The power of ideas over time

In his May 23 letter, “Watching what the church does,” Barry Ward cannot refute Jennifer Kim’s comments (May 16 letter, “Catholic link to human rights”), which show the debt owed by modern human rights conventions to Judeo-Christian teaching. So, instead, Ward fumes over historical wrongs committed by the Catholic Church.

People sin, but ideas have power over time. Cathar theology — fleeing an evil creation for the spirit world — is not a path to justice in this life. Christianity teaches that fallen though we are, God forgives and asks us to build up His Kingdom in this life: “He who does these things for the least of My brethren, does them for Me.”

Thus Christian charities run more hospitals, shelters and schools than most governments, and are the critical voice defending the unborn, the aged and the weak from the eugenic agenda of “enlightened” materialists. But ideas can turn on facts, and Kim’s detractors misrepresent them.

Greg Blossom (May 23 letter, “Hitler cited his religious faith”) cites the diaries of Gerhard Engel. Does he know that David Irving’s masterful history, “Hitler’s War,” shows that Engel’s “diaries” were postwar fabrications?

Was the church silent on Nazism? “Mit Brennender Sorge,” a papal encyclical deliberately written in German, condemned Nazi racial theory in 1937. Ward wouldn’t know that, because he “doesn’t read papal bulls, or any other bull” — liberal open-mindedness at its finest!

Pope Pius XII’s vocal opposition to Nazism was widely recognized, including by Albert Einstein in a 1940 Time article. Pius’ saving of over 800,000 Jews led Golda Meir to label him a “righteous gentile.”

On the other hand, Hitler favorite and top Nazi Martin Bormann said in a 1938 speech: “We Germans are the first to be appointed by destiny to break with Christianity. It will be an honor for us.”

Not only does this explode the myth that Hitler and his cabal considered themselves Catholic, but it also suggests who today has the most in common with the Nazis’ pagan ideology.

thomas clark

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • Starviking

    Hard to take seriously a letter which holds David Irving, the racist and anti-semite, as a historical authority. This was said about him at the libel trial he brought against Penguin Books, by Professor Evans, a Professor of Modern History at Cambridge:

    “Irving, (…) had deliberately distorted and wilfully mistranslated documents, consciously used discredited testimony and falsified historical statistics. (…) Irving has fallen so far short of the standards of scholarship customary amongst historians that he does not deserve to be called a historian at all.”

    • Tomaso

      I guess the irony was too subtle. Of course Irving is a right-wing loony, AND, because and not despite that, he has defended his “good friend” Rolf Hochhuth, the very writer of the play “The Deputy” that first made the scurrilous charges about Pius XII and the Catholic Church’s links to the Nazi’s that Blossom, Ward and others are trading in. Irving has a lot of prejudices that slant his interpretation of history, but none of them give him a motive to deny the Engel diaries’ claims about Hitler’s stated religious views if they were true. (In fact, in a twisted way, Irving would likely see them as helpful for his ridiculous theory that Hitler didn’t know about the Holocaust and actually tried to mitigate the severity of the anti-Semitic decrees, that he blames on Himmler and Heydrich.) Yet even Irving rejects those diary sections’ credibility, and on this mainstream historians are in agreement that the diaries are problematic. Noted British military historian Sir John Keegan notes of Irving that his contention that Hitler did not know about the Holocaust Is bogus, but still claimed that Hitler’s War was “indispensable to anyone seeking to understand the war in the round”. And on the Engel diaries in particular, Joel S.A. Hayward’s book Stopped at Stalingrad also claims they were frequently changed after the war. But this is all rather academic: Hitler’s rejection of Christianity for Teutonic myth was well known by 1938.

      • Starviking

        And your lengthy piece does not bring up any independent proof that Engel’s diaries were fabrications.

      • doctorshankar

        religion is the worst form of terrorism.