Looking for the shining example

I find it quite curious that Thomas Clark cites anti-Semite and Holocaust denier David Irving to rebut my claim of Hitler’s Catholicism. His calling Irving’s history “masterful” is an interesting choice of adjective, too.

Clark seems to argue that we shouldn’t fume over historical wrongs committed by the Catholic Church, but instead look at present-day human rights linked to Judeo-Christian teaching. Let’s do that. Clark mentions Christian hospitals, which undoubtedly do some good. In rural Africa, they’ll even treat the HIV your husband passed to you because condom use is such a terrible thing.

Clark mentions defending the unborn, which Christianity inarguably excels at, even denying potentially lifesaving abortions to women whose lives are in grave danger and whose fetuses have nearly no chance of survival, as one unfortunate woman from El Salvador recently discovered (see http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/30/world/americas/salvadoran-court-denies-abortion-to-ailing-woman.html).

Clark mentions defending the aged and weak, which, again, the Catholic Church excels at. Particularly deft is the church’s defense of aged priests who are now too weak to stand trial for decades of child-rape after being quietly shuffled from parish to parish.

Is modern day Christianity as violent and amoral as the church of centuries past? I guess one could argue that it is not. Is it a shining example of morality and human rights? Absolutely not.

greg blossom

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.

  • Tomaso

    My, being away from Japan for a while I was interested to see these further comments on my letter The Power of Ideas over time. John Marquardt’s thoughtful letter on revisionism correctly indicts David Irving’s more recent and odious role as a holocaust denier, while noting the value of some of his earlier work. In contrast, Greg Blossom’s letter here either misses the irony or was unaware that Irving’s work was called “der großartige Bücher” by none other than Rolf Hochhuth, in his notorious 2005 interview in which he defended Irving. Blossom should find “interesting” not the choice of adjective, but the fact that Hochhuth largely fathered the same scurrilous attacks on Pope Pius XII, with his play “The Deputy”, that Blossom trades in. Irving in return defended his “good friend” Hochhuth from credible charges that he wrote The Deputy with backing from the KGB to discredit the Church. The fringe Right and the Communists arm in arm to assail the church – how typical.
    Blossom’s latest letter here abandons his earlier specious claims of Pius’ complicity: this is wise given Pius’ efforts that saved over 800,000 Jews, and which were, as my letter pointed out, recognized by Albert Einstein and Golda Meir among others. Blossom mighgt also consult the New York Times editorial comment on Pius’ Christmas address of 1942, calling him a lone voice in Europe opposing Nazi racist theory.

    The exchanges on the validity of Gerhard Engel’s diaries are interesting. Of course they have value to historians, but the one quibble I would have with Mr. Marquand is that they are recognized by historians as factual records. As Richard Evans notes in his exposes of Irving’s work, see http://www.hdot.org/en/trial/defense/evans/530c.html , the Engel diaries are problematic and are in fact post-war reconstructions of prior sketches and often entirely post-war ‘recollections” rather than contemporaneous diaries as Blossom’s earlier letter would have suggested. But this academic debate, though interesting, is hardly necessary to address the question of whether Hitler considered himself a Catholic Allan Bullock’s definitive biography, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny, among other works, shows at great length Hitler’s contemptuous views of Christianity – while being able to pose, for purely political tactical reasons at times, as a defender of “Christian civilization” against Communism. The Nazis rejected Christianity for a Nietzschean worship of strength. I have already cited in my prior letter the public statements of top Nazis relishing a “break with Christianity” – something that would hardly have been tolerated by “Der Fuhrer” if Blossom was correct that he considered himself a Catholic. Nazi views on the church are neatly reflected in the Reich Security Office’s review of Pius’ 1942 Christmas address: calling Pius a “mouthpiece for World Jewry” and an “enemy of all that National Socialism stands for.” They got that right.

    Alas, Blossom’s new attack-du-jour, this time on the Church’s defense of the unborn, is similarly misleading, wrongly suggesting it would forbid an abortion where necessary to save the mother’s life. Yet he is curiously silent on the vast majority of abortions done where the mother’s life is not in jeopardy. Can we take it Blossom agrees with the Church’s general pro-life stance? Or does he think babies in their mothers’ wombs are – what was that other German phrase – Lebensunwertes Leben – life unworthy of life?