Was Cardinal Ratzinger a Nazi?
Good grief. No, Virginia, Cardinal Ratzinger was not a Nazi. The Ratzinger Fan Club normally doesn’t indulge in the muck and mire of such rumors, but you’d be suprised how many people write inquiring about this malicious rumor. The story that Ratzinger was a member of the Hitler Youth is true. It’s a biographical fact that seems to have circulated on many a mailing list, and seems to surface at precisely opportune times when the Prefect finds himself in the media’s spotlight. From the way it has been presented, one might assume this is one of those skeletons the Cardinal keeps tucked away in his closet (next to his executioner’s axe and the token heads of Hans Kung, Matthew Fox, Leonardo Boff & Charles Curran). The truth is that as Ratzinger mentions himself in Milestones: Memoirs: 1927 – 1977, he and his brother George were both enrolled in the Hitler Youth (at a time when membership was compulsory), and discusses family life under the Third Reich in chapters 2-4 of his autobiography.
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