So long as Adolf Hitler was in power, |
his Roman Catholic Church
never questioned his Catholicism
- at least not in public - which is
where it mattered politically.
(this page was viewed 19082 times in 2009)
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Catholics today can't distance themselves enough from Adolf Hitler. But that wasn't the case in the 1930's and 40's when he was one of the most powerful men on earth. Germany's Catholics were proud as peacocks to count their Fuerher as one of their own, so long as he was putting Germans back to work, and making them proud of their powerful country, following the period of great economic depression and the humiliating shame they had suffered after their defeat in World War One. Hitler was not only allowed to "get away with murder", he was allowed to conduct mass-murder by the millions. Because Hitler has since been defeated and his villainy has come to be seen for what it was, Catholics now want to believe that their church must have repudiated Hitler in his day. But try as they may to rewrite history, the fact is that once Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, neither the pope in Rome as leader of the church worldwide, nor the bishops of Germany, ever denied membership or even public access to the sacraments to Hitler himself, nor to the many, many, other Nazi leaders of the Third Reich who claimed membership in the R.C. church.
I don't know of anyone who would argue that Hitler was a good Christian or a good Catholic in God's eyes. What the evidence shows is that Hitler needed and wanted to be viewed as such by human beings, and specifically by as many of the population of Germany as possible at the time, 66% of whom identified themselves as Protestants and 33% of whom - like Hitler - viewed themselves as Roman Catholics.
Although we now know that in his private writings and in his candid communications with his inner circle Adolf Hitler expressed his true thoughts and feelings of contempt for his Catholic Church, we also know that he was a shrewd politician who knew how to manipulate the churchmen of both of the major German faiths to his advantage, by convincing them at the time that he was a champion, rather than an opponent, of Christianity. Imagine that, Hitler was a two-faced politician!
According to an article published in the French magazine, Paris Soir, Aug. 5, 1939, William Patrick Hitler heard his uncle, Adolf Hitler, in fact say : "People must not know who I am. They must not know what I came from."
Later on this page, I am going to lay out the evidence that Catholic apologists like to trot out to prove that there was nothing Catholic about Adolf Hitler.
But because the evidence to the contrary is so overwhelming, I am going to begin by listing all of the instances I have found of Hitler trying to project to his Christian countrymen and their clergy the image of a "man of God", chosen to lead a Christian nation into a more perfect state, purified of the demonic influence of Jews, liberals, atheists and "Bolsheviks".
Hitler viewed himself as God's Instrument :
The following are passages in which Hitler acted the part of Catholic or Christian instrument of "the Savior", God or "Providence", grouped by the timeline of "Pre-dictatorship", "Third Reich prior to the War" , and " World War & Holocaust" :
"Pre-dictatorship" ( 1922-1932):
Although Adolf Hitler took credit for Mein Kampf, he was no writer, nor did he read much. Some one other than Hitler has to have written this book and the most likely culprit if a conservative Jesuit priest. (Otto Strasser—one of the founders of the Nazi Party, and author of the book Hitler and I, tells us Mein Kampf was 'ghostwritten' by a Jesuit Priest, Bernhardt Staempfle. Another source states, "It seems certain Father Bernhard Staempfle twice revised the manuscript.. Father Carlo Falconi, The Silence of Pius XII (Boston: Little, Brown and ('o,, 1970), pp. 287-293.
Hitler's Anti-Catholic face :Although Adolf Hitler was raised as a devout Catholic and was greatly influenced by his background, he lost his faith as an adult. Here are quotes that Catholic apologists use to argue that Hitler and Catholicism were opposed to one another.
Catholic apologists claim that "The book Hitler's Secret Conversations: 1941-1944, published by Farrar, Straus and Young, Inc. (1953), contains definitive proof of Hitler's real views. The book was published in Britain under the title, Hitler's Table Talk: 1941-1944, which title was used for the Oxford University Press paperback edition in the United States.
However, inasmuch as these are quotes attributed to Adolf Hitler after he was no longer around to confirm or deny them, and they were witnessed only by a few associates whose motives can be questioned, they are far from "definitive proof" of anything :
Even the members of Hitler's nefarious Nazi S. S., swore a loyalty oath that appealed to God: "I pledge to you, Adolf Hitler,
my obedience unto death, so help me God."
Members of the Wehrmacht (regular army) swore this loyalty oath:
"I swear by God this holy oath to the Fuëhrer of
the German Reich and the German people, Adolf Hitler."
And every time regular army NAZI soldiers put on their uniforms,
their belt buckle proclaimed "God is with us".
