Could Adolf Hitler have gone to Heaven?

During his academic years, Pope Benedict noticed that many had a false concept of what conscience is.  In a debate about the justifying force on an erring conscience, the subject of Hitler was brought up. “One colleague suggested the thesis that, if it were generally true that an erring conscience could lead to salvation, then even the SS troops under Hitler would have been justified and would now be in heaven, since they had committed their evil deeds out of fanatical conviction and without the least disturbance to their consciences. Another colleague responded, as if he were stating the most obvious thing in the world: ‘Yes, that is so!’ He argued that there was not the slightest doubt that Hitler and his collaborators were deeply convinced of their cause and could not in fact have acted differently. Therefore, despite all the objective horror of their deeds, they had acted morally, from a subjective perspective. And since they were following their conscience, even though it was misdirected, their conduct must be acknowledge as moral. There is thus no doubt that they attained eternal salvation.” (Excerpt fromValues in a Time of Upheaval by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI). . (New York: Crossroad Publishing Co.), 80.)

Do you agree with Cardinal Ratzinger’s colleagues? Why or why not?


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