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← Protesting Herr Ratzinger's visit to Berlin

Protesting Herr Ratzinger's visit to Berlin - Comments

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 1 by mordacious1

I wish I still lived in Germany.:(

Tue, 13 Sep 2011 23:52:14 UTC | #870575

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 2 by Stevehill

Astounding that he's actually going to use an emblematic Nazi site for his rally, sorry, mass. Are the Vatican advisers stupid or something? (Don't bother to answer).

Berlin's openly gay mayor is clearly having some difficulty staying on the right side of diplomatic protocol!

Wed, 14 Sep 2011 08:07:26 UTC | #870669

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 3 by irate_atheist

Ein Reich, ein volk, ein Ratzinger!

Wed, 14 Sep 2011 08:44:38 UTC | #870679

TheGoodGuy's Avatar Comment 4 by TheGoodGuy

I think he should go straight to jail and not to Berlin or anywhere else...

@irate_atheist i think i get your point, but as a german i find it rather disturbing because it sounds as if we deserve someone like Ratzinger and as if we wanted him to be the leader of the asshole company inc. in rome - not all of us did, and i guess 80 % didn't even give a damn about him being the new Pope.

Wed, 14 Sep 2011 10:22:39 UTC | #870705

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 5 by irate_atheist

Comment 4 by TheGoodGuy -

Just drawing the obvious parallel between one fascist and another. Don't worry, when he visits Italy, I'll point out that at least he made the Popemobile run on time.

Wed, 14 Sep 2011 12:44:11 UTC | #870757

foundationist's Avatar Comment 6 by foundationist

I'm not gonna be in Berlin, but I'll be attending the rallies in Erfurt, one on September 23, at 6 p.m. at the Bahnhofsvorplatz, and one the next day at 7:30 a.m. at the Anger (it'll go on until noon so it's OK to come later).

Wed, 14 Sep 2011 12:47:31 UTC | #870762

Jay G's Avatar Comment 7 by Jay G

Gott mit unz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wed, 14 Sep 2011 18:11:50 UTC | #870879

brighterstill's Avatar Comment 8 by brighterstill

Comment 5 by irate_atheist :

Comment 4 by TheGoodGuy - Just drawing the obvious parallel between one fascist and another. Don't worry, when he visits Italy, I'll point out that at least he made the Popemobile run on time.

Haha! Zing.

Wed, 14 Sep 2011 23:42:52 UTC | #870970

Arthur Eld's Avatar Comment 9 by Arthur Eld

Astounding that he's actually going to use an emblematic Nazi site for his rally

That's silly. True, the Nazis build the Olympiastadium (the Reichstag can hardly be described as being an "emblematic Nazi site"), but since then it wasn't closed. A local football team plays there, world cup games were held there, athletic contests of all sorts, concerts, etc. I daresay the majority of Germans would first think about the Olympiastadium as the place where the opening match and the final of the world cup 2006 were held.

a former Hitler Jugend member

One can't really hold that against Ratzinger. He was a child and he wasn't asked if he wanted to join. He was mandated to do so. As every German child from a certain age on was back then, except if they were considered to be racially impure.

Ein Reich, ein volk, ein Ratzinger!

People outside of Germany seldomly seem to get that many Germans - myself included - find it offensive to exhume the Nazis every time when something German is mentionend. Furthermore, when the topic is Ratzinger and the Catholic church, it doesn't even make any sense.

Just drawing the obvious parallel between one fascist and another

National Socialism ≠ fascism. Only if one uses the term "fascism" as a general term for "undesirable totalitarian ideology" it would equal Nazism; but then again, so would communism (practiced c., not necessarily the ideology), theocracies, and other forms of non-democratic governments.

80 % didn't even give a damn about him being the new Pope.

Dunno about that, but according to a recent poll, 86% of Germans aren't interested in the pope's visit. Also, ~100 members of parlament will boycott the pope's speech in the Reichstag by not attending. Nice, isn't it?

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 10:39:00 UTC | #871083

decius's Avatar Comment 10 by decius

Arthur, I was indeed referring only to the Olympiastadion.

Of course, the building's primary function was to serve as a sport facility, as it does now. That doesn't erase the secondary and tertiary roles it has played in history. That is to host political rallies and to serve as backdrop for speeches by Hitler and his henchmen, while perfectly embodying nazi values in its architecture (in his planners' and designers' declared intent). In my opinion, Ratzinger's way to utilise it - coupled with the ultra-conservative quality to his message - has a closer affinity with the darker moments of the location's history, whether one chooses to see it or not.