Hitler Was Not An Atheist, by John Patrick Michael Murphy
In George Orwell's 1984, it was stated, "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." Who is going to control the present-fundamentalism or freedom? History is being distorted by many preachers and politicians. They are heard on the airwaves condemning atheists and routinely claim Adolf Hitler was one.
Hitler was a Roman Catholic, baptized into that religio-political institution as an infant in Austria. He became a communicant and an altar boy in his youth and was confirmed as a "soldier of Christ" in at his mother's wish on Whit Sunday 1904 at the Cathedral at Linz. Hitler still went to confession and communion in 1918. (from http://yearegods.wordpress.com/2008/08/22/was-hitler-a-christian/ ) He himself wrote of that period of his life : "I had excellent opportunity to intoxicate myself with the solemn splendor of the brilliant church festivals. As was only natural, the abbot seemed to me, as the village priest had once seemed to my father, the highest and most desirable ideal". [Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1, Chapter 1]
Its worst doctrines never left him. He was steeped in its liturgy, which contained the words "perfidious Jew." This hateful statement was not removed until 1961. "Perfidy" means treachery. In his day, hatred of Jews was the norm. In great measure it was sponsored by two major religions of Germany, Catholicism and Lutheranism.
He greatly admired Martin Luther, who openly hated the Jews. Luther condemned the Catholic Church for its pretensions and corruption, but he supported the centuries of papal pogroms against the Jews. Luther said, "The Jews deserve to be hanged on gallows, seven times higher than ordinary thieves," and "We ought to take revenge on the Jews and kill them." "Ungodly wretches" he called the Jews in his book, Table Talk.
Hitler seeking power, wrote in Mein Kampf, " . . . I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord's work." Years later, when in power, he quoted those same words in a Reichstag speech in 1938. Three years later he informed General Gerhart Engel: "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so." He never left the church, and the church never left him. Great literature was banned by his church, but his miserable Mein Kampf never appeared on the index of Forbidden Books. He was not excommunicated or even condemned by his church. Popes, in fact, contracted with Hitler and his fascist friends Franco and Mussolini, giving them veto power over whom the pope could appoint as a bishop in Germany, Spain, and Italy. The three thugs agreed to surtax the Catholics of these countries and send the money to Rome in exchange for making sure the state could control the church.
Those who would make Hitler an atheist should turn their eyes to history books before they address their pews and microphones. Acclaimed Hitler biographer John Toland explains his heartlessness as follows: "Still a member in good standing of the Church of Rome despite the detestation of its hierarchy, he carried within him its teaching that the Jews was the killer of god. The extermination, therefore, could be done without a twinge of conscience since he was merely acting as the avenging hand of god . . . "
Hitler's Germany amalgamated state with church. Soldiers of the Vermacht wore belt buckles inscribed with the following: "Gott mit uns" (God is with us). His troops were often sprinkled with holy water by the priests. It was a real (99%) Christian country whose citizens were indoctrinated by both state and church and blindly followed all authority figures, political and ecclesiastical.
Hitler, like some of the today's politicians and preachers, politicized "family values." He liked corporal punishment in home and school. Jesus prayers became mandatory in all schools under his administration. While abortion was illegal in pre-Hitler Germany, he took it to new depths of enforcement, requiring all doctors to report to the government the circumstances of all miscarriages. He openly despised homosexuality and criminalized it."
The author is a retired attorney in Colorado Springs who writes a weekly column for an alternative newspaper.
+ The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. +
"Hitler never abandoned the cloak of legality; he recognized the enormous psychological value of having the law (as well as the church) on his side. Instead, he turned the law inside out and made illegality legal."
