Tuesday, October 04, 2005


From the London Times:

Why Stasi spied on future Pope
By Roger Boyes in Berlin

At least eight East German communist agents were ordered to report on the private life and political views of the future Pope Benedict XVI during the Cold War years, according to his secret police files published in Berlin yesterday...

...It was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's deep anti-communism and his profound suspicion of atheist states that made him a target of the East German Stasi. Their suspicions seem to be confirmed by his long friendship with Karol Wojtyla, the Polish cardinal and future Pope John Paul II...

...The Stasi were plainly anxious to gather compromising information on Cardinal Ratzinger that could be passed on to Moscow. Despite a trawl through old Nazi archives, Stasi researchers found nothing linking Joseph Ratzinger to Third Reich activities. “No documents exist on Ratzinger’s activities for the time before 8.5.1945,” the report said. Nor did they unearth much about his personality. “Although he appears to be initially shy in conversation, he does possess a winning charm,” one secret police informant said.

The identity of most of the spies is still unknown. They are entered in the files with codenames such as Aurora, Lorac, Erich Neu, Gemse, Louwe. One of the agents, Lichtblick (which means Bright Spot) was unmasked as Eugen Brammertz, a Benedictine father, who died in 1987. Archivists now in charge of the secret police files estimate that the Stasi used 223 people within the Catholic and Protestant churches to supply a regular flow of information.

The elevation of a Polish Pope and the rise of Solidarity spurred on the search for intelligence that could be used against senior clerics. An East German Interior Ministry memo from 1982 said: "It is imperative to lay bare the hostile activities of the Vatican and above all to compromise the standing of the Pope."; Since Cardinal Ratzinger was very close to the Pope, he was made a priority target...

Full article. Ick, it would certainly freak me out to think that I was being "watched" for so many years. Nevertheless, it's kind of a compliment. Anyway, I think it's great (and hilarious) that even the commies had to admit that although Papa is shy, "he does possess a winning charm." Now do you think we could get some radical libs to admit that? I'm not holding my breath ;)

No comments:

Post a Comment