You have a point with regard to the mandatory membership to the HJ. Surely, young Ratzinger had little to no choice, back then. I couldn't resist the snide remark within the context of nazi past, but I freely admit that it is a moot point.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 12:53:59 UTC | #871121

Arthur Eld's Avatar Comment 11 by Arthur Eld

In my opinion, Ratzinger's way to utilise it - coupled with the ultra-conservative quality to his message - has a closer affinity with the darker moments of the location's history, whether one chooses to see it or not.

Doesn't that mean that you perceive the Olympiastadium as an emblematic Nazi site only when someone you don't like speaks there? Would you have said the same thing if, say, Obama or Richard Dawkins (which would be cool!) speak there? If your answer to that is "no" then I'd say that you "choose to see it" that way.

My general point here is that I don't think it serves a reasonable purpose to paint the pope in brown. He's done and continues to do enough sinister things to criticize him without looking for the latest inappropriate Nazi comparison. I think his positions on gay marriage, condoms, women, etc. etc. etc. are more than enough to reject him as a person and the Catholic church as an institution. Ratzinger is no Nazi and shouldn't be attacked as if he was; he's the head of the Catholic church and deserves every bit of scorn as such.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 14:03:36 UTC | #871139

Arthur Eld's Avatar Comment 12 by Arthur Eld

Ooops. *stadion

Misspelled it both times! Shame on me.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 14:05:07 UTC | #871140

decius's Avatar Comment 13 by decius

I don't recall Obama or Dawkins making speeches drenched in far-right ideology. Whereas I perceive Ratzinger's message to fit that description, due to the very positions you have yourself enumerated. I already withdrew the HJ comment. But if someone openly calls for the discrimination of groups of people, based on religious dogma or on kindred political ideology (ultimately spawned from said dogma), he is no inherently different from his connatural predecessors. I'm also convinced that, had the Vatican not been forcibly stripped of its temporal powers, we would still be looking at a theocrat enforcing dogma by means of violence and unjust laws.

In other words, I have no qualms to brand Ratzinger a fascist and a supremacist.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 14:37:19 UTC | #871151

Arthur Eld's Avatar Comment 14 by Arthur Eld

I don't recall Obama or Dawkins making speeches drenched in far-right ideology

Exactly. Which is why you'd not see the Olympiastadion as an emblematic Nazi site if one of the two spoke there, right? It's the pope, not the place.

In other words, I have no qualms to brand Ratzinger a fascist and a supremacist.

Fascist is a bit of a stretch, but I guess you could make me agree. But again, Nazism does not equal fascism.

Remember when Obama spoke at the Siegessäule and Fox News said it was "a place linked to Adolf Hitler"? It's not entirely untrue, but of course that was still just a cheap shot at Obama, easy to see, easy to discredit and it once again exposed Fox to be anything but "fair and balanced". Do we really need to go down a similar road when we argue against the pope and the church? I don't think so. How much does irate atheist's comment "ein Reich, ein Volk, ein Ratzinger"-comment differ from drawing a Hitler mustache on a picture of the pope and displaying that at a demonstration? And if we'd do that - where's the difference to a Tea Party rally with their Obama=Hitler pictures?

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 15:10:14 UTC | #871160

blitz442's Avatar Comment 15 by blitz442

Comment 11 by Arthur Eld

Great post. The Olympiastadion is a place where people go to watch football and rock concerts - it is no more an "emblematic Nazi sight" than any other facility in Germany that was once defiled by the presence of Nazis but is now used for something completely different.

A good chunk of the autobahn was built by the Third Reich - I suppose that the Pope should steer clear of the highway.

As you say, there is more than enough to criticize the Pope for without resorting to cheap shots.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 15:12:38 UTC | #871162

Arthur Eld's Avatar Comment 16 by Arthur Eld

The Pope should also not use a Volkswagen (the Nazi car!) or mention Jesus (Hitler did that too!). If the Pope visits the Holocaust memorial: Careful! Just a few meters away was the Reichskanzlei where Hitler committed suicide and Goebbel's house was almost on the same spot as the memorial now is!

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 15:27:01 UTC | #871169

decius's Avatar Comment 17 by decius

Arthur, as a matter of fact, whenever I look at the place I see its both sides, just like with any other monument built with the open intent to glorify a regime. When I take a stroll in Karl-Marx-Allee (formerly Stalin-Allee) its history and looks strike me exactly the same way. Should Kim Jon Il elect to harangue the Berliners there, I would probably light-heartedly comment to the same effect I did here. Symbolism is sometimes hard to miss.

