The UK gay humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (owner of this blog) has robustly challenged the claim by Pope Ratzinger that the Nazis were atheists.
“In his opening address to the Queen at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on 16 September, the Pope referred to ‘a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society’,” says PTT secretary and my fellow blogger George Broadhead in a news release. “This is rubbish. Hitler himself was born, and remained all his life, a Catholic. The church never excommunicated him.
“In 1933, he signed a concordat with the Vatican. The church agreed to keep priests and religion out of politics while Hitler, among other things, granted complete freedom to confessional schools throughout the country – a notable victory for German Catholics.
“The Vatican even asked God to bless the new German Reich! It ordered all German bishops to swear allegiance to the Nazi regime with an oath that ended, ‘In the performance of my spiritual office and in my solicitude for the welfare and the interest of the German Reich, I will endeavour to avoid all detrimental acts which might endanger it.’
“So much for the Nazis being atheist,” Broadhead continues. “The Vatican was fully, if not enthusiastically, complicit with the Nazi regime. In Italy the Vatican state was set up under an accord (the Lateran Treaty) reached between the Fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini, and the Catholic Church in 1929. The accord not only created the state of the ‘Vatican City’ with full diplomatic rights but made a substantial financial payment to the Church and recognised Catholicism as Italy’s official religion.
“Bishops took an oath of allegiance to the Fascist dictatorship and the clergy were ordered never to oppose it or incite their flock to harm it. Prayers were said in churches for Mussolini and for fascism. Priests became members of the Fascist Party and were even its officers.
“The history of the Catholics’ collaboration with the German and Italian Fascist regimes is irrefutable,” he adds.