Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday the "inhumanity" and the "brutality" of the Nazi regime in his native Germany was one of the reasons he turned to "the right path" of the Catholic priesthood.
The pope turned to the priesthood in response to the Nazis, he said
"The Nazi regime told us: in the new Germany there will no longer be any priests, look for another profession. The brutality of the system, its totally inhuman face, turned me instead to the right path," the German-born pope told a meeting of Catholic youth from the Rome area at the Vatican.
He said the Catholic faith was in contrast to the brutal Nazi culture and he entered the priesthood to work for the path shown by Jesus Christ.
The 78-year-old Benedict, known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger until his election as pope, has made no secret of his past in wartime Germany, saying he was an unwilling participant in Adolf Hitler's youth movement which he joined at the age of 14.
He also told the young people that "secularism" was the main offense of the present day. Secularism "consists in living, going about the world as it God did not exist," the pontiff said.