Tag Archives: Catholic Church

Fun Friday Fact #7

Of all the high-ranking members of the Nazi party – many of whom were Catholics – only Joseph Goebbels was excommunicated, and he was not excommunicated for his involvement in killing millions of people (mainly Jews), as one might have thought, but because he married a Protestant woman.

Controversial. Historically I have avoided the discussion of delicate issues like religion on my blog out of respect for the fact that if I have strong opinions about the subject then so do most people. I have nothing against the religious person as he typically appears, but I do not enjoy some aspects of religious authority, and this fact deftly indicates why.

Excommunication is the ultimate Roman Catholic punishment. It removes a person from the grace of the Church and the grace of God and consigns them to eternal condemnation in hell. It is perhaps surprising to us today that Hitler was never excommunicated, indeed he was never even threatened with excommunication. Nazi Germany was a proud Christian country – standing in direct and physical opposition to the ‘godless’ Russia – and it was proudly supported by the Catholic Church and its new pope, Pope Pius XII, a fervent Hitler fan. It should be noted that the Protestant Church was as culpable as the Catholic Church, but lacked a pope to play the role of figurehead in actively bringing about its designs.

It might be suggested that one should not judge the Church(es) too harshly in this matter. Hindsight, after all, is a wonderful thing; perhaps they did not know the depths of Hitler’s mischief. I’m afraid that this simply isn’t true. Although the Catholic and Protestant Churches did stand in opposition to Hitler from 1930-33, from then on in they were as thick as thieves. Both Churches eagerly furnished their little Führer with their records to better determine which Germans were Jewish or had “Jewish” blood and which did not, so that all Jews (including those who had converted to Christianity) could be sent to concentration/death camps. Moreover the German chaplains serving on the frontline, far from being appalled by what they had seen, cheerfully arranged ‘group absolutions’ for those soldiers enacting the final solution.

Shortly after the end of WWII, the pope did excommunicate all communists; he crushed the liberal ‘Worker Priest’ movement in France. Thank God. The Nazis he left alone except when he put the Vatican to work ‘underground’ to get some of the worst of the Catholic Nazi war criminals out of Europe to safety – often in Latin America – using Church resources.

It is difficult to see how ‘Hitlerism’ could have taken such a strangle-hold on Germany without this widespread and insidious religious support. Everyday people turning to their churches for moral guidance found the men of God sitting squarely on the side of the Nazis. Rather like the aids/condoms debacle confronting the Catholic Church today, this rather shocking fact demonstrates one of the ways in which (organised) religion can obfuscate what really matters. It also warns us not to marry a Protestant, of course.

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Filed under The Second World War - Fun Friday Facts, Trivia

On The Death Of A Giant

A hero has fallen. Christopher Hitchens, one of the people I would most like to have met, walks among us no more. He’s with God now. Now that would be a tricky reunion…

If you haven’t heard of him, look him up. I’m not going to go on and on about how great he was lest I insult his memory; quite frankly an accurate description of his majesty runs far beyond my humble talent.

He was one of the foremost minds of our times. A giant among men. A staunch advocate of intellectual honesty whose life was spent in unflinching obedience to the rules of logic and proper thought.

At the end of this post I have placed a link to a video, which is part of a series of ‘Hitch Slaps’. I urge you to watch it, either in reminiscence, or else to see what the man was about for yourselves.

A word of warning – those of my readers who are of a religious persuasion might not enjoy what Hitchens has to say; he was, after all, most famous for the less than favourable attitude he held towards the Catholic Church and other forms of organised religion.

I would that you watched it in any case. There is nothing to be gained from ignoring the problems that face our beliefs, be they religious or otherwise. Hitchens is for sharing. I have never seen anybody argue with such force, such eloquence, such feeling and such integrity. The man demands respect; he must be admired by people in all walks of life. You may not agree with what he had to say, but you cannot dispute the elegance of the way in which he said it.

The world has lost a man of incomparable quality. RIP.

Hitchslap 37 – Religion Is Insanity

Hitchens’ spellbinding interview with Jeremy Paxman, in which he fronts up to his own death with remarkable calmness of thought.

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Filed under Rants, Raves & Reviews, Raves