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Critical thinking challenge for the day - anybody up for it?

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArtStEng.jhtml?itemNo=1059521&contrassID=19&subContrassID=1&title='Pope%20reaffirms%20'solidarity'%20with%20Jews%20amid%20row%20over%20bishop%20who%20denied%20Holocaust'&dyn_server=172.20.5.5#top

My challenge to you is to read this story, but NOT to see if it agrees or disagrees with your opinion. Search for inconsistencies, the use of certain words or phrases in such a way as to get people emotionally invested in an issue rather than to accurately relay facts. Please post anything you find that seems as if it is not really rational, or maybe even purposely intended to incite passion.

I am NOT asking you to comment on the ISSUE here - whatever you think. Lets just start with agreeing to disagree because the odds are outstanding that we are not going to come to full agreement on anything. We are individuals; it is OK to be different from each other. I am challenging you to get past anything in this article that may have been successfully put in YOUR psyche that causes you to be unable to think rationally about sensitive issues.

There are some real doozies in here, in my opinion. Happy thinking!
better link:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1059521.html

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Those in power have used a basic technique for centuries

It is easy to get people to do what you want by "emotional rule."

Religions are awesome as they allow the people in power to control people with their most intimate beliefs.

It has been made clear to me that the people in power INVENTED religions long ago as part of the control grid.

"How I believe" is strong in each one of us. Another "belief" is foreign and viewed as a threat...this is the leverage that is used by those in power to keep us hating others for how they "believe."

"Divide and conquer."

Religious atrocities have been occurring on this planet since they were invented.

In World War II 35,000,000 human beings died. Suggesting that one group or another deserves more sympathy is ridiculous.

In World War One 5,900,000 French males were killed or wounded. The number of french males in 1914? 19,000,000.

31% of french males were dead or wounded by 1919.

Who cares right? The media puts no value on "French males from 1918"

They can't be worth anything right?

They were French.

They died a long time ago.

We don't live in France...who cares that every one of their able bodied males from age 16 to 50 died or were wounded over a four year period?

(By the way I am not French, this is an example)

Does Fox News discuss this atrocity?

Are their lobbies and action groups working on keeping the Dead and wounded French men in the news?

Do we see regular articles and debates by world leaders over this atrocity?

In World War One 8,000,000 German men were killed or wounded. These men had NO argument with anyone. They were ordered to this war by their so called leaders.

The people in power needed a war and they manufactured one.

The discussion in this article is to keep the "hate machine" rolling full tilt.

Peace is NOT their goal.

This small group of men stand between you and PEACE.

Stop reading this media junk and tell the truth to everyone you know. Then we will have peace.

Unify

nice. great mental

nice. great mental exercise. thanks for posting this.

It's Called tinyurl paul4won

bookmark it,use it and make everyone's life easier. Thanks

http://tinyurl.com/

Revolt For Freedom !!!
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Revolt For Freedom !!!
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Here's what I have so far

"reaffirmed his "full and unquestionable solidarity with Jews""
-- No reference to the origninal affirmation. For all I know he never said a word.

"in an attempt to relieve tensions with Jews after he rehabilitated a Catholic bishop who denied the Holocaust. "
-- "Relieve tensions" denotes a social sense of tension, which I don't feel at all. This could be a reference to people like myself who believes the Nation of Israel is acting with malice and evil against Gaza, however, no tension between myself and Jewish people. So, this could be an attempt to lump those who are discouraged by the government of Israel into the realm of anti-semitism. Also, rehabilitated sounds clinical as if the bishop's ideas were a mental disorder. (Or, knowing the history of popes, a code word for torture - sorry little emotion there)

"the attempt to exterminate the Jews in the Holocaust should remain a warning for all people."
-- "exterminate" is very emotion-laden. A "warning"?: The actions of Aryan-Supremacists and Aryan Christians who were desperate because of an economic collapse has nothing to do with me or most readers and should only be a warning if I would a victim or be so inclined to commit the actions. I'm Caucasion, not white, so that a behavior is not culturally ingrained in me. This is an attempt to put fear into all readers in the sense of the "then they came for me" scenario.

"one of four traditionalist bishops whose excommunications were lifted"
-- First, "traditionalist" makes them sound original or the way bishops should be. Second, by "lifting" excommunications, that denotes innocence and approval of their point of view. (How exactly does God admit he was wrong? For another time...)

"His comments caused an uproar among Jewish leaders and progressive Catholics, many of whom said it had cast a dark shadow over 50 years of Christian-Jewish dialogue."
-- "Progressive Catholics" gives the impression that older ones are wrong or inconsequential. Secondly, I think there are about a hundred "dark shadows" between Christians and Jews, but the use of this term makes it sound as though this is the only issue there is dialogue over.

"Elie Wiesel said the Pope's decision had given credence to "the most vulgar aspect of anti-Semitism"."
-- How is a historical opinion vulgar? I don't agree with the bishop (at least not at this point) but I cannot say his use of numbers is vulgar. He is either wrong/misinformed, partially correct or correct. Secondly, the reason the Pope did it is none of his business, but if it is anti-Jewish, then everone of his subjects around the world has the right to declare him incompetent. Otherwise, he is doing what he thinks is best for his group. Again, might be wrong, but the motivations are unknown.

"- and today of course the most vulgar aspect of anti-Semitism is Holocaust denial -"
-- Same quote twice, pushing home the idea that the Pope was motivated by vulgarity and malicious feelings toward a religion. Which, he may be, but using the same quote one paragraph apart appears intentional.

""to give credence to a man who is a Holocaust denier..."
-- "denier" denotes purposeful ignorance. The bishop isn't denying the Holocaust, just the numbers involved. If large numbers are needed to consider an event an attrocity and evil, then many smaller events such as 9/11 must be ignored as inconsequencial. (Personal note, I have heard many times that "an athiest is denying God!" However, a person cannot deny something that doesn't exist, at least not in their experience. If a person "knows" something exists and then denies it, they are dishonest and morally corrupt. So if the bishop "knows" Jews were killed in Germany, but denies it in public, then he too is guilty of dishonesty and lack of morality)

"William had been disciplined and ordered to remain silent on political or historical issues."
-- Great, silence under duress. How politically correct of them. (sorry, emotional response)

"the episode would have long-lasting ramifications in the fight against anti-Semitism."
-- This may be accurate, but the author is assuming there is an ongoing struggle and that all Catholics fall in the category.

