This is truly transcendently stupid. The Daily Mail, among quite a few other sources, is reporting that the Vatican — possibly in an early run to begin apologism for its current Pope’s history — has gone on record as saying that Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the Devil, which is why they were such awful, awful men.
I guess that explains the footage shot by Leni Riefenstahl of the Nuremberg Rally that shows Der Führer spewing what appears to be pea soup as his head spins madly around.
This is a state of denial. It’s much easier — and vapid, and more dangerous — to attribute evil actions to a supernatural agency than to admit that regular human beings can do horrifically terrible things.
After all, if you start down the path of blaming people for their own misdeeds, you quickly arrive at the conclusion that anyone could be a Hitler or Stalin, provided (1) insanity and (2) enough power.
And many people don’t want to reach that conclusion, because it terrifies the hell out of them.
I can understand that. But in the year, century and millennium we currently inhabit, falling back on this superstitious idiocy is unconscionable. (Next thing you know, we’ll have representatives of world government insisting — against centuries of historical fact — that intelligent questioning of those in power is somehow wrong.) It’s saner and safer to face, directly and without resort to magical thinking, the very real fact that the seeds for Naziism lie in all of us, as do the seeds for prosperity, peace, lovingkindness and genius.
The way to keep memetic tumors from erupting is not to hand-wave them off as the results of some phantom entity or as bizarre exceptions to a putative norm; we must look courageously and honestly into the faces of all our “demons” and do our best to understand — and disempower — them.
The Catholic church, with its centuries-long history of denial of reality (beginning with Galileo and ending with raped altar boys) is emphatically not a source of rational, sane or intelligent dialogue about the modern world or any historical event that has ever occurred.
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