London’s Sunday Times would have us believe that one of the leading contenders for the papacy is a Nazi. In if-only-they-knew tones, the newspaper informs readers that German-born Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was a member of the Hitler Youth during World War II and suggests that, because of this, the "panzer cardinal" would be quite a contrast to his predecessor, John Paul II. The article also classifies Ratzinger as a "theological anti-Semite" for believing in Jesus so strongly that - gasp! - he thinks that everyone, even Jews, should accept him as the messiah.
In fact, there is nothing new about this. Ratzinger’s involvement in Hitler Youth was when it was mandatory and after doing everything he could to avoid it. He didn’t join the organization voluntarily. Ratzinger has explained this several times in his biography. The only significant complaint that the Times makes is that Ratzinger resisted passively instead of doing something that would have cost him his deportation. As many Jews, he was not a member of the resistance. If he would have been a truly Nazi sympathizer, this would have become evident in 60 years. However, he distinguished himself in the Jewish-Catholic dialogue. If the very same Yad Vashem center did not consider doing an investigation, why should we?

Source
Jerusalem Post (Israel)

«Ratzinger a Nazi? Don’t believe it», by Sam Ser, Jerusalem Post, April 18, 2005.