--Several other quotes from Wiesel were his opinion and I cannot critique those. The author definitely let several assumptions run throughout the piece without questioning them. Politically, I think it was a bad move by the Pope. I cannot know the reasons, but it is obvious the reason for the excommunication must have been other than Willimson's opinion of Halocaust numbers. Otherwise, since he still has those opinons, they wouldn't have brought him back - and told him to "shut up".

I frankly don't get these people...oh well, non-interventionism seems to be the way to go.

"In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."--Mark Twain

Some day I hope to have a beer with you!

I was just going to sit down and take a stab at walking through the article, and look at what you did!
Thank you. That level of detached evaluation of the media will serve you well.
I would add only my favorite, it strikes me so very odd and a bit obvious. If the pope had "unquestionable solidarity with the Jews" what religion is he, anyway? lol!

I will let this thread die now, thanks to the folks who participated. I hope to do similar things frequently, so I will be intentionally bringing some "hot topics" here for calm, cool evaluation. I look forward to thinking together with you!

Just to be clear, I am doing this because I need the practice. Thanks for your help!

Truth exists, and it deserves to be cherished.

seems to me

that he is preparing to blame the increase of anti-semitism on the pope. Deflecting attention from Israel's actions.

nice try, may I critique without sounding critical?

Your reply discusses "blame" and that is a trigger word in its own right. The challenge is to locate the trigger words, and try to try to discern the desired effect. Your reply does address part two, but I THINK I detect a bit of YOUR leanings in the reply, too. The line about "Deflecting attention..." implies to me that you believe Israel needs to have attention drawn to their actions. Fair enough opinion, but the challenge is to locate the trigger words and the goal behind that is to learn to communicate without tripping over triggers.
I give you half credit - lol!

Truth exists, and it deserves to be cherished.

In the last quote

He states: "One thing is clear. This move by the pope surely will not help us fight anti-Semitism. Quite the opposite"
He clearly blames the Pope for causing anti-semitism.

But what is he trying to get

But what is he trying to get YOU to think or do? That is what I am driving at. The talking heads will lie and spin, the trick is to figure out what the WANT you think... then try to figure out WHY they want you to think that way... then figure out where to get the most dispassionate information on the topic you can to form your opinion based on YOUR research.

Look at how the words shifted in your short reply: What he said was it would "not help us fight anti-Semitism." You paraphrase that to say he "blames the pope for anti-Semitism." That is really not at all what the man said, can you see that?

Truth exists, and it deserves to be cherished.

the second part of the quote places blame

Not help us fight it, "QUITE THE OPPOSITE". the opposite of fighting is supporting, at least that's how I interpreted it. maybe not causing it but supporting anti-semitism.
But it is very hard to completely give up my own already established opinions and biases.

I am not suggesting you give them up

Indeed, I would hope that many of your opinions are well researched and many biases based on experience. But when consuming media products, it is my contention that we are better served to lay those aside an FIRST watch for the key words and phrases that evoke tremendous emotion and acknowledge that 1. the words may cause us to be emotional, rather than critical, in our processing of the information 2. it may be done deliberately.

Truth exists, and it deserves to be cherished.

One thing Weisel suggests

He apparently encourages us to believe that all holocaust deniers deserve to be censored:
"The result of this move is very simple: to give credence to a man who is a Holocaust denier"
and it looks like they obliged:
William had been disciplined and ordered to remain silent on political or historical issues.

There you go - double points!

That is one of my "catches" too. This man projected his particular filter onto us all. What the pope and this bishop, or anyone else in this article say and do has very little effect on what I give credence to. It seemed as if he was assigning the effect that I would feel.
The other closely related thing I noticed is that what is questioned are specifics of the holocaust, from what I gather. Yet the term "denier" implies someone who believes nothing happened.

Truth exists, and it deserves to be cherished.

Very difficult!

The inconsistency that jumped out at me was the use of quotes. Full quotes for Weisel but no one else. The Williamson quote is certainly designed to inflame.

h-daddy

excellent

It IS difficult! Very hard to discern facts in the midst of all the emotion that gets rolling around. Thanks for making the effort!

Truth exists, and it deserves to be cherished.

Ron Paul & his C4L

JACK OTTO tells you why.....
you-no

Why Yes...

I notice a huge lapse in History & why Jews may distrust Catholics, and this sure doesn't help.

http://nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm

http://nobeliefs.com/mementoes.htm

Let the burring of facts begin with meaningless discussion. Prove again that facts that aren't popular here don't survive long but myths do.
By all means let the keepers of the light keep this in the dark.

To work my ducklings... To Work..

http://nobeliefs.com/ChurchesWWII.htm

The Catholic Church during WWII

Jewish persecutions: banning Jews from working for public office, the enforcement of wearing yellow badges, the Jewish ghettos, burning of synagogues, and the extermination of Jews remind us of the atrocities committed by Nazis in WWII. However the atrocities above do not pertain to Nazi actions but rather the practices of Catholicism, centuries before Hitler came into power.

The seeds of Christian hatred for Jews begins from the readings of the New Testament and the persecutions began when the Church first held power to enforce its dogmas. The Biblical Paul, for example, put the blame of Jesus's death entirely on the Jews. In the first epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians (2:14-15), it says, "the Jews who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets...." Also the gospel of John, makes it clear that the Jews represent an enemy (and John 8:44 puts the devil as the father of the Jews). Many prominent priests used Paul's epistles and the gospels as Biblical justification for Jewish persecution.

