Skip to comments.H.H. POPE BENEDICT XVI AND ISLAM
Posted on 07/15/2006 7:49:19 PM PDT by Dqban22
VATICAN ISLAM BENEDICT XVI AND ISLAM APRIL 26, 2006 By: Samir Khali Samir, SJ
For Pope Ratzinger, religions should be compared on the basis of the cultures and civilizations they generate. To avoid a clash of civilizations, Islam should distance itself from terrorist violence; the west from secularist and atheistic violence. This is the analysis of a renowned expert, who last September participated in a meeting on Islam behind closed doors with the pontiff.
Beirut (AsiaNews) - Benedict XVI is probably one of the few figures to have profoundly understood the ambiguity in which contemporary Islam is being debated and its struggle to find a place in modern society. At the same time, he is proposing a way for Islam to work toward coexistence globally and with religions, based not on religious dialogue, but on dialogue between cultures and civilizations based on rationality and on a vision of man and human nature which comes before any ideology or religion. This choice to wager on cultural dialogue explains his decision to absorb the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue into the larger Pontifical Council for Culture.
While the Pope is asking Islam for dialogue based on culture, human rights, the refusal of violence, he is asking the West, at the same time, to go back to a vision of human nature and rationality in which the religious dimension is not excluded. In this way and perhaps only in this way a clash of civilizations can be avoided, transforming it instead into a dialogue between civilizations.
Islamic totalitarianism differs from Christianity To understand Benedict XVIs thinking and Islamic religion, we must go over their evolution. A truly essential document is found in his book (written in 1996, when he was still cardinal, together with Peter Seewald), entitled The Salt of the Earth, in which he makes certain considerations and highlights various differences between Islam and Christian religion and the West.
First of all, he shows that there is no orthodoxy in Islam, because there is no one authority, no common doctrinal magisterium. This makes dialogue difficult: when we engage in dialogue, it is not with Islam, but with groups.
But the key point that he tackles is that of sharia. He points out that:
the Koran is a total religious law, which regulates the whole of political and social life and insists that the whole order of life be Islamic. Sharia shapes society from beginning to end. In this sense, it can exploit such freedoms as our constitutions give, but it cannot be its final goal to say: Yes, now we too are a body with rights, now we are present [in society] just like the Catholics and the Protestants. In such a situation, [Islam] would not achieve a status consistent with its inner nature; it would be in alienation from itself, which could be resolved only through the total Islamization of society.
When for example an Islamic finds himself in a Western society, he can benefit from or exploit certain elements, but he can never identify himself with the non-Muslim citizen, because he does not find himself in a Muslim society.
Thus Cardinal Ratzinger saw clearly an essential difficulty of socio-political relations with the Muslim world, which comes from the totalizing conception of Islamic religion, which is profoundly different from Christianity. For this reason, he insists in saying that we cannot try to project onto Islam the Christian vision of the relationship between politics and religion. This would be very difficult: Islam is a religion totally different from Christianity and Western society and this makes does not make coexistence easy.
In a closed-door seminar, held at Castelgandolfo (September 1-2, 2005), the Pope insisted on and stressed this same idea: the profound diversity between Islam and Christianity. On this occasion, he started from a theological point of view, taking into account the Islamic conception of revelation: the Koran descended upon Mohammad, it is not inspired to Mohammad. For this reason, a Muslim does not think himself authorized to interpret the Koran, but is tied to this text which emerged in Arabia in the 7th century. This brings to the same conclusions as before: the absolute nature of the Koran makes dialogue all the more difficult, because there is very little room for interpretation, if at all.
As we can see, his thinking as cardinal extends into his vision as Pontiff, which highlights the profound differences between Islam and Christianity.
On July 24, during his stay in the Italian Aosta Valley region, he was asked if Islam can be described as a religion of peace, to which he replied I would not speak in generic terms, certainly Islam contains elements which are in favour of peace, as it contains other elements.
Even if not explicitly, Benedict XVI suggests that Islam suffers from ambiguity vis-à-vis violence, justifying it in various cases. And he added. We must always strive to find the better elements. Another person asked him then if terrorist attacks can be considered anti-Christian. He reply is clear-cut: No, generally the intention seems to be much more general and not directed precisely at Christianity.
Dialogue between cultures is more fruitful than inter-religious dialogue
On August 20 in Cologne, Pope Benedict XVI has his first big encounter with Islam, speaking with the representatives of Muslim communities. In a relatively long speech, he says,
I am certain that I echo your own thoughts when I bring up one of our concerns as we notice the spread of terrorism.
I like the way he involves Muslims here, telling them that we have the same concern. He then goes on to say: I know that many of you have firmly rejected, also publicly, in particular any connection between your faith and terrorism and have condemned it.
Further on, he says, terrorism of any kind is a perverse and cruel [a word that he repeats 3 times] choice which shows contempt for the sacred right to life and undermines the very foundations of all civil coexistence. Then, again, he involves the Islamic world:
If together we can succeed in eliminating from hearts any trace of rancour, in resisting every form of intolerance and in opposing every manifestation of violence, we will turn back the wave of cruel fanaticism that endangers the lives of so many people and hinders progress towards world peace. The task is difficult but not impossible and the believer can accomplish this.
I liked very much the way he stressed eliminating from hearts any trace of rancour: Benedict XVI has understood that one of the causes of terrorism is this sentiment of rancour. And further on
Dear friends, I am profoundly convinced that we must not yield to the negative pressures in our midst, but must affirm the values of mutual respect, solidarity and peace.
Also, there is plenty of scope for us to act together in the service of fundamental moral values. The dignity of the person and the defence of the rights which that dignity confers must represent the goal of every social endeavour and of every effort to bring it to fruition.
And here we find a crucial sentence: This message is conveyed to us unmistakably by the quiet but clear voice of conscience. Only through recognition of the centrality of the person, the Pope goes on to say, can a common basis for understanding be found, one which enables us to move beyond cultural conflicts and which neutralizes the disruptive power of ideologies.
Thus, even before religion, there is the voice of conscience and we must all fight for moral values, for the dignity of the person, the defence of rights.
Therefore, for Benedict XVI, dialogue must be based on the centrality of the person, which overrides both cultural and ideological contrasts. And I think that, getting under ideologies, religions can also be understood. This is one of the pillars of the Popes vision: it also explains why he united the Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue and the Council for Culture, surprising everyone. This choice derives from a profound vision and is not, as the press would have it, to get rid of Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, who deserves much recognition. That may have been part of it, but it was not the purpose.
The essential idea is that dialogue with Islam and with other religions cannot be essentially a theological or religious dialogue, except in the broad terms of moral values; it must instead be a dialogue of cultures and civilizations.
It is worth recalling that already as far back as 1999, Cardinal Ratzinger took part in an encounter with Prince Hassan of Jordan, Metropolitan Damaskinos of Geneva, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, deceased in 2003, and the Grand Rabbi of France René Samuel Sirat. Muslims, Jews and Christians were invited by a foundation for inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue to create among them a pole for cultural dialogue.
This step towards cultural dialogue is of extreme importance. In any kind of dialogue that takes place with the Muslim world, as soon as talk begins on religious topics, discussion turns to the Palestinians, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, in other words all the questions of political and cultural conflict. An exquisitely theological discussion is never possible with Islam: one cannot speak of the Trinity, of Incarnation, etc. Once in Cordoba, in 1977, a conference was held on the notion of prophecy.
After having dealt with the prophetic character of Christ as seen by Muslims, a Christian made a presentation on the prophetic character of Mohammad from the Christian point of view and dared to say that the Church cannot recognize him as prophet; at the most, it could define him as such but only in a generic sense, just as one says that Marx is prophet of modern times.
The conclusion? This question became the topic of conversation for the following three days, pre-empting the original conference.
The discussions with the Muslim world that I have found most fruitful have been those in which interdisciplinary and intercultural questions were discussed. I have taken part various times, at the invitation of Muslims, in inter-religious meetings in various parts of the Muslim world: talk was always on the encounter of religions and civilizations, or cultures.
