Saturday, June 03, 2006

Where was he in those days?

As I observed in my last post spring is always a busy time of year for me. This year, however, has been particularly hectic, as evidenced by that post being now over a month old. May has come and gone in a whirlwind of activity. In among other things I got to see the amazing Alhambra and what the Christians managed to do with it after they took control of it. Still, I was not so busy as to not pay attention to the Pope’s visit to Poland. As always when an Emperor, Dictator or Pope appears before crowds the adulation was fulsome and almost completely authentic. The various idiotic things that were written about him and his visit fit right in with the obsequious clap-trap that used to be written about the visits of Soviet dignitaries. He was the wisest, his insight reaching into our hearts; we were the meek, made greater by his mere presence. The sale of alcohol was banned in the cities he would visit. One has to wonder if it was legal to copulate while his presence shone upon the nation. The whole utterly distasteful and deeply hypocritical parade of human foibles hit its high point in Auschwitz – that place which, by the deaths of more than a million people, was made as close to holy as any place could be in this cold universe. There, Ratzinger delivered a speech that was at once deeply moving and profoundly mendacious, and which was immediately covered in praise that would please the most self-aggrandising satrap. And, of course, no-one mentioned what Ratzinger, himself, was doing during the war. It was up to Daniel Goldhagen to burst that particular bubble:

Yet the good he did by visiting Auschwitz was overshadowed by the address he delivered there, which offered none of Brandt's genuine emotion nor John Paul's humility and which failed to heed his own self-proclaimed duty to truth. Instead, Benedict clouded historical understanding, evaded moral responsibility and shirked political duty.

Benedict falsely exonerated Germans from their responsibility for the Holocaust by blaming only a "ring of criminals" who "used and abused" the duped and dragooned German people as an "instrument" of destruction. In truth, Germans by and large supported the Jews' persecution, and many of the hundreds of thousands of perpetrators were ordinary Germans who acted willingly. It is false to attribute culpability for the Holocaust wholly or even primarily to a "criminal ring." No German scholar or mainstream politician would today dare put forth Benedict's mythologized account of the past.

Yet, as Goldberg accurately observed, the moral scandal contained in Ratzinger’s speech was his attempt to make it a Christian, rather than a mostly Jewish, Holocaust. This is what the Pope actually said:

If this people, by its very existence, was a witness to the God who spoke to humanity and took us to himself, then that God finally had to die and power had to belong to man alone - to those men, who thought that by force they had made themselves masters of the world. By destroying Israel, by the Shoah, they ultimately wanted to tear up the taproot of the Christian faith and to replace it with a faith of their own invention: faith in the rule of man, the rule of the powerful.

No. The Nazis did not wish to annihilate the Jewish people to annihilate Christianity. The annihilation of the Jewish race was their ultimate wish. If they had wished to annihilate Christianity, Pious XII would have been their victim rather than their collaborator and admirer. By speaking in this way, Ratzinger became like the callous man who complains about the inconvenience someone put them through by killing their neighbour outside their house. What is more, by implication Ratzinger equated all humanists with Nazis, since they too have faith in the rule of man. Thus, he turned the genocide of the Jews by the Germans into the genocide of the Christians by the Godless.

The most interesting thing for me in Ratzinger’s speech was his question – “Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil?” The fact that he raised this question was widely reported. Less reported, however, was his answer. So much so that, moved by curiosity regarding what he could have possibly said, I had to look on the Vatican website:

We cannot peer into God’s mysterious plan - we see only piecemeal, and we would be wrong to set ourselves up as judges of God and history. Then we would not be defending man, but only contributing to his downfall. No - when all is said and done, we must continue to cry out humbly yet insistently to God: Rouse yourself!

I should have known that he would have no answer but the usual, trite one that it is wrong to even ask; that to even ask would be to contribute to the rule of man that brought about the death of those millions; that to even ask would be to be a Nazi collaborator. Ours is only to bleat.

With the Pope safely back in the Vatican, it has probably been deemed proper for the drunks to come out onto the street corners again. Evidently God’s presence is not actually felt to be any closer either.

2 Comments:

At 3/7/06 6:14 am, Anonymous Drenched said...

This is a very good article, Notorious Apostate. Why didn't you post it at atheistparents.com?

You might have added that the Nazis were Xtians themselves. Nazi soldiers wore standard issue beltbuckles that said "Got Mitt Uns". Funny the Pope didn't mention that, haha. You can see a picture here:

http://members.cox.net/drenched

Drenched

 
At 20/7/06 2:08 pm, Blogger Notorious Apostate said...

I would not go so far as to say that Nazis were Christians. While some of the people in the Nazi party and organs were Christians, the movement itself was not a Christian movement but, if anything, exhibited some strange neo-pagan practices and beliefs related to the old Germanic deities. This did not stop them from using religion, any religion, as it suited them, of course.

 

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