Monday of Holy Week Seventy-Nine Years Ago

Monday, March 21, AD 2016

In your country, Venerable Brethren, voices are swelling into a chorus urging people to leave the Church, and among the leaders there is more than one whose official position is intended to create the impression that this infidelity to Christ the King constitutes a signal and meritorious act of loyalty to the modern State. Secret and open measures of intimidation, the threat of economic and civic disabilities, bear on the loyalty of certain classes of Catholic functionaries, a pressure which violates every human right and dignity. Our wholehearted paternal sympathy goes out to those who must pay so dearly for their loyalty to Christ and the Church; but directly the highest interests are at stake, with the alternative of spiritual loss, there is but one alternative left, that of heroism. If the oppressor offers one the Judas bargain of apostasy he can only, at the cost of every worldly sacrifice, answer with Our Lord: “Begone, Satan! For it is written: The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. iv. 10). And turning to the Church, he shall say: “Thou, my mother since my infancy, the solace of my life and advocate at my death, may my tongue cleave to my palate if, yielding to worldly promises or threats, I betray the vows of my baptism.” As to those who imagine that they can reconcile exterior infidelity to one and the same Church, let them hear Our Lord’s warning: – “He that shall deny me before men shall be denied before the angels of God” (Luke xii. 9).

Pius XI, MIT BRENNENDER SORGE

Fathers Z and Hunwicke remind us why courage is never an optional virtue for Catholics:

Fr. John Hunwicke, at his fine blog Mutual Enrichment, reminds us all that on this liturgical day, Monday of Holy Week, in 1937

… the Gestapo raided diocesan offices and presbyteries all over Germany. The previous day, Palm Sunday, when the churches were packed, priests all over Germany had read publicly the Encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge [=With Burning Sorrow – Anxiety – Concern] of the Holy Father Pope Pius XI…. It had been smuggled into Germany in the Nuncio’s Diplomatic Bag and secretly printed …; secretly distributed by special couriers and proclaimed in every pulpit. And nobody leaked it; at least, not in time for the government to intervene. It burst upon the Fuehrer and his admirers as the most wonderful surprise. Not many people in the state apparatus will have had much sabbath rest that Sunday, as arrangements were frantically made to secure all copies for destruction.

Mit brennender Sorge is amazing.  The letter is a masterpiece of rhetoric, aimed at building the resolve and courage of the whole Church which was experiencing ever greater persecution, ever greater restriction of and violation of religious freedom in direct violation of the concordat, the treaty that the State had legally ratified with the Church. Pius describes the problems that people were enduring and seeks to harden their resolve and console them in their suffering.

His word to young people are to be prized especially in our own day.

Indeed, this letter seems as if it could be aimed at our own decade.

And since letters of this kind are lacking today, when we need them, Mit brenneder Sorge is that much more precious a gift from our forebears!

Every once in a while, I read for you old encyclicals, with the hope that they will come alive for you who have never experienced their content and, especially, their style.

They don’t write them like this anymore!

As you listen, I’ll ask you to imagine yourself in a church in Germany on Palm Sunday 1937.

The horrors of the first world war and the poverty of economic devastation are still raw. The German Riech and National Socialist party is in the ascension. People are being rounded up and disappeared. Schools are being hijacked. Young people are being indoctrinated in evil disciplines. A nationalist paganism is being blended into everything the State does as it represses any rival. Huge numbers of your neighbors are caving or are being swept up by the trends. Society is on the ede of a knife. Hitler and his thugs are driving the Catholic presence from the public square. There had been a treaty a concordat signed between the German Reich and the Church, to guarantee the Church’s freedoms, but it is being systematically and blatantly ignored.

You are afraid… for yourselves, your children, your Church, your nation.

And so, Pius XI issued his encyclical, which had material from several contributers including Eugenio Card. Pacelli, former nuncio to German and future Pope Pius XII along with German Cardinal Michael Faulhaber and von Galen.

Imaginging yourself in the church on that Sunday, listen now to Pius XI’s words, read by the priest from the pulpit of your parish church…

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3 Responses to Monday of Holy Week Seventy-Nine Years Ago

  • Thank you for posting these, Donald. I can’t put into words how they strengthen my faith and give me comfort. I share them with others as well who have been taught nothing but horrible lies re: the leadership of the Catholic Church and the Nazis. I have also shared similar posts with another Catholic who is greatly encouraged to have lies she was taught corrected.

