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Did Extreme Right Austrian Publisher Publish Ratzinger Without His Permission?

The Pope is in hot water with Austrian politicians after an article he wrote that appeared in a right-wing publication over a decade ago has surfaced. The Vienna daily “Österreich” reports on February 10 Greens’ MP Karl Öllinger had said … Read More

By / February 11, 2009

The Pope is in hot water with Austrian politicians after an article he wrote that appeared in a right-wing publication over a decade ago has surfaced.

The Vienna daily “Österreich” reports on February 10 Greens’ MP Karl Öllinger had said the revelation would make it necessary to re-evaluate Pope Benedict XVI’s position on the right-wing Pius X Brotherhood and British Bishop John Williamson, a Holocaust denier.

The newspaper said an article written by the Pope was published by the publishing house “Aula-Verlag” 11 years ago.

The Documentation Archive of the Austrian Resistance (DÖW), which has charged Aula-Verlag is an extremely right-wing operation, confirmed that the Pope had actually written the article, entitled “Freedom and Truth,” in 1995 when he was Josef Cardinal Ratzinger.

The article appeared in an anthology entitled “1848 – Heritage and Mission” published by Aula Verlag in 1998. Aula is probably the most important publisher of the extreme right in Austria.

The Vienna daily “Österreich” reports on February 10 Greens’ MP Karl Öllinger had said the revelation would make it necessary to re-evaluate Pope Benedict XVI’s position on the right-wing Pius X Brotherhood and British Bishop John Williamson, a Holocaust denier. The newspaper said an article written by the Pope was published by the publishing house “Aula-Verlag” 11 years ago.

The Publisher of Aula,  Otto Scrinzi, is a former member of the Nazi party and former SA-Sturmführer. His co-editor was the German extreme right wing propagandist Jürgen Schwab. Most of the authors belong to the hard-core extreme right.

In Cardinal Ratzinger’s Article “Freedom and Truth” there is criticism of National socialism, which was according to Josef Ratzinger apart from Marxism “the greatest slave-system of modern history”. But in the long philosophical article the Cardinal also criticises Liberalism and Democracy.

According to Green MP Karl Öllinger, “one has to see the role of the pope in a totally new light” and: “It is remarkable, that the pope has published an article in a book together with extreme right activists and Holocaust Deniers.”

The Vatican’s claims that the Pope did not know about the peculiar radical attitude of the Pius brotherhood should be also re-evaluated, believes Öllinger.

Erich Leitenberger, the spokesman of the archdiocese Vienna disagrees. The article of Ratzinger was published first in 1995 in the international periodical Communio. The publishers of Aula, he says, “evidently did not ask for the Cardinal’s permission to publish”.

However, after the election of Benedict XVI, Aula-Publishers have claimed that Ratzinger did put his article “at the disposal of the edition”. Aula published the picture of Josef Ratzinger in May 2005 on its title page entitled: “The German Pope From Aula-Author to Holy Father”

According to MP Öllinger, this Pope is liked by the German Neo-Nazi-Scene this article. Horst Mahler, a former German RAF-Terrorist, has used Ratzinger’s article as part of the defence in the court case against the German Holocaust Denier Ernst Zündel.

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