Saturday, February 11, 2012

Einstein Praises the Church's Consistent Stand Against Hitler

Thanks to a reader and comment-er on Mark Shea's blog, I have come across a moving quote from Albert Einstein on the Catholic Church during World War II.
Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. . . .”Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly. ~Albert Einstein, TIME magazine, Monday, Dec. 23, 1940
The writer then goes on to say that, lest you doubt the authenticity of the sentiment quoted, there is a letter, written in Einstein's own hand, to an American preacher who had written Einstein asking whether he had indeed praised the Church in that way. Here is his response:

“Yes, I did say this about the Christian Church. It is the only social institution that could stand up to the Nazi regime.” –Albert Einstein

When the chips are down, only the Church stands up consistently for the innate worth of human life.  Only the Church consistently asks humanity to act with integrity.  Just because the majority of us fail to live up to her standards (including many in leadership positions in the Church) doesn't mean she is wrong in her values.

The Church got us through the Dark Ages once.  She is doing so again today.

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Dymphna's favorite quotes

"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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