Hitler and Catholicism 236

Ever since the Second World War, the Catholic Church has desperately tried to separate itself from the history of the Third Reich, and repudiate Adolf Hitler as one of its sons.

Before the war, in the early years of Hitler’s chancellorship, the Church in Germany did oppose him. But from 1939 onward, it collaborated with him; a fact which it has gone to great pains to try and disprove, without success.

We suspect it is embarrassed rather than appalled by what Hitler wrought without its interference,  condemnation, or even the mildest official objection when the Final Solution, the genocide of the Jews, was implemented. We say this in consideration of the Catholic Church’s own totalitarian, anti-Semitic, and blood-soaked history.

Hitler was born into a Catholic family and was brought up as a Catholic by a pious mother. He was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church as an infant in April 1889. He was confirmed in 1904. He was a communicant and an altar boy. For a time in his adolescence he thought of becoming a priest.

In adulthood, his ardour for the Church cooled. He did not go to confession or attend mass. But he continued throughout his life to think of himself as a Christian, and as Dictator of the Third Reich he maintained the most cordial and co-operative relationship with the Vatican and the German primates.

The Church will not confess to this. Its revisionism, how it now presents its attitude to Hitler, is illustrated by this quotation from a letter dated November 21, 2002, written by David E. Utsler, the Information Specialist of an organization called Catholics United for the Faith, in Steubenville, Ohio:

It is true Hitler was born to Catholic parents. His father was reported to be lukewarm in his faith, but his mother was very devout. Adolf Hitler was confirmed in 1904, but did not often attend Mass. The question is not whether Hitler was a Catholic, but whether he practiced the Catholic faith and if his lifestyle accurately represented Catholicism. Clearly, the answer to that question is “no.”

Hitler was not a faithful son of the Church, docile to her teaching, but rather looked at the Church in a way that served his own ends. For example, in his Mein Kampf, he makes reference to the Catholic Church, because he perceived the Church to be a blueprint for the totalitarian state he wished to create. It is absurd to construe Hitler’s political delusions as an indictment against the Church. …

The real question is whether Hitler persevered in the faith of his baptism or turned from it. The historical record clearly shows that Hitler, in both word and deed, repudiated the faith of his baptism, so Hitler’s “Catholicism” is a non-issue.

How they would like it to be a “non-issue”! But while Hitler could certainly be described as a “lapsed Catholic”, and although the Church likes to claim now that his deeds demonstrate a repudiation of Catholicism, there is no record of his ever making a statement of renunciation.

What were Hitler’s religious beliefs?

The following information and quotations come from an essay by Chris Thiefe, an American atheist of German descent:

As Hitler approached boyhood he attended a monastery school. (On his way to school young Adolf daily observed a stone arch which was carved with the monastery’s coat of arms bearing a swastika.) …

In MeinKampf he wrote about his love for the church and the clergy. “I had excellent opportunity to intoxicate myself with the solemn splendor of the brilliant church festivals. As was only natural, the abbot seemed to me, as the village priest had once seemed to my father, the highest and most desirable ideal.”…

He was never excommunicated nor condemned by his church. …

In a document dated 22 July 1933, he wrote: “The fact that the Vatican is concluding a treaty with the new Germany [concerning German tax revenues sent to the Vatican] means the acknowledgement of the National Socialist state by the Catholic Church. This treaty shows the whole world clearly and unequivocally that the assertion that National Socialism is hostile to religion is a lie.”

The Church preached Nazi ideals in their sermons and “in turn Hitler placed Catholic teachings in public education”.

This photo depicts Hitler with Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo, the papal nuncio in Berlin. It was taken On April 20, 1939, when Orsenigo celebrated Hitler’s birthday. The celebrations were initiated by Pacelli (Pope Pius XII) and became a tradition.

In the 1920s, Hitler’s German Workers’ Party adopted a 25 point program. Point 24 stated:

“We demand liberty for all religious denominations in the State, so far as they are not a danger to it and do not militate against the morality and moral sense of the German race. The Party, as such, stands for positive Christianity, but does not bind itself in the matter of creed to any particular confession…”

The Church alleges that Hitler was an atheist, or a pagan, or  was interested in mystical cults and occultism.

But he was positively intolerant of atheism:

“’We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out’.” -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933.

And, Thiefe writes, “the following words from Hitler show his disdain for atheism, and pagan cults, and reveal the strength of his Christian feelings”:

“’National Socialism is not a cult-movement– a movement for worship; it is exclusively a ‘volkic’ political doctrine based upon racial principles. In its purpose there is no mystic cult, only the care and leadership of a people defined by a common blood-relationship… We will not allow mystically- minded occult folk with a passion for exploring the secrets of the world beyond to steal into our Movement. Such folk are not National Socialists, but something else– in any case something which has nothing to do with us. At the head of our programme there stand no secret surmisings but clear-cut perception and straightforward profession of belief. But since we set as the central point of this perception and of this profession of belief the maintenance and hence the security for the future of a being formed by God, we thus serve the maintenance of a divine work and fulfill a divine will— not in the secret twilight of a new house of worship, but openly before the face of the Lord… Our worship is exclusively the cultivation of the natural, and for that reason, because natural, therefore God-willed. Our humility is the unconditional submission before the divine laws of existence so far as they are known to us men.” -Adolf Hitler, in Nuremberg on 6 Sept.1938.

Of course Nazism itself was a mystic cult – as that statement convincingly confirms. And the cult was not Christian. But the Christian God was never dethroned in Hitler’s mind.

Testimony to this comes from his architect friend, Albert Speer, who wrote in his book Inside the Third Reich:

“Around 1937, when Hitler heard that at the instigation of the party and the SS vast numbers of his followers had left the church because it was obstinately opposing his plans, he nevertheless ordered his chief associates, above all Goering and Goebbels, to remain members of the church. He too would remain a member of the Catholic Church, he said, although he had no real attachment to it. And in fact he remained in the church until his suicide.

The Catholic Church continues to do its utmost to exonerate Pope Pius XII, pleading that he saved some Jewish lives. But the hard truth remains that the Church stood by as Hitler did his worst.

Jillian Becker    September 17, 2010