  • My understanding is that between 40 and 120 Catholics were detained by the Gestapo and shipped off to concentration camps during these raids. Would any reader know of any means to identify these people by name? Thank you.

  • “Indeed, this letter seems as if it could be aimed at our own decade.”

    Amen.

Von Galen on Martyrdom

Sunday, March 13, AD 2016

The Lion of Munster

Neither praise nor threats will distance me from God.

Blessed Clemens von Galen

(I ran this series originally back in 2011.  I am rerunning it now, because the contemporary Church is greatly harmed by the unwillingness of so many clerics to confront evil forthrightly.  In this year of Mercy we must not forget the need to cry out for Justice, and that is precisely what the Lion of Munster did.)

In my first post on Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen, which may be read here, we examined the life of this remarkable German bishop who heroically stood up to the Third Reich.  Today we examine the third of three sermons that he preached in 1941 which made him famous around the globe.  One week after his first breathtaking sermon against the Gestapo, my examination of which may be read here, he preached on July 20, 1941 a blistering sermon against the Nazis and their war on Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, which may be read here.   On August 3, 1941 at Saint Lambert’s in Munich he then took on the Nazi program of euthanasia, the precursor to the Holocaust, which may be read here.  Today we examine a sermon that he preached at the Cathedral of Saint Victor’s in Xanten, Germany on February 9, 1936, long before the three sermons that he preached in 1941 which made him famous around the globe.

I have just consecrated a new altar in your venerable and splendid cathedral,in a small space deep beneath the choir. But why? Your church is already so richly endowed with altars.

Beginning a sermon with a question is an approach that I wish more priests and bishops would use.  It engages the minds of the listeners from the outset.

You know the answer. The researches of the past few years have given proof that there below us lies a holy and particularly venerable place. Not only has the tradition been substantiated, according to which several previous churches were said to stand on the site of this present church, the oldest of them dating back to the time of the martyrs, to the fourth century A.D. We are also provided with fresh evidence that holy martyrs, who with their blood bore witness to Christ, were interred here, to await the resurrection. We believe in the resurrection of the body. Christ’s words have given us this promise: The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God. Whosoever does not
believe in the independent life of the individual soul, in its continued existence after the death of the body, in its reunification with the bodyand in life everlasting, this man is no true Christian. We hold these beliefs, because we believe in Christ, who is the truth. Because we hold fast to the beliefs of the Apostles and of our Christian forebears. The entire history of your city, speaking to you through the its towering churches, which are monuments in stone, proclaiming itself in the stones found lying beneath them, is evidence of our faith.

The martyrs have always been the human bedrock for Catholicism, from Saint Stephen, the first of the ever glorious martyrs, to our own day with the recent martyrdom of the brave Shahbaz Bhatti.

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3 Responses to Von Galen on Martyrdom

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  • Thanks Donald. The day is coming when our Bishops can go from gaining inspiration from Von Galen to having the opportunity for imitation. Let us pray they are up to the task.

  • As an ethnic German-American, I am pleased to see this reminder that not all Germans followed the Nazi propaganda line. My family, both mother and father’s side, left Germany during kulturkampf. The family left behind had to endure the militaristic Prussian incompetence of WW I and the insane Austrian usurper of WW II. We all hope that the present difficulties in Germany and Europe will be addressed in manner that befits the religious history of the area.

Von Galen Contra Euthanasia

Sunday, March 6, AD 2016

The Lion of Munster

Neither praise nor threats will distance me from God.

Blessed Clemens von Galen

(I ran this series originally back in 2011.  I am rerunning it now, because the contemporary Church is greatly harmed by the unwillingness of so many clerics to confront evil forthrightly.  In this year of Mercy we must not forget the need to cry out for Justice, and that is precisely what the Lion of Munster did.)

 

In my first post on Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen, which may be read here, we examined the life of this remarkable German bishop who heroically stood up to the Third Reich.  Today we examine the third of three sermons that he preached in 1941 which made him famous around the globe.  One week after his first breathtaking sermon against the Gestapo, my examination of which may be read here, he preached on July 20, 1941 a blistering sermon against the Nazis and their war on Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, which may be read here.  On August 3, 1941 at Saint Lambert’s in Munster, he preached a third sermon which, along with an overall attack on the Nazi regime, attacked an evil that, alas, unlike the Nazis, remains with us today.

