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That the Pope also had the temerity to mention Edith Stein, aka Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, gave Muller fits. Benedict’s notice of the apparent serenity with which Stein went to the gas chamber is interpreted by Muller as disrespectful of the many Jews who died along with her without first converting to Christianity.
It was John Paul II who asserted that Sister Benedicta belonged in the canon of Christian saints, but Muller gives that beloved son of Poland a victims’ pass, drawing his rhetorical sword only because John Paul’s German (oppressor) successor had the “effrontery” to remember Stein where she was killed, and then echo centuries of Christian teaching on the meaning of a sacrificial death. This, for Miller, is beyond the pale. One can’t help but wonder what he makes of the equally problematic spiritual journey undertaken by a first-century Pharisee named Paul of Tarsus.
Muller’s overheated rhetoric is as much to be giggled at as rebutted. In this as in so many other contexts, some of us think fondly of William Goldman’s script for The Princess Bride. Pope Benedict does not by any chance have six fingers on his right hand, which is why I and others must play Dread Pirate Roberts to Muller’s Inigo Montoya. The law professor is a skilled polemicist, but to his gleeful cry of “You’re using Bonetti’s defense against me, eh?” the rejoinder from the rest of us is that it’s not Bonetti’s defense, it’s Benedetto’s, and it’s fitting, “considering the rocky terrain.”
MULLER’S REACTION DOES NOT HAVE the sobriety or depth of, for example, Christopher Blosser’s must-read post on the same subject. Blosser gets even the little things right, citing one European report from Deutsche-Welle noting that “Pope Benedict ‘shattered a taboo in the often-blighted relationship between Christians and Jews by using his native German language’ to pray for Jewish-Christian reconciliation.”p>Some of the comments left by others on Muller’s blog were equally deft. There was snark (“Ratzinger got a rainbow at his speech — what happened when you typed this?”) and substance: br> /p>
The Nazis did, in fact, intend to replace all religion with a divine devotion to the State, the Volk, and the Fuhrer. Whether the Pope is correct in his assertion that this was the ultimate reason for the Nazis’ oppression of Jews is debatable (and certainly incorrect if offered as an a priori reason), but it does not appear to me that your characterization is a fair one.br> A Jewish reader offered this thoughtful perspective: br>
I read the Pope’s remarks as trying to clarify what an affront to the Christian religion the Holocaust was, in Christian terms. This necessitates a Christian-centric view of, well, everything, but so what? This is a Christian talking to other Christians. They have as much right to struggle with what the Holocaust means in terms of their religion as we Jews do.br> One person chastised Muller for the narrowness of his empathy by pointing to pastoral reasons that probably guided the pope’s thought: br>
If, as he says, reconciliation is a goal (and I have little cause to doubt this), then perhaps he’s thinking it will be easier to obtain reconciliation with the German people when he’s not concentrating on whipping them, again, with the sins of their fathers.br> A reader named Dwight was impatient with Muller’s sneering at “the touch of anger and disappointment that lingers in Ratzinger’s account of the Nazis’ rise to power.” Dwight’s piquant rejoinder implies a potent mixture of self-awareness and common sense: “If I had watched my entire nation thrown down into madness, despotism, and fire by a group of lying bastards, I suspect I’d be pretty angry and disappointed, too.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?