BERLIN – A German bishop has apologized for appearing to compare abortion with the Holocaust and the killing of millions of people under Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, a remark condemned by Germany’s most prominent Jewish leader.
Joachim Meisner, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Cologne, said he would have left out the reference Adolf Hitler in his Epiphany sermon Thursday at the Cologne cathedral "had I had any inkling it would be misunderstood."
During the sermon, Meisner cited what he said were examples of humans taking on unlimited powers: "First Herod, who had the children of Bethlehem killed, then, among others, under Hitler and Stalin, who had millions of people exterminated, and today, in our times, millions of unborn children are killed," he said.
The head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Paul Spiegel, called the comparison "unspeakable and offensive." [Source]
I am not quite sure what would be "unspeakable and offensive" about the statement. It shows no diminishing of the horror of Hitler and Stalin and only puts abortion in the context of the escalation of evil. Those children killed by abortion world wide in the last 30 years overwhelms the number of deaths under both Hitler and Stalin. Those who work in abortion clinics and those who worked in concentration camps relate similar stories of dealing with what they saw and did and how those under their charge became less than human to them. There are many other similarities. Jewish people were dehumanized by speaking of them as less than human and as parasites. Language in reference to them was modified so as not to admit their human dignity. How is this different from children in the womb where different language is used such as fetus or product of conception. These children are dehumanized by referring to them as only a potential or only as a mass of cells. Some medical texts in reference to abortion even refer to the child in the womb as a parasite that must be dealt with. We must never forget the horror of the holocaust (though it seems increasingly in the world with rampant anti-Semitism that they have forgotten) , but we must also not forget the modern horror happening right under our noses in our neighborhoods that abortion us.
Update: In a related story
The president of the Central Council for Jews in Germany, Paul Spiegel (photo), said the cardinal had insulted the millions of victims of the Holocaust and that he was considering taking the matter to court.
Spiegel told Friday’s edition of the newspaper Saarbrücker Zeitung he "cannot in any way understand" how anyone could compare abortion and euthanasia to the crimes of the Nazis. [Source]
He seems to forget that the Nazis started their training in executions via euthanasia. That first to clear out hospitals so save government funds those with physical or mental disabilities were euthanized. They became efficient at this and later used the same techniques on a larger scale to gas the Jews and other ethnic groups. To say that you "cannot in any way understand" the connection between abortion, euthanasia and the Nazis is to be blind to the similarities.
Tom of Disputations commented on this post and another comment by saying:
But everyone doesn’t know it — or better, doesn’t realize it.
The bishop was correct in his homily, and he was right to apologize. His job isn’t simply to state the truth, but by God’s grace to give the truth to others, and if he speaks the truth in terms that cause others to reject it, he should look for other terms.
This was a point I did not consider and is certainly valid. This view is also Biblically valid since St. Paul in 1 Corinthians said:
"All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful.
This was in reference to eating food that had been dedicated to idols. Paul knew that this did not effect the food at all and that morally he could eat it. Yet to keep from offending others who might fall in their own belief by his action he would refrain. Not everybody had the same depth of understanding that Paul did on this matter and so he acted prudently to prevent problems. The same thing happens with proclaiming the truth. Their are many ways to proclaim the truth and not all of them are fruitful. So on further reflection I can now understand why the Bishop would apologize for a statement that was truthful. The reaction to his statement is mistaken, though I can understand the hyper-sensitive attitude by people to anything pertaining to the holocaust. People should be worried about any sort of relativism of what happened especially since unfortunately there are many who either diminish or totally deny what happened in WWII.