Two weeks ago, in Isfahan (Iran), the title was meeting of civilizations and religions. Next September 19, at Romes Pontifical Gregorian University, there will be a conference organized by the Iranian Ministry of Culture along with Italian authorities, and this too will be on the encounter between cultures, and will include the participation of former president Khatami.
The Pope has understood this important aspect: discussions on theology can take place only among a few, but now is certainly not the time between Islam and Christianity. Instead, it is a question of tackling the question of coexistence in the concrete terms of politics, economy, history, culture, customs
Rationality and Faith Another fact seems to me important. In an exchange that took place on October 25, 2004, between Italian historian, Ernesto Galli della Loggia, and the then Cardinal Ratzinger, the latter, at a certain point, recalled the seeds of the Word and underscored the importance of rationality in Christian faith, seen by Church Fathers as the fulfilment of the search for truth found in philosophy. Galli della Loggia thus said: Your hope which is identical to faith, brings with it a logos and this logos can become an apologia, a reply that can be communicated to others, to everyone.
Cardinal Ratzinger replied: We do not want to create an empire of power, but we have something that can be communicated and towards which an expectation of our reason tends. It is communicable because it belongs to our shared human nature and there is a duty to communicate on the part of those who have found a treasure of truth and love. Rationality was therefore a postulate and condition of Christianity, which remains a European legacy for comparing ourselves peacefully and positively, with Islam and also the great Asian religions.
Therefore, for the Pope, dialogue is at this level, i.e. founded on reason. He then went on to add that this rationality becomes dangerous and destructive for the human creature if it becomes positivist [and here he critiques the West], which reduces the great values of our being to subjectivity [to relativism] and thus becomes an amputation of the human creature. We do not wish to impose on anyone a faith that can only be freely accepted, but as a vivifying force of the rationality of Europe, it belongs to our identity.
Then comes the essential part: it has been said that we must not speak of God in the European constitution, because we must not offend Muslims and the faithful of other religions. The opposite is true Ratzinger points out what offends Muslims and the faithful of other religions is not talking about God or our Christian roots, but rather the disdain for God and the sacred, that separates us from other cultures and does not create the opportunity for encounter, but expresses the arrogance of diminished, reduced reason, which provokes fundamentalist reactions.
Benedict XVI admires in Islam the certainty based on faith, which contrasts with the West where everything is relativized; and he admires in Islam the sense of the sacred, which instead seems to have disappeared in the West. He has understood that a Muslim is not offended by the crucifix, by religious symbols: this is actually a laicist polemic that strives to eliminate the religious from society. Muslims are not offended by religious symbols, but by secularized culture, by the fact that God and the values that they associate with God are absent from this civilization.
This is also my experience, when I chat every once in a while with Muslims who live in Italy. They tell me: this country offers everything, we can live as we like, but unfortunately there are no principles (this is the word they use). This is felt very much by the Pope, who says: lets go back to human nature, based on rationality, on conscience, which gives an idea of human rights; on the other hand, lets not reduce rationality to something which is impoverished, but lets integrate the religious in rationality; the religious is part of rationality.
In this, I think that Benedict XVI has stated more exactly the vision of John Paul II. For the previous Pope, dialogue with Islam needed to be open to collaboration on everything, even in prayer. Benedict is aiming at more essential points: theology is not what counts, at least not in this stage of history; what counts is the fact that Islam is the religion that is developing more and is becoming more and more a danger for the West and the world.
The danger is not in Islam in general, but in a certain vision of Islam that does never openly renounces violence and generates terrorism, fanaticism. On the other hand, he does not want to reduce Islam to a social-political phenomenon.
The Pope has profoundly understood the ambiguity of Islam, which is both one and the other, which at times plays on one or the other front. And his proposal is that, if we want to find a common basis, we must get out of religious dialogue to give humanistic foundations to this dialogue, because only these are universal and shared by all human beings. Humanism is a universal factor; faiths can be factors of clash and division.