My Beloved Brethren,

In today’s Gospel we read of an unusual event: Our Saviour weeps. Yes, the Son of God sheds tears. Whoever weeps must be either in physical or mental anguish. At that time Jesus was not yet in bodily pain and yet here were tears. What depth of torment He must have felt in His heart and Soul, if He, the bravest of men, was reduced to tears. Why is He weeping? He is lamenting over Jerusalem, the holy city He loved so tenderly, the capital of His race. He is weeping over her inhabitants, over His own compatriots because they cannot foresee the judgment that is to overtake them, the punishment which His divine prescience and justice have pronounced. ‘Ah, if thou too couldst understand, above all in this day that is granted thee, the ways that can bring thee peace!’ Why did the people of Jerusalem not know it? Jesus had given them the reason a short time before. ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how often have I been ready to gather thy children together, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings; and thou didst refuse it! I your God and your King wished it, but you would have none of Me. . . .’ This is the reason for the tears of Jesus, for the tears of God. . . . Tears for the misrule, the injustice and man’s willful refusal of Him and the resulting evils, which, in His divine omniscience, He foresees and which in His justice He must decree. . . . It is a fearful thing when man sets his will against the will of God, and it is because of this that Our Lord is lamenting over Jerusalem.

“the capital of His race.”  What courage it took in Nazi Germany to remind people of the fact that Jesus was a Jew!  Von Galen had always been a friend to Jews, and would hide a Jewish boy, with the help of a Protestant pastor, at an institute Von Galen controlled, from the Nazis.  After his death he would be highly praised by the Munster Jewish community for the care and assistance he had shown them.  Would that all Germans had acted the same way.  It is a canard to say that all Germans hated Jews:  even with the Nazis pumping out the vilest anti-semitism imaginable 24-7 since they took power that was not the case.  However, it is fair to say that a majority of Germans were indifferent to the fate of the Jews and were unwilling to raise their voices against the Nazi persecution of the Jews.  This attitude of most of the German people is well described in the film Judgment at Nuremberg where Burt Lancaster, as German judge Ernst Janning, gives riveting testimony:

Von Galen I think realized this indifference and his sermons were meant to show Germans that the evil of the Nazis was not restricted only to people they were shamefully indifferent to.

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11 Responses to Von Galen Contra Euthanasia

  • “If all unproductive people may thus be violently eliminated, then woe betide our brave soldiers who return home, wounded, maimed or sick.”

    This was the sentence that the Nazis most feared. Bishop von Galen came very close to advocating a military mutiny. A major reason he was not arrested was that the Nazis did not want to be seen as giving credence to this allegation.

  • Incredible window to history we all need to look into, which we don’t because we are consumed with our own comfort and ease! Lord God have mercy on me a sinner. Thank you so much for this.

  • Excellent post!

    This should be required reading in every stage of learning.

    “Life unworthy of life!”
    The Liberal mantra.

    God bless your heroic efforts to teach, TAC contributors.

  • I’ll never forget the heroic efforts of Jeb Bush to save the life of Terri Shiavo. Sadly, he ultimately succumbed to the power of the state. Another religious man during the war worth mentioning is Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a man of immense courage who refused to come to terms with Nazi power. Eric Metaxas has authored a book about him that is worth reading.

  • It bears repeating…..Jozef Pilsudski was the premier, or President, of Poland in 1933, when the Nazi Party seized power in Germany. Pilsudski knew that the Nazis would drag up the “humiliation” that Germany “suffered” at Versailles (never mind that Germany was not laid waste to, unlike a big part of France, or Belgium, or the Balkans, but, anyway) and that Germany would be reminded by the Nazis that Poland took back the land (Greater Poland) seized by the Prussians in the Partition.
    Pilsudski wanted French help to invade Germany, which had little military strength in 1933, to embarrass the Nazis and force them from power.

    France didn’t want to do it. The rest is history.

    As Blessed von Galen so eloquently put it, the Nazis had no right to do what they were doing to anyone, be it disabled, ill, Jew, Pole, anyone at all.