During the Third Reich some conservative Christian churchmen used what IMHO is one of the most horrible passages in the New Testament in support of Hitler and his regime, namely
The "Godfather" of Nazism :
"Hitler's concern not to alienate traditionalist opinion was eminently political and made sense in a rural Catholic region like Bavaria, which had been the cradle of the Nazi movement between 1919 and 1925. Moreover, Hitler recognized the affinity between local anti Jewish religious traditions typified by such popular festivals as the Oberammergau Passion Play (which highlighted the Jews' primary role in Christ's crucifixion) and his own violent anti-Semitism. The potency of this inflammatory strand of folk prejudice, accentuated by the linkage in the popular mind between Jews and Communism in post-1919 Munich, explains why Hitler sought to appropriate the Christian anti-Jewish tradition for his own demagogic ends. It is succinctly summed up in that notorious passage in Mein Kampf where he rails, "In defending myself against the Jews I am acting for the Lord." The continuity is equally evident whenever Hitler's speeches passionately evoked_ Jesus as "the scourge of the Jews" or praised the "utterance(s) of the great Nazarene, who had always despised the golden mean, whether in politics or in life. Small wonder, then, that the Nazis were eager in the early years to tap into the centuries-old tradition of Christian anti-Semitism for electoral purposes and present their doctrines as heir compatible with "positive" Christianity. To understand what Hitler meant by this propagandist phrase, it is important to remember that his ideas in the 1920s were strongly influenced by the "spiritual" godfather of Nazism, the Bavarian Catholic Journalist Dietrich Eckart, whom he admired as "an outstanding writer and thinker" and to whom ( the 2nd volume of) Mein Kampf' was dedicated. Twenty years older than Hitler, Eckart had introduced his raw, energetic protege to Munich society, improved his social graces and his German, reshaping his racist anti-Semitism and grooming, him for the role of messianic savior of Germany. Eckart had invented the Nazi battle cry "Deutschland Erwache!" (Germans awake!), the title of one of his poems. In 1919, he began publication of the ultranationalist weekly Auf Gut Deutsch, which attacked the Treaty of Versailles, Jewish scar profiteers, Bolshevism, and social democracy. Eckart's eclectic combination of volkisch racism with Catholic mysticism and his Manichaean view of the world as a battle between the forces of light and darkness (embodied by Aryan and Jew) appealed strongly to the early Hitler. He looked up to Eckart as a prophet, teacher, and father figure whose services to National Socialism were "inestimable," and he shared his view that "the Jewish Question is the chief problem of humanity, in which, indeed, every one of its other problems is contained." Equally, he shared Eckart's conviction that Christ's revelation had been radically distorted by the apostle Paul and overlaid with a cold "Jewish" materialism from which all social evils had subsequently proceeded.
By brandishing the slogan of "positive Christianity" and projecting their leader as a deeply religious figure (Hitler's frequent references to "Divine Providence" made this easier), Nazi Party image makers could suggest that their movement defended traditionalist values, especially against "godless Marxism." (pp. 124-129) Hitler and the Holocaust, by Robert S. Wistrich
"Just 1.5 percent of Germans identified themselves as unbelievers in a 1939 census, which means either that very few Nazis and National Socialist German Worker's Party supporters were atheists, or that atheists feared to identify themselves to the pro-theistic regime." [ from an internet article. ]
In http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NifZmfhCO8, a Catholic pro-life Youtube video purports to make the case that "Mother Teresa is Anti-abortion and Hitler is Pro-abortion", by using the following quote, leaving out the context which I have provided below in [brackets] :
'[The Fuehrer's Guidelines for the Government of the Eastern Territories: ' the Slavs are to work for us. Insofar as we don't need them, they may die. Therefore compulsory vaccination and German health services are superfluous. The fertility of the Slavs is undesirable.] They may use contraceptives And practice abortion, the more the better. . .Active trade in contraceptives ought to be actually encouraged in the Eastern territories, as we could not possibly have the slightest interest in increasing the non-Germanic population."
How dishonest it is to use such a quote to associate "pro-choice" people with the Nazis when - as the following clearly shows - Hitler and the Nazis were ardently "pro-life", so long as it wasn't Jewish life.
SS chief Heinrich Himmler wrote to Field-Marshal Willhilm Keitel the following in 1939:
When Hitler wanted to promote the production of human replacement parts for his Nazi machine, was it an accident that he came up with an annual award for women producing many children consisting of a cross enshrining another cross (the swastika is just one of many variations of a cross) in the shape of what was one of the most visible articles of Roman Catholic worship at the time, the "monstrance", used to display and worship the Eucharistic host?
After claiming throughout the period of the Third Reich that the Vatican "neutrality" prevented it from speaking out against the Nazis, "The Catholic Church, which claimed the religious allegiance of 98 per cent of the Italian people, was forbidden by Italian electoral law from engaging in politics. Nevertheless, the Church threw its entire weight behind the Christian Democrats, led by a former Librarian of the Vatican. The Pope himself stated that Catholics who voted Communist would be denied absolution. The implications of this were made clear in one highly publicized incident. When the Communist mayor of the village of Giuliano, Francesco Frezza, who was also a devout Catholic that never missed a Sunday Mass in all his life, died, he was denied a Catholic burial by the local Bishop. Peasants who attempted to bring his body into the church found their way blocked by a cordon of police. In addition to invoking what for Catholics are the most serious religious sanctions, the Church also supplied an "infantry" for the Christian Democrat's campaign. The Catholic Action organization set up "civic committees" in 18,000 parishes to get out the vote for the Christian Democrats. After the election, the leaders of Catholic Action claimed to be directly responsible for 40 per cent of the Christian Democrat vote."