Yes to reciprocity, no to do-goodism The Popes position never falls into the justification of terrorism and violence. Sometimes, even when it comes to Church figures, people slip into a generic kind of relativism: after all, theres violence in all religions, even among Christians; or, violence is justified as a reply to other violence No, this Pope has never made allusions of this kind. But, on the other hand, he has never fallen into the behaviour found in certain Christian circles in the West marked by do-goodism and by guilt complexes.
Recently, some Muslims have asked that the Pope ask forgiveness for the Crusades, colonialism, missionaries, cartoons, etc He is not falling in this trap, because he knows that his words could be used not for building dialogue, but for destroying it. This is the experience that we have of the Muslim world: all such gestures, which are very generous and profoundly spiritual to ask for forgiveness for historical events of the past, are exploited and are presented by Muslims as a settling of accounts: here, they say, you recognize it even yourself: youre guilty. Such gestures never spark any kind of reciprocity.
At this point, it is worth recalling the Popes address to the Moroccan Ambassador (February 20, 2006), when he alluded to respect for the convictions and religious practices of others so that, in a reciprocal manner, the exercise of freely-chosen religion is truly assured to all in all societies.
These are two small but very important affirmations on the reciprocity of religious freedoms rights between Western and Islamic countries and on the freedom to change religion, something which is prohibited in Islam. The nice thing is that the Pope dared to say them: in the political and Church world, people are often afraid to mention such things. Its enough to take note of the silence that reigns when it comes to the religious freedom violations that exist in Saudi Arabia.
I really like this Pope, his balance, his clearness. He makes no compromise: he continues to underline the need to announce the Gospel in the name of rationality and therefore he does not let himself be influenced by those who fear and speak out against would-be proselytism. The Pope asks always for guarantees that Christian faith can be proposed and that it can be freely chosen.
just don't know if Islam is capable of stopping terrorism. it's been woefully mute so far.
islam is terrorism.
I agree, this is a good, thoughtful pope, not given to mushiness and feel-good thought. But here's the question: If everyone (Israel-Lebanon-Palestine-Iran etc.) agreed about Jesus tomorrow, would the fighting end?
Gosh, does one have to read all of that thread/article in order to be able to comment on it?
I have been pretty much in agreement with the Vatican on a lot of political stuff for most of my grown up adult life.
I seriously depart on the Israel stuff.
I also depart when the German priest now Pope asks the stupidest question ever presented in my lifetime.
"Why did God allow the Holocaust to happen?"
This fellow ought to ask his relatives, friends, school associates, and neighbors that question. Not to mention his henchmen in the Vatican.
What a joke.
Excellent article about an excellent and very wise Pope!
What a joke... If you do not read you will never be able to know, much less to understand, the position of the Pope or the Catholic Church in such important matters.
The Founders of the State of Israel expressed their condolences at the death of Pius XII
Among those who mourned the death of Pius XII pronouncing heartfelt tributes were the President of Israel Ben-Zevi, Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the World Jewish Congress and the World Zionist Organization, and many Rabbis including Dr. Israel Goldstein of New York. Rabbi Elio Toaff, Chief Rabbi of Rome, said: More than anyone else, we have had the opportunity to appreciate the great kindness, filled with compassion and magnanimity, that the Pope displayed during the terrible years of persecution and terror, when it seemed that there was no hope left for us. Rabbi Israel Zolli stated: What the Vatican did will indelibly and eternally engraved in our hearts Priests and even high prelates did things that will forever be an honor to Catholicism. (29)
The Israelis Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs.Golda Meirs cablegram to the Vatican read; We share in the grief of humanity at the passing away of His Holiness Pope Pius XII. In a generation afflicted by wars and discords, he upheld the highest ideals of peace and compassion. When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of Nazi terror, the voice of the Pope was raised for the victims. The life of our times was enriched by a voice speaking out on the great moral truths above the tumult of daily conflict. We mourn a great servant of peace. (30)
Unfortunately, today we are witnessing a campaign against this great benefactor of Humanity. His memory is being slandered and dishonored through falsehoods and innuendoes. This matter should be open to honest analysis and discussion. Legitimate discrepancies might exist while studying historical facts, but that should not be of excuse for those people who are moved by the same great evils of ignorance, hatred, and bigotry that made possible the brutal onslaught of innocent people by the Nazis and the Communists.
