He delivered this speech in the same city where his predecessor, the saintly Pius XII, is libelled and slandered and condemned for, depending on the source, standing idly by while Jews were killed or even worse for causing their deaths by inaction or subtle support. These calumnies have been refuted so often that any honest soul would give up the P.C. ghost. But, as we see, that effort to clear his name goes on and on.
So, in light of what the Pope said, and in light of the unconscionable slanders against a successor of Peter, about what does the National Catholic Reporter worry?
At Yad Vashem, what pope doesn’t say makes waves
Pope’s speech at a key Holocaust site draws mixed reviews
May. 11, 2009
John L Allen Jr.
The pontiff’s keenly anticipated visit today to Yad Vashem, the main Israeli Holocaust memorial, is likely to become another chapter in Benedict’s mixed reviews. Some are likely to see it as a stirring poetic meditation on memory and justice, while others will probably be more struck what the pope didn’t say than what he did.
For one thing, there’s no explicit expression of regret for Christian anti-Semitism, no allusion to the role that currents of thought within Christianity about Jews and Judaism may have played in preparing the soil for the Holocaust.
In Benedict’s address today, there was also no direct reference to the recent controversy involving Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of the breakaway traditionalist society of St. Pius X, whose excommunication, along with three other traditionalist prelates, was recently lifted by Pope Benedict. That act became a cause célèbre because Williamson has a long record of minimizing the Holocaust, including the assertion that the Nazis did not use gas chambers and that far fewer than six million Jews died in the Holocaust.
Benedict did, however, insist that the suffering of the “millions of Jews” who perished should “never be denied, belittled or forgotten.”
Equally striking, the pontiff never alluded to his own personal experience of the Second World War. The young Joseph Ratzinger was briefly and involuntarily enrolled in the Hitler Youth, and was later drafted into the German army. He ended the war in an American prisoner of war camp near Ulm, Germany.