Hitler's shadow looms over meet- The Times of India

Pope Benedict XVI:

The newly elected pope has an interesting background, notes the Times of India:

Unknown to many members of the church, however, Ratzinger's past includes brief membership of the Hitler Youth movement and wartime service with a German army anti-aircraft unit.
The Cardinal's previous position was the head of the successor to the Inquisition:
Ratzinger's stern leadership of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the modern successor to the Inquisition, delighted conservative Catholics but upset moderates and other Christians whose churches he described as deficient.
I only found out myself about the Nazi ties yesterday.

Not very long ago, I wrote this piece on Catholicism, which was somewhat critical. Part of it seems relevant today.
The problem Rome faces is this: it has decided to embrace the Culture of Life without reservation. As Hitchens points out, the Vatican is a government. It has the right of pit and gallows. It has decided not to use them, out of the horror it feels for its own history. The Inquisition has writ terror on their souls. They have cast away the sword entirely, that it may never again be used for evil. That means, also, that it may never strike a blow for good.

The Vatican, in other words, is struck with the same sickness of the soul that afflicts Germany. The pacifism that has arisen in both places is a reaction to the horrors that came before. It is a wound in their hearts. Until it heals, they will not be whole: and as the Church teaches in other matters, in such holes in the soul grows a gnawing and terrible evil.
In embracing a leader of the modern version of the Inquisition, the Church may be undertaking just that healing. In embracing a man who served in the Nazi army, it may help Germans to heal the wounds that remain in their own hearts.

Both things are fundamentally healthy at this point. It is natural, I think, to feel slightly disturbed at the idea of embracing either of these things -- even I feel discomfort at the idea of a former soldier in the Nazi army leading the Church. But why should my comfort, or anyone's, be the chief concern of the Catholic Church? Its concern is saving souls that are, according to its doctrine, in tremendous peril. It must make its decisions on that basis, not on the comfort or discomfort the decisions will inspire.

Surely it is time for these old wounds to heal, and perhaps this is the best chance. A man with that history in almost any other post would be too controversial to allow for new reflection and healing. The Church, because it is militant only in the spiritual sense, offers that opportunity.

There is no other way to heal wounds of the spirit but to confront the wounds directly. In making this choice, the Church has done so, and for that reason at least its flock can surely be proud of their leaders.

As for me, and you who read and agreed with what I wrote: if we thought not long ago that it was time for the Catholics to pick up the "sundering sword," it would be foolish now to complain when they do so. If I chided them for laying down the charge of being the "Fishers of Men" that their faith requires them to be, it is only proper that I should praise them for choosing a man who believes that his is the only true faith. Believing that mens' souls are at risk, he ought to do his best for their salvation.

Good fortune, Benedict XVI. I will be glad, both for the Church and for Germany, if the potential you represent is fulfilled.

UPDATE: According to the Jerusalem Post, the Times (both of India and London) is badly wrong on the details. The evidence the Post brings to bear is formidable. I must express my irritation at having been misled in this way. Naturally, I expect to be misled by the media, and so tried to research the matter in Google News before making the original post. For whatever reason, the search I used did not turn up the Post article, which leaves me indebted to the National Review for pointing it out.

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