How the Nazis engineered a pedophile-priest scare in the 1930s

Italian Catholic intellectual Massimo Introvigne (whom I met on a couple of occasions when in Rome for speaking engagements), has contributed an important and eye-opening article about the phenomenon of priest scandals, as seen through the lens of history. Fairly recent history, to be more specific.

Introvigne provides an historical overview and analysis of a precursor to the current priest scandal — one that was concocted by minions of the Third Reich in the late 1930s as a gambit against the Catholic Church. They sought to incite a “moral panic” that would sway public opinion against the Church, which the Nazis rightly understood to be a formidable obstacle to their hegemonic designs.

As the present crop of Catholic moral scandals is relentlessly sifted and sieved by a media in search of even the most minute gleanings of priestly prurience, take note that this has happened before, as Introvigne points out, in Hitler-era Germany. The New York Times and like-minded organs of modern-day antipathy toward the Catholic Church have learned to exploit Marie Bashkirtseff’s maxim, “The weak brood over the past; the strong take their revenge on it.”

“There are cases of sexual abuse that come to light every day against a large number of members of the Catholic clergy. Unfortunately it’s not a matter of individual cases, but a collective moral crisis that perhaps the cultural history of humanity has never before known with such a frightening and disconcerting dimension. Numerous priests and religious have confessed. There’s no doubt that the thousands of cases which have come to the attention of the justice system represent only a small fraction of the true total, given that many molesters have been covered and hidden by the hierarchy.”

An editorial from a great secular newspaper in 2010? No: It’s a speech of May 28, 1937, by Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), Minister of Propaganda for the Third Reich. This speech, which had a large international echo, was the apex of a campaign launched by the Nazi regime to discredit the Catholic Church by involving it in a scandal of pedophile priests.

Two hundred and seventy-six religious and forty-nine diocesan priests were arrested in 1937. The arrests took place in all the German dioceses, in order to keep the scandals on the front pages of the newspapers. . . . (continue reading)


  1. Anonymous

    Why hasn't anyone written an article on how Hollywood stands up for Roman Polanski while attacking Pope Benedict XVI?

  2. Anonymous

    It just looks like nothing has changed. Who care if Goebbles points it out or the Devil himself.if its true its true.

  3. Tapestry

    You also need to read the book:"AA-1025: The Memoirs of an anti-apostle" byMarie Carre' this is a translation from the French, published by TAN books in Rockford, Illinois at last it was my version is from the 90s. It tells of a briefcase found by this French Catholic nurse in the 60s who was attending accident victim, who had no identification, but he had a briefcase which the contents she eventually had published. The Communist party was trying to undermine the Catholic Church internally and how by the headlines they have come close to doing so… my only solace is that Jesus said the gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church that is wonderful to believe.

  4. Shacoria Robinson

    "Why hasn't anyone written an article on how Hollywood stands up for Roman Polanski while attacking Pope Benedict XVI? "- It's like you took the words right out of my mouth. Roman Polanski brutally raped someone and faced no consequences.

  5. Anonymous

    "VetusMores said…Does a blog post count?"Although I agree with Ms. Odone, it seems that, judging by some of the comments, others feel that B.XVI is still at fault somehow. This is ludicrous! Moreover, the point to be made in comparing Polanski and His Holiness, is that there is a more serious anti-Catholic movement that produces this propaganda.

  6. Anonymous

    Deflecting the focus to someone who is "worse" is no answer to rampant sexual immorality. A sin is a sin. Why won't the new Vatican II church realize this – they have to own up to and make amends for their own sins, and stop making excuses or saying "Well the pagans do it!". Duh, pagans are in spiritual darkness, in fact, spiritual darkness is a property of paganism. Spiritual light, honesty, and truth are properties of Christ's True Church.

  7. B

    As a non-Catholic, and indeed having some small antipathy towards the Catholic church due to the impact of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre on my family, I nevertheless agree with the author on this point.What scandal is there has been greatly exaggerated, and much more has been invented for the purpose of attacking the RCC.Truth is, even if one accepts that adult-child sex is sinful, it is by any reasonable account much less harmful than murder, forcible rape, assault, armed robbery, theft, or even fraud. It appears to me that those attacking the RCC merely want to replace the Church's control of sexuality with their own, for their own ends.They know that sex is a human necessity, not quite so obvious as air, water, and food, but indivisible from humanity nonetheless; and they know that to control sexuality is to control humanity. They see the Roman church as a competitor and so they attack.

  8. Anon7EpUQyTy

    Funny that anti-bible nazi posters were written in English, whereas Hitler's speech against atheism were in German.

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