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Rome diocese denies church funeral for Nazi war criminal

Catholic World News - October 14, 2013

The Rome diocese has denied a church funeral for Erich Priebke, a convicted Nazi war criminal who died last week at the age of 100.

Priebke had been living under house arrest, having been convicted for carrying out the massacre of over 300 Italian civilians in the Ardeatine Caves: one of the most notorious mass killings in World War II. He had never disavowed his Nazi past.

Msgr. Mauro Cozzoli, a theologian at the Pontifical Lateran University, told the ANSA news service that a church funeral “would assume the appearance of an underestimation, a rehabilitation, up to an approval” for the Nazi killer’s acts.

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  • Posted by: loumiamo7154 - Oct. 16, 2013 11:06 AM ET USA

    That's the question, FredC, did the former Nazi make a sincere confession to a priest? The news story seems to leave that question in doubt. What I do not doubt is that the Church did all it could to convince Priebke to make a sincere confession, knowing his death would touch off this firestorm, and apparently Priebke chose to face judgement as a committed Nazi rather than a reformed sinner. All that can be done for him now is to pray for his soul.

  • Posted by: FredC - Oct. 15, 2013 12:05 PM ET USA

    I assume that the Msgr knew for certain that Priebke had never repented.

  • Posted by: filioque - Oct. 15, 2013 12:50 AM ET USA

    Don't forget Mary Jo Kopechne who drowned in Teddy's car. He made no attempt to rescue her and waited 10 hours to report the accident.

  • Posted by: Defender - Oct. 14, 2013 3:05 PM ET USA

    And yet the Boston Archdiocese and Cardinal O'Malley gave Teddy Kennedy a church funeral though he supported abortion - how many lives is he responsible for?

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