Pope Benedict’s Historical Revisionism

Visiting Britain, Pope Benedict frankly admitted something that’s been nauseatingly obvious for many years, that the Catholic Church hasn’t acted “swiftly” in cases of child abuse.

Another big point of his speech, though, was an attack on secularism and atheism, hauling out the canard that the Nazis were “atheists:” Pope Benedict XVI goes to war with ‘atheist extremism’.

“Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live,” he said.

“I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious people who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives.

“As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society …”

In the case of the Third Reich, this is a huge revision of history. In fact, Adolf Hitler was opposed to state atheism, and often used Christian religious symbology in his speeches. And Pope Benedict seems to have forgotten Germany and Europe’s long, sordid tradition of Christian antisemitism — a tradition that was one of the dark roots of the Holocaust, and a tradition in which the Catholic Church was arguably one of the worst offenders.

A case could be made that Pope Benedict’s description of this disastrous chapter of history is exactly opposite to the truth — that it was far more enabled by European religious tradition than by the Pope’s atheist boogeyman.

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