BY Ryan McDougall | April 30 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

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German bishops criticise predecessors’ WWII failings

German bishops have criticised the actions of their predecessors as they marked the upcoming 75th anniversary of the end of World War II.

In a statement released yesterday, the bishops of Germany said that during the Nazi regime, their predecessors did not oppose the war of annihilation started, or the crimes the regime committed, adding that they gave the war a religious meaning.

Bishop Georg Batzing, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Germany, also stated that critics accused the Catholic Church in his country of failing to remember its role and also of refusing to apologise for it.

Looking to the future

During a video news conference, where the bishops’ statement was given, Bishop Batzing said: “We must not sit back, but carry the legacy into the future. This is all the more true given that Europe does not seem to be in a good state at the moment.”

The bishop added the ‘old demon of division, nationalism, ‘ethnic’ thinking and authoritarian rule’ was raising its head in many places.

“Terrifying anti-Semitism is widespread, even here in Germany.”

Lessons from history

The bishop concluded by saying anyone who has learned from history should strongly oppose these tendencies.

“This applies without ifs and buts to the Church, which is committed to the gospel of peace and justice,” he explained.

World War II ended in Europe on May 7 1945 after Germany surrendered to the Allied Forces.

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