Benedict and Elizabeth

Tonight is InsideCatholic’s 15th annual Partnership Dinner and Dance, so things will be quiet around the blog as we prepare. I did want to call your attention to one timely item. Elizabeth Scalia had a lovely Tuesday column at First Things, anticipating the meeting today between Benedict XVI and Elizabeth II:

At the age of fourteen, a Down Syndrome-afflicted cousin of Joseph Ratzinger’s was removed from the home and killed as part of the Nazi eugenics campaign. Ratzinger himself, also fourteen, was conscripted into the Hitler Youth, and later drafted from his seminary. He trained with the infantry, deserted when his unit was dissolved, and was eventually held by American troops as a POW….

During those same years, the nineteen- year-old Princess Elizabeth of York had joined the support ranks of the Auxiliary Territorial Service — the women’s branch of the British Army — where she trained as a driver and mechanic, and drove military trucks. Coming as she did from a long line of determined women (when Buckingham Palace was bombed her mother — whom Hitler referred to as the “most dangerous woman in Europe” –famously said, “I’m glad we’ve been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the East End in the face.”), Elizabeth was stoic and dutiful as she and her family remained in London throughout the blackouts and bombings….

Both Elizabeth and Benedict have seen war and its woeful aftermath, up close. They have watched totalitarian regimes advance and decline, and seen religion used as a justification for slaughter. They know what the rhetorical jackboot sounds like and how seamlessly it can advance; they can speak to our time, if we let them.

It’s a quick read, so why not click here?

Brian Saint-Paul


Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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