Dotsie wrote:Jan, I wouldn't argue with you over the fact that Ratzinger had a choice of either being Nazi or dying, if he was anyone but the Pope. But how could he deny his God (or rather what his God stands for) to save his own life? Not very Pope-like.
Like Broc's said - he was 14 and he probably didn't know if he would make 15 let alone become a priest and eventually Pope.
Teens in those pre-Elvis days did what they were told and in Nazi-Socialist Germany doing what you're told was the only horse to back if you had few options open to you - like leaving the country.
It's like trying to understand the Irish Troubles - don't you dare try unless you're Irish and lived/are living during them. Germany was a complete mess after WW1 which doesn't excuse the Nazi regime in any way, but in the late 1920s and early 30s they were almost political and economic heroes to a large portion of German society that was dead in water, bankrupt and shamed in every way almost. Their 'strength' was seductive in some senses to people who couldn't or wouldn't read the signs and by the time it was too late, they'd poisoned a whole generation and ordinary people were just plain scared when it came down to it.
raisin wrote:That said, the Nazis would have never have been able to get away with exterminating millions of Jews if there wasn't already a history of virulent anti-semitism in Germany that Hitler was able to exploit to gain complicit agreement from the German people, even those who weren't Nazis. And certain most government bureacrats in France, Italy and Eastern Europe had no problem letting Germany take care of their centuries old "Jewish problem" and were too often quite willing to round them up and put them on the death trains themselves. Of course, not all Germans or other Europeans were anti-semitic and many did try to help Jews and other minorities escape. However, it's no accident that the largest numbers of Jews were saved in the Scandinavian countries, which historically had a higher degree of tolerance for Jews than the rest of Europe.
Exactly and ditto to your comment on what if Catholics had joined blacks, gypsies, the disabled and Jews on the shit list. Churchill's record ain't particularly shiny in helping out fugitive Jewish immigrants and prior to Poland getting overrun we were perfectly happy with our 'piece of paper' out of Munich which meant we wouldn't have yet another costly war to wage and we could just be vile to the French as per usual...
Since the Middle Ages finished the Catholic hierarchy officially sits on the fence until it's arse bleeds in any conflict situation (especially in Ireland) out in the open and deplores violence, whilst carefully making sure it keeps a weather eye on who's likely to come out on top and who it will have to work with when that happens. The Borgias have a lot to answer for in teaching the Church how to play hard ball in politics.
As for anti-semitism in Europe - the Cossacks had a damn good go at it too and countless other places in the western bloc including England which is all down to Christian attitudes through the last 2 millennia which is why the Holocaust was so important in finally shocking the whole world into KNOWING that genocide is evil on any scale
So what happens after 1945? Genocide just changes continents to Africa and Asia and then comes back to Serbia and Bosnia in the 1980s and 90s. It's all terrible, of course it is, but it keeps happening and in essence it's because ordinary people get so scared of the people who hold the power, that they let it happen whatever god they happen to have or not have because trying to stop it is simply too hard, even if you're not one of the ones getting killed, because it could
be you next if you're not careful.
We're herd animals and when push comes to shove we stick where it's safest to be, with other people who can shield us in some manner, especially if there's no place to run to
Rome knows all about flock management, but one thing that has come with this Pope is some acknowledgement at least of the damage done since WW2 within the church. TBH when I was a kid in schools run by nuns we knew we'd get a good thumping if we stepped out of line and by gods those penguins really were bitch trolls on wheels at non-physical violence, especially if you were in care, or weren't regular at going to church, or even if you parents weren't well off. It's hard to say it now, but it was accepted that that was how things were and if you told your parents you'd got the ruler or the strap you'd as likely get another slap because it was obvious you'd done something to deserve the punishment. As for psychological damage - that was insidious and institutional before you even get onto to sex abuse. Benedict at least began to apologise for it all - lets hope the next chap is even more savvy about it and of a generation that knows where the modern world should be going.