Hitler Was a "Pagan Idol," Says Pope to Jews in Berlin

Praises Growing Trust Between Judaism and the Church

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BERLIN, SEPT. 22, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI referred to Adolf Hitler as a «pagan idol» today as he addressed a small group of Jewish representatives in Berlin.

The Pope referred to his visit — part of his four-day tour of Germany — as bringing him to a «central place of remembrance, the appalling remembrance that it was from here that the Shoah, the annihilation of our Jewish fellow citizens in Europe, was planned and organized.»

The Holy Father is on his third trip to his homeland as Pope, though his first state visit.

The Pontiff spoke of the «Nazi reign of terror» as being based on a «racist myth, part of which was the rejection of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Jesus Christ and of all who believe in him.»

«The supposedly ‘almighty’ Adolf Hitler was a pagan idol, who wanted to take the place of the biblical God, the Creator and Father of all men,» he said.

The Pope warned that «refusal to heed this one God always makes people heedless of human dignity as well.»

He said the images from the concentration camps at the end of the war show «what man is capable of when he rejects God, and what the face of a people can look like when it denies this God.»

Common hope

Benedict XVI went on to highlight some of the signs today of a «real blossoming of Jewish life in Germany.» He also praised a «deepening dialogue of the Catholic Church with Judaism.»

The Pope proposed as well that «we Christians must also become increasingly aware of our own inner affinity with Judaism. For Christians, there can be no rupture in salvation history. Salvation comes from the Jews.»

The Holy Father called for dialogue between the reading of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament.

«This dialogue should serve to strengthen our common hope in God in the midst of an increasingly secularized society,» he proposed. «Without this hope, society loses its humanity.»

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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-33496?l=english

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