Blitz, German autobahns look exactly the same as any other European highway, they are no monument to nazi ideology. If you saw Olympiastadion, and knew anything at all about architecture (I'm not saying that you don't), you would probably likewise perceive its baggage.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 15:32:36 UTC | #871170

Arthur Eld's Avatar Comment 18 by Arthur Eld

Symbolism is sometimes hard to miss.

It's also easy to construct. But I think I made my point about the lack of necessity to somehow draw a connection between the Pope and the Nazis since he's bad enough on his own. If you disagree, fine. I happen to think that your approach is rather counter-productive since it's our goal to persuade, among others, Catholics. Cheap shots that are easy to discredit don't serve this purpose in my opinion.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 15:51:57 UTC | #871178

blitz442's Avatar Comment 19 by blitz442

Decius

If you saw Olympiastadion, and knew anything at all about architecture (I'm not saying that you don't), you would probably likewise perceive its baggage

I've been there, and I didn't notice it. I also confess that I don't know much about architecture.

But let's suppose that I attend a match with someone who does know a thing or two about architecture, and they point out this baggage to me. Should I then march out of the stadium, afraid that my presence there would be percieved as support for Nazism? Should I view all of those who choose to remain at the match as crypto-Nazis?

The answer of course is no, because I have never been a Nazi nor have I sympathized with that group in any way. The history of the stadium that I happen to be in can therefore never be used to paint me as a Nazi.

And so it is with Ratty. Unless you have convincing evidence that he really was a Nazi and/or sympathizes with their ideology, you cannot perform this sort of labeling.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 15:59:03 UTC | #871184

decius's Avatar Comment 20 by decius

Arthur, the serious connection I drew had you "almost agreeing" and I'll leave it there. What I said earlier was just to the effect that I found the arrangement supremely ironic (see my opening post). I think you are right with regard to political expediency, but I've always lacked sorely on the diplomatic front. I'd rather not tip-toe around issues, and also don't find the idea of suppressing one's mind any appealing, even if that's likely to cause offence. So, agreeing to disagree on policies is just fine with me.

Blitz, of course I agree. But I nowhere said or implied that showing up there makes the pope a nazi. I must have expressed myself poorly, if that's what you got out of it.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 16:14:54 UTC | #871187

blitz442's Avatar Comment 21 by blitz442

Decius

In my opinion, Ratzinger's way to utilise it - coupled with the ultra-conservative quality to his message - has a closer affinity with the darker moments of the location's history, whether one chooses to see it or not.

You are attempting to draw a connection between the "darker moments of the location's history" (Nazism) and the Pope's message. This only makes sense if elements of the Pope's message are equivalent to Nazism.

As you are a bright and creative guy, I am sure that you will make some sort of symbolic connection if you dearly wish to. : )

I just think that it is much easier to stick with the more substantive criticisms of the Pope and the RCC.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 16:23:53 UTC | #871188

Arthur Eld's Avatar Comment 22 by Arthur Eld

Believe me, Decius, I have never been accused of tip-toeing around an issue, neither of surpressing my mind. Therefore I'm certainly not advocating either. I'm for honesty, and I don't think drawing a connection between the Pope and the Nazis is honest. It's just a snide remark that might make other atheists sneer (see other comments on this thread).

When I debated with American right-wingers about, for example, Obama, there was one thing I pretty much always criticized: That they attack Obama for absolutely everything he did and several things he did not do. I always told them that it's fine by me if they disagree with his health care plan, but it's becoming ridiculous when they call Obama a fascist, Hitler, "trying to destroy America", communist, Stalin etc. He's neither and shouldn't be criticized for something he isn't or didn't do.

I'd have to call myself a hypocrite if I didn't call out people who are on my side of an argument when they use the same technique.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 16:39:26 UTC | #871192

decius's Avatar Comment 23 by decius

Blitz: I stand by that comment.

As I see it, an anti-democratic bully is set to broadcast far-right views to a vast gullible adoring audience, in one of the places symbol of a certain creed, in essence similar to his own, which was built also with that very purpose in mind. Sad views often broadly overlap with and had been morally responsible for spawning parts of nazi ideology. The fact that R, or anyone else, chose that particular location doesn't make him or anyone else a nazi, or even a nazi sympathiser. However, what R preaches, for instance about homosexuals or the role of women, is uncannily familiar. I find the choice of the location to be both ironic and perfectly fitting the occasion.

