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Pope Likens Nazi Concentration Camps to ‘Hell On Earth’

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday (Aug. 9) likened the Nazi concentration camps that killed millions of Jews during World War II to “hell on earth.”
“Nazi death camps, like all extermination camps, can be considered extreme symbols of evil, of the hell that opens up on earth when man forgets God and substitutes Him, usurping His right to decide what is right and what is wrong, to give life and death,” he said.
The 82-year-old pontiff, who was forced to join the Hitler Youth in his childhood, was speaking to a crowd of Catholic faithful during the weekly Angelus service at the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome.
He made the reflections while recalling two saints who were killed at concentration camps and canonized by his predecessor John Paul II.
Edith Stein, a Jewish-born Carmelite nun, and Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan friar who sacrificed himself so that a man with a family could live, were both killed in Poland at Auschwitz, which Benedict XVI visited in 2006.
Earlier this year, Benedict was severely criticized for rehabilitating a bishop who has denied elements of the Holocaust.
By Paul Virgo
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

  • pagansister

    Expect there aren’t too many people who would disagree with that kind of a statement…from anyone, even Benny. In speaking of the camps, what else would Benny say?

  • nnmns

    Well the Republicans equate health care for everyone that provides competition to the private health insurance conglomerates with the Nazis.
    But there’s no limit to how low the modern Republican party will go.

  • pagansister

    “But there’s no limit to how low the modern Republican party will go.” nnmns
    Hey! With Sarah and those of her mentality…what would one expect?

  • nnmns

    It’s not just Sarah, though the willingness of the GOP to put her that close to the presidency shows yet again how little they care for America.

  • jestrfyl

    I am getting the feeling that Sarah is the smoke screen for something or someone to be revealed later. The Hefelump leaders are allowing – maybe even encouraging – her outrageous and inflammatory remarks. This may be a way for a less divisive person to stand out as a potential leader. What surprises me is that she either believes everything she is saying or that she is allowing herself to be used in this way. Neither speaks well for her character – nor for the puppeteers manipulating all this from behind the curtain.
    O, and this is one more gnon-gnus story for August. Com on, how could he say anything different? Now, if this story were paired with the previous story on Heaven and hell they might have had an intersting double bill.

  • http://JesusWouldBeFurious.Org/RCscandal Ray Dubuque

    How will the world prevent FUTURE holocausts when it remains so ignorant about this most important holocaust of our recent past? How long are we going to let Catholic high priests pretend that the Holocaust was perpertated by “godless” people? Pope Benedict bemoans “Nazi death camps, like all extermination camps, can be considered extreme symbols of evil, of the hell that opens up on earth when man forgets God and substitutes Him, usurping His right to decide what is right and what is wrong, to give life and death.” Now, for a reality check. Google “NaziLeadership” (one word) & read 1st web page, and you will see that the holocaust was directed and executed not by atheists, but by Roman Catholics most the most part (with help from their close cousins, the Lutherans).
    And as for invoking the memory of Edith Stein, the papacy wouldn’t dare draw any attention to this famous Jewish convert if the public were aware of this nun’s fruitless attempts to get the pope to speak out against the holocaust. Google “Stein, liberalslikechrist” (two words) & read 1st web page about the letter she wrote to the pope long before the holocaust had reached it’s deadly climax and what the papacy did about it.

  • Kauko

    This is the letter that Edith Stein sent to Pope Pius XI, to which she never received any reply:
    “Holy Father!
    As a child of the Jewish people who, by the grace of God, for the past eleven years has also been a child of the Catholic Church, I dare to speak to the Father of Christendom about that which oppresses millions of Germans. For weeks we have seen deeds perpetrated in Germany which mock any sense of justice and humanity, not to mention love of neighbor. For years the leaders of National Socialism have been preaching hatred of the Jews. Now that they have seized the power of government and armed their followers, among them proven criminal elements, this seed of hatred has germinated. The government has only recently admitted that excesses have occurred. To what extent, we cannot tell, because public opinion is being gagged. However, judging by what I have learned from personal relations, it is in no way a matter of singular exceptional cases. Under pressure from reactions abroad, the government has turned to “milder” methods. It has issued the watchword “no Jew shall have even one hair on his head harmed.” But through boycott measures — by robbing people of their livelihood, civic honor and fatherland — it drives many to desperation; within the last week, through private reports I was informed of five cases of suicide as a consequence of these hostilities. I am convinced that this is a general condition which will claim many more victims. One may regret that these unhappy people do not have greater inner strength to bear their misfortune. But the responsibility must fall, after all, on those who brought them to this point and it also falls on those who keep silent in the face of such happenings.
    Everything that happened and continues to happen on a daily basis originates with a government that calls itself “Christian.” For weeks not only Jews but also thousands of faithful Catholics in Germany, and, I believe, all over the world, have been waiting and hoping for the Church of Christ to raise its voice to put a stop to this abuse of Christ’s name. Is not this idolization of race and governmental power which is being pounded into the public consciousness by the radio open heresy? Isn’t the effort to destroy Jewish blood an abuse of the holiest humanity of our Savior, of the most blessed Virgin and the apostles? Is not all this diametrically opposed to the conduct of our Lord and Savior, who, even on the cross, still prayed for his persecutors? And isn’t this a black mark on the record of this Holy Year which was intended to be a year of peace and reconciliation?
    We all, who are faithful children of the Church and who see the conditions in Germany with open eyes, fear the worst for the prestige of the Church, if the silence continues any longer. We are convinced that this silence will not be able in the long run to purchase peace with the present German government. For the time being, the fight against Catholicism will be conducted quietly and less brutally than against Jewry, but no less systematically. It won’t take long before no Catholic will be able to hold office in Germany unless he dedicates himself unconditionally to the new course of action.
    At the feet of your Holiness, requesting your apostolic blessing,
    Dr. Edith Stein”

  • nnmns

    I’m anxious to see how the defenders of the RCC respond to these damning charges.
    Ray, I presume the first page you want us to see is this one. It’s not the first I got Googling that, but the third.
    I appreciate your, and their, pointing out the Holocaust was not carried out by atheists, but by Christians.
    And I think the Pope will persist in dodging these issues as hard as he can.

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