Thursday, July 23, 2009

Penance- aka coming to your senses

The Digital Hairshirt reports that our erstwhile LDS gangsta has seen the error of his ways. The possibility of being outed as a religious bigot to LDS authorities seems to have played no small part in his turn. So, perhaps it is more a case of reality bringing him to his senses. I can certainly accept the sincerity of his apology. Sometimes the realization that our actions have consequences is what forces us to come to our senses and see that what we do matters, which is to see, in many cases, why it is objectively wrong- reference President Bill Clinton.

I would add that Elder McGill needs to be aware of the Holy Father's personal history in order have any idea of how offensive his little prank is: Joseph Ratzinger's father was forced to retire early and move to a small village because of his opposition to the Nazis. The young future pope, like all German young people after a certain age, was forced to become a member of the Hitler Youth. He attended one mandatory meeting and never went back. At age 14 he was conscripted into a German army anti-aircraft battery, a unit that never fired a shot, and taken a prisoner of war. He was released at the end of the war and walked home. At age 14! I have a fifteen year-old son. I cannot imagine that happening to him. In short, the life of Joseph Ratzinger was dramatically impacted, even interrupted, by the Nazi regime. This is why he has always denounced totalitarianism of any kind and has promoted understanding among peoples, especially between Christians and Jews, seeing the Jewish people as our elder brothers in faith.

Elder McGill might also be interested to know that President Dieter Uchtdorf, the first counselor to LDS president Thomas S. Monson, while quite a bit younger than Pope Benedict, being German also, has a similar history. His father, Karl, was conscripted into the German army during WWII. Apparently, this experience of Nazi totalitarianism is what made President Uchtdorf's father see the evils of the East German communist regime after the war, making him a dissenter, which forced him to flee to West Germany with his wife and son. To wit: just because you were alive in Germany during the Nazi reign of terror, which affected the lives of everyone living there at the time, does not make you a crypto-Nazi. For many people, like Joseph Ratzinger and Karl Uchtdorf, it probably had the opposite effect.

I think this young man would also benefit from reading a recent article in his hometown LDS-owned and operated Deseret News: Bishop on a mission: Wester aims to maintain community cooperation. This is a good lesson in how to relate to other faiths.

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