Mass in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium

Nice headline.

There’s a tradeoff involved with a lot of things in the world. You want to upgrade from 40,000 seats to 74k, and you duck into a Nazi shadow. You know: this whole thing is entirely innocent. Celebrating Mass in Hitler’s stadium doesn’t imply a connection with the man or his philosophy. But I wonder about the behind-the-scenes …

“Your Holiness, we need a larger venue.”

“Is that a problem?”

“We can move to the Nazi Olympic Stadium.”

“Is that a problem?”

Is this association worth a quick thought or two? Or isn’t it? And what happened to a pope who was going to forego some of the crowdly excesses of his predecessor? What do you think?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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8 Responses to Mass in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium

  1. crystal says:

    I think it’s creepy and sadly par for the course given the way B16 has related to the Jewish people up to theis point.

  2. David D. says:

    The stadium has been in continuous use since the end of WWII. It is the venue for the annual DFB Cup final (the German equivalent of England’s FA Cup final which is held at Wembley), has hosted World Cup matches in 1974 and 2006, and is the home ground of Hertha BSC. Also, don’t forget that while the stadium and the ’36 games were instruments of Nazi propaganda, the stadium was also the venue for Jesse Owens’ 4 gold medal performances.

  3. Liam says:

    This is beyond silly and ignorant.

    It should be noted that Italy is full of transportation and other facilities built in the Fascist era. So it’s not like this is a situation unique to Berlin.

    Frankly, most developed nations are full of things built by or under governments that did awful things.

    Like, you know, the White House and U.S. Capitol: built by enslaved persons. Some of the most beautiful and historical structures in American culture are the product of slavery and genocide.

    I am just waiting for the headline: “Pope lunches at White House and speaks at Capitol, both built by slaves”…..

    • David D. says:

      I’m mostly inclined to agree with you. However, the Olympiastadion does seem to have a more obvious connection to Nazism than say the Capitol and slavery. Prior to its renovation, I believe there was some debate among Germans as to whether the stadium, given its association with the Nazi era, should have been demolished.

      • Liam says:

        Let’s just remember that the Executive Mansion was, for most if not all of its first few decades, a plantation with a large staff in bondage (the Adams family did not own slaves personally, though). That detail is kinda lost in American amnesia (the American capacity to forget history is one of our great cultural gifts).

  4. John Drake says:

    “Pope’s Berlin mass moved to Nazi Olympic site”

    This reflects more on the ignoramus headline writer than on the Pope’s logistics planners.

  5. David D. says:

    No doubt we are all selective in recalling certain historical facts. Perhaps because there is so much available film footage of the ’36 games, much of iconic, that it seems more real than WH’s plantation past. See e.g.,

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