Historical Christianity makes it clear that the Jews formed an essential part of early Christian theology. Examples include the letter of Barnabas (circa 130), Justin the Martyr's "Dialogue with the Jew Trypho" (circa 160), Tertullian's treatise against the Jews (circa 200), Orgin's work against Celsus (circa 250). The sermons by John Chrysostom in 387, especially, show an indigence against the Jews. Origen had written, "The blood of Jesus falls not only on the Jews of that time, but on all generations of Jews up to the end of the world." John Chrysostom wrote, "The Synagogue is a brothel, a hiding place for unclean beasts.... Never has any prayed to God.... They are possessed by demons." [Cornwell, pp. 24-25]

When Christianity became officially accepted for the state in the 4th century, the Christians began to act against the Jews. Constantine imposed heavy penalties on anyone who visited a pagan temple or converted to Judaism. Mixed marriages between Jews and Christians were punished by death. In the Codex Theodosianus of Theodosis II (408-450), it forbade Jews to hold any public office. It first came from Justinian who legalized the burning and pillaging of Jewish synagogues by Christian bishops and monks (often canonized later). Thomas Aquinas, in the treatise De regimine Judaeorum ad Ducissam Brabantae, made it acceptable for popes and kings to dispose of property belonging to the Jews.

Compelling Jews to wear yellow badges came from an invention of the Catholic Church. The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 set up the Inquisition along with enforcement of Jews wearing a yellow spot on their clothes and a horned cap (pileum cornutum) to mark them as the murderers of Christ and to remind them of their descent from the devil. During the Black Death plague which ravaged Europe in the 14th century, the Catholic clergy aimed its blame at the Jews claiming they worked for the Devil and had poisoned the wells and springs. Their extermination compares with the pogroms that took place in the 20th century under Hitler. During the Spanish Inquisition, the Catholic Church directed its actions against the baptized Jews, the marranos. They forbade them to hold any office in the Church or the state; many suffered torture or death.

Popes have traditionally supported anti-Jewish acts and beliefs. Pope Paul IV in the sixteenth century established the Roman ghetto (another Catholic invention). For more than two centuries afterward, Catholics humiliated the Roman Jews and degraded them at the annual carnival. In the same century, Pope Gregory XIII instituted enforced Christian sermons insulting Judaism. [Cornwell, p. 299]. In a Papal custom Popes performed an anti-Jewish ceremony on their way to the basilica of St. John Lateran. Here the Pontiff would receive a copy of the Pentateuch from the hand of Rome's rabbi. The Pope then returned the text upside down with twenty pieces of gold, proclaiming that, while he respected the Law of Moses, he disapproved of the hard hearts of the Jewish race. [Cornwell, p. 27]

Forcing Jews, and heretics into the Catholic faith, of course has always served as a hallmark of Catholicism. When they could not legally use strong-arm tactics they used propaganda. Although most people associate the term with Hitler, propaganda actually came as an invention by the Catholics long before the Nazis, from the Sacra Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, an organization established by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.

In the 1930s, as the Catholic leaders listened to Hitler's rhetoric against the Jews during his appeal for power, his speeches condemning Jews only correlated with the Church's own long history of Jewish hatred. Indeed, in Hitler's meeting with Bishop Berning and Monsignor Steinmann on April 26, 1933, Hilter reminded his Catholic guests that the Church, for 1,500 years had regarded the Jews as parasites, had banished them into ghettos, and had forbidden Christians to work for them. Hitler said he merely intended to do more effectively what the Church had attempted to accomplish for so long. [Lewy]

It should come to no surprise that at no time before or during Hitler's rise did the Catholic Church speak up against such talk. Sadly the Church remained mostly silent, with its main objections concerned with its own power structure in Germany. Thus it aimed to prevent loss of control and, indeed, to gain Church control through an expansion of papal power, control of appointment of bishops, and the control of Catholic schools. This self-serving interest gave the Vatican an impetus to form an agreement with Germany. In this sense, Hitler actually saved Catholicism in Germany, especially considering that Bismark before him had begun a Kulturkampf ("culture struggle"), a policy of persecution against Catholicism. [Cornwell, p.14]

The Reich Concordat between Hitler and the Vatican:

In 1917, Eugenio Pacelli, later to become Pope Pius XII, resided in a nunciature in Munich, directly opposite to what was later to become the Brown House, the cradle of Nazism. There he showed his first inkling of his unsympathetic feelings toward the Jews when he refused to come to the assistance of Jews and calling them a "Jewish cult." [Cornwell, p.70]. In a typewritten letter, he described "a gang of young women, of dubious appearance, Jews as like all the rest of them, hanging around in the offices with lecherous demeanor and suggestive smiles." [Cornwell, p.75] In the 1920s Pacelli presented his credentials to the Weimer government where he stated, "For my part, I will devote my entire strength to cultivating and strengthening the relations between the Holy See and Germany." Pacelli's stay in Germany with his familiarity with their political, religious, and racist views must have influenced his later work to unify Catholicism with Germany.

In Italy, the Holy See signed a pact (drafted by Pacelli's brother and Pietro Gasparri) with Mussolini in February 1929, known as the Lateran Treaty. Hitler had taken note of the Lateran Treaty and hoped for an identical agreement for his future regime. [Cornwell, pp.114-115] The Vatican encouraged priests to support the Fascists and the Pope spoke of Mussolini as "a man sent by Providence." The Church has a history of pacts with criminal states as the Holy See signed treaties with monarchs and governments regardless of slavery, inhumanity, or torture they may have induced upon fellow human beings. Even Mussolini's attack on Ethiopia on October 3, 1935 was not condemned by the Holy See. Nor did Pius XI restrain the Italian hierarchy from war enthusiasm. "O Duce!, declared the bishop of Terracina, "today Italy is Fascist and the hearts of all Italians beat together with yours." [Cornwell, p.175]

In the 1930s, Pacelli and his associates negotiated with the Nazis to form a contract which got signed in 1933 as the Reich Concordat with the approval of the Pope. Note that the Catholic hierarchy believes in the infallibility of Popes in matters of faith and morals (ever since the First Vatican Council of 1870). This Concordat with its Papal infallible authority had arguably neutralized the potential of 23 million Catholics to protest and resist and which helped Hitler into legal dictatorship. [Cornwell, p. 4] After the agreement, Hitler, mimicking Pacelli fourteen years earlier stated, "I will devote my entire strength to cultivating and strengthening the relations between the Holy See and Germany." [Cornwell, p. 136] (Hitler, spent more time and effort on the concordat with Pacelli than on any other treaty in the entire era of the Third Reich [Cornwell, p. 150]). This Concordat gave Germany an opportunity to create an area of trust with the Church and gave significance to the developing struggle against international Jewry. According to John Cornwell, this papal endorsement of Nazism helped seal the fate of Europe which makes it plausible that these Catholic prejudices bolstered aspects of Nazi anti-Semitism. [Cornwell, p. 28]

The Concordat and the following Jewish persecutions resulted in the silence of the Pope and the bishops. Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich, referring to the Nazi attacks on the Jews, wrote to Pacelli, confirming that protest proved pointless since it could only extend the struggle to Catholics. He told Pacelli, "Jews can help themselves." [Cornwell, p. 140] Most bishops and Cardinals were Nazi sympathizers as were bishop Wilhelm Berning of Osnabruck and Archbishop Grober of Freiburg (Pacelli's choice for emissaries).

