The Pope Needs to Say "I'm Sorry"
The world, and the Jewish world in particular, was astonished by what Pope Bendict XVI didn’t say at Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the 6 million innocents — one out of every three Jews in the world — that were intentionally, viciously and piteously murdered in cold blood, with the active support or cold indifference of the vast majority of Europeans, Christians, Catholics, and Muslims worldwide.
How will the Pope ever get past his own past if he declines to acknowledge it? Still the Vatican lies about his enrollment in Hitler Youth, even though the Pope himself has admitted it. Why not openly condemn it? Why not describe the circumstances at the time? Why not explain how ordinary Germans/Europeans became brutal demonic executioners of children and dedicate yourself to understanding that evil so that it never happens again? Why not examine and condemn the horrific role of the Catholic Church in putting the Nazis in power and refusing to speak out against the horrors it knew was occurring? Why not, in a gesture of good will, open up the Vatican’s Nazi files to allow all to see?
President Obama disclosed the far lesser crime of American torture so he could move our nation past these evils. Heck, even Senator Robert Byrd has tearfully apologized for his past membership in the KKK. Can’t this Pope — supposedly a moral leader of worldwide standing — mention his sorrow at playing any part in Hitler’s war machine? Can’t he even mention the role that he and his people played in committing the greatest atrocity of the 20th Century?
Europeans, having murdered most all their Jews, now want the remainder of the Jewish People to risk annihilation again. Perhaps Israel should take extraordinary risks in the fervent, if somewhat unrealistic hope, that with those risks, one day, much of the world and Israel’s neighbors will decide to allow the Jewish People some small place on earth where they can control their own destiny without fear of mass extermination. Perhaps those risks for “peace/annihilation” are too great. But until Europeans (especially but not only Germans) and the Catholic Church recognize the horror of the crime they themselves committed, their moral authority is less than zero.
One thing’s for sure. I consider this Pope to be of no higher moral authority than your average 82-year old Bavarian. And I don’t think much of your average 82-year old Bavarian. Sorry Catholics. Please don’t take offense. I had great respect for Pope John Paul II.