By playing the Nazi card, the pope's opening address has caused something of a stir:
“Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny”. ... “Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society. In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate. Let it not obscure the Christian foundation that underpins its freedoms; and may that patrimony, which has always served the nation well, constantly inform the example your Government and people set before the two billion members of the Commonwealth and the great family of English-speaking nations throughout the world…”Atheists and humanist claim libel.
Cardinal Walter Kasper had earlier made remarks that were interpreted as saying the UK was losing its Christian heritage to immigrants. Here's The (UAE) National's report:
Matters already had gone downhill less than 24 hours before the start of the Pope’s four-day tour of Britain when a senior Vatican aide, Cardinal Walter Kasper, was quoted in a German magazine as comparing the UK to “a Third World country”.The BBC points out,
The German-born cardinal was promptly pulled from the papal entourage, the Vatican blaming ill health, as Cardinal Keith O’Brien, leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, demanded an apology from Cardinal Kasper.
In the interview conducted several weeks ago but published on Wednesday in the magazine Focus, the 77-year-old cardinal, who was in charge until July of the Vatican’s drive to foster links with Jews and Christian denominations, described Britain as being in the grip of an “aggressive new atheism” where “Christians were at a disadvantage”.
Remarking on the multicultural nature of British society, Cardinal Kasper said: “Sometimes, when you land at Heathrow, you think you have entered a Third World country.”
The Pope's conservative, traditionalist views were intensified when teaching at the University of Bonn in the 1960s he was said to be appalled at the prevalence of Marxism among his students.
In his view, religion was being subordinated to a political ideology that he considered "tyrannical, brutal and cruel".
He would later be a leading campaigner against liberation theology, the movement to involve the Church in social activism, which for him was too close to Marxism.