As Pope Benedict’s official visit to Britain gets underway, leaked Vatican accounts show that the leader of the Catholic church has for almost 68 years been making an annual payment to the Hitler Youth organisation after failing to cancel his membership during the final years of the Second World War.
‘You know how it is,’ explained Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. ‘Unless you remember to opt out of these things they automatically renew your membership, and it’s easy not to spot them on your bank statement. It seems that over the years his Holiness has progressed through the ranks from Hitler Youth to Hitler Adult, then Middle-Aged Fascists and most recently Aryan OAPs. I would stress that the pontiff had no choice but to join the organisation as a child in Nazi Germany, though over the years he has grown quite fond of its magazine’s quirky world view and the informed debate on the letters page.’
In addition to a monthly magazine providing ‘a lighthearted look at the changing face of bigotry’, other benefits of membership to the Aryan OAPs includes discounts on coach trips to up-and-coming dictatorships, and concentration camp getaways with Club 80-130.
‘It’s like Saga for the discerning fascist,’ said general secretary, Lothar Neumann, ‘though if I’m honest the organisation probably peaked 70 years ago. Not many of our remaining subscribers are leaders of world religions, as most have trouble finding the common ground between fascism and the central tenets of their faith. But fair play to the pope, he’s managed to move with the times and bring together traditional Catholic piety with a proper hatred of the poor, women and gays. And in that sense he shares many of our aims – breaking down boundaries between different groups, much like we did in Poland in 1939.’
Although the Vatican has attempted to distance itself from the controversy, further examination of its accounts reveals that the Pope may have forgotten to tick the ‘no publicity’ box on his original Hitler Youth membership form after subscriptions were also found to sister publications ‘Birth Control – What Every Celibate Needs To Know’, and the ever-popular pastoral companion, ‘Shhh, Don’t Tell Your Parents!’