September 19th, 2010
02:47 PM ET

Pope praises British for resisting Nazis

Pope Benedict XVI praised Britain Sunday for standing up to the Nazis, a remark that could rekindle controversy over the pope's past - reminding listeners that he was forced as a young man to join the Hitler Youth.

Describing himself "as one who lived and suffered through the dark days of the Nazi regime in Germany," the German-born pontiff said it was "deeply moving... to recall how many of your fellow citizens sacrificed their lives, courageously resisting the forces of that evil ideology."

The comment was a break from Benedict's usual practice, CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen said.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Europe • Holocaust • Pope Benedict XVI • United Kingdom

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. brad

    Speaking of Catholicism and brainwashing, anyone ever hear of a Rolf Hochhuth? A play called The Deputy? The KGB? After WWII, Stalin wanted to destroy the moral authority of the Church in Europe, and ordered the KGB secret police to get on it. The KGB commissioned the highly acclaimed Hochhuth to write a play putting forth the idea that Pius XII was silent about the Holocaust. The play was highly popular and tought two generations of people to believe that Pius did nothing for the Jews. Pius in fact saw to it that about 200,000 Jews were hidden in Rome.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  2. brad

    The vast majority of German soldiers in the Wermacht were not member of the Nazi party. However, the Pope's comment comes gift wrapped to people who must believe the worst of him to preserve their own tenuous beliefs.

    September 20, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  3. Frogist

    So is he talking about the British resisiting the Nazi Nazis or just the atheist nazis?

    September 20, 2010 at 11:26 am |
    • brad

      Believe what you must.

      September 20, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  4. Shocked and Odd

    The Pope praises the British!
    Therefore the British must be GOD!
    It all makes sense to me now!
    Thank you CNN! You are like a profit in a storm.

    September 20, 2010 at 5:43 am |
  5. Reality

    B16's Nazi past is a minor issue with respect to the con job pulled on Catholics for the last 2000 years. He really needs to address, hierarchy, historic and theological issues now. If not, the RCC will soon be extinct.

    September 20, 2010 at 12:17 am |
    • brad

      The church's enemies have been writing her obituary for about 2000 years ago. I suggest you worry about you own upcoming extinction.

      September 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  6. Cthulance

    "Pope praises boys for resisting priests"

    Now that's a headline I'd like to see.

    September 19, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
    • Frogist

      Or "Pope praises police for resisting church cover ups"

      September 20, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • brad

      We suspect your drooling over the possibility of this headline.

      September 20, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
  7. Rocky

    "Thanks for resisting my old friends!"

    September 19, 2010 at 11:41 pm |
  8. hoboduke

    That's a profound question! I think I was sent here to illuminate the dark corners of narrow minds going nowhere. The devil enjoys using narrow minds that can't reach the heights possible with open minds. Who needs or wants you?

    September 19, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  9. Bissie

    The Pope could have resisted. Other brave members forced into the Hitler Youth did.

    September 19, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
    • David Johnson

      I bet he marched with the best of 'em!

      September 19, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
    • brad

      Bissie, were you immune to peer pressure? Then, imagine being as young as the Pope was with a gun pointed at your head.

      September 20, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
  10. hoboduke

    Maybe George Soros and Ratzinger were in the same youth troop? Of course Ratzinger wasn't wearing his papal outfit at the time. But Soros was probably swindling his fellow troopers for pocket money to buy swastikas.

    September 19, 2010 at 8:53 pm |
  11. Critter

    So Ratzinger was "forced" to join the Nazi Youth Party??? How many people really believe that? Not me.

    September 19, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
    • David Johnson

      I bet he stood in line for hours to get his uniform.

      September 19, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
    • Critter

      There might have been other ways to get the uniform without having to wait in line, if you knowwhatimean...

      September 20, 2010 at 12:57 am |
  12. David Johnson

    Not only the present Pope, but this little rascal as well:


    The Catholic Church is not without sin, that's for sure. Perhaps they will go away. We certainly don't need them.

    September 19, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
    • Lee

      Perhaps you'll go away, who really needs you?

      September 19, 2010 at 9:31 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "Perhaps you'll go away, who really needs you?"

      You would miss me. All you have is me and god and I'm the only one who is real. Cheers!

      September 19, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
    • Critter

      @David Johnson

      We need you David! Don't listen to that tr0ll, who is probably just honestanon in dr-ag!
      Don't throw yourself upon that barbecue in the back yard!
      The moderator gods need you to sacrifice more cats!

      September 20, 2010 at 12:54 am |
  13. hoboduke

    How about occupied France by Nazi troops? France did not welcome to be occupied and the people had to watch armed occupiers running their country. Is France condemned as supporters of Nazi cause? Of course not. Children marched off by Brown shirts in Germany had no freedom to choose either. It's nonsense that if armed Mexican drug lords occupied your town, then you would stand up to be shot down? That's nonsense. Intelligent people know they have to survive if possible by choosing their fight by guerlilla action or secret resistance groups.

    September 19, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Critter: Agh! Not the kittens again! DJ, how do you manage to type with such a sticky keyboard?! 😉

      September 20, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • IronV

      Study WWII. Had Hitler invaded England, he would have had to kill every English man, woman and child. And he knew it. Resistance would have been ferocious to the end... The French under the VIchy govt, sadly collaborated with the Nazis; 30,000 jews were shipped off to Nazi concentration camps. The French Army and Navy actually fought AGAINST the Americans at Casablanca. Later the Free French Army, fighting as a division of the US Army gave a very good account of themselves.

      September 20, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.