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Top Papal candidate was a former Hitler Youth

As House Blender Paul pointed out when he emailed this, it’s no surprise. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger gets bonus points for his nicknames “the enforcer”, “the panzer cardinal” and “God’s rottweiler.” Is “Hitler’s hot young thing” a new one we should know? [BTW, he believes gays suffer from an “objective disorder,” and of course is opposed to women priests and married priests.] (TimesOnline):

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, whose strong defence of Catholic orthodoxy has earned him a variety of sobriquets – including “the enforcer”, “the panzer cardinal” and “God’s rottweiler” – is expected to poll around 40 votes in the first ballot as conservatives rally behind him.

…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 pathetic defense put up for Ratzinger’s choice to enlist is laughable.

Ratzinger has insisted he never took part in combat or fired a shot – adding that his gun was not even loaded – because of a badly infected finger. He was sent to Hungary, where he set up tank traps and saw Jews being herded to death camps. He deserted in April 1944 and spent a few weeks in a prisoner of war camp.

He has since said that although he was opposed to the Nazi regime, any open resistance would have been futile – comments echoed this weekend by his elder brother Georg, a retired priest ordained along with the cardinal in 1951.

Some locals in Traunstein, like Elizabeth Lohner, 84, whose brother-in-law was sent to Dachau as a conscientious objector, dismiss such suggestions. “It was possible to resist, and those people set an example for others,” she said. “The Ratzingers were young and had made a different choice.” In 1937 another family a few hundred yards away in Traunstein hid Hans Braxenthaler, a local resistance fighter. SS troops repeatedly searched homes in the area looking for the fugitive and his fellow conspirators. “When he was betrayed and the Nazis came for him, Braxenthaler shot himself because he knew he couldn’t escape,” said Frieda Meyer, 82, Ratzinger’s neighbour and childhood friend. “Even though they had tortured him in Dachau concentration camp he refused to give up his resistance efforts.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding