So this morning, a link comes over the Twitter – “Pope Benedict XVI reflects on life under Hitler’s Nazi Party” – so I click over to check it out.
That was this morning. If you click over now, you won’t read the same article I did. The version I read early this morning included the lines
“Joseph Ratzinger joined the Hitler Youth in 1941 when, according to him and his supporters, it became compulsory for all German boys.”
According to him and his supporters? What is that supposed to imply?
Is Catholic Online implying that there is any doubt at all that by 1941, membership in the Hitler Youth was compulsory?
Is Catholic Online implying that “Joseph Ratzinger” and “his supporters” are trying to make excuses or cover something up?
I would have expected to find a snide little dig like that in something like the New York Times, but I was surprised, and more than a little disgusted, to find it on a Catholic website. So I posted the following comment:
The article states, “Joseph Ratzinger joined the Hitler Youth in 1941 when, according to him and his supporters, it became compulsory for all German boys.”
I would like to know what “according to him and his supporters” is supposed to imply. It is a fact that membership in the Hitler Youth was compulsory for all boys and girls aged 10 and up. The Holocaust Research Project, in its page on the Hitler Youth, notes that after years of tightening penalties, “A new law [in Germany] was issued on March 25, 1939, conscripting any remaining holdouts into the organization [the Hitler Youth] amid warnings to parents that unless their children were enrolled they would be forcibly removed and placed in the custody of state run orphanages.”
I went back later and found that my comment had been published. I also found that the sentence I had objected to was gone. However, there was no acknowledgement of my comment — and no note that a correction had been made.
Does Catholic Online really not know that it’s customary to note when and how an article has been changed?
Why did Catholic Online even print it in the first place? The phrase doesn’t appear in the AP accounts of the Pope’s remarks. It does appear quite a bit on Google — 398 hits — including quite a few sites deeply hostile to the Church. Was it plagiarized? And does that Ratzi’s-a-Rottweiler-Nazi disinformation really belong on a Catholic site?
Seriously, who wrote this? It’s credited to “News Consortium”; does that mean it was written by someone who responded to this ad? Should Catholic Online be read in the same “consider the source” spirit as Wikipedia?
(And why is a video on Medjugore a “Featured Product”?) screenshot