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The cardinal's sins of youth

The big meme going around in liberal circles is to highlight Pope Benedict XVI's experiences in the waning days of World War II.

Now, it's truly a novel experience to find myself defending the Catholic Church and its leader, but things are just getting TFS ("Too... Stupid") to let slide. Hell, this is just one of two such pieces I plan on writing.

Now, Juliette has already done yeoman's work on rebutting this (here, and reposted here), but lemme put my own stamp on the story.

Young Joseph Ratzinger joined the Hitler Youth when it was compulsory, after doing all he could to avoid it, and still did all he could to actually participating. He entered the German Army when he was conscripted, and deserted.

It is especially worth noting that all this occurred before Ratzinger turned 18. Even more significant, Nazi membership was restricted to people 18 and older. Therefore, there is absolutely NO WAY he could have ever been a member of the Nazi Party.

Of course, youth is hardly an excuse for errors in judgment -- just look here. To that list, I'd like to add a couple other examples:

Congressman Henry Hyde (R-Illinois) once dismissed his fathering an illegitimate child as a "youthful indiscretion," without mentioning that he was 41 at the time of the affair.

Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) was 28 when he joined the Ku Klux Klan.

And let's not let the succeeding 60 years of Ratzinger's life. He's led the Church's move towards reconciliation towards the Jews, and personally wrote the document that outlined the Church's sins against them over the centuries. His elevation to Pope is being widely welcomed in Israel, and that's something that will drive the neo-nazis absolutely even MORE stark raving wonko.

And that's a GOOD thing.

So the next time you see some of the leftist whackos howling about about "a former Nazi in line to be made a saint," just smile and laugh at them. It's far more rewarding than arguing with the idiots.

Take my word for it.



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Comments (20)

I'm frankly amazed that thi... (Below threshold)

I'm frankly amazed that this story has lasted a full 24 hours. No offense to you, Jay, but I'm astounded that people are still talking about it.

There are no unforgivable sins. That's a fundamental tenet of Christianity. There is no act that man can do that can't already be forgiven, because we're all already guilty of the ultimate sin: Direct defiance of God's will. And we've already been forgiven for that sin, so there's nothing we can do that can't be forgiven.

I really don't care what the pope did as a boy. I've read his story, and I find it frankly heartbreaking, but even if he'd done something bad, I wouldn't care one way or the other. What matters is not what he did sixty years ago. What matters is what kind of man he is today.

As I've written elsewhere, I think the "Let's talk about the fact that he was in the Hitler Youth and the German Army" thing is just an attempt to disqualify the new pope. "We don't have to listen to him because of such-n-such," goes the argument. "Because of such-n-such, we can just ignore him." I think that's just cheap.

In an odd twist:dail... (Below threshold)

In an odd twist:
daily kos actually seems to actually agree with you. That's gotta be a first...

There are no unf... (Below threshold)
There are no unforgivable sins. That's a fundamental tenet of Christianity.

Tell that to my friend Susan who is insisting that Benedict XVI took the mark of the beast- an unforgivable sin.

Thank you for this post. I... (Below threshold)

Thank you for this post. I can't believe the lengths to which some will go to attack anything religious and/or conservative.

I think you must consider t... (Below threshold)

I think you must consider that the effort to damage Pope Benedict XVI, and therefore render him irrelevant to issues facing society, is part of a concerted effort by the radical left to move aside the authority normally wielded by the Catholic Church on matters such as Abortion and Homosexual Marriage. If only the authority of the Church could be rendered incompetent, then social change envisioned by the radical left would be much easier. Now, everytime they attempt to push for change in those areas they are met with that immovable 800 pound gorilla. To de-legitimize the Pope is the first, but most important, step in de-legitimizing the Church itself in discussions over social issues.

I agree with John … except ... (Below threshold)

I agree with John … except for the more conspiratorial parts of his comment. I think the idea here most certainly is to get rid of the Church's influence, but I don't think it's a concerted effort. I think it's just a natural consequence of the liberal way of looking at the world. "I'm right, everybody else is wrong, and everybody who disagrees with me is an embodiment of the thing I hate most: hypocrisy." I think the attacks on the new pope emerge naturally and spontaneously from that mindset.

To build on what Jeff just ... (Below threshold)

To build on what Jeff just said, it goes to what the pope called the "dictatorship of relativism." There is nothing more illiberal than "progressives" who are only superficially "tolerant." When it comes to the tough questions on things like values, morality and the purposeful life, any deviation from their views of proper "modernity" raises eyebrows and any profession of "deeply held beliefs" send them running to the printing presses and microphones to denounce the "radical theocrats."

And a lot of this pentup enmity we are seeing right now, IMHO, is really because the attackers could not say anything during the coverage of Pope John Paul II's death and funeral.

WAIT! I SENSE A CREATIVE P... (Below threshold)


We conservatives can now start sharing all the grisly stories about all the libierals worldwide, oh the hypocrisy! We could just focus on those in Congress and probably wrap up the issue right there: Ford's proclivities, child support 'issues' and on and on and on...

What JohnG wrote (^^).... (Below threshold)

What JohnG wrote (^^).

Jay, The fresh hyp... (Below threshold)
Clive Tolson:


The fresh hypocrisy of using Byrd's racist past to vindicate Ratzinger (which has been the cornerstone of your sales pitch on 'the nuclear option'), truly marks a new low for Wizbang!