This isn't to be taken as anything deep or particularly serious, but the symbolic value of the arrangement struck me as humorous to say the least.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 16:41:41 UTC | #871194

decius's Avatar Comment 24 by decius

Arthur, I see your point. But again, there's objectively nothing in common between Obama's views and fascism, therefore any analogy is specious. The same cannot be said about catholic dogma.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 16:47:24 UTC | #871198

blitz442's Avatar Comment 25 by blitz442

Decius

As I see it, an anti-democratic bully is set to broadcast far-right views to a vast gullible adoring audience, in one of the places symbol of a certain creed, in essence similar to his own, which was built also with that very purpose in mind.

"Far-right" does not equal Nazism. If we define the characteristics of Nazism broadly enough, of course we will eventually interact with other groups such as the far right. We will probably also interact with far left ideologies.

Nazism is a distinct ideology - where are the parallels b/t the specifics of Nazism and the specifics of what the Pope will be talking about?

The lack of a connection with the specifics may be why you use this sort of phrasing:

in essence similar to his own,

Expand on this please.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 16:52:05 UTC | #871201

Arthur Eld's Avatar Comment 26 by Arthur Eld

And again, fascism and Nazism are two very different things. Also, if one desperately wants to it's possible to construct connections between Obama and Adolf. Government mandated health care? Check. Obama's job programm to improve the American infrastructure? Similar to building the autobahn. The greatest country on earth (I'm sure Obama said that one time or another) vs. Deutschland über alles? Obama speaking at the Siegessäule just like Hitler did?

See?

And I could also point out the differences between the views of the church and the views of the Nazis since there are quite a few.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 16:54:37 UTC | #871202

decius's Avatar Comment 27 by decius

I mentioned in passing three broads areas of overlapping. The notion that homosexuals are somehow flawed or depraved individuals who can't have equal rights, the submission of women preached by both, "aryan" and catholic supremacy. To which one could add many other things, such as contempt for tolerance.

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/Protestant/2000/09/Vatican-Statement-On-Catholic-Supremacy-Could-Affect-Ecumenical-Progress.aspx

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 17:03:57 UTC | #871205

decius's Avatar Comment 28 by decius

Sorry, Arthur, I can't see any meaningful doctrinal difference between nationalsocialism and fascism. There are historical and political ones, but for the sake of our discussion I could have written "nazi" as well as "fascist".

And I don't think it takes desperation to notice the similarities between two supremacist ideologies with a rich history of persecution of the Jews and of other minorities in common. Autobahns and health care aren't designed with the intention to kill and/or persecute.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 17:12:47 UTC | #871207

blitz442's Avatar Comment 29 by blitz442

Oh boy, you have me defending the RCC....

The notion that homosexuals are somehow flawed or depraved individuals who can't have equal rights

First, although the Church is deeply wrong about their belief that homosexuality is a flaw, and this causes a great deal of pain in the world, the Pope would probably not advocate treating them like vermin in the way the Nazis did. The RCC tends to view homosexuality as an in-born sinful trait that can and must be controlled via the vehicle of the Christianity - this belief can even illicit compassion for gays by members of the RCC . Again, this is wrong-headed and silly, but is not equivalent to what the Nazis did.

the submission of women preached by both

In that case, a more apt comparison is Islam to Nazism. The RCC does not allow women to go very high in its own power structure, but at least in Western countries, Catholic women seem no more oppressed because of their religion than any other branch of Christianity.

Some Protestants emphasize the submission of the wife to the husband far more than the RCC does - would it be ok to label Southern Baptists as Nazis?

"aryan" and catholic supremacy

Huh? Catholics as a "master race"?

To which one could add many other things, such as contempt for tolerance.

Which includes every left-wing dictatorship that ever existed. So Stalin, Mao, Castro, etc were also Nazis.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 17:24:53 UTC | #871214

decius's Avatar Comment 30 by decius

Blitz: you forget the history of the treatment of homosexuals at the hands of the church. It isn't as if though it never happened. Besides, they seem to have learned jackshit from it - they are still preaching the core rotten message.

I also contend, although I have no way to prove it, that should temporal power be restored to the church, they would likely go back to their old happy ways in no time.

Yes, Islam and communist doctrines are also partly comparable, but that doesn't make nazi and catholic doctrines any less comparable. It's just whataboutery.

Also, the strong support the catholic church offered to both Hitler and Mussolini should account from something. They still haven't distanced themselves from that, apart from great shows of denial.

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 17:38:12 UTC | #871220