  • The phrase “Life unworthy of life!” Is from a book published in democratic Weimar Germany in the 1920s entitled “The Justification of the Destruction of Life Devoid of Value”. It’s authors were Karl Binding, a distinguished judge, and Alfred Hoche, a prominent psychiatrist. This was pre-Nazi Germany, the Germany portrayed in “Cabaret”– scientific, gay and carefree, happily post-Christian. The book gave voice and credence to an impulse, never far from the surface of human thought, that anything that doesn’t look, or act, or think “like me”, isn’t really “fully human”, and therefore those who are “fully human” should be able to decide whether “it” lives or dies.
    Understand–Hoche and Binding were NOT Nazis. They were scientific, caring, liberal Germans. But the ideas they gave credibility to led to the gas chambers.

  • Blessed Von Galen, pray for us!

  • BPS is quite correct.

    Stephen Jay Gould, the agnostic biologist, once wrote an essay where he (at least partially) defended William Jennings Bryan’s role in the Scopes ‘Monkey’ Trial. Gould wrote that Bryan had become convinced before WW1 that Germany was being morally polluted by Social Darwinism. As we now know, Bryan was a prophet in this regard. The wiki article mentions some of this, though not the full timeline that Gould cited.

  • Ginny, that bio of Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxis has a few historical inaccuracies or omissions, but yes, it is a good read. Open Library has a good list of the table of contents at https://openlibrary.org/books/OL25892903M/Bonhoeffer

    BTW, the recent Church of Spies makes a nice complement to the Bonhoeffer book. Again, it is not perfect. You can see the table of contents at https://openlibrary.org/works/OL17318218W/Church_of_Spies

  • Thanks, TomD. I’m going to put your recommendation on my “to read” list.

  • The United States has allowed roughly 60 million unborn babies to be sacrificed on the altar of convenience. Now states are going for the elderly and those ‘terminally ill’ with a so called ‘death with dignity’ BS. If things remain the same, I would expect euthanasia to be the law of the land one day with mobile death units as in Europe. It goes from voluntary self killing to involuntary murder where someone else decides your life is no longer worth living. The dignity of a human being made in the image of God is under attack especially by those who have turned from God but also among deceived people.

    There are few shepherds of the magnitude of B. Von Galen….neither then nor now. But there are a few who come to mind. But for the most part our bishops, like the bishops in Nazi Germany or in a Europe embracing Protestantism, will most likely capitulate or remain silence in cowardice.

Von Galen Contra the Swastika

Sunday, February 28, AD 2016

The Lion of Munster

Neither praise nor threats will distance me from God.

Blessed Clemens von Galen

(I ran this series originally back in 2011.  I am rerunning it now, because the contemporary Church is greatly harmed by the unwillingness of so many clerics to confront evil forthrightly.  In this year of Mercy we must not forget the need to cry out for Justice, and that is precisely what the Lion of Munster did.)

 

In my first post on Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen, which may be read here, we examined the life of this remarkable German bishop who heroically stood up to the Third Reich.  Today we examine the second of three sermons that he preached in 1941 which made him famous around the globe.  One week after his first breathtaking sermon against the Gestapo, my examination of which may be read here, he preached on July 20, 1941 a blistering sermon against the Nazis and their war on Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular.

Today the collection which I ordered for the inhabitants of the city of Münster is held in all the parishes in the diocese of Münster which have not themselves suffered war damage. I hope that through the efforts of the state and municipal authorities responsible and the brotherly help of the Catholics of this diocese, whose contributions will be administered and distributed by the offices of the Caritas, much need will be alleviated.

Charity, always a prime duty of Catholics.

Thanks be to God, for several days our city has not suffered any new enemy attacks from without. But I am distressed to have to inform you that the attacks by our opponents within the country, of the beginning of which I spoke last Sunday in St. Lambert’s, that these attacks have continued, regardless of our protests, regardless of the anguish this causes to the victims of the attacks and those connected with them. Last Sunday I lamented, and branded as an injustice crying out to heaven, the action of the Gestapo in closing the convent in Wilkinghege and the Jesuit residences in Munster, confiscating their property and possessions, putting the occupants into the street and expelling them from their home area. The convent of Our Lady of Lourdes in Frauen­strasse was also seized by the Gau authorities. I did not then know that on the same day, Sunday 13th July, the Gestapo had occupied the Kamilluskolleg in Sudmühle and the Benedictine abbey of Gerleve near Coesfeld and expelled the fathers and lay brothers. They were forced to leave Westphalia that very day.

The Nazi war on the Church is becoming more brazen in the midst of the War.

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13 Responses to Von Galen Contra the Swastika

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  • These articles are such an encouragement.