On April 25, thousands of Catholic priests across Germany became part of an anti-Semitic attestation bureaucracy, supplying details of blood purity through marriage and baptism registries in accordance with the Nazi Nuremberg laws which distinguished Jews from non-Jews. Catholic clerical compliance in the process would continue throughout the period of the Nazi regime. [Cornwell, pp.154] Any claimed saving of all-too-few Jewish lives by a few brave Catholics must stand against the millions who died in the death camps as an indirect result of the official workings of the Catholic body.

After Kristallnacht (where Nazis broke Jewish store windows and had synagogues burned) there issued not a single word of condemnation from the Vatican, the German Church hierarchy, or from Pacelli. Yet in an encyclical on anti-Semitism, titled Humani generis unitas (The Unity of the Human Race) by Pope Pius XI, a section claims that the Jews were responsible for their own fate. God had chosen them to make way for Christ's redemption but they denied him and killed him. And now, "Blinded by their dream of worldly gain and material success," they had deserved the "worldly and spiritual ruin" that they had brought down upon themselves. [Cornwell, p. 191] Cardinal Theodor Innitzer, archbishop of Vienna warmly received Hitler in Vienna after his triumphal march through the capital where he expressed public satisfaction with Hitler's regime. [Cornwell, p. 201] Meanwhile, Cardinal Bertram sent Hitler an effusive telegram, published on October 2 in the Nazi newspaper Volkischer Beobachter, "The great deed of safeguarding peace among the nations moves the German episcopate acting in the name of the Catholics of all the German dioceses, respectfully to extend congratulations and thanks and to order a festive ringing of bells on Sunday." [Cornwell, p. 202]

After the death of Pius XI, the electoral procedure to elect another pope had begun. The March 1939 election favored Pacelli and four days later, Pacelli made it clear that he would handle all German affairs personally. He proposed the following affirmation of Hitler:

To the Illustrious Herr Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer and Chancellor of the German Reich! Here at the beginning of Our Pontificate We wish to assure you that We remain devoted to the spiritual welfare of the German people entrusted to your leadership.... During the many years we spent in Germany, We did all in Our power to establish harmonious relations between Church and State. Now that the responsibilities of Our pastoral function have increased Our opportunities, how much more ardently do We pray to reach that goal. May the prosperity of the German people and their progress in every domain come, with God's help, to fruition!

Pacelli became a crowned Pope on March 12, 1939 (Pius XII). The following month on April 20, 1939, at Pacelli's express wish, Archbishop Orsenigo, the nuncio in Berlin, opened a gala reception for Hitler's fiftieth birthday. The birthday greetings thus initiated by Pacelli immediately became a tradition; each April 20 during the few years left to Hitler and his Reich, Cardinal Bertram of Berlin would send "warmest congratulations to the Fuhrer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany," to which he added "fervent prayers which the Catholics in Germany are sending to heaven on their altars." [Cornwell, p. 209] By this time Pacelli could call on the loyalty and devotion of a half-billion people, of which half the populations of Hitler's new Reich had become Catholics, including a quarter of the SS. At this time bishops, clergy, religious, and faithful had bound themselves to the Pope, and by his own self estimation, served as the supreme arbiter of moral values on earth. [Cornwell, p. 215]

Throughout the war, not only did Catholic priests pay homage to Hitler and contribute to the anti-Semitic feelings, several priests also protected Nazis from criminal charges. For example, Nazi sympathizers such as Bishop Alois Hudal helped Nazi criminals escape to South America by assisting them with false papers and hiding places in Rome. Father Dragonovic worked with the U.S. Army's Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) to organize the escape of the Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie to South America. Barbie had also lived under Dragonovic's protection in San Girolamo for about a year.

Catholic Croatia's Atrocities:

In 1941 Croat Fascists declared an independent Croatia. Italy and Hungary (also a fascist state) joined forces with Hitler for a share of Yugoslavia. Hitler had issued his plan for a partitioned Yugoslavia, granting "Aryan" status to an independent Croatia under the Catholic Ante Pavelic. This resulted in a campaign of terror and extermination conducted by the Ustashe of Croatia against two million Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, and Communists between 1941 and 1945 (Note that the Croats were Roman Catholics, the Serbs were Orthodox Christians). According to Cornwell, "Pavelic's onslaught against the Orthodox Serbs remains one of the most appalling civilian massacres known to history."

From the outset, Pope Pius XII and the Vatican knew of the racist and anti-Semitic statements made by the Croats even as the Pope met with Pavelic and bestowed his papal blessing. Not only did the Croatian Catholic clergy know the details of the massacre of the Serbs and the virtual elimination of the Jews and Gypsies but many of the priests took a leading role! Monks and priests worked as executioners in hastily set up concentration camps where they massacred Serbs. These killings had gotten so brutal that even the Nazis protested against them. By the most reliable reckoning, the Catholic fascists massacred 487,000 Orthodox Serbs and 27,000 Gypsies between 1941 and 1945 in the independent State of Croatia. In addition, approximately 30,000 of the 45,000 Jews died in the slaughter.

