Pope Was Member Of Nazi Youth Organization

VATICAN CITY, April 20 - Roman Catholic cardinals have elected arch-conservative German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, a polarising but shy, elderly theologian who helped mould the stern legacy of his charismatic predecessor, John Paul II.
Ratzinger’s papacy could alienate many Catholics in rich western nations, where church attendances have plummeted in recent decades amid calls for liberal reforms.
Anchored in orthodoxy, he strongly opposes homosexuality, birth control, abortion, female ordination and marriage for priests.
Catholicism’s relations with other faiths - which he once described as deficient'' - could also be rocky. His hardline views have earned him nicknames like God’s Rottweiler’’ and Panzerkardinal''. Nonetheless his appearance on the balcony of St Peter's Basilica was greeted with cheers of joy by tens of thousands of faithful who earlier saw white smoke rise from the Sistine Chapel, signalling that a new pope had been elected. The announcement - Habemus Papam!’’ or We have a pope'' - triggered a roar in the crowd. Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me - a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord,’’ the multi-lingual 78-year-old pontiff said in Italian to the buoyant international crowd.
Ratzinger had worked closely with John Paul, acting as almost a vice pope in recent years when the late pontiff became increasingly incapacitated.
He gave an emotional homily at the late pope’s funeral last week.
As the 265th pontiff, Ratzinger is the oldest man to be elected pope for three centuries and is the first German to rule the Holy See in almost a 1,000 years.
Some see him as a surprising choice.
Until about six months ago, conventional wisdom dictated that he would have been too polarising a figure to be elected pope.
Ratzinger was elected on the fourth ballot, just over 24 hours after the cardinal’s conclave began.
His election showed that the 115 voting cardinals wanted a transitional figure who probably won’t shape the church to the extent that John Paul did in his 26-year reign. His age promises to make his reign much shorter than that.
:eek: Ratzinger was a member of the Hitler Youth and a deserter from the German army during World War II before becoming a priest.
He spent the last quarter-century in Rome as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer, heading a bureaucracy known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In that capacity, he disciplined hundreds of priests and theologians who strayed from accepted teachings.
He also oversaw many official church declarations that outraged Catholic progressives.
In a pamphlet last year on the role of women in the church, he blamed feminist thought for fostering opposition between women and men'' and a 1986 document that called homosexuality an intrinsic moral evil.’’
In his native Germany, news of the election was greeted with both joy and trepidation.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder called Ratzinger a worthy successor to Pope John Paul, but some non-Catholics feared he would quash inter-religious dialogue.
We consider the election of Ratzinger as a catastrophe,'' said Bernd Goehring of German ecumenical group Kirche von Unten. It is very disappointing, even if it was predictable. We can expect no reform from him in the coming years.’’
Many cardinals rallied around him.
He's a very loving and lovely person, completely unassuming, with no pretences,'' said Cardinal Edward Egan of New York. The new pope is among those who believe that it's better for the church to be smaller than to compromise its core beliefs. Some people are jubilant; they see a continuity with John Paul,’’ said Chester Gillis, a professor of theology at Georgetown University in the United States.
But those who had hoped for someone more moderate - someone who would be more accommodating pastorally on such issues as birth control, divorce and remarriage, the role of women in the church and reaching out to gay people - may be disappointed.'' Ratzinger is also unlikely to provoke immediate enthusiasm in Latin America or Africa, where many were hoping either for a pope from the developing world or a figure who's concentrated on issues of poverty and social justice. Ratzinger's choice of papal name led some to speculate that he was trying to soften his image as the Vatican's hard-liner. Benedict XV, who reigned from 1914 to 1922, was a moderate by the standards of the time. He followed Pius X, who had implemented a sharp crackdown against doctrinal modernism’’.
The last pope from a German-speaking land was Victor II, bishop of Eichstatt, who reigned from 1055-57.
The selection of the second non-Italian in a row seemed to cement the end of Italian domination of the papacy. The pope was an Italian for 455 years before John Paul II, a Pole, was elected in 1978.

Sometimes I feel major steps back are taken worldwide by the powers that be nowadays…

I just put that header on the Pope’s backgrounder because it would attract attention and because it seems so amazing actually. But I gather he was 12 at the time he joined Hitler Youth and what does a kid that age know about anything. Apparently, or so it is said, he refused requests (from who?) to attend a rally. So that must be to his credit. But trust a German to uphold a doctrine. They’re good at following leaders. And that’s been their problem. kk

He was of an age, and in a time, where all youth were automatically enlisted into the Nazi Youth movement.

A very unfair, and dare I say easy, attack by the media. Why not foucs on the fact that his family resisted the Nazi movement and were forced to move on occasion due to their anti-Nazi stance.

Would this line of reporting sell as much newspapers?!