"The Nazis championed traditional family values: their ideology was conservative, bourgeois, patriarchal, and strongly anti-feminist. Discipline and conformity were emphasized, marriage promoted, abortion and homosexuality despised. . .Most religious Germans detested the impiety, secularism, and hedonistic decadence that they associated with such modernist ideas as democracy and free speech. If they feared democracy, they were terrified by Communism, to the point of being willing to accept extreme counter-methods."
The extent to which Adolf Hitler was a champion of "traditional values", is illustrated in his own words :
"Parallel to the training of the body a struggle against the poisoning of the soul must begin. Our whole public life today is like a hothouse for sexual ideas and simulations. Just look at the bill of fare served up in our movies, vaudeville and theaters, and you will hardly be able to deny that this is not the right kind of food, particularly for the youth. . . Theater, art, literature, cinema, press, posters, and window displays must be cleansed of all manifestations of our rotting world and placed in the service of a moral, political, and cultural idea." [Mein Kampf, Vol. 1, Chapter 10]
An online reviewer of the book, "The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity", by Richard Steigmann-Gall (1919-1945 ) makes the following points about Hitler's supposed anti-Christian sentiments:
"Steigmann-Gall makes some important points about Hitler's rage against Christainity. First off, Hitler was not an atheist, despised atheism and of course despised the Enlightenment, Liberalism, and Marxist Socialism that are the main sources for modern atheism. Secondly, one should be cautious about Hitler's "Table Talk." Richard Carrier has argued that it has been unscrupulously translated: while in English Hitler denounces Christianity as the greatest idiocy, in the actual German it is clear that Hitler's target is transubstantiation. Steigmann-Gall points out that Hitler had the habit of telling people what they wanted to hear, and his most venomous comments were made in front of Bormann and Himmler. Third, Steigmann-Gall also makes the suggestion that instead of seeing Hitler's anger at Christianity as a revelation of Nazism's basic antipathy, it should be seen as the bitter rage of a defeated megalomaniac, a rage Hitler also directed at the army, some of his closest associates, and indeed the German people themselves."
The answers apologists for the Catholic Church come up with to defend their church can be hilarious. Take the following for example (with mistakes uncorrected), by somebody called "Catholic I am"
"You say that Hitler lived and died as a Catholic and was never excommunicated.
Well I think that its true that Hitler was baptised a Catholic as an infant, but you'll have to give some detail as to why you think he lived as a Catholic. Given that Hitler was a neo pagan I don't see how you can say that he lived as a Catholic. You do know that the swastika is a pagan symbol don't you???. You do know that the Nazis wanted to eventually rid Europe of all Jewish influences including Christianity so as to reestablish some dopey pagan religion don't you???
As far as Hitler never being excommunicated from the Church, well the reality is that he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Anybody who holds beliefs and acts in a manner that is in opposition to the Catholic Church is excommunicated from the Church by their very action. Hitler would not have received a formal letter stating his excommunication from the Church because the Church almost never writes such letters. And yes a baptised Catholic who is excommunicated from the Catholic Church, whether by his actions or by written letter from the Church is still a Catholic, but such a person is not in communion with the Church."
Who actually wrote what ?The Holocaust museum attributes the following famous words to the German Protestant pastor Martin Niemoller:
because I was not a Jew.
"Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out
because I was not a communist.
"Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
"Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me."
therefore I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic,
and therefore, I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists,
I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned.
Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church
and there was nobody left to be concerned."
How dishonest this version is, when the truth of the matter is that the "communists" were clearly one of the principal targets of the Nazis, while the Catholics and Protestants were not so much victims of the Holocaust as perpetrators of it.
Hitler spoke of both Protestants and Catholics with contempt, convinced that all Christians would betray their God when they were forced to choose between the swastika and the Cross: "Do you really believe the masses will be Christian again? Nonsense! Never again. That tale is finished. No one will listen to it again. But we can hasten matters. The parsons will dig their own graves. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and income."
