In preparation for the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the German bishops conducted an in-depth study of the behaviour of their predecessors under the Nazi regime. On 29 April, the German bishops’ conference presented the conclusions they had come to in a declaration entitled “German bishops during World War II.”
They had been encouraged to undertake the study by repeated complaints that the Catholic bishops in Hitler’s Germany had left German Catholic soldiers alone to cope with the moral dilemma they were in at the time. The bishops came to the conclusion that despite individual opposition to Hitler on the part of one or two bishops, the Catholic Church remained part of society during the war. Its patriotic willingness to mobilise the Church’s material, personal and mental resources for the war effort remained unbroken until the very end, they say.