Monday, March 18, 2013

Kaitlynn O'Reilly: What Surprised Me From the Beginning

During the first days of class I was surprised by something which still has a similar effect on me today. 

The thing which surprised me is that Nazi measures closely mirror Canonical Law, which means that Nazis seem to have formed their ideas from past Christian ones. 

Anti-Semitism is a long standing problem in Christianity, mainly with the deicide charge that the Jews were responsible for the death of Christ, even though he could have only been killed by Romans.  This deicide charge was invalidated by the doctrine Nostra Aetate in 1965, and work between Jewish and Christian relations continues. 

However the past reveals a shocking story, which some of my friends do not believe.  In year 306 there was prohibition of intermarriage and sexual intercourse between Christians and Jews.  The Nazi measure of the Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor of Septmeber 15, 1935 mirrors this.  Another Canonical law is of the 4th Lateran Council of 1215, which was the marking of Jews with a badge.  Christians wore blue belts and Jews wore yellow belts.  This leads to the Nazi decree on September 1, 1941 that Jews must wear the Yellow Star.  In 1267 Jews were put into compulsory ghettos by Synod of Breslau, which was an order by Heydrich on September 21, 1939.  These are only three examples out of the 13 in the table that I was given.  

I find it hard to believe that Christians following their faith could make such laws, which reminds me of the lecture of Father Dr. Kamikowska.  He spoke to us with a translator one morning about different perspectives on the Holocaust: Jewish, Christian German, Christian Polish.  He also discussed his article “Looking at Auschwitz from the Polish Point of View.”  As he was speaking, his comment that he was surprised there were other bishops in Germany stuck with me and I asked him to clarify when he was finished speaking.  I asked if he meant that he did not think there were bishops in Germany or if he had meant something else by it.  His reply was more or less because the image of Germans in the Polish conscious or subconscious was that they were an evil occupant, a perpetrator.  Germans had the image of men who invaded Poland.  Kamikowska remembers the fear in his Mother’s eyes when she heard the German language.  He did not think of any religion tied to Germans.  However, this was his first impression.  Upon analysis it became obvious that there must be Christians in Germany.  

Nazi measures which mirror Christian Canonical Laws, and a faithless group in a land where Christians must exist, gives a negative view of Christianity.  But the noteworthy work in the positive direction cannot be forgotten either, and will continue with the new Pope.  


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