Monday, October 14, 2013

Church and State Refuse Rome Funeral for Nazi

What to do with the body of a Nazi war criminal no one wants?

Rome's mayor, police chief and the pope's right-hand man have all refused to grant former SS captain Erich Priebke a church funeral in the city where he participated in one of the worst massacres in German-occupied Italy. Now there's the added question of where to bury him, since Rome, his adopted homeland of Argentina, and his hometown in Germany won't take him.

Priebke spent nearly 50 years as a fugitive before being extradited to Italy from Argentina in 1995 to stand trial for the 1944 massacre at the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome, in which 335 civilians were killed. He died Friday at age 100 in the Rome home of his lawyer, Paolo Giachini, where he had been serving his life term under house arrest.

His death has raised a torrent of emotions over how best to lay to rest someone who perpetrated war crimes and denied the Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews. It has tested the church's capacity for mercy and forgiveness and its need to prevent public scandal. There is a seemingly intractable conflict between respect for the dead and that owed to the millions of victims of the Holocaust.
Read the rest here.

4 comments:

Archimandrite Gregory said...

I suppose he could be cremated and his ashes disposed of quietly, using the logic of the secular society.

Archimandrite Gregory said...

On further thought, I hope some of us pray for the mercy of God on the soul of this man, more than what the man showed to others in Life. A truly tragic end for those who seek to mock God through their lives and actions.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

If he received communion, I'm not sure how they could justify refusing a funeral in a Catholic parish. OTOH, maybe he never received communion.

lx54 said...

My (imperfect) understanding of the situation is that Rome has forbidden a public Requiem rather than refusing to give him the last obsequies. There are those among his family and supporters who feel that his burial should be a widely publicised affair.