And, your selective (and lacking in number) choice of his past discretions with which to completely grant him absolution, is the familiar whitewash used on Tom DeLay.

The flood of information detailing his role as Pope John Paul II's closest adviser, reveals he mainly did the Vatican's 'dirty work'.

As to his role in the sexual abuse scandal, he can be best described as 'The Cleaner'.

I would also point out that... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I would also point out that being 14 and living in a country where membership in the organization was mandatory for all teenagers, he has a pretty big excuse. If he actively sought membership in the actual Nazi Party when he was older I may view it differently.

I think this is making a lot of nothing.

Clive,The straight... (Below threshold)


The straight jacket was a little loose today I see.

Three lefty loonyisms in one post. Good job.

Now come here and let me give you your shot.

Bye bye.

Clive,The fact that ... (Below threshold)

The fact that Benedict XVI was 14, and forced to join, is what vindicates. The life he has led in the last 60 years, is what vindicates.
Pointing out Byrd is just flagging the hypocrisy of many on the left, who would give a man like Byrd a pass on what he voluntarily did as an adult, simply because he is a democrat.
As in, Byrd is allowed to leave his past behind (becoming a klan kleage at 28, opposing civil rights, fillibustering same, numerous racist remarks on record), but Benedict XVI cannot (forced into Hitler youth, pulled out of seminary to be drafted into an AA unit, deserted from same).

Am I the only one who finds... (Below threshold)

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that Clive used the phrase "white-washing" -- in a post taking issue with the unfavorable comparison between Pope Benedict and Robert "Sheets" Byrd?

but you see in the world of... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

but you see in the world of moonbat liberals, if you have a questionable past, all can be forgiven if you toe their party line, it is only a questionable past in combination with conservativism/religious orthodoxy that forgiveness is not permitted.

Let me see if I have this b... (Below threshold)

Let me see if I have this behavior-as-a-youth thing down. It's okay for convicted Weathermen and other radical 60's student organization murderers to prosper as college professors, becaseu all that happened when they were in their 20's; it's okay for a charlatan "Indian" to have usee plagiarism in his "scholarly" works, fraudulently claimed degrees, completley concocted tales of combat in Vietnam, and claimed Native AMerican status wihtout a drop of the blood, becasue all that happend when he was in his 20's; it's okay for a spoiled child of ZHollwood to revel in her role as Communist Tool and to have openly and definatly provided aid and comfort to an enemy of the United States duirng a time of war, and never apologize for it (non-apology apologies don't count) or admit WHY it was wrong or how it hurt priosners of war, because she was only in her 20's, uh, 30s.

But if a 12 yearold was compulsorily enrolled in the Hitler Youth, and if he was drafted at age 17 into miltary service against his will (and from which service he deserted on pain of summary execution), well, no doubt about it, that guy's the Anti-Christ, right? Except to most of the poeple making these accusations, Christ and the Anti-Christ have little or no mewaning ands signifcance. SO waht is the equivalent? Hmmm. I got it! "He's INSENSITIVE and ANTI-MODERN!" *whereupon leftists drop to their knees, chant "MoveOnus Sanctuus", make the sign of the EU on their foreheads, and run their worn copy of the UN CHarter through their fingers*

Ah yes... You guys... (Below threshold)
Clive Tolson:

Ah yes...

You guys never seem to disappoint! That's why I come here. And, thanks for the multiple examples that make my original point.

Thing is, I accept Ratzinger's explanation, no problem. It's as much your fixation as the Gannon sex stuff, because you don't wanna talk about his other dealings!

This is the guy that got Cardinal Law his cushy gig at the Vatican, when he should've been defrocked.

So the next time you see... (Below threshold)

So the next time you see some of the leftist whackos howling about about "a former Nazi in line to be made a saint," just smile and laugh at them. It's far more rewarding than arguing with the idiots.

The link you provided had absolutely nothing to do with "leftist whackos" howling about anything. Rather, it was an informative piece about the neo-Nazis sporting wood over the choice of the new Pope.

This particular "leftist whacko" had this to say about the new Pope.

So, who's the idiot?


Asking about this Cardinals... (Below threshold)

Asking about this Cardinals past is a very legitimate exercize. Because the new pope was a member of Hitler Youth & The Nazi Army is something people should question. The coverage of this issue so far is relying ENTIRELY on the popes own biography. It quotes things like "deserted" and "never fired a shot" and the like. Because he was in Hitler Youth & the nazi army doesn't mean he did anything wrong. But there is nothing wrong with questioning if his biography is correct - or a whitewashing. Research needs to be done and its good that some reporters are doing it.

I believe there is an issue... (Below threshold)

I believe there is an issue here that people are ignoring.
This guy was an Anti Aircraft gunner in 1943.
well, the war was not over until 1945, so how many Allied soldiers is he responsible for killing,
The catholic church has many troubles. This Nazi is no help.
just alike a person who is convicted of a Felony is considered a Convict for the rest of his/her life, so must this individual be considered a NAZI
for the rest of his life.
Just obeying orders was not considered a defense at the Nuremburg trials. Therefore, in this NAZI's situation, he has no excuse.
How many Allied servicemen did his Anti Aircraft Battery kill?






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