Ooops! Asia News should have said Pope Benedict XVI.
The pope condemned Israel today istead of condemning radical islam who started this entire confligration in the first place. He is wrong. All I see is "Sweet-talking" to islam to protect the vatican from a terrorist attack.
"Why did God allow the Holocaust to happen?"
The question has been on the lips of millions and millions of people for over 65 years. Sure, the Nazis were responsible, but how did this happen and God stood silent?
Your slam on the Pope for his nationality is cheap, and I think you know it.
Thanks. Great article - about both Benedict and Islam.
I think that you are probably right.
On the other hand......
Millions of people are dead with that fellow's compliance, and non rebuke by the way.
Take it to the Vatican.
Stop digging. Your statements are now so stupid that you ought to be embarrassed.
I got no real beef with the Church of Rome.
Well, maybe a little.....
I do read a bit, but, I simply don't know where to find all the good that was done by the Church while the Nazis were in office.
Millions of people died because of their behavior while the vatican slept on their watch...Millions....dead millions...
Got it yet?
Try counting a million sheep while you attempt to sleep tonight.
I should be the one embarrassed here?
More than a million Jews saved their lives during the Holocaust thanks to the Catholic Church and His Holiness Pope Pius XII.
The relationship of trust and collaboration during WW II between the Holy See, the Jewish organizations, the Allies intelligence services and their governments, including the anti-Nazi German Generals, is well proven and documented. However, there is not the slightest thread of evidence to substantiate the preposterous and vicious allegations raised against Pius XII and the Catholic Church of collaboration or sympathizing with the Nazis.
Did the Church do enough to save the Jews? As usual those who do the less complain the most and those who do the most always think they could have done even more. When Michael OCarroll, author of the scholar book Pius XII: Greatness Dishonoured related in the Foreword that in 1957 he met Dr. Isaac Herzog, Chief Rabbi of Israel, and he told him with emotion of an audience he had with the Pope and how they discussed the prophet Ezechiel. My blessing to him said the saintly old man, and OCarroll promised to be the bearer of the message of his goodwill. When OCarroll gave the message to Pius XII he added I think Jews everywhere are grateful for what you did for them during the war. I wish I could have done more was the Popes reply.
On February 28, 1945, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Isaac Herzog, sent a letter of gratitude to the
Apostolic Nuncio in Rumania, Msgr. Andrea Cassulo, stating that: The people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness and his illustrious delegates, inspired by the eternal principles of religion which form the very foundations of civilization, are doing for us unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history, which is living prove of divine Providence in this world. (31)
Rabbi Herzogs heartfelt words should suffice to forever end the slanderous attacks to the memory of the great protector of the Jews, Pius XII and the Catholic Church.
Millions of people died because of their behavior while the vatican slept on their watch...Millions....dead millions...
Pius XII was personally responsible for sheltering or moving out of harm's way over 500,000 Jews in WWII.
The Dutch bishops condemned the Nazi actions in 1942, and thousands of Dutch Jews, in addition to Catholics and other Christians in Holland, were herded into concentration camps.
The chief rabbi of Rome was so impressed with the efforts of the Church during WWII to save Jews that he converted to Catholicism at the conclusion of the war.
Your ridiculous revisionism will appeal to the bigots and the Jack Chick crowd, but few others.
I'd like to bitch slap Albert for that stupid remark if he were still around.
As if the Russian Army and the USA Troops had not a thing to do with stopping that assembly line of slaughter that the Nazis worked so hard at even up until nearly the end of the conflict.
It is interesting to realize that so many apologists for the Vatican's bad behavior abound here on this site.
Try the book "Three Popes and the Jews" by Pinchas Lapide. That would be Rabbi Pinchas Lapide, former Israeli ambassador to Italy.
Rabbi Lapide directly credits the Pope with saving 860,000 Jewish lives during the war.
Then try the book "The Myth of Hitler's Pope" by David Dalin. That would be Rabbi David Dalin. Rabbi Dalin says that Pius XII deserves the title "righteous Gentile" for his work on behalf of the Jews during the war.