"In his autobiography Hitler says that he was deeply impressed with the
religious ceremonies of the Catholic Church and was a member of
the choir in his parish church. In his free time he took singing
lessons at the nearby monastery. "This," he says, "supplied me
with the best opportunity to steep myself in the solemn magnificence
of the brilliant feasts of the Church."1
These early emotions never completely disappeared, and he has
always remained conscious of the extremely suggestive value of
ecclesiastical surroundings. Toward the end of his book he describes
"the psychological conditions which tend to create that
artificial and mysterious half-light in Catholic churches, the wax
tapers, the incense . . . "In fact, in his Mein Kampf Hitler approves
of everything particularly relating to Jesuit Catholicism as opposed
to Protestantism. He approves of the indisputability of Catholic
dogmas,2 of the intolerant attitude of Catholic education,3 of the
necessity of blind faith,4 of the personal infallibility of the pope, imposed upon the Church by the Jesuits in 1870,5 and of the compulsory
celibacy of the Catholic clergy. These are all matters that
make Catholicism radically different from the other churches of
Christendom. In an open and prophetic expression of his admiration
for the Catholic Church, he says:
"Thus the Catholic Church is more secure than ever. It can be predicted
that, as passing phenomena vanish away, she will remain as a
beacon light amid these vanishing elements, attracting blind adherents
in ever-increasing numbers." 6
"by ruthless persecution and armed might, in collaboration with the other Catholic dictators, he has forwarded (i.e. Hitler promoted) the ultimate objectives of the Catholic Church. Hitler, Mussolini, Franco and Salazar (the Catholic dictator of Portugal) ousted Jewish, Masonic and Protestant influence from all of Europe from the Arctic to the Mediterranean." (p 27)
"Nazi opposition to the Catholic Church in Germany has been confined to its "liberal" elements, and Catholic leadership has always opposed these more than any others. The Jesuit party has long feared the infiltration of Protestant and liberal ideas into the German Catholic mind. During the post-war years, when Germany was a democratic republic, many of the ordinary secular clergy and some of the religious orders became enamored of the liberal, secularizing spirit. They formed the backbone of the Catholic Centre Party—which was the last bulwark against Hitler's rise to power. But this last element of liberalism in Germany was dissolved by order of Pope Pius XI, as a stipulated condition of the Vatican's concordat with Nazism. . . The last liberal party in Italy also, headed by the exiled priest Don Sturzo, shared the same fate at the hands of the same Pope Pius XI." (p.28)
Hitler's idea of the ideal German :
Hitler offered his countrymen the family of his good friend Joseph Goebbels as the model for all good Germans to follow:
Joseph Goebbels (seated) with his wife Magda and the six innocent children whom they killed before killing themselves, in Hitler's bunker. The eldest son in uniform, by Magda's previous marriage, was in the Luftwaffe and survived the war. Goebbels was so close to his Catholic boss that he asked and received the honor to have the Fuëhrer serve as first witness at his Catholic wedding.
Prelunch invocation of the German School Children.
and several other sites devoted to the question of Hitler's faith :
Aug 1, 1936 - Olympic games begin in Berlin. Hitler and top Nazis seek to gain legitimacy through favorable public opinion from foreign visitors and thus temporarily refrain from actions against Jews.
The "Hitler was a homosxual myth :
"Conservative media are developing a sub-myth that the Hitler movement itself was "homosexual." They point to the fact that stormtrooper chief Ernst Rohm 's homosexuality and that of a few of Rohm's buddies was evidently known to Hitler during the early years. However, Hitler's willingness to use people and institutions – including the Catholic and Lutheran Churches – explains his temporary forbearance in Rohm's case. During the social violence attending the Nazi Party's rise, Hitler needed Rohm's muscle to establish and protect himself. Eventually, however, Hitler felt secure enough to get rid of Rohm. During the famous "Night of the Long Knives," the Fuhrer had Rohm and his gay associates massacred. This event – and the fact that homosexuality was a capital crime under the Nazis, who sent an estimated 100,000 homosexuals, mostly gay men, to the death camps – sends its own clear message. The Nazis' real views on sexual orientation were the same as those of ultra-traditional Christians in the U.S. who want to have all homosexuals put to death."
[ from huffingtonpost.com/patricia-nell-warren/newt-gingrich-and-gay-fas_b_146498.html ]
This has nothing to do with religion, but recent studies show that Hitler may well have had African. as well as Jewish ancestors: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/07/how-the-gop-is-saving-gay-marriage/59770/ .
"When lawlessness is abroad in the land, the same thing will happen here that happened in Nazi Germany. Many of those people involved in Adolph Hitler were Satanists. Many of them were homosexuals. The two things seem to go together." - the Rev. Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, 01-21-93
Au contraire, Mr. Robertson, most of the Nazi leaders were Conservative Christian heterosexuals like yourself !
For a catalogue of photographic evidence of the relationship between the Christian Churches and the Nazi state,|
Hitler was a great fan of "Passion Plays." No doubt he would have loved Mel Gibson's movie, which might well be the most viewed "Passion Play" of all time. The Gibsons are an extremely conservative Roman Catholic family. Mel's father didn't just deny the church's involvement in the holocaust; he denied the very existence of the holocaust.
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