I was going to make this point on dada’s blog , but since it’s kinda long I’ll make it here. I don’t like that our new Pope was a member of the Hitler youth. I really don’t like it. However I am taking it for granted that he has done as much as can be done to make up for it. I say that based solely on the fact that so many Jewish leaders seam to have made statements of forgiveness and acceptance in his favor.
However it would do a whole hell of a lot for me as a Catholic to hear him own up to it and not make excuses for it. We are living in troubling times. We need a leader who will encourage Catholic youth to take responsibility for standing up to injustice.
So I have taken the liberty of writing the speech that I would truly like to hear him give. PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS NOT ANYTHING THE POPE HAS ACTUALLY SAID! So don’t go emailing it around saying he made this speech. It’s just that if he were to make a speech like this, I would think he was the coolest person on the planet and he would immediately be elevated to JP2 status in my mind. Here is the speech I’d like to hear…
“My brothers and sisters, you have heard it said that I was a member of the Hitler Youth as a young boy. You have also heard me say that I was pressed into this service against my will. But there is something I have learned over the years, something I must share with you. While as a boy I told myself I had no choice, I must accept now that I DID have a choice. I had a choice to hold fast to my faith in God rather than cling to my fears of persecution. I joined the hand of evil out of fear. And for that I have done and will continue to do penance for the remainder of my days.
“I ask you all to forgive me for that transgression. But do not excuse the reality of it or forget how devastating that choice was. That I have been elevated to this office is a reflection of God’s grace and not of my own merit. I know now that had I stood up in the face of evil, God’s hand was able to preserve me. And oh how I wish I had such a triumph to boast of in His name. Now perhaps my actions as a member of the Hitler Youth did not lead directly to the deaths of innocents, I do not believe they did but I will never know. And neither will I ever know if my steadfast resistance would have been a beacon that might have caused another to have the courage to rescue one of the persecuted from the jaws of death. For it is not only our wrong actions that aid evil, but the absence of right actions too can bring death.
“I tell you this because the world even now is fighting a fierce battle. Poverty, injustice and war are facing us at every turn. I speak now to the hearts of young people. Learn from my mistakes now. I was blessed in being given a second chance. But I do not want you to risk your souls as I did. And I cannot bear that you should have to live with the burden that I must live with.
“Let no one tell you that you have no choice. Let no one say that you must act against your moral conscience. Let not the threat of death or ridicule be the deciding factor in whether you act rightly. Stand up to oppression. Speak the truth. Suffer bravely and do not remain idle when your brothers and sisters are persecuted. When you see injustice in your neighborhoods and in distant lands, hold fast to the hand of God and He will preserve you.”
Now seriously that is what I would like to hear. Don’t you think it sounds Papal? Even if you don’t like his views on abortion, contraception, homosexuality and women in the priesthood, you’d have to respect somebody who would own up to it and not excuse his past. I know I would. Maybe I should email this speech to the Vatican suggestion box.