At no time did the Vatican make an attempt to halt the forced conversions, appropriation of Orthodox property, or the mass killings. Croat priests had not only sympathized with the fascist massacres but took part in them. According to Cornwell, "Priests, invariably Franciscans, took a leading part in the massacres. Many went around routinely armed and performed their murderous acts with zeal. A father Bozidar Bralow, known for the machine gun that was his constant companion, was accused of performing a dance around the bodies of 180 massacred Serbs at Alipasin-Most." Individual Franciscans killed, set fire to homes, sacked villages, and laid waste the Bosnian countryside at the head of Ustashe bands. In September of 1941, an Italian reporter wrote of a Franciscan he had witnessed south of Banja Luka urging on a band of Ustashe with his crucifix." In the Foreign Ministry archive in Rome there sits a photographic record of atrocities: of women with breasts cut off, gouged eyes, genitals mutilated; and the instruments of butchery: knives, axes, meat hooks. [Cornwell, pp. 253-254] Not only priests, but nuns also sympathized to the movement. Nuns marched in military parades behind soldiers with their arms raised in the fascist salute.

From the very beginning the Catholic clergy worked in collaboration with the Ustashe. Archbishop Stepinac got appointed spiritual leader of the Ustashe by the Vatican in 1942. Stepinac, with ten of his clergy held a place in the Ustashe parliament. Priests served as police chiefs and officers of in the personal bodyguards of Pavelic. There occurred frequent BBC broadcasts on Croatia of which a February 16, 1942 typical report stated: "The worst atrocities are being committed in the environs of the archbishop of Zagreb [Stepinac]. The blood of brother is flowing in streams. The Orthodox are being forcibly converted to Catholicism and we do not hear the archbishop's voice preaching revolt. Instead it is reported that he is taking part in Nazi and Fascist parades." [Cornwell, p.256] The French cardinal Eugene Tisserant, a Slavonic expert, told a Croat representative on March 6, 1942, "that it is the Franciscans themselves, as for example Father Simic of Knin, who have taken part in attacks against the Orthodox populations so as to destroy the Orthodox Church in banja Luka...." [Cornwell, p. 259]

Even though petitions against the Catholics and their massacres got sent to Pius XII, not once did Pacelli, the "infallible" Pope, ever show anything but benevolence toward the leaders of the Pavelic regime. His silence on the matter matched his silence about his knowledge of Auschwitz.

To this day, there occurs ethnic cleansing, outbreaks of war and intense bitter feelings between Croats and Serbs. The religious organizations in the area must bear the major responsibility for these intolerances, atrocities and wars.

Yes there occurred some brave protests by priests and nuns against Nazism and their Jewish attacks but they came few and far between. For example, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (a Jewish convert also known as Edith Stein) wrote a letter to Pius XI begging him to "deplore the hatred, persecution, and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews, at any time and from any source." Her letter drew no response. Faulhaber defended converted Jews, but not all Jews. Catholics point to the canonized friar, Maximilian Kolbe, who voluntarily took the place of another person in a concentration camp, but conceal the point that he took the place of a gentile, not a Jew; nor do we hear that he had served as editor of an antisemitic Catholic journal. We also have bishops such as Jozsef Midszenty of Hungary who openly condemned the Nazis after they invaded his country.

We should, of course, always applaud individuals against oppression, but the few protests cannot, by any standard, serve to absolve Christianity, much less honor it.

The deploring fact remains: the major body of the Catholic Church in Germany, that being popes, priests, nuns, and Catholic lay-people supported Hitler and anti-Semitism. Catholicism had links to government organizations, right-wing nationalism, including Fascism and Nazism. Moreover, most every right-wing dictator of the period had been brought up a Catholic: Hitler, Horthy, Franco, Petain, Mussoline, Pavelic, and Tiso (who has served as a Catholic priest). Catholic bishops and cardinals throughout the war expressed anti-Semitic views even as the actions against the visibly persecuted Jews increased. In 1936, for example, Cardial Hlond, primate of Poland, opined: "There will be the Jewish problem as long as the Jews remain." Cardinal Maglione, even though he recognized the hellishness of Hitler, justified himself with the private view that "Hitler and all his diabolic works may be the process of the casting out of the devil in the subconscious of the German race." [Cornwell, p. 282] Slovak bishops issued a pastoral letter that repeated the traditional accusations that the "Jews were deicides," and evidence exists that anti-Judaism occurred in the heart of the Vatican. [Cornwell, p. 280] Pope Pius XII, his campaign of silence and subterfuge, his fanatical urge to complete a Concordat and to assist Hitler into legal dictatorship, shows his complicity with the Nazi Government. And at no time did the bishop of Rome make a single liturgical act for the deported Jews of Rome. Even after the lost war for Germany and upon hearing of the death of Adolf Hitler, Adolf Bertram, the cardinal archbishop of Berlin ordered all the parish priests of his archdiocese "to hold a solemn Requiem in memory of the Fuhrer and all those embers of the Wehrmacht who have fallen in the struggle for our German Fatherland, along with the sincerest prayers for Volk and Fatherland and for the future of the Catholic Church in Germany." [Cornwell, p. 317]

The followers of the Catholic Church, the common German Catholic citizens also had ingrained into them a loyalty to the Church and to Germany. Most of them held anti-Semitic views. Many of the police battalions that formed execution squads came from religious men. According to Goldhagen, "some of the men who went to church, prayed to God, contemplated the eternal questions and recited prayers which reminded them of their obligations to other humans; the Catholics among them took communion and went to confession. And when they went at night to their wives and girlfriends, how many of the killers discussed their genocidal activities?" [Goldhagen, pp.267-268].

The Protestant Churches in Germany
Protestantism constituted the major religion in Germany during the early 1930s. Until Hitler attempted to establish a German Reich Church, there existed no such thing as an official German Protestant Church. The Nazi party made a call for all German Protestants to unite in the hour of national need [Holt, p.168-9]. The Christian Evangelical Church would receive the dignity due it within a National Socialist State (Nazism) based on positive Christianity ("Positive Christianity" was stated in point twenty-four of the Nazi Programme, their version of a constitution), and whom Martin Luther served as their spiritual patron.

Most German Protestants followed Luther (who they knew hated Jews) and believed in the sanctity of the secular authority and the supremacy of the authority over all religious organizations. To Luther, the head of the temporal state should also be head of "the church visible." [McGovern, p.650] On May 14, 1933, Ludwig Muller, a prominent member in the ranks of the German Christian Movement became the principle Bishop of the Evangelical German Reich Church.

