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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

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How do I Respond to Someone Who Brings up Pope Benedict XVI’s Time in the Hitler Youth?

Question:

What would be a proper response to someone who brings up Pope Benedict XVI’s membership in the Hitler Youth in a negative way, without any other information, and in the company of others?

Answer:

You might say calmly and politely, “Do you consider it fair to defame a man who is not present to defend himself? Perhaps you are unaware of this, but the Anti-Defamation League (www.adl.org) welcomed Benedict XVI’s election as pope and stated that he had spent his entire adult life atoning for his teenage membership in the Hitler Youth, which, by the way, was compulsory and not his choice.”

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