  • Change a few words and this is about the USSA today. Hitler-Obama; Nazis-Democrats; etc. But SS/Planned Parenthood is not a 1 for 1 comparison-the SS never, and never even dreamed of, demonic killing on the scale at which PP does it today. Himmler/Richards is also in error – Richards oversees a killing machine that Himmler never even hoped for. Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

  • Please, the US bears no resemblance to the Third Reich. Among its other manifest evils, the Third Reich did forced abortions on non-Aryans. It is obscene to compare the US to the Nazis and it is not going to be tolerated on this blog.

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  • Thank you for publishing these posts on Blessed Clemens von Galen. On my father’s side, I am totally English from the earliest sellers in MA and RI. I am, on my mother’s side, descended from devout R Catholic Austrian, German and Swiss immigrants who came to this country in the 1840s.
    In Catholic grade school in Arlington VA, 1958-1963 VA, my brother and I felt the stigma of having German ancestry even though we had an English surname…as all German-Americans were equated with being Nazis. No one from my father’s family was present at my parents’ Catholic wedding in MN. It could be that my grandparents had 4 sons (my father included) and 1 daughter-in-law serving in the WWII European theater. Anyway thank you. This is another post I am passing to relatives from that side of the family.

  • “as all German-Americans were equated with being Nazis.”

    Considering the number of German-Americans buried in US military cemeteries in Europe, and that our forces were led by a German-American, the idiocy of such a belief is self-apparent.

    The crazed paper hanger is an aberration in German history which provided Europe some of its proudest moments, especially in the cultural sphere.

  • Yes, Gen Eisenhower, USA, and Gen Spaatz, USAAF, in Europe and Fleet Admiral Nimitz, USN in the Pacific.
    My father told us to ignore the name calling kids; that they were parroting their ignorant parents. Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
    I look forward to the canonization of von Galen, and hope and pray that our Church hierarchy will be braver.

  • Donald R-The USA that my father and great uncle fought for [one above beach on DDay, one on the beach] and that my father-in-law fought in the Pacific for, that USA no longer exists; and I would never compare that USA to the Third Reich. I purposefully used “USSA” to distinguish our present tyranny from that country that was blest by God. There are things the present-day Democrats, a few others, and Planned Parenthood have done and are doing that make Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler and Mengele look like wicked little kindergartners. Here is a “letter” about that God-blest country (note-I am now in my 70th year):

    Yes, Guy, There Is And Will Be America
    Abyssum.org January 12, 2016
    Dear Editor,
    I am in my 69th year. Some of my little-minded friends, Democrats, and their President rejoice and say America is no more. I and many of my friends served in the Army during the Vietnam War. My father, my uncles, and father-in-law fought for America in World War II. My grandfather fought for America in World War I. My ancestor grandfather fought for America with General Washington in the Revolutionary War. Is this America no more? My childrens’ ancestor grandfather was the first Texan wounded in the Texas War For Independence in 1835; and two of their other grandfathers fought in the Civil War. Is what they fought for dead? I have heard from some, “If you see it in the eyes of your fellow Americans, hear it in their words, witness it in the reverence they have for Old Glory, and if they believe it in their hearts, then it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there an America any more? Very truly yours, Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas

    Dear Guy,
    Your little-minded friends, the Democrats, and their President are wrong. They have been affected by the statism of a statist age and have been taken in by their own schemes. Yes, Guy, there is an America. America exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion and true patriotism exist, and America makes possible for you and everyone here an abounding meaning, beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no America! It would be as dreary as if there were no Americans. There would be no faith in one’s fellow man or woman, no united country that is and has been a shining city on a hill, no place where still thousands wish to come, and sacrifice everything to do so, because the hope for this America can move men and women to sacrifice all to be happy here.

    If there were no America, there would be no hope for the world. The world would have no enjoyment, no place full-of-wonder as is America. If anyone would succeed in destroying America or fundamentally changing it, the shining American light which fills the world would be extinguished.

    The Democrat President has said America is a nation of a foreign religion. Guy, he might as well have said a dog’s tail is a leg, and that a dog has five legs. From its founding America was a Judeo-Christian nation, has been a Judeo-Christian nation throughout its history, is one now, will be one after 2016, and will forever be a Judeo-Christian nation. Change America to another nation ? Our Constitution itself says it was signed in “the year of Our Lord,” who is none other than Jesus Christ. Change America from being a Judeo-Christian nation? This would be like changing love to hate, glory to infamy, or light to darkness.

