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November 2, 2010

New Reformation?

Roy Meachum

(NOTE: Sunday marked the 493rd anniversary of when Martin Luther pinned his 95 theses on the Wittenberg Cathedral door, beginning the Protestant Reformation.)


You may have missed the story. The gates to St. Peter’s were locked Sunday to keep out priestly sexual abuse victims from  the United States, Italy, Britain, Ireland, Australia and other countries.


The Associated Press story did not mention Germany and Austria that lost church prelates, including at least one cardinal, to the thoroughly immoral, indefensible crimes committed by men and women charged with protecting the victims, as children.


And to think history says Martin Luther’s contempt for the corrupt pope in his time caused the founding of his Evangelical Church, called Lutheran in this country. Teachers in my Catholic schools dismissed England’s Henry VIII as a man who wanted too many wives, impatient with Rome’s moral restraints and the Vatican’s extremely bureaucratic curia, by starting the Anglican Church, known as Episcopal in America.


The curia was best known in my childhood days for punishing readers of books on the Vatican’s no-no list with the promise of eternal fires in Hell.


Alexander Dumas’ The Three Musketeers was banned for Catholics’ perusing chiefly for his portrayal of a very obnoxious cardinal. The red-caped palace wheeler-dealer seems to have been a fictional copy of the real-life Cardinal Richelieu, in the age of Louis XIII. The favorite book of my childhood was deemed unfit because popes and other cardinals didn’t want themselves indicted by M. Dumas’ version. The church-enforced Index vanished over the World War II period.


The Holy Roman Catholic Church has been the subject for more than several columns since coming to Frederick nigh on to 28 years ago. I even spent an extended while in the shadow of Vatican City, writing, filing and reporting for print and the broadcast media.


In that era, the Internet did not exist, hence no Since switching from The Frederick News-Post to this cyber journal, as Editor John Ashbury can attest, the very human organization located along the Tiber River has captured my fancy frequently.


The Catholic Church I regarded on graduating from the Congregation of Holy Cross boarding school, in 1945, no longer exists; it could have vanished centuries before the future Pope Pius XII thrust Germany into the hands of the National Socialist Workers Party, known better as Nazis.


That is not what the Vatican Secretary of State Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli intended. He meant in the most open way possible to enact a treaty between Germany’s Weimar Republic and the Vatican, to follow up Italy’s Mussolini prying apart St. Peter’s doors shut and locked from the inside, since Vatican I.


On that occasion, shortly before the U.S. Civil War guns exploded at Fort Sumter, Pius IX demanded in exchange for his political power in several Italian states that he and his successors be declared infallible; “in matters of faith and morality,” the fine print reads.


Il Duce went along with this infallibility shtick because what he wanted was the blessing of Italy’s monopoly church for his scandalous and corrupt Fascist system. Behind the scenes of the aging, ailing President Paul von Hindenburg, Adolf Hitler wanted the same. But his negotiators with Cardinal Pacelli managed to extract all kinds of guarantees; including and especially the agreement the church would interfere in absolutely no way with the government the Nazi Party was close to achieving.


What Hitler desired and wanted – the other concessions were free “gimmies” – was the absolute eradication of the powerful Centre Party that was controlled by Germany’s highest Catholic prelates and businessmen. On the record, Cardinal Pacelli did not understand the party was the major obstacle for the Nazis to overcome before gaining absolute power, which led to death camps and all menaces that threatened all humanity during Hitler’s Thousand Year Reich that fortunately was gone a dozen years later.


Having made possible many times more than several million murders, how can the Catholic Church, its ex-Hitler Jugend pope and its bureaucratically rotted Curia be bothered by only several thousand victims of rape and sexual assault by priests and other “soldiers” in the “pope’s divisions?”


By the way, I’ve heard for years Pope Benedict XVI’s explanation that he was in German uniform at World War II’s end only because he was following orders. Funny, I was in his native country at the time that judges at Nuremburg ruled the excuse didn’t stand for the top Nazis on trial for their war crimes.


Rather than mess around with lame-brain excuses, inane arguments and indefensibly defense fantasies, the world should throw out Munich’s Josef Ratzinger and all his holy-rolling crew.


Last week was already too late for a new reformation that must take care of what the old reformation missed.


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