There is currently a big controversy over a recent comment made by actress Susan Sarandon about Pope Benedict, whom she called “this Nazi (pope) we have now.” During an event at the Hamptons Film Festival, Sarandon said she had sent a copy of the book entitled Dead Man Walking to the late Pope John Paul II in hopes that he would elevate the issue of the death penalty in church teaching. To make clear which Pope she was talking about, Sarandon said she sent the book to “The last one. Not this Nazi one we have now.”
Pope Benedict was too young to join the Nazi political party, but he was forced to join the Hitler Youth. He never attended the Hitler Youth meetings. He was drafted into the Germany army, but he went AWOL near the end of the war. As Pope, he has bent over backwards to show his support for the Jews, but it’s never enough.
On Sunday, May 28, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI visited the main camp at Auschwitz, which was primarily a camp for political prisoners, and also the Auschwitz II camp, aka Birkenau, where stone tablets in the major languages of the world say that 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, were murdered.
The photo above shows the Pope, wearing a white robe and red shoes, as he walks into the Auschwitz main camp through the infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate, followed by his entourage of Catholic bishops and cardinals.
The Pope visited the Black Wall in the courtyard between Block 10 and Block 11, where he lit a candle in honor of the political prisoners who were executed there, but he wisely avoided the other side of Block 11 where the cross used for a Mass said by Pope John Paul II still stands. He visited the Auschwitz prison cell where Father Kolbe died, but stayed far away from the Catholic Church in the former administration building at Birkenau and avoided the empty building where the Carmelite nuns formerly lived. He tried hard not to offend the Jews by visiting the sites at Auschwitz that are part of Catholic history.
The photo above shows Pope Benedict XVI standing at the International Monument at Birkenau as he pays homage to the victims who were gassed in Crematorium II and Crematorium III, the ruins of which are only a few steps away, on either side of the monument.
When the Pope made a speech at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2006, he spoke in Italian, so as not to offend the Poles and the Jews by speaking in the hated German language, but he still managed to insult the Jews with these words: “In a place like this, words fail; in the end there can only be a dread silence, a silence which itself is a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?”
According to liberal media, it was not God, but rather the millions of Catholics in Europe who were silent, and it was not God, but the ordinary Germans who tolerated the genocide of the Jews.
In his speech, Pope Benedict XVI blamed the Holocaust on the “criminals” in the Nazi regime and did not acknowledge the collective guilt of the German people who enthusiastically supported Hitler. At Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Pope also failed to mention his Nazi past as an unwilling member of the Hitler Youth and a soldier forced to fight in the German Army.
In spite of the fact that Pope Benedict XVI paid his respects to the Jews who were murdered at Auschwitz and bowed his head in shame, he was widely criticized in the media for not mentioning the anti-Semitism of the Catholic Church which contributed to the hatred of the Jews in Europe, and for not addressing the failure of Pope Pious XII to do everything in his power to prevent the deportation of the Jews to the death camps. Even worse, Pope Benedict XVI offered no apology to the Jews for Auschwitz.
The general consensus in the media was that, on his trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI did his best, but his best wasn’t good enough.
Now Pope Benedict is in the news again; he is “the Nazi one,” who is not as good as “the last one,” the Polish Pope, because, after all, Pope Benedict is German and all Germans are Nazis. What else is new?