Nazism and the Catholic Church

In addition to his influential philosophical and theological writings, the eminent German Catholic thinker Dietrich von Hildebrand was a vocal opponent of Nazism—unlike many of his coreligionists. George Weigel comments on the romance between German Catholics and Hitler:

Why did intelligent Catholics in Germany and elsewhere fall prey to the siren songs of German National Socialism? A close reading of Hildebrand’s diaries suggests that it was in part because they despised liberal democracy, which they regarded as “bourgeois” and decadent. And there certainly were elements of decadence, and aggressive secularism, in Germany’s interwar Weimar Republic.

But a Catholic answer to the quandaries of political modernity was not going to be found in Hitler’s Third Reich (which some foolishly imagined as the forerunner of a new Holy Roman Empire) or in Mussolini’s fascism (which some Catholics thought an expression of the “corporatism” espoused by Pius XI’s 1931 social encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno). The answer was a democracy (even under a constitutional monarch) tethered to moral truth through a religiously-informed public philosophy drawn from Europe’s heritage of reason and revelation—from the legacies left to Europe by Athens and Jerusalem.

Read more at First Things

More about: Anti-Semitism, Catholic Church, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Germany, Nazism


The Diplomatic Goals of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to the U.S.

Yesterday, the Israeli prime minister arrived in the U.S., and he plans to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, but it remains uncertain whether he will meet with President Biden. Nonetheless, Amit Yagur urges Benjamin Netanyahu to use the trip for ordinary as well as public diplomacy—“assuming,” Yagur writes, “there is someone to talk to in the politically turbulent U.S.” He argues that the first priority should be discussing how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. But there are other issues to tackle as well:

From the American perspective, as long as Hamas is not the official ruler in the Gaza Strip, any solution agreed upon is good. For Israel, however, it is quite clear that if Hamas remains a legitimate power factor, even if it does not head the leadership in Gaza, sooner or later, Gaza will reach the Hizballah model in Lebanon. To clarify, this means that Hamas is the actual ruler of the Strip, and sooner or later, we will see a [return] of its military capabilities as well as its actual control over the population. . . .

The UN aid organization UNRWA . . . served as a platform for Hamas terrorist elements to establish, disguise, and use UN infrastructure for terrorism. This is beside the fact that UNRWA essentially perpetuates the conflict rather than helps resolve it. How do we remove the UN and UNRWA from the “day after” equation? Can the American aid organization USAID step into UNRWA’s shoes, and what assistance can the U.S. provide to Israel in re-freezing donor-country contributions to UNRWA?

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship