Body and Soul In his biography of Ratzinger, John Allen, National Catholic Reporter's Vatican correspondent, notes that Ratzinger has said that resis
April 25, 2005

Body and Soul

In his biography of Ratzinger, John Allen, National Catholic Reporter's Vatican correspondent, notes that Ratzinger has said that resistance to Nazism was "impossible," a word echoed by his brother in the recent Times of London article that revived the issue of the then cardinal's wartime experiences.

Resistance was impossible. I'm sorry, but that's a blatant falsehood. The Times follows with the comments of a woman from Ratzinger's home town:

Some locals in Traunstein, like Elizabeth Lohner, 84, whose brother-in-law was sent to Dachau as a conscientious objector, dismiss such suggestions. “It was possible to resist, and those people set an example for others,” she said. “The Ratzingers were young and had made a different choice.”

John Allen adds that within Ratzinger's "immediate orbit" there were several models of resistance, including Communists, Jehovah's Witnesses and even some Catholics.Body and Soul

In his biography of Ratzinger, John Allen, National Catholic Reporter's Vatican correspondent, notes that Ratzinger has said that resistance to Nazism was "impossible," a word echoed by his brother in the recent Times of London article that revived the issue of the then cardinal's wartime experiences.

Resistance was impossible. I'm sorry, but that's a blatant falsehood. The Times follows with the comments of a woman from Ratzinger's home town:

Some locals in Traunstein, like Elizabeth Lohner, 84, whose brother-in-law was sent to Dachau as a conscientious objector, dismiss such suggestions. “It was possible to resist, and those people set an example for others,” she said. “The Ratzingers were young and had made a different choice.”

John Allen adds that within Ratzinger's "immediate orbit" there were several models of resistance, including Communists, Jehovah's Witnesses and even some Catholics.

Clearly, when Ratzinger and his brother (who is also a priest) say that anti-Nazi resistance was "impossible," they're lying. And it's not an insignificant or harmless lie. Denying the option of resistance insults, indeed, denies the existence of, a lot of people who made far braver and more difficult decisions than the Ratzingers. Failing to exhibit extraordinary courage is human and understandable. Denying the extraordinarily courageous their due is shameful. Denying moral agency is surely unworthy of a man who would be pope.

The Ratzingers lie about this because if they admit that moral choices were involved, they'd have to explain their choice. In fact, I would suggest that anyone who cared about moral agency would recognize the need for self-reflection, for either admitting moral failure, or asserting moral principles. I can think of many possible explanations, but none of them fit well into black and white morality.  continue reading The German Shepherd and the Salvadoran Pastor

 

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Clearly, when Ratzinger and his brother (who is also a priest) say that anti-Nazi resistance was "impossible," they're lying. And it's not an insignificant or harmless lie. Denying the option of resistance insults, indeed, denies the existence of, a lot of people who made far braver and more difficult decisions than the Ratzingers. Failing to exhibit extraordinary courage is human and understandable. Denying the extraordinarily courageous their due is shameful. Denying moral agency is surely unworthy of a man who would be pope.

The Ratzingers lie about this because if they admit that moral choices were involved, they'd have to explain their choice. In fact, I would suggest that anyone who cared about moral agency would recognize the need for self-reflection, for either admitting moral failure, or asserting moral principles. I can think of many possible explanations, but none of them fit well into black and white morality. continue reading The German Shepherd and the Salvadoran Pastor

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