Millions of people died because of their behavior while the vatican slept on their watch
On the contrary, a million lived who otherwise might have died because of what the Vatican did in their "sleep".
Those 'henchmen' of whom you speak saved tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. Italian Jews survived in much greater numbers than their brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe. The Italian Army wasn't that efficient in rounding them up, so it was fairly easy to hide them at first. When the Germans arrived, it became a much more dangerous feat, but was still done by priests, nuns, and regular Catholics all over Italy. One of the Pope's men ran one of the refugee networks right out of the Vatican. For a look at some fictionalized accounts of actual events, check out the movies The Scarlet and the Black and The Assisi Underground. Pius XII spoke out forcefully against Hitler, to the point that the Swiss Guard, even while wearing their colorful Renaissance era outfits, were carrying guns to defend Vatican City and protect the Pontiff.
Pope Benedict's question was not asked because he had no clue about the answer. He was putting forth a question for the listeners to ponder. God allowed it to happen because He made us with Free Will. Some will use that free will, live their lives in accordance with God's teachings and everything will be nice and rosy. Some, however, will use that free will, reject the teachings of God, and set themselves up as gods. This is what Hitler did with his Third Reich. He considered Germany a new 'Roman Empire' and himself the new emperor. The Pope was using the question to point out the danger when we turn from God's direction; we can begin to justify almost any behavior which we might choose.
Wishfull thinking at best.
It is interesting that a few anti-Catholic bigots don't have any evidence to back up their arguments, but invoke code words to blame the Church for the Holocaust.
Do some research.
read between the lines
I guess the fact that I listened and pondered for about 2 seconds to his comments has no credence with you.
I am used to this sort of thing!
I get ignored all of the time.
Excuse me Sir.
I have done a bit of research, sort of on my own.
I actually read the entire Bible, more than once.
Every word, more than once.
I have done some other reading as well.
I thought that we were talking about the wondrous behavior of the Vatican during the WW2 conflict.
The Vatican did as much as it could do during WWII, given the circumstances. It is chicken-s**tted revisionism to attempt to go back now and lecture men who were seeing millions go to their deaths with no way to stop the perpetrators, about what they should have said.
You are being disingenous. The historical record stands in stark contrast to your off-the-cuff emotionalism.
By the way,
I am not an anti Catholic bigot.
Many of the people in my life are devout Catholics.
You know, mother, father(deceased now), siblings, friends....
I was raised in that faith, and then one day I decided to actually read a few things for myself.
Please, stop with the anti Catholic baiting stuff.....
I read a lot more than most.
You are delusional!
That is my opinion!
Please, stop with the anti Catholic baiting stuff.....
I was giving you the benefit of the doubt by assuming you were anti-Catholic.
In which case, if you're not, you must be galactically stupid. The historical record is clear, as is the testimony of thousands of Jews after WWII about what the Catholic Church did.
I am wicked dumb, but I do like to have fun.
It is nice to see people stand up for their principles.
Good night Sir!
There! See? I knew sooner or later I'd agree with Sink about sumpn!
I'm glad to hear what the Catholic Church did, I had always had the impression they stood idly by due to the Vaticans' precarious position in occupied Europe.
But I am inclined to heed the words of the Jews including a brilliant man like Albert Einstein.
Read the book, "The Myth of Hitler's Pope." It will clarify for you just how instrumental Pius XII was in saving thousands of Jews from Hitler.
All I can say is, thank God for Patton. Without him, Ike and Zhukov would still have been in Poland and France in 1946.
The crusades were an abyssmal failure. They all went native and lost focus on the goal.
"contemporary Islam is being debated and its struggle to find a place in modern society."
There is no such place in modern society. Its place is Hell.
It's appeasement and it never works. The Pope should be ashamed. He should be condemning Islamic attacks. I liked this guy but have lost all respect.