Of course the thought of a state controlled national church could mean loss of control by the pastors of the Church. Naturally many pastors became concerned; some protested quietly to themselves and others, openly, by forming the Confessing Church. Nevertheless, most pastors allied themselves with the Nazi party and their anti-Semitic views got published in the Protestant press even before Hitler's election into power. The Protestant press influenced millions of its readers with the most prominent being the Sonntagsblatter, and the weekly Sunday newspapers. These weekly papers dwelled on religious piety and preached how they thought of Jews as "the natural enemies of the Christian-national tradition." [Goldhagen, 1996] As far as anyone knows, there had never occurred any visible or vocal church protest against the anti-Semitism of the Nazi party before it came into power. Considering that the majority of Germans at that time held anti-Semitic feelings (no doubt due mainly to religious preachings and propaganda), this should not surprise anyone. As many have pointed out, the religious rhetoric influenced Hitler during his youth.

Other pastors openly welcomed the Nazi's believing that the reintroduction of government by Christian authorities, affirmed St. Paul that "the power that be are ordained by God." (Romans 13:1). Under the continuing influence of the Lutheran Court Preacher Adolf Stocker, they believed that the future of German Lutheranism lay in obliterating the Jewish background of Christianity, and creating a national religion based on the traditions of German Christianity. They repeatedly stressed Luther's anti-Semitic statements.

One of the "moral" pastors of the nation, Bishop Otto Dibelius, declared in a letter after April 1933, that he has been "always an antisemite." Dibelius had expressed that he wanted the Jews to die out peaceably, bloodlessly (what a guy!) Wolfgang Gerlach, a German Evangelical pastor and historian of the Christian churches during the Nazi period, observed Bishop Dibelius' anti-Semitic sentiments as "well nigh representative of German Christendom in the beginning of 1933. [Goldhagen, pp.108-9].

Bishop Martin Sasse of Thuringia, a leading Protestant churchman, published a compendium of Martin Luther's anti-Semitic vitriol shortly after Kristallnacht (the first openly public attacks against the Jews by the Nazis). He applauded the burning of the synagogues and the coincidence of the day: "On November 10, 1938, on Luther's birthday, the synagogues are burning in Germany... of the greatest antisemite of his time, the warner of his people against the Jews." [Goldhagen p.111] He also edited a brochure for his ministers at the end of November 1938 titled, "Martin Luther and the Jews: do Away with Them!" He quoted extensively from Luther's book "On the Jews and their lies." [Wollenberg, p.73]

After the Nazi party took over, they began to exclude Jews from jobs and schools and later to exclude baptized racial Jews from the Land churches and to force them to live completely by themselves. Notably, the churches deeply involved themselves in furnishing data about racial origins from the very beginning of the Nazi era. Even Bishop Wurm saw no harm in this, and in 1934 informed his clergy: "The use of the 'hereditary passports' (Ahnenpasse) can also be recommended from the standpoint of the church." [Helmreich, p. 328]

On September 1, 1941, a national law made it compulsory for all Jews to display the Star of David when they appeared in public. The ordinance presented a problem to the churches because they did not know that many of the Christians in their congregations had Jewish origins.

How did the Protestant churches respond to this oppression of their fellow Christians? On December 17, 1941, Protestant Evangelical Church leaders of Mecklenburg, Thuringia, Saxony, Nassau-Hesse, Mecklenburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Anhalt, and Lubeck collectively issued an official proclamation:

From the crucifixion of Christ to the present day, the Jews have fought Christianity or misused and falsified it in order to reach their own selfish goals. By Christian baptism nothing is altered in regard to a Jew's racial separateness, his national being, and his biological nature. A German Evangelical church has to care for and further the religious life of German fellow countrymen; racial Jewish Christians have no place or rights in it. [Helmreich, p. 329]

One must also remember that most of the German citizens held beliefs as Protestant Christians. Many of the German police battalions who executed Jews with anti-Jewish zeal got recruited straight from the German populace, citizens that grew up in traditional Christian homes. For example, the men of one Police Battalion came predominantly from Hamburg and the surrounding region, an overwhelmingly Evangelical Protestant area. And even those battalion members who renounced the Church, declared themselves "gottglaubig," a Nazi term for having a proper religious attitude without being a member of a traditional church [Goldhagen, p. 209].

In the end neither the official Protestant or Catholic churches tried to stem the tide of anti-Semitic measure taken by the Nazis, The Kirchliches Jahrbuch summarized it after the war:

The anti-Semitism of the NSDAP found the Evagelical church unprepared. Indeed, at least the Confessing church resisted the Aryan paragraph in the church and the separation of Jewish Christians out of the Evangelical church of Germany, but against anti-Semitism they uttered no word, and even at the time of the Jewish persecutions and of their extermination it could not bring itself to stand against the measures of the National Socialist regime both in and without the church. [Helmreich, p. 332]

The Confessing Church
Inevitably, whenever one questions the role of Christianity during WWII, Christians will quickly respond by providing examples of heroic Catholics or Protestants who saved lives, protested against Nazism, or had given their lives by dying in concentration camps. What appears most puzzling by these defenses comes from their complete lack of perspective of the history of their own faith-system. Of course there lived a few brave Christian men and women who opposed Nazism and performed courageous deeds. But the key word here, "few," can hardly absolve the whole. One can say the same of the few heroic Nazis who protested against the atrocities committed by their own government. But can we prop up these few as a banner, while ignoring the majority of those who committed crimes to justify a belief-system regardless if it comes from a political ideology or a religion? If this served the case, then we could mine any intolerant system for its "few" noble members as justification for the system by calling it the True system, as do Christians who love to use the term True Christianity as if this had any definable meaning. Any honest reader should recognize that if this ploy cannot work for support of Nazism, Communism, Islam, (or any religion not your own) or any ideological belief-system, then neither can it work for Christianity.

As for the Church's supposed role against Nazism, when the focus gets narrowed as to just what Church opposed Hitler, sadly, one can only point to a single minor opposing Church body: the Confessing Church. Although one should always fairly honor any heroic struggle against oppression of human freedom, the ethical dilemma faced by the Confessing Church did not exactly meet the demands for opposing anti-Semitism.