    Not believe in America! You might as well not believe in goodness, and justice and love. America is the faith, poetry, love, care, courage, beauty, steadfastness, romance, and bravery that pushes aside tyrants and those who would alter or abolish her, and proclaims the glory she has known, the glory of her today, and the glory she will know in years to come. Is America real? Ah, Guy, in all this world there is no country so real, so good, and so abiding.

    No America? Thank God, Guy, America, the America your forbears fought for, lives and will live forever. A few foolish fools cannot change her. A thousand years from now, Guy, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, America will continue to make glad the hearts of its citizens and be a place of justice, of courage, and of freedom.

    God bless America, Guy, Merry Christmas! and Happy New Year.
    Editor

  • Speaking of U.S. patriots, here is a link to the Middle East War Memorial which I didn’t know existed. It’s in Illinois on private property, an inscribed granite wall. The phone company HQ has turned it’s lobby into a museum for items left behind at the memorial outside. There is annual motorcade like Rolling Thunder.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=WEPBQGu74oo&feature=player_embedded

  • A number of years ago, I happened to strike up a conversation with an elderly woman at WalMart. She was a survivor of the Second World War and related to me an unbelievable story of how she and her sister had saved their lives. I asked her what it was like growing up during the rise of Nazism and she said, “It was very much like what is going on here, under President Obama, today–except for the schools.” I said, “Yes, I suppose so. The propaganda and brainwashing under the Third Reich must have been intense, indeed.” She looked at me intently and replied, “No; you misunderstand me. I feel sorry for the public schoolchildren of today. My sister and I longed to spend as much time as possible at school because there, at least, we were safe.” I commend you for calling attention to Cardinal von Galen’s heroic stance, but let’s not be too quick to say that what we are facing here and now is “much milder,” even where textbook publication is concerned. Textbooks from which references to the Living God have been scrubbed, and schools from which prayer to Him has been banished, have produced an environment of violence–ideological and literal–which those who successfully resisted the Third Reich find ominous and blood-chilling.

  • Re-reading Blessed von Galen this afternoon.
    “We see a much milder version of this in too many public school text books in our own country today. “{Unfortunately it’s not just public schools in the USA.}

    “Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs” is this similar to what Germany has today? If so, it would explain why the almighty Mark was and the Euro is so important to the German hierarchy. What are other strings are attached to the government’s money?

    This man’s writings are so inspiring as is your commentary. I hope and pray that we in America will never experience the fierce attacks that the Catholics and other Christians experienced under the Nazi regime.

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Von Galen Contra Gestapo

Sunday, February 21, AD 2016

 

(I ran this series originally back in 2011.  I am rerunning it now, because the contemporary Church is greatly harmed by the unwillingness of so many clerics to confront evil forthrightly.  In this year of Mercy we must not forget the need to cry out for Justice, and that is precisely what the Lion of Munster did.)

 

 

In my first post on Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen, which may be read here, we examined the life of this remarkable German bishop who heroically stood up to the Third Reich.  Today we examine the first of three sermons that he preached in 1941 which made him famous around the globe.  In the summer of 1941 the Third Reich was at its zenith.  Operation Barbarossa had been launched, and the Soviets were reeling, with German armies advancing rapidly against a Red Army which appeared to be on the verge of dissolution.  In North Africa, the Desert Fox was besieging Tobruk and it seemed only a matter of time until Egypt might fall to him.  American still slumbered in an isolationist dream.  World domination by Nazi Germany seemed to be approaching reality.

At this point, when his Nazi foes were their strongest, on July 13, 1941, Bishop von Galen threw down his episcopal gauntlet to the Gestapo, the secret police of the Nazis, who brutally terrorized Germany and occupied Europe:

 

My dear Catholics of St. Lambert’s:

 I have longed to read personally from the pulpit of this church today my pastoral letter on the events of the past week and in particular to express to you, my former parishioners, my deep-felt sympathy. In some part of the city, the devastation and loss have been particularly great. I hope that by the action of the municipal and government authorities responsible, and above all by your brotherly love and the collections taken today for the work of the Caritas Union and the Parish Caritas, some of the hardship and suffering will be relieved. I had in mind also, however, to add a brief word on the meaning of the divine visitation: how God thus seeks us in order to lead us home to Him. God wants to lead Münster home to Him.  How much at home were our forefathers with God and in God’s Holy Church! How thoroughly were their lives — their public life, their family life, and even their commercial life — supported by faith in God, directed by the holy fear of God and by the love of God! Has it always been like that in our own day? God wants to lead Münster home to Him!

