This article, taken from the excellent rue89 website, reveals the now Pope’s agreement to publication in a fascist magazine, at a time when that ideology was gaining traction again in Austria and Germany. It is to be considered alongside the article by philosopher Kurt Flasch looking at the ideological shift in Catholicism, revealing perhaps something of the direction Benedict XVI intends to use his not inconsiderable political influence to pursue.
When Benedict XVI wrote for a fascist magazine
An Austrian parliamentarian has unearthed an old article from 1998, written by Cardinal Ratzinger in a German nationalist publication.
In January 2009, Karl Ollinger, an Austrian Green parliamentarian and specialist in the fight against the flourishing far right in his country, came across a special edition of Die Aula magazine, published to mark the anniversary of the 1848 German revolution.
Amidst the fabrications of holocaust-denying far-right German parliamentarians and members of the German neo-Nazi party, the NDP, he was dumbfounded to come across an article written by Cardinal Ratzinger entitled ‘Freiheit und Wahrheit’ (Freedom and Truth).
It is in fact a virulent attack on individual freedoms and the democratic system which can still be consulted in Vienna, in the Centre for Documentation and Archives of the Resistance (DOW), a body responsible for oversight of extremist movements.
The Church’s embarrassment
In the first instance, the diocese of Vienna stated that Cardinal Ratzinger never gave the green light for its publication in Die Aula. ‘Freedom and Truth’ was in fact an old text dating from 1995, published for the first time in a conservative Christian magazine.
No luck. The person who negotiated the publication with the Cardinal’s Secretary kept their complete exchange of letters: the Cardinal well and truly did give his written agreement to the re-publication.
Today, German extremists still consider Benedict XVI as one of their own and take pride in the fact that the sovereign was published in their magazine. The special edition is also for sale on the internet!
Die Aula defends holocaust-deniers
This information places the ideological shift since Bendict XVI was appointed Pope in a new light. Bavarian by birth, he would have difficulty explaining that he did not know what Die Aula was in 1998, the magazine being published in German. At the time, it openly supported the rise of Jorg Haider, whose unfortunate fame went beyond the borders of little Austria.
Die Aula defends holocaust-deniers and those it calls ‘victims of freedom of expression’, i.e. far-right politicians condemned for causing offence to Islam. It criticises laws that suppress holocaust-denying theories, frequently flirts with anti-Semitism and attempts to re-write Austria’s modern history. On the nomination of Benedict XVI, it loudly declared its joy.