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You Mean Hitler Wasn?t A Priest?
National Review Online ^ | Dave Shiflett

Posted on 01/21/2002 6:28:01 AM PST by VinnyTex

You Mean Hitler Wasn?t A Priest?
The truth is, in fact, out there.

Dave Shiflett is coauthor of Christianity on Trial .
January 21, 2001 8:40 a.m.

 

shocking story has been revealed: Adolf Hitler was not a Christian after all. Instead, he hoped to destroy Christianity. This news flash comes courtesy of a group of students at Rutgers University School of Law at Camden, who have posted papers on a website detailing Hitler's desire to eradicate Christianity. The documents are from the archives of Gen. William J. Donovan and were originally prepared for the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, so we can safely assume they are authentic.

To be sure, Hitler's antagonism toward Christianity will not be news to everyone. That its central figure hails from a Jewish family did not set well with him, and its teachings of universal love ran contrary to his violent precepts. Yet one could easily get the impression, these days, that Hitler believed himself to be something of an altar boy on a mission for God.

The Rutgers project's editor, for example, seems to have been taken a bit by surprise. Julie Seltzer Mandel told the Philadelphia Enquirer that "When people think about the Holocaust, they think about the crimes against Jews, but here's a different perspective." The Nazis, she says, "wanted to eliminate the Jews altogether, but they were also looking to eliminate Christianity."

That will unsettle those who have been taught that Hitler was a Christian of some stripe ? and indeed, by some accountings, an enthusiastic Catholic. Bill Clinton, for example, said at the 1999 National Prayer Breakfast that "I do believe that even though Adolf Hitler preached a perverted form of Christianity, God did not want him to prevail." Meanwhile, at the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum, a film portrayed Hitler as an overzealous son of Rome. "Enter Adolf Hitler," the narrator intoned, "Austrian born and baptized a Catholic." Hitler's mission: "In defending myself against the Jews," he is quoted as saying, "I am acting for the Lord. The difference between the Church and me is that I am finishing the job."

That film was altered after protests by, among others, conservative Jewish writers. But the same message crops up elsewhere. Soon after the September 11 attacks, a spokeswoman for the Freedom From Religion organization pronounced Hitler a Catholic. In 1999, Maureen Dowd included Hitler as yet another Christian zealot. According to Dowd, "History teaches that when religion is injected into politics ? the Crusades, Henry VIII, Salem, Father Coughlin, Hitler, Kosovo ? disaster follows."

Hitler was indeed a baptized Catholic, but his rejection of the faith was profound. "My pedagogy is strict," he once explained. "I want a powerful, masterly, cruel and fearless youth... There must be nothing weak or tender about them. The freedom and dignity of the wild beast must shine from their eyes... That is how I will root out a thousand years of human domestication."

That domestication, of course, was in large part due to the influence of Christianity. Hitler was blunter still on other occasions. "It is through the peasantry that we shall really be able to destroy Christianity," he said in 1933, "because there is in them a true religion rooted in nature and blood." His countrymen would have to choose: "One is either a Christian or a German. You can't be both."

Indeed, he understood all too well that Christianity, in the long run, was his enemy. "Pure Christianity ? the Christianity of the catacombs ? is concerned with translating the Christian doctrine into fact. It leads simply to the annihilation of mankind. It is merely wholehearted Bolshevism, under a tinsel of metaphysics." Switch a few words around and you'd think you were listening to Joseph Stalin. And like Stalin, Hitler believed history was on his side: "Do you really believe the masses will ever be Christian again? Nonsense. Never again. The tale is finished... but we can hasten matters. The parsons will be made to dig their own graves."

That promise was to come true in a frightful number of cases. Polish Christians felt the full force of the persecution, as historian John Morley reminds us. "In Poland, both Jews and Christians were objects of Nazi oppression and manipulation." The clergy were a chief target: "In West Prussia, out of 690 parish priests, at least two-thirds were arrested, and the remainder escaped only by fleeing from their parishes. After a month's imprisonment, no less than 214 of these priests were executed... by the end of 1940 only twenty priests were left in their parishes ? about three percent of the number of parish priests in the pre-war era." The toll of murdered Polish priests would rise into the thousands; their Protestant counterparts (though a much smaller group) fared no better, with many members of the clergy perishing in the camps.

