Sunday, February 12, 2017

Serious Inquiries Only podcast - Did the Catholic Church Support Hitler?



Thomas Smith was good enough to have me back on his "Serious Inquiries Only" podcast (formerly "Atheistically Speaking"), this time to tackle the question "Did the Catholic Church Support HItler?".  Unfortunately we didn't quite get time to go into the related question of Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust, but I did a further 30 minutes on that topic which Thomas will be making available to his patrons as bonus content.  Since the myth of "Hitler's Pope" is common in New Atheist circles and favourite of several prominent NAs including Hitchens, both subjects will be covered in a future post here in my "Great  Myths" series.  In the meantime, enjoy my conversation with Thomas via the link above.

9 comments:

  1. A most interesting podcast, Mr O'Neill, as ever - thank you. If I were to be very picky I would make three points:

    1) the Nazi-Soviet pact was signed by the Russian Premier - Molotov - not Stalin.

    2) Golda Meir was the fourth Prime Minster of Israel - David Ben-Guriom was the first.

    3) With regard to Hitler's religion the word I would have used is deist rather than theist. A theist, to my mind, is somebody who follows a religion. A deist, by contrast, believes in some form of higher being but does not subscribe to any particular sort of god (Thomas Jefferson, for example, or Anthony Flew). There are of course alternative views. Carrier - your friend and mine (!) actually tried to argue in a 2015 afterword to his article on the subject that the Goebbels quote referred exclusively to Catholicism (which is of course utter rubbish, but seems to have gone over well with his fellow historically illiterate amateur followers - he also repeated his patent lie that Irving had never denied the Holocaust). However Burleigh - who may be a Catholic but is also a reputable historian who actually speaks German - came down on the side of 'a form of deism' in his book Sacred Causes.

    However, I wonder if perhaps you went a bit far in saying Hitler only used his rhetoric on the subject as a campaigning tool. I'm not sure if you have ever read Hastings, Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism. In it, Hastings argues for religiosity on a sort of affiliate Catholicism up to about 1924, with his time in prison changing that to a looser belief in Providence. That's a book on the subject I found worth reading if you can get a copy.

    Those minor (two frankly pedantic) points aside, I enjoyed it very much.

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    1. wait. Carrier is defending Irving?

      How did that happen?

      Delete
  2. "the Nazi-Soviet pact was signed by the Russian Premier - Molotov - not Stalin."

    This is pretty silly. Molotov was acting as Stalin's foreign minister. It's not like I was saying Stalin himself physically signed the treaty.

    " Golda Meir was the fourth Prime Minster of Israel - David Ben-Guriom was the first."

    True - my mistake.

    "With regard to Hitler's religion the word I would have used is deist rather than theist. A theist, to my mind, is somebody who follows a religion."

    No, a theist is anyone who believes in any kind of god. A Deist is a kind of theist.

    "I'm not sure if you have ever read Hastings, Catholicism and the Roots of Nazism. In it, Hastings argues for religiosity on a sort of affiliate Catholicism up to about 1924, with his time in prison changing that to a looser belief in Providence. That's a book on the subject I found worth reading if you can get a copy."

    Thanks, I check it out. This doesn't substantially change what I said though, given that his campaign platitudes were all after 1924.

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  3. Anti-Catholocism is pretty much the main theme in English language Atheist history writing.

    Which is mostly due to Atheists not questioning older Protestant sources. Neo-Paganism and 2nd Wave Feminism have all the same problems. Wars with France and Spain that stopped two centuries ago still define a lot of English language culture.

    The amount of Atheists who assume the Catholic Church are Young Earth Creationists is pretty shocking but a natural assumption if all you really know about the reformation is the idea that its the step on the glorious history of the progress of western civilisation right in between the renaissance and the Enlightenment. A lot of English speakers see modern Catholics the way medieval Christians saw Jews, as people trapped in an earlier stage of cultural/religious development who we keep around because there's still a chance they'll redeem themselves by catching up at some point.

    When you have a idea of history that conceives of Secularism as being the inheritance not of the reaction to the horror of the Thirty Years War and the English Civil War but as the inheritance of the Statute in Restraint of Appeals of all thing then you're able to twist pretty much anything.

    The idea that fundamentalists are a modern thing is incompatible with the idea that modern = atheist. New Atheists are basically reliant on the Victorian-Edwardian cultural evolution model that justified the dominance of Anglo-Saxon Protestant civilisation as the natural development of human history, they just put atheist as a extra level above monotheist.

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  4. Great stuff Tim, holy hell, you talk fast & clear. Rattling off page numbers as well was a nice piece of bravura. I'd already read a bit about this on a Catholic site, but it's great to hear it from you, as you don't have a dog in the fight, so to speak. (Wink wink, the papal nuncio just told me your check's in the mail. Hail Hydra).

    BTW, this might be of interest, as this man seems to have fallen down the memory hole:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_O'Flaherty

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  5. Tim, is there any chance that this pod cast discussion could be the beginnings of a full post on the topic in the future?

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    1. Yes, I will be doing a post or two on this subject at some stage.

      Delete
  6. Today Church historians minimize all this. But, 1) The Church signed a treaty - the Lateran Treaty - with Mussolini in 1929. Thereafter, 2) Mussolini and the pope were headquartered comfortably the same town, Rome,for more than a decade.

    As the Nazis grew in power, there were occasional complaints from the pope. But no major rebellions.

    3) Hitler himself had been a Catholic alterboy. And 4) he likely learned much of his antisemitism from Catholic antisemitism; replacement theology. And the passion play narrative that "the Jews killed Jesus."

    More recently, 5) Bennedict XVI - a German - is acknowledged in his official biography, to have been a Nazi in his youth. And to have served in a German Luftwaffe unit.

    All this suggests that Pious was not properly diligent in sporadically opposing fascism, Nazism.

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  7. "Mussolini and the pope were headquartered comfortably the same town"

    "Comfortably"? Tell that to the Fascists. At one point, after the Nazis freed Mussolini, they marched in force on the Vatican and stood toe to toe with the Palatine Guard until the German Field Marshall Albert Kesselring, the ranking Axis commander in Rome, ordered the Fascists to stand down. Doesn't sound very "comfortable" to me.

    " But no major rebellions."

    Did you even bother to listen to the podcast, you moron?

    "he likely learned much of his antisemitism from Catholic antisemitism"

    You mean the Catholic Church that repeatedly reissued the Papal bull Sicut Judaeis condemning the persecution of Jews? Little Hitler should have paid closer attention when he was serving at the altar.

    "Bennedict XVI - a German - is acknowledged in his official biography, to have been a Nazi in his youth. And to have served in a German Luftwaffe unit."

    Ratzinger was from a known anti-Nazi family and refused to join the Hitler Youth until it was made compulsory and even then only did it to keep his father from being sent to a concentration camp if he continued to refuse, you fucking moron. And he was drafted into the Luftwaffe when that also became compulsory. And he deserted at the first opportunity. But let's not let facts get in the way of ranting nonsense.

    "All this suggests that Pious was not properly diligent in sporadically opposing fascism, Nazism.'

    All this proves that you're a clown whose idiotic biases are surpassed only by his total ignorance of history and his comical inability to spell (it's "Pius"and "Benedict", you idiot).

    Back in the "blocked" box for you. Goodbye.

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