Of course everything is much more complex than it appears as usual,and facts shouldn’t be taken and judged per se out of context, but I still feel this choice at the Vatican might somehow represent a step back in nice agreement with the world’s general (rather conservative) direction.
Even worse might actually be the media position and role in all this…

That is hearsay. Psychologists have done studies and Germans are no more succeptible to listening to an authority figure than any one else. Therefore this problem that you are speaking of doesn’t exist. At least now we know the press isn’t biased. :slight_smile:

Regarding his affiliation with the Hitler Youth…experts in the field are giving him the benefit of the doubt. There were many involved with the organization who were not permited to speak out against it, and many who had no idea of what was going on behind the scenes until it was too late.

Israeli leaders praise new Pope despite his past ties to Nazis
10:15 PM EDT Apr 20

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli politicians and rabbis on Wednesday praised newly elected Pope Benedict XVI for his strong condemnations of anti-Semitism despite the pontiff’s ties to the Nazi Party as a youth.

As a German, Benedict sets off alarm bells for many Israelis, whose memories of the Nazi murder of six million Jews remain painfully vivid. Many wondered whether he would embrace Jews as warmly as his predecessor, John Paul.

“There are good relations with him,” Oded Ben-Hor, Israel’s ambassador to the Vatican, told Army Radio. “Israel can certainly coexist with him. But the real test will come over the course of time.”

Israelis widely admired the late Pope John Paul for his unstinting efforts to promote Jewish-Catholic reconciliation. John Paul won many Israeli hearts during a trip to the Holy Land in 2000 by apologizing for Roman Catholic wrongdoing over the centuries. He also was praised for promoting interfaith dialogue, establishing diplomatic relations with Israel and aiding Polish Jews during the Nazi era.

As a teen, the new Pope served in the Hitler Youth - compulsory for young Germans at the time - and during the Second World War was drafted into a German anti-aircraft unit, although he says he never fired a shot. While Benedict has been a leading voice in the church in battling anti-Semitism and fostering Jewish-Catholic relations, his past has raised suspicions in the Jewish state.

“White smoke, black past,” said the headline in the mass circulation Yediot Ahronot. “From the Nazi youth movement to the Vatican.”

Nonetheless, Jewish leaders said they were encouraged by the special interest the new Pope - the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger - has in coexistence.

“Though as a teenager he was a member of the Hitler Youth, all his life Cardinal Ratzinger has atoned for the fact,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, an American Jewish group that battles anti-Semitism. Foxman himself was saved during the Holocaust by his Polish nanny, who had him baptized and raised him as a Catholic, until his Jewish parents reclaimed him at the end of the war.

Moshe Zimmerman, a professor of German history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, played down the importance of the new Pope’s membership in the Hitler Youth.

“He was 18 years old when the war ended, so everything that he had to do with the Nazi regime was as a very young man,” he said. “I don’t believe that there is any room for doubt that (the Pope) of today is very different than the days he belonged in the Hitler Youth.”

Tel Aviv chief Rabbi Israeli Meir Lau - a Holocaust survivor and a former chief rabbi for Israeli Jews of European backgrounds - said his many meetings with Benedict while he was a cardinal have convinced him of the new Pope’s good record on matters of concern to Israelis.

“(The last meeting) was last year, in New York, in the Museum of Jewish Heritage of all places,” Lau told Israel Army Radio. “There was a meeting of two or three rabbis with some 20 cardinals. . . . His entire speech was given over to a condemnation of anti-Semitism, in the strongest and most unambiguous terms.”

Writer Zvi Gil, also a Holocaust survivor, said he expects Benedict to continue John Paul’s favourable attitude toward Jews, precisely because of his German past.

“His attitude to Jews in Israel will to a very significant extent be influenced by that of his predecessor John Paul II, whose steps are well known to us,” Gil told Army Radio. “And as a German I don’t think he will want to move backward from these steps toward Israeli Jews.”

A top Muslim leader, meanwhile, urged Benedict to follow John Paul’s efforts to promote interfaith relations and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We hope that the new Pope will give the church more roles in trying to solve the problems that the world is facing,” said Adnan Husseini, director of the Waqf, or Islamic Trust. “We hope that he will continue the policy of John Paul II, who opposed the wall around the Palestinian territories and called for peace between the two peoples.”

© The Canadian Press, 2005 http://www.cbc.ca/cp/world/050420/w042042.html

Well that goes to show those Popes are human after all.

Now who would have thought that old guy was a Nazi…

It’s a cycle, folks. Under oppressive or conservative rule over time, people become resentful of the lack of “forward” social movement. They revolt or elect someone who will spur an age of reform, and moderation, free thinking etc. Then, once they realize how much is actually being done, they become scared. So scared that they are willing to elect a conservative president… I mean pope, even if they don’t agree with their principles, but they elect that conservative figure to stem the tide of change.

Maybe, but who would have thought they elect a Rapsinger as Pope :o

HAH! That’s the best intentional typo, ever Kitkat… :smiley: spams rep point button