3 December 2016

Roland Freisler and the Volksgerichthof

It is commonly held that the Nazi jurist Roland Freisler, while president of the Volksgerichthof, knew that he would find his 'defendants' guilty before he tried them, and had determined upon the death sentence well before he sentenced them. According to the narratives and the Youtube clips, he did quite a lot of dramatic shouting during trials, emphasising fortissimo e prestissimo the self-evident guilt of those who stood as yet unconvicted before him.

I was reminded of dear Freisler ... such a straightforward sort of bloke ... when reading about the recent rantings of the Dean of the Rota, Pio Vito Pinto. Of course, Pinto was not sitting in court and trying the Four Cardinals. And Pinto, since he is a Judge in Marriage processes, would be unlikely himself to be involved judicially in any possible procedings against the Four. But, in our tame and gutless legal system this side of the water, it is, I think, generally held to be indecorous, and probably prejudicial, for any member of the judiciary to express with great decision views about the certain guilt of, and extreme penalties appropriate for, named individuals who have not yet even been formally accused and certainly not yet found guilty.

Clearly, these foreign chappies are not much like our own boringly phlegmatic, pedestrian, and unimaginative English judges. Could this be because our judges are not guided by such well-honed certainties about the Holy Spirit?


Jacob said...

Angels and saints protect us should the Church ever decide to institute a People's Court.

Maybe it was an angel that made sure a bomb dropped on the judge's courtroom, sending him to his final reward in the process.

Unknown said...

Let's hope 'the supremes' sitting in the Middlesex Guidhall are up to such standards next week.

Richard Chonak said...

The news report about Msgr. Pinto's comments has been retracted, which leaves me feeling slightly relieved:


John Nolan said...

Freisler modelled his technique on Andrei Vyshinsky, the 'judge' at the infamous Soviet show trials; he saw him in action when visiting Moscow in 1938.

Vyshinsky was on the Soviet legal team for the Nuremberg trials. Fortunately for the credibility (dubious at best) of that tribunal, he was not one of the judges.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Whether or not Mgr Pinto retracted his alleged statement the fact that he commented at all is utterly deplorable in my view as a retired lawyer.

Fr. Dennis Duvelius said...

Perhaps Pinto, too, should beware of falling masonry columns.

Anonymous said...

@Richard Chonak: thanks for the link.

The Spanish magazine which reported Mons. Vito as saying that the four Cardinals who authored the dubia on Amoris Laetitia "could be stripped of their Cardinalate" as punishment for their remarks, now says:

“The phrase was taken from an interview conducted by ReligiĆ³n Confidencial in which Mons. Vito responds in Italian and it is not correct. After reviewing the recording, it has been proven that what he affirms is that Pope Francis is not a Pope of other times in which those measures were used and that the Pope was not going to withdraw from them the Cardinalate dignity. The news is corrected, but we publish this rectification in case it was not enough.”

While that does slightly change the crudely threatening tone of the comments as originally reported, it does not really change the substance because the remark still presumes that the Cardinals have done something terribly wrong which could and years ago would have resulted in such a punishment, but fortunately for them Pope Francis is a modern Pope who will not actually do that!

Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

I see little comfort or relief in the retraction of the journalists. How anyone, in any language, and Italian is not so obscure, could so grossly misunderstand an unequivocal statement as first reported stretches one well beyond credulity.

So no we have another fact. No only a vicious and unpleasant man who behaves grossly unprofessionally, but one who is too weak to apologise for his intemperance, and expects the ReligiĆ³n Confidencial to carry the can for him.

Fr Hunwicke's initial assessment, was I fear, all too accurate.