A journalist who attacked the late Pope Benedict as a Nazi and “pedophile protector” has been fired.
Politico’s Eric Geller was reportedly fired from the liberal news organization after facing blowback for a vicious and misleading tweet sent within hours of Benedict’s death at 95.
“Homophobic pedophile protector and Hitler Youth alumnus dead at 95,” Geller wrote of the revered pontiff, who passed on December 31.
Reporter who smeared Benedict fired
Geller later apologized and deleted the tweet, acknowledging it showed “poor judgment,” but the damage was done.
The journalist was publicly reprimanded by Politico’s Brad Dayspring, who noted Geller’s tweet was “both inaccurate and offensive” and that it violated Politico’s policies.
Dayspring warned that Geller could face “disciplinary action, up to and including termination.”
When asked about Geller’s status, Dayspring told the Daily Mail that Politico doesn’t comment on “personnel or disciplinary matters.”
But Geller no longer describes himself as working for Politico in his Twitter and LinkedIn profiles and on his personal website, where he is simply described as a “cybersecurity journalist in Washington, D.C.”
“Nazi” pope was no Nazi
Geller’s tweet was, indeed, inaccurate. Benedict, born Joseph Ratzinger, grew up in a faithful Catholic family in Bavaria that was quietly opposed to Hitler’s atheist regime.
While Geller’s tweet implied Benedict was a Nazi, he was forcibly conscripted into the Hitler Youth, like many German boys at the time. He avoided the organization’s meetings with the help of a math teacher, he later recalled in his book.
“Thank God, there was a math teacher who understood. He was himself a Nazi party member, but an honest man who told me, ‘Just go so we have it,'” he recalled. “But when he saw that I simply didn’t want to, he said: ‘I understand, I’ll take care of it.’ And so I was free of it.”
The widely respected religious leader, intellectual, and theologian drew scrutiny in his lifetime over the sexual abuse scandal within the church, although he defrocked hundreds of predators and was the first pope to meet with victims.
In 2022, Benedict was accused in a report commissioned by the archdiocese of Munich of mishandling four sexual abuse cases while he was archbishop there. Benedict asked for forgiveness but denied wrongdoing.
As for the “homophobe” slur, Benedict’s views on homosexuality are no secret. The late pope vigorously opposed gay marriage as a “distortion of conscience” and a “cultural revolution” that is out of step with human tradition and God’s natural order.