You are dreadfully wrong, while the world slept, the Vatican and His Holiness Pope Pius XII risked the Church and their own lives in order to save lives, Jews and Christians alike, many people ignores or shamefully disregard that in the Holocaust died as many Christians as Jews and that the hatred of Hitler towards the Christians and specially against the Catholics, was as strong as against the Jews.
THE FORGOTTEN VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST. The persecution of Catholics.
Without belittling the unspeakable horrors suffered by Jews, we should not ignore the fact that millions of Catholics were also victims of the Holocaust, as were gypsies, homosexuals, and in much less scale, Orthodox and Protestants. Poland had the biggest Jewish population in Europe and was the only country where there was a mandatory death penalty for those hiding Jews. Many, who were caught sheltering Jews, were killed in a gruesome manner, such as being publicly burned as a warning to others.
Although not every Catholic was a victim of the Nazis, it is certain that all the Jews were victims of Hitlers hatred. Hitlers Final Solution was targeted to the total extermination of the Jewish race-an abhorrent and unforgivable crime against humanity.
We should keep in mind the prevailing situation of complete despair throughout Europe at the beginning of the forties. The Germans already occupied Poland, France, Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Norway; and the invasion of the Soviet Union was going on while England was being bombed daily in preparation for the eventual invasion. The United States stayed out of the war until December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked the American naval base in Pearl Harbor. The neutral nations, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden and the Vatican, were the only temporarily remaining free territories. Without any military force, all the Pope had was his powerful moral pulpit to encounter the all powerful and victorious German troops. Although the Vatican was neutral, The Church and its flock were being brutally attacked and decimated in the Nazis occupied countries.
According to historian William J. OMalley, S.J., to the genocide of six millions Jews we have to add nine to ten millions Slavic victims (Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Yugoslavs) who were eliminated-not in war, not as saboteurs, not as guerrillas, but sorely because they were Slavic. The Nazis genocide, based on race, should also include half a million gypsies who, just as the Slavs, were executed because they were not member of the superior race, the Aryans. The Nazis in Poland alone murdered more than 3 million Catholics together with over 3 million Jews. (13)
About 2,800 clergymen were interned between 1940 and 1945, at Dachau, the infamous Nazi concentration camp. Among them, 2,579 were Catholic clergymen, 109 Protestants, 30 orthodox and two Moslem clergymen. The Catholics came from 38 nations; 1,780 were Polish, 447 German and Austrian, 109 Czech and Slovaks, 50 Yugoslavs, 156 French, 63 Dutch. The auxiliary Polish Bishop of Wladislava died of typhus while imprisoned at Dachau. At least 1034 died in the camp, some victims of medical experimentation by the infamous Dr. Rascher. In 1940, 800 priests died in Buchenwald, 1,200 in 1942 and 3,000 in 1943. And that was just in Buchenwald.
Catholic martyrdom was rich in examples of courage.
Catholic martyrdom was rich in examples of courage. When Msgr. Andrew Szeptyckyi was consecrated as Archbishop of Lwow of the Ruthenians, he asked the Pope during the ceremony, an explicit vocation for martyrdom. With that idea he approached Himmler personally on behalf of the Jews; their fate rent his noble spirit. There were many Catholics such as Oskar Schindler and St. Maximilian Kolbe who in brotherly love risked and even offered their own lives in behalf of the Jews.
Hitler, a self-proclaimed pagan, considered the Catholic Church on par with the Jews, as his mortal enemies.
It is documented that Hitler planned for the total obliteration of the Church. For Hitler Jews and Christians were the sources of every evil. The heaviest blow to humanity he once said, was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is Christianitys illegitimate child. Both are inventions of Jews. In his diabolical mind, the extermination of the Jews would be needed for victory. Hitler designed and implemented a plan at Warthegau, in western Poland, to extirpate the Catholic and the Protestant churches from Europe. There is documentation that Count Von Galen, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Munster, who was an outspoken critic of the racial and eugenic policies of the Nazis, if it were not for the prominence and prestige of his position, would have been annihilated
In 1942, Pius XII told Fr. Paolo Dezza, rector of the Gregorian University, They want to destroy the Church and crush it as a toad there will be no place for the Pope in the new Europe, they say that I am going to America, I have no fear and I shall remain here. (16) Among the many ideological fundaments shared by the Nazis and the Communist was the hatred for religion, specially the Catholic Church. The only form of worship allowed was the cult to the leader of the totalitarian state. Hungarian Cardinal Mindszenty went from a Nazi jail to a Communist jail after the war. There was no respite for Catholics after the War; in fact, the persecution of Catholics increased in the Soviet occupied countries.
