Perhaps it was just poor framing when Cardinal Joachim Meisner said:
“Wherever culture is separated from the worship of God, the cult atrophies in ritualism and culture becomes degenerate,” he said.
The word “degenerate” is hardly ever used in Germany today because of its known association with the Third Reich.
Well, yes, I can imagine that there is some sensitivity to the use of the word … but perhaps they should also consider the substance of his remarks. He has basically just said atheists are incapable of producing art: no music, no beauty, no poetry, none of the great works of the human mind.
He has made the usual disclaimer that his words were taken out of context — he didn’t mean to associate his position with a term used by Nazis. He has not, however, repudiated the sense of his words — the dehumanization of those who do not believe in his superstition.