|The Pope is making efforts to address|
the fortunes of Christians in the Muslim world
"The Pope was never in the Hitler Youth, never, never, never,'' Father
Federico Lombardi, chief spokesman for the Pope, told a press conference in
Father Lombardi tried to draw a distinction between pro-Nazi Germans who
volunteered for the Hitler Youth and young men, like the pontiff, who were
forced to join the anti-aircraft unit but who, he claimed, were not
necessarily in the Hitler Youth.
But Father Lombardi’s comments contradicted statements the Pope himself has
In the 1996 book “Salt of the Earth”, the Pope told Peter Seewald, a German
journalist: “At first we weren’t, but when the compulsory Hitler Youth was
introduced in 1941, my brother was obliged to join. I was still too young,
but later, as a seminarian, I was registered in the HY. As soon as I was out
of the seminary I never went back.”
Late yesterday Father Lombardi withdrew his earlier comments, saying that
Benedict had, indeed, been forced to join the Hitler Youth.