Hitler wanted to combine all the regional Protestant churches into a single and united Reich Church. Of course this meant government control of the Church and a minority of Lutheran Pastors foresaw the dangers. In 1933, a few Protestant Pastors, namely Martin Niemöller, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth and others formed the "Pastors Emergency League" which later became known as "The Confessing Church" to oppose the state controlled Nazi Church.

It bears some importance to understand that Germany did not recognize the Confessing Church as an official Church. Not only the Nazis, but all other Protestant Churches condemned the Confessing Church. They thought of it as a minority opposition that held little power. The vast majority of German churches supported Hitler and his policies against the Jews. Moreover, they advocated composing an "Aryan Paragraph" in church synods that would prevent non-aryans from joining the Church, which of course included Jews.

In spite of the myth that has developed that the Confessing Church opposed Hitler for anti-Semitic reasons, the main reason for the opposition actually aimed to protect the power of Pastors to determine who should preach and who they can preach to. The Barmen Declaration of Faith (by Karl Barth, et al) became the principle statement of The Confessing Church. Not a single sentence in it opposes anti-Semitism. According to Professor John S. Conway: "The Confessing Church did not seek to espouse the cause of the Jews as a whole, nor to criticize the secular legislation directed against the German Jews and the Nazi racial philosophy."

Basically, the Confessing Church wanted to save themselves from state control by forming what they considered themselves as the "True Church" (don't all Christians think of themselves as belonging to the True Church?). They did not want government interference with Church self-regulation. This of course deserves plaudits as history has shown that state controlled religions have always ended in oppressing its people. The formation of the United States with its secular government aimed at just this kind of freedom of religion from the state. On this account, the Confessing Church deserves honorable mention. However, just what did they oppose about the Jewish question?

It turns out that the Pastors of the Confessing Church held concerns only for Jews who converted to Christianity. Of course they viewed Jews who converted to Christianity as Christian, not Jewish. This Christian centered view gave them the reason for their objection to the "Aryan Paragraph." For Jews who did not convert, they held strong anti-Semitic feelings. Remember that these pastors lived as well read Lutherans; any reading of Martin Luther will reveal strong anti-Semetic feelings toward Jews who did not convert (see, On the Jews and their lies).

Although Martin Niemöller opposed the Nazi regime, he concurred with the Nazi view in one foundational respect: the Jews as eternally evil. In one of his sermons, he attacked the Nazis (without naming them) by likening them to the Jews! [Niemöller 1937] Pastor Bonhoeffer, according to his beliefs, saw the Nazi treatment against Jews as proof of God's curse on Jews. Shortly after Hitler came to power, Bonhoeffer wrote to a theologian friend that regarded the Jews "the most sensible people have lost their heads and their entire Bible." [Goldhagen, 1996, p.109] To Bonhoeffer's credit, he did proclaim a credo of non-violence, but this did not come from Christian theology. Rather he based his non-violent stand from Mahatma Gandhi and the humanistic movement (he claimed to be a disciple of Gandhi). His neo-orthodox view opposed most every cardinal doctrine of Christian faith to a point that some considered him an atheist. Indeed he claimed it impossible to know the objective truth about Christ's real nature and even claimed that "God was dead" (Letters and Papers from Prison, ed. Eberhard Bethge, New York: Macmillan Co., 1972, pp. 9-12, 378; Ethics, pp. 38, 186; No Rusty Swords, pp. 44-45). Karl Barth, considered a great theologian, and an opponent of the Nazis, and to his credit, did oppose the persecution of Jews, had nevertheless, made us quite clear of his own anti-Semitism. In his Advent sermon of 1933, he denounced the Jews, Luther style, as "an obstinate and evil people." In a July 1944 Lecture in Zurich, Barth said, "We do not like the Jews as a rule, it is therefore not easy for us to apply to them as well the general love for humankind..."

Richard Steigmann-Gall's research found that, "many confessional Lutherans who would later join the Confessing Church received the Nazi movement warmly." Otto Dibelius, General Superintendent of the Kurmark, and one of the most conservative in the Confessing Church, certified the Nazi movement as Christian: "The National Socialists, as the strongest party of the right, have shown both a firm, positive relationship to Christianity.... We may expect that they will remain true to their principles in the new Reichstag." After the Nazi Seizure of Power, Dibelius continued to view Nazism this way, even to the point of excusing Nazi brutality [Steigmann-Gall]. At a 1933 service in Berlin's Nikolaikirche for the new Reichstag, Dibelius announced: "We have learned from Martin Luther that the church cannot get in the way of state power when it does what it is called to do. Not even when [the state] becomes hard and ruthless.... When the state carries out its office against those who destroy the foundations of state order, above all against those who destroy honor with vituperative and cruel words that scorn faith and vilify death for the Fatherland, then [the state] is ruling in God's name!" [Steigmann-Gall].

Unfortunately, several of the member of the Confessing Church lost their lives in opposing Hitler. Bonhoeffer, for example, joined with several high ranking Nazi officers in a plan to assassinate Hitler. He also contacted foreigners to gain support for a call to resistance. The Nazi's sentenced him for his opposition to Hitler and his policies (not because of his Christianity as some believers want us to believe). He died in the Flossenburg concentration camp in 1945.

Nevertheless, even after the war, members of the Confessing Church admitted their guilt. For example, Gerhard Kittle, a world-renowned scholar of the New Testament confessed his political guilt as he insisted that a "Christian anti-Judaism" which he found in the New Testament and in the tradition of the Christian church determined his attitude toward the Jewish question during the Third Reich.[Wollenberg, p. 76] On March 1946, in a lecture in Zurich, Martin Niemöller declared: "Christianity in Germany bears a greater responsibility before God than the National Socialists, the SS and the Gestapo." [Goldhagen, p.114]

Considering that the Confessing Church with its few members, represents the most active religious protest against Nazism in Germany, it projects a poor commentary on the state of Christiandom as a whole, even if the other churches had remained passive. Unfortunately most Christian churches in Germany took an active role, not only by accepting Nazism, but to support and strengthen it.