The Rutgers site's presentation is entitled "The Nazi Master Plan: The Persecution of the Christian Churches," and it notes a deep hatred of Christianity throughout the higher echelons. "Important leaders of the National Socialist party would have liked to meet this situation [church influence] by complete extirpation of Christianity and the substitution of a purely racial religion." Their assault was massive: "Different steps in that persecution, such as the campaign for the suppression of denominational and youth organizations, the campaign against denominational schools, the defamation campaign against the clergy, started on the same day in the whole area of the Reich... and were supported by the entire regimented press, by Nazi Party meetings, by traveling party speakers."

None of which is to suggest that Christians were uniformly opposed to Hitler, or that some did not actually embrace the Reich. The lesson from Rutgers, however, is that Hitler was no altar boy, acting on behalf of the Christian faith. Indeed, his hope was to be its undertaker ? which was another of his profound miscalcul



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1 posted on 01/21/2002 6:28:01 AM PST by VinnyTex
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To: VinnyTex
I wish I had a quote from Dietrich von Hildebrand -- quoting Hitler -- handy. I'll see if I can't dig it up.

In the meantime, this is a primary reason the Church did not excommunicate Hitler. You can't exactly excommunicate anything less than a practicing and otherwise "faithful" Catholic.

2 posted on 01/21/2002 6:31:16 AM PST by Askel5
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To: VinnyTex
How anyone could be foolish enough to believe that Nazism and Christianity have anything in common amazes me. Maureen Dowd and others should research Deitrich Bonhoeffer.
3 posted on 01/21/2002 6:32:38 AM PST by Zack Nguyen
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To: Zack Nguyen
Nazi(democrat) mouthpiece Dowd is a moron as "History teaches that when liberalism is injected into politics, disaster follows".
4 posted on 01/21/2002 6:46:44 AM PST by TransOxus
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To: Zack Nguyen
Why research when you can twist the facts to tie someone as evil as Hitler to Christianity. IMO just another example of the liberal left attacking Christianity by associating it with evil men
5 posted on 01/21/2002 6:47:50 AM PST by billbears
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To: Zack Nguyen, Askel5
Nazism relied on altruism to enlist Germans in the Cause.

To a certain degree, Christianity relies on something akin to altruism, but with a God centered and a God accountable focus.

See The Ominous Parallels by Leonard Peikoff for reference.

6 posted on 01/21/2002 6:48:21 AM PST by sauropod
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To: Viva_La_Homeschool
For the Record.
7 posted on 01/21/2002 7:12:04 AM PST by Romulus
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To: Romulus
bump
8 posted on 01/21/2002 7:15:50 AM PST by Pietro
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To: VinnyTex
"Gott Mit Uns."
9 posted on 01/21/2002 7:18:08 AM PST by Doctor Doom
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Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: Viva La Homeschool
Here you go again...
11 posted on 01/21/2002 7:39:40 AM PST by It's me
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To: Viva La Homeschool
Go up and read post #2. You should really try and know what you are talking about before you post.
12 posted on 01/21/2002 7:42:19 AM PST by It's me
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To: Zack Nguyen
How anyone could be foolish enough to believe that Nazism and Christianity have anything in common amazes me.

It should'nt, because this notion is set forth in every leftist campus in the nation and is taught to young malleable minds. Liberal professors equate patriotism and Christianity with NAZI's, WWII, and the Holocaust. Its historical revisionism in the most evil form.

A couple of years ago when I took a class on the Holocaust (Which should have been renamed "The Holocaust Industry: How to get reparations from anyone because everyone is complicit") I once heard some little mind full of mush equate then Governor Bush and the death penalty with Hitler and the gas chambers during a class discussion. I quickly stomped her nonsense out with a bunch of facts and dropped the class the next day.

