivered. He added that the pope had already denounced the acts perpetrated by the Nazis, and had also mentioned the number of those killed at the reception held at Ben Gurion Airport upon his arrival on Monday.
A main point of contention with the pope's choice of words was his decision not to touch on the prevalence of anti-Semitism in Christianity. He also used language deemed too soft, opting for 'killed' rather than 'murdered,' and there was not mention of the number of Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis. There was also some expectation to hear the pope talk of the Holocaust as a German national who had, albeit briefly, been a member of the Wehrmacht.
Lombardi, however, said that the pope had spoken of his German heritage in previous addresses, including during his historic visit to Auschwitz. He said that the pope should not have to "repeat all the time in every speech all the points that are being made."
'He was never in the Hitler Jugend'

Lombardi also slammed what he called inaccuracies in the Israeli media's reports of the pope's biography, namely his service in the Hitler Youth.
"The pope was never in the Hitler Jugend, never never never," the Vatican spokesman said, later reiterating this point four more times during the press conference.
Lombardi insisted that members of Hitler Youth were volunteers, whereas the pope had been forced to join anti-aircraft troops near his hometown, which was subjected to Allied aerial raids. Lombardi said that pope had been studying theology at a seminar prior to his forced enlistment at the age of 16, and that towards the end of the war he was caught by American forces and abandoned the anti-aircraft auxiliary unit to return to his religious studies.
The pope did not choose to wear the uniform of the Wehrmacht, Lombardi said, and he should not have to apologize for what was forced upon him. Those who know the pope and who have read his biography know that he is not a militaristic man, the spokesman added.
Lombardi also criticized the behavior of Sheikh Taysir Tamimi at the interfaith conference at the Notre Dame church in east Jerusalem on Monday. "In a meeting dedicated to dialogue, this intervention was a direct negation of what a dialogue should be," he said in a written statement.

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  • Most people however, don't really know what the Hitler Jugend was; not only was membership compulsory, it had many, many benefits and was on the whole very attractive. Just google / search on the internet 'in gleichem schritt' and find the story in pics.

    By Blogger Jason, At July 25, 2009 11:48:00 AM GMT+00:00  

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