Nazis, Catholics, and Cattiness

January 27, 2009

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Andrew Sullivan is throwing a hissy-fit over the fact that Pope Benedict is lifting the excommunications on Catholic traditionalists—including the dull-witted and bilious bishop Richard Williamson. If the pope can make nice to a bad, bad man like Williamson, Sullivan bleats, why’s he so mean to me? That guy is practically a Nazi, while I’m just… musical.”

Commenters on his and other sites are reviving the old canard that alleges widespread sympathies for the Nazis among Catholics of the past century. Leave aside some embittered, Anglophobe Irishmen like Fr. Coughlin, and there was in fact almost none of this. An excellent blogger, Verilyprosaic, turns up some handy maps, showing the districts where the Nazis did the worst in one of Germany’s last free elections, and the Catholic districts of Germany. They pretty much coincide.

Real historians know this. But to puling postmoderns who use the word “fascist” to describe everything from school uniforms to airport security, the spectacle of a Christian religious leader paying attention to the details of Christian theology and Canon Law, and trying to govern and unify his Church, induces hysteria. Never mind those flea-bitten dogmas and catmas. They’re all so… 1500 years ago. Look at me. Hey, you in the Prada loafers and the pope hat. My lips are moving, but I don’t see you listening!

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