And I detest all these besmirch allegations against a man whose noble intention is to bridge people to peace and reconciliation. May God bless the Pope and those who persecute him and the Chruch.
JERUSALEM, MAY 12, 2009 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican spokesman is clarifying that young Joseph Ratzinger's mandatory enrollment with Hitler's youth organization "had no role in his life."
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, responded to a flurry of criticism that arose in the Israeli press after the Pope's visit Monday to the Yad Vashem.
Among the issues dredged up was Joseph Ratzinger's relationship with the Nazis. Even an Israeli government official was quoted as making much of the Holy Father's nationality: "The Pope [at Yad Vashem] spoke like a historian, as somebody observing from the sidelines, about things that shouldn't happen. But what can you do? He was part of them," said Parliament speaker Reuven Rivlin.
Others took issue with the Pope having used the word "killed" instead of "murdered," and other similar points.
This led Father Lombardi to say at a press conference today in Jerusalem, "I have read something that is not true. The Pope never, never formed part of the Hitlerjugend, which was a corps of fanatic and ideological volunteers."
The spokesman later clarified his own statement because the Pope's enrollment in the Hitler Youth was explained by Joseph Ratzinger himself in "Salt of the Earth." There he says he was automatically enrolled in the organization, though he did not participate in it.
In the book, Cardinal Ratzinger explains: "Q: Were you in the Hitler Youth?
"A: At first we weren't, but when the compulsory Hitler Youth was introduced in 1941, my brother was obliged to join. I was still too young, but later, as a seminarian, I was registered in the HY.
"As soon as I was out of the seminary, I never went back. And that was difficult, because of the tuition reduction, which I really needed, was tied to proof of attendance at the HY.
(Read more at Zenit.org!)