13 posted on 01/21/2002 7:44:48 AM PST by KC_Conspirator
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To: Viva La Homeschool
Should the Church also have excommunicated Bill Clinton? Should it excommunicate you? Do you even know what excommunication is? It means you are no longer part of the Church. You are kicked out. If you have already left, why would they kick you out? Silly.

patent

14 posted on 01/21/2002 7:55:13 AM PST by patent
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To: KC_Conspirator
You should have stayed in the class and challenged this brainwashing. You can't blame a young mushmind from trying to get extra credit from her professor. I went to the UofOregon and believe me, my grades suffered from challenging those Stalinists but felt it was my duty to refute such rediculous statements from Ivy Towered navel pickers. The best I heard was that we would end up on the trash heap of history and communism was a more efficient system. She may have been a bit WRONG!

Praying for GW and the Truth

15 posted on 01/21/2002 8:07:19 AM PST by bray
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To: Zack Nguyen
You are exactly right. Deitrich Bonhoeffer was a bonafide hero in my book. Equating Hitler with Christianity is nothing but a lie.
16 posted on 01/21/2002 8:27:35 AM PST by ohioman
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To: bray
I went to the UofOregon and believe me, my grades suffered from challenging those Stalinists but felt it was my duty to refute such rediculous statements from Ivy Towered navel pickers.

I was once purged out of a woman's history class at KU for wanting to write a paper about Margaret Thatcher, I kid you not. Unfortunately there are only a handful of open minded professors on each campus and I chose to either play the little game or stick with the professors who did not treat their classrooms like indoctrination centers.

17 posted on 01/21/2002 8:55:19 AM PST by KC_Conspirator
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Comment #18 Removed by Moderator

To: Viva La Homeschool
Hilter was not a Catholic. He merely was baptized as one as a baby.
19 posted on 01/21/2002 8:59:19 AM PST by AppyPappy
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To: Viva La Homeschool
>>>>The point being that they didn't even try and sanction him. Very illuminating about the Institue in Rome.

It is. They actually follow their own rules. They actually understand the term excommunication. They don't bother kicking people out of the Church who have already left.

Its also very illuminating about you. You hate the Church so much you don't care how silly your arguments are. You just want to slam Catholics and the Catholic Church.

patent

20 posted on 01/21/2002 9:12:53 AM PST by patent
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Comment #22 Removed by Moderator

To: Faith_j
Much in the manner in which you have 'ex-communicated' capital letters from your witless prose, I gather.
23 posted on 01/21/2002 9:48:32 AM PST by headsonpikes
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To: Faith_j
The catholic church has excommunicated people all the time that weren't part of the church.

Excommunication is a formal declaration that someone is NO LONGER a part of the Church.

You can't get kicked OUT if you were never IN.

24 posted on 01/21/2002 9:48:37 AM PST by nina0113
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Comment #27 Removed by Moderator

To: Zack Nguyen
Don't forget to put Karl Barth and others involved in the Barmen Declaration up there with Bonhoeffer.
28 posted on 01/21/2002 10:10:01 AM PST by Romestamo
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To: Faith_j
I suspect your impressions of the Catholic Church may be somewhat in error.
29 posted on 01/21/2002 10:14:00 AM PST by Askel5
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To: Viva La Homeschool
You can't excommunicate someone who's already obtained for themselves a latae sententiae excommunication.

For example, there is no point in excommunicating "Catholics for Choice" or whatever group it is that goes around calling themselves Catholic as they seek to encourage abortion.

Anyone who procures or helps another to procure an abortion (by paving the way of ideological pressure and coercion), obtains a latae sententiae excommunication.

It's like beating a dead horse.

30 posted on 01/21/2002 10:20:33 AM PST by Askel5
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To: It's me
You should really try and know what you are talking about before you post.

That's not part of Michele's, aka VLH, modus operandi. "Where ignorance is bliss, 'Tis folly to be wise." Thomas Gray

31 posted on 01/21/2002 10:26:24 AM PST by SMEDLEYBUTLER
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To: headsonpikes
Much in the manner in which you have 'ex-communicated' capital letters from your witless prose, I gather.

That's it: witless, like your all-lower-case nick.

(Except that I LOVE your nick.)