Remaining secrets
The repulsive behavior of the Catholic hierarchy and the Protestant leaders in Germany presented here gives only a glimpse of the known atrocities and inhumane acts perpetrated through religious beliefs. Much remains unknown; the uncovering of the terrible history of Catholic and Protestant Germany during WWII continues. The silence of Catholic and Protestants, church members, priests, and nuns continues to this day. However, there occurs a few brave researchers who dig to uncover the facts. As one example, Anja Elizabeth Romus (best known in the U.S. from the fictionalized movie, "The Nasty Girl [1990]") continues to research and write about the priests who suppressed their anti-Semitic role in Germany (Romus' first book: "A Case of Resistance and Persecution, Passau 1933-1939," 1983). In her latest book, "Wintergreen: suppressed Murders," she documents the atrocities in her hometown [Passau] at the end of the war including the slaying of 2,000 Soviet prisoners, the murder of slave laborers' infants and the efforts to change memorials to victims so that Nazi horrors would remain forgotten. Rosmus has endured verbal abuse, death threats and lawsuits in response to her dedication to the memories of those who faced Nazi persecution.

Recent evidence has surfaced that shows that both Germany's Roman Catholic Church and Germany's Protestant Church used forced laborers during the Third Reich. Religious affairs organizations have attempted to get the Churches to pay into a compensation fund for Nazi victims. According to Christa Nickels, religious affairs spokeswoman for junior coalition government partners the Greens, said the Church should immediately pay into the fund; "The correct thing to do is for the Church to pay into the fund. It's not about when, where and how many forced laborers were used, but whether the two main churches were involved in the system." [Reuters news, 20 July 2000]

How can one come to terms with such a powerful and oppressive system that denies its involvements with crime? Priests and ministers get held in high regard as they unconsciously hide their tracks with "moral" platitudes and religious services that seem to have nothing in common with past Church intolerances. In the United States, Father Patrick Peyton in the 50s campaigned at encouraging the recital of the Rosary in the home with the famous slogan, "The family that prays together stays together" and "A world at prayer is a world at peace." How in the world can anyone justify such fake sentiments in light of the fact that Christians have prayed for peace ever since Christianity's invention without a single lasting result? The horrors of WWII introduced by religious minds appear so obvious and dominate that only some powerful agency could possibly conceal the obvious facts from so many people for so long a time. That agency, indeed, does exist and it confronts every conscious believing human being at every waking hour: the power of Faith, that hideous instrument of counterfeit reality that can convince even the most educated human.

One should also keep in mind that the sheep of Christ, the blind followers of Christian leaders, no matter how grievous their sins or the sins of their pastors and priests, could rest in assured comfort that they lived as a part of the people of God. This religious system excluded anyone who refused to pay allegiance to Popes and ministers.

The questioned cry of "How could these atrocities have happen?" could only come from a religious mind overwhelmed by falsification or who must live in a state of denial against the abundant facts of history to protect a religious illusion. The Nazi atrocities did not come from a mad leader (a common excuse) or from a superstitious Satan, or from the mysterious workings of God-- they occurred from common people acting from their beliefs. The question has an obvious answer and it sits staring at us in the face for anyone who dares look.

Today the Catholic Church has undertaken a campaign of suppression and propaganda to belittle Cornwell, Goldhagen, Romus or any researcher that dares to uncover the reality of the atrocities committed by Roman Catholic Christians. Today, Protestant leaders rarely mention the influence by Martin Luther and his anti-Jewish sentiments taught throughout Germany. Indeed, most Protestants live completely unaware of the hatred and intolerances spread by their congressional ancestors. Instead of releasing documents and admitting to the crimes of their fellow Christians, they have opted to protect their religious power structures by silence, concealment, suppression, and projecting the story of persecutions committed against their own religion by other ideological systems, a ploy that disguises their own complicity of persecutions heaped upon others.

Catholics and Protestants might protest against revealing the reality of Church involvement by claiming a trampling on the sensibilities of the religious people between Church and the modern effort to form some sort of conciliation between Christians and Jews. However this tactic only distances themselves from the recognition of the very problem that created the problem in the first place. The seeds of intolerance sits firmly in the place where it has always been-- in the "sacred" scriptures and in the minds of believers who read them and act upon its words.

2 Rules to Mastery...
1) Begin 2) Continue..

Thank you for this outstanding example

of what I was asking people to avoid. That is quite a treatise to try to convince me to believe the way you do. Is that required for us to get along? Something in that article "touched a nerve" as the saying goes, and you launched into "triggered" behavior, rather than engage in a conversation about how the media is manipulating us into emotional reactions rather than engaging us in critical analysis of facts.

Your views are interesting, I hope they inspire people to critically analyze what they were taught about history and begin to do some independent research. I hope you will put some thought into the concept I was trying to illustrate, too.

Peace!

Truth exists, and it deserves to be cherished.

His name ain't IDF for nothing, you know.

He's here for 2 days, and has a name like that.
I guess you know where he's from.

Yeah, I know it's "IIDF", like that really hides it.
It probably stands for "Internet-IDF"

Yeah but...

While decidedly anti-Catholic in nature, I don't see his post as being particularly hasbaric. But anyway... how dare he use history...!

**“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.” ~ Mark Twain **

"...there is no doubt that it (socialism) could not possibly have affected us so widely and so deeply as it has, had it not been heavily financed". - B. Carroll Reece

Well, for one thing, they

Well, for one thing, they don't talk about why the pope might have chosen that bishop, just that he was supporting the gap between Jews and Christians. They also don't mention that it wasn't just Jews killed in the Holocaust. Finally, the quote "This move by the pope surely will not help us fight anti-Semitism. Quite the opposite." is not true because the pope's choice on this bishop does not mean that he is going to not help them out.

nice

picked up one I missed! That quote got by me. I also submit that the pope was doing what he was doing for whatever reasons he was doing it. He did not aim to "help us fight anti-Semitism." Dragging a trigger phrase into a non-related discussion is a great way to get everyone to start throwing punches instead of addressing the matter at hand.
Thanks for playing along!

Truth exists, and it deserves to be cherished.

thanks

I fixed it, but the one about the pope.

Truth exists, and it deserves to be cherished.