I was quite ambivalent about the pope's visit. If idiots want to take a day out of their lives to see a bloke behind 3 inches of bullet proof glass instead of doing something useful like playing Super Mario Galaxy, then I don't see it's my business.
But as an atheist, I'm somewhat offended when people call me a Nazi. Rather than dropping into lazy attacks about him being in the Hitler Youth (which wasn't his choice), it's worth pointing out what the catholic church in Germany and Rome did about the Nazis. In a brief summary, they did absolutely nothing to stand against the Nazis, and in many ways, colluded with them.
The way that Hitler gained power was not through a coup, but by a combination of democracy and a piece of legislation called the Ermächtigungsgesetz or Enabling Act. Not only did the Catholic Centre Party vote in favour of the Enabling Act, they actively campaigned for other parties to support it, based on achieving concessions for the Catholics.
So, far from being a buffer against tyranny, the church helped to bring it about.
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