Unworthy Men In The Church

“As the German Chancellor, Hitler instigated the mass murder of as many as 6 million Jews. He forced Western Europe, and eventually the whole world, into a calamitous war in which over 50 million Europeans were killed. When he committed suicide in 1945, he left his country a burning heap of ruins, financially bankrupt, militarily abject, physically wrecked. It is not surprising, then, that his reputation in history is demonic. Even though Mao Tse-Tung and Stalin killed more people, and history since 1945 has thrown up such monsters as Pol Pot, Hitler has retained his place as the Demon King of history, the ultimate horror-tyrant.”

Thus opens A.N. Wilson’s book “Hitler”. Yet this butcher, on the day he died, caused Cardinal Archbishop Adolf Bertram of Berlin to order every priest to say a requiem mass for him. There is no record of its ever being ordered that mass be celebrated for the 6 million Jews who died, for the 50 million Europeans who died, not even for the 20 thousand Catholic priests in the concentration camp of Dachau.

Church authority is sickening to the stomach when it is tribal, and down the centuries that is just what so many unworthy men in the Church have been.

We thank God for the saints and good people and quiet heroic lives; we do not thank God for so many of our unworthy political popes, bishops, priests who claim power and authority. If only they proclaimed Christ.

I have listened to dangerous fools of racial, political, colour, religious prejudice all my life (a fair share in Catholic parishes) and I have been saddened that people who profess to believe in a loving God and in God’s love for the human family, should hold on to the tribalism of churches, nations, parties, faiths.

It is less than two weeks since we celebrated VE day and our thanksgiving that the war in Europe was over, but the celebrations reminded us of how much suffering there had been and still is, as a consequence of that war. Conflicts and hatreds, sadly continue. We must not be part of them if we belong to God.

I want no part in the threat of the use of weapons of mass destruction. How could I want my last act to be a revenge strike against the innocent people of a foul regime?

God bless us with vision,

Fr John

(17th May 2020)

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