In occupied Poland, Arthur Greiser was in charge of the annihilation of the Catholic Church
Arthur Greiser was in charge of the annihilation of the Catholic Church and the creation of a national German Church loyal to the Führer in Warthegau. The final goal was the complete Germanization of that Polish region, to which end Greiser worked without respite. Bishops were driven out, priests killed or imprisoned. Within a few years one third of the pre-war 2,000 priests were dead and 700 imprisoned; seminaries were closed, the Catholic press and voluntary associations suppressed. The Holy See found itself desperately fighting in two fronts, for the survival of the Jews and for the survival of his own flock. The Church in a beleaguered Poland was being bled to death by the two great scourges of humanity, the Nazis and Communists. In Poland three million Catholics went to their death along with three million Jews at the Nazis concentration camps in addition to the millions murdered by the Soviets.
It is documented that, according to Robert M.W. Kempner, former U.S. Deputy Chief of Counsel at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, among the measures scheduled to follow upon Hitlers victory were the following: every Catholic State must select its own Pope (and) the Bishop of Muenster will go before the firing squad one day. Every propaganda move by the Catholic Church against Hitlers Reich would have been not only provoking suicide, but would have hastened the execution of still more Jews and Priests. These and similar threats appeared in the diary of Alfred Rosenberg, the nazi theoretician of racial purity, and in Hitlers Table Talk.
Millions of Catholics were victims first of the Nazis and later of the Communists.
Most Catholics were anti-Nazi and anti-Communist. We should not forget the fact that hundreds of thousands of anti-Nazis from communist occupied territories as Poland, the Baltic States and Bessarabia, were sent by Moscow to German concentration camps, while hundreds of thousands of anti-Stalinists refugees living in Nazis territories were sent by Berlin to the Soviet concentration camps as part of the Stalin / Hitlers diabolical pact. Shamefully, the Western democracies did the same after WWII; thousands of anti-Communists who fled the Soviet Union during the war were forcedly deported to the Soviet concentration camps, the dreadful gulags. Entire families opted for suicide rather than deportation.
Those were actually the words of Cardinal Sodano, a lefty who was JPII's Secretary of State and is being retired and replaced with a younger man by Benedict XVI in September. For him, however, the statement was pretty moderate because he actually condemned the terrorist attacks that led to the situation, something he rarely used to do in the past (when everything was the fault of the West, according to him).
Furthermore, bear in mind that no Pope is ever going to be thrilled about any war, anywhere, so when the Pope does make a statement (he's on vacation right now), it's not likely to be a call to arms. Medieval popes spent a good deal of their time and energy trying to get the local kings to stop killing each other and destroying each other's kingdoms, and negotiating truces was a big part of their job description.
In any case, if you think this Pope is soft on Islam, maybe you should stop and read the article that this thread is based on. He is very realistic, much more so than many of our secular leaders, in fact, and I don't think he's worried in the least about attacks on the Vatican. Catholics do not regard the Vatican the way Muslims regard Mecca; it's a beautiful set of buildings with some great art treasures and a long tradition, but it is not essential to the existence of the Catholic Church. The Pope is not going to cease to speak the truth in order to preserve some buildings.
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If he understands human nature, he must realize that this is impossible.
I believe you meant to say ....
Millions of Jews are alive today thanks to Pope Pius XII. That would include a good friend who was hidden in a convent where the nuns educated her in the Jewish faith.
That said, this thread is about Islam.
On the contrary ......
"As in the past, the Holy See condemns both the terrorist attacks on the one side and the military reprisals on the other. Indeed, a State's right to self-defense does not exempt it from respecting the norms of international law, especially as regards the protection of civilian populations.