Thursday, February 5, 2009

February 4, 2009

      The Vatican says a bishop who denied the Holocaust must recant before being fully readmitted as a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church.  There are a lot of interesting, complex theological questions.  In the Middle Ages scholars argued over how many angels could dance in the head of a pin.  Were they corporeal?  You get the idea.  This one, on the other hand, is an absolute no-brainer. 
     The Holocaust is not ancient history.  It happened in my lifetime.  Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime in Germany arrested, imprisoned and killed millions of Jews--six million is the figure usually used.  I'm in my seventies and I am old enough to remember meeting people with numbers tattooed on their arms--ID numbers they had been given at the camps.
     I've been to Auschwitz, where ghosts whisper to you as you walk and your eyes grow very wide.  I remember the ovens.  I remember a building full, very full, of shoes.
    I remember an American World War II vet I interviewed saying, "I was pretty callous. I could sit on a corpse and east a C-rations.  But when we got to the camps and I saw what I saw, I wept." This isn't doctrine or philosophy folks.  It's history and some of it is still alive. 
     I don't know what got into Bishop Richard Williamson, the non-believer in the Holocaust, but he must be one of God's most credulous and naive creatures.  It happened, Bishop.  Read a book.  Open your eyes.  And pray for enlightenment, a little truth about just how awful humankind can be.  

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