32 posted on 01/21/2002 10:33:16 AM PST by BenR2
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To: Faith_j
Pope Sixtus V's Decree against Queen Elizabeth

Wait a minute....

Shouldn't it be Pope Fourthus IV, Pope Fifthus V, and Pope Sixtus VI? (Let's conjugate these names properly.)

Can anyone tell I've been up all night?

33 posted on 01/21/2002 10:35:44 AM PST by BenR2
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Comment #34 Removed by Moderator

To: VinnyTex
"Adolf Hitler was not a Christian after all."

Well DUH!! Whoever said he was lives either lives in another world or is an anti-christian liberal. Hitler didn't learn those occult practices in any christian church and his silly swastika was stolen from the hindus, not anything christian.

35 posted on 01/21/2002 10:45:07 AM PST by nightdriver
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To: VinnyTex
A shocking story has been revealed: Adolf Hitler was not a Christian after all.

This is shocking? and this is news? Hell, I knew this is junior high.

36 posted on 01/21/2002 10:56:58 AM PST by ThJ1800
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To: KC_Conspirator
My worst, was a paper I turned into 2 classes w/permission on the theft of Poland at Yalta by Stalin. Got an A+ from my english prof and a B from my Stalinist Econ prof. She said she graded me down for the grammer???? I never bothered to tell her that my English prof thought the grammer was excellent and he raised his eyebrow when I told him. Stalin was always good at abuse of power and it is alive and well in our Ivy Halls.

Pray for GW and the Truth

37 posted on 01/21/2002 11:10:32 AM PST by bray
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To: Viva La Homeschool
The point remains that the Roman institution does excommunicate people whom one would assume they didn't need to. Except Hitler.

For the simple reason that these sorts either continue to proclaim themselves Catholic or are in the process of leading others astray under what they are professing is "Catholic" teaching.

I fail to see how Hitler met that test. He strikes me as a neo-pagan.

First and Second Things

38 posted on 01/21/2002 11:18:40 AM PST by Askel5
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Comment #39 Removed by Moderator

To: Faith_j
All offences or public insults committed within Italian territory against the person of the Supreme Pontiff, whether by means of speeches, acts, or writings, shall be punished in the same manner as offences and insults against the person of the King.

And how are offences or public insults committed against the King punished in Italy? They're not. There is no King of Italy. So what is your point about how this affects the world today?

40 posted on 01/21/2002 11:30:47 AM PST by Petronski
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To: Askel5
It's like beating a dead horse.

And do you know what ELSE is like beating a dead horse? Trying to teach anti-Catholic smear artists like Viva and faith_j the truth about the Catholic Church. They don't know because they don't want to know. Why would they want to interrupt a really good hate?

41 posted on 01/21/2002 11:33:49 AM PST by Petronski
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Comment #42 Removed by Moderator

To: Askel5
re 30. How does the church justify politicans, who vote to fund abortion, receiving the sacraments?
43 posted on 01/21/2002 11:38:39 AM PST by breakem
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To: Faith_j
Great Britain had a state religion in 1929. Still has. What's your beef with the lateran treaty?
44 posted on 01/21/2002 11:41:39 AM PST by Romulus
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Comment #45 Removed by Moderator

Comment #46 Removed by Moderator

To: Faith_j
But please don't use your 'reason' (opinion) and call it a source. Its just not a fact.

Your second paragraph of article 8, which we just 'have to' read, doesn't say what you imply. Sorry about that 'facts' thing backfiring on you.

47 posted on 01/21/2002 11:48:20 AM PST by Petronski
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To: Viva La Homeschool; Faith_j; all
You know, it would really help Catholics like myself -who for political purposes regularly have to defend evangalicals like yourselves from charges you are hateful, mindless twits- if you wouldn't so regularly post posts which make you sound like, well, hateful, mindless twits.
48 posted on 01/21/2002 11:50:46 AM PST by AlguyA
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Comment #49 Removed by Moderator

To: Faith_j
I'm against all state religions.

Be sure to ping me to your anti-anglican rant.

50 posted on 01/21/2002 12:03:29 PM PST by Romulus
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