Von Galen here is speaking about the devastation caused by British bombing raids.  Note his comments about the practical steps necessary to help the victims through special collections, and the overriding necessity of turning to God.

Concerning this I had meant to put some further reflections before you. But this I cannot do today, for I find myself compelled to openly and in public speak of something else — a shattering event which came upon us yesterday, at the end of this week of calamity.

What could be more important than the damage wreaked upon us by the enemy bombers I am certain was the thought that first occurred to many of von Galen’s listeners. 

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5 Responses to Von Galen Contra Gestapo

  • How convienent for the enemies of the Church to drag up the fiction of “The Deputy” and smear Pope Pius XII, and ignoring Bishop von Galen, as well as St. Edith Stein and St. Maximillian Kolbe.

  • “Apostle of the mass media,” St.Maximilian Maria Kolbe was broadcasting the truth and printing the truth about the Nazis without hesitation. No fear! None. The Lion of Munster and St. Kolbe were cut from the same fabric…Myocardium of Christ!

    Great article. Great witness of TRUTH.

    One month after the sermon dated July 13 1941, our fearless Polish Saint was nearing his earthly departure. As the sermon of Von Galen was being read, Kolbe was starving to death in the bunkers of Auschwitz.
    God bless these great servants and friends of God.

  • there is an aspect of this i do not understand ….. ” I had in mind also, however, to add a brief word on the meaning of the divine visitation: how God thus seeks us in order to lead us home to Him. God wants to lead Münster home to Him. How much at home were our forefathers with God and in God’s Holy Church! How thoroughly were their lives — their public life, their family life, and even their commercial life — supported by faith in God, directed by the holy fear of God and by the love of God! Has it always been like that in our own day? God wants to lead Münster home to Him!

    Their lives ,i.e. the lives of the elders of Munster etc. were so in touch with their faith and its practice that they harvested the Bormans, Hitlers, Dietrich, Franks……etc. They obviously had holy fear and love of God in the home….. just look at the fruit. And the nation at large- hitler may not have had a majority vote but damned near it!! Same stumbling block with Mexico- i was watching a expose on pablo escobar, the incredible criminal, and all thru his aunts house where he stayed in his last years, and in the houses of his goons- there were myriad copies on display, with candles, of St. Juan Diego’s temecula with her image on it as the Virgin of Guadalupe – ubiquitous!! as one watched this semi documentary. I know the mexican people have a strong Catholic faith but last year i think the number was 26,000 killed in drug related crimes- I get confused as to what tenets of the decalog or natural law the elder Deutsch and the Mexicans since miguel pro have taught and learned. Even the protestant heretics running the U.S. of A then and now did not and do not behave like Von Galen describes his fellow teutons and Goths – japanese and bushito is another story for next week, but mussolini and the Italians are in this same mix- What happened? The economic and patriotic smack down post WWI, the war to end all wars , was so sever that the good Catholic and other Christian sects forgot all they were taught or … did they implement exactly what they were taught at home…… I wonder??

  • As a descendant of Prussian Catholics (they are a minority) who left Germany during Bismarck’s “Kulturkampf” I can appreciate what a giant of a Churchman Von Galen was. Had the Prussians (mostly Lutheran) , who did not learn the lesson against blind obedience during WW I, and the Catholic Workers Party united, Hitler and his gangsters could have been stopped early on.

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The Lion of Munster

Sunday, February 14, AD 2016

The Lion of Munster

Neither praise nor threats will distance me from God.

Blessed Clemens von Galen

(I ran this series originally back in 2011.  I am rerunning it now, because the contemporary Church is greatly harmed by the unwillingness of so many clerics to confront evil forthrightly.  In this year of Mercy we must not forget the need to cry out for Justice, and that is precisely what the Lion of Munster did.)

The Nazis hated and feared Clemens August Graf von Galen in life and no doubt they still hate and fear him, at least those now enjoying the amenities of some of the less fashionable pits of Hell.  Going into Lent, I am strongly encouraged by the story of Blessed von Galen.  I guess one could come up with a worse situation than being a Roman Catholic bishop in Nazi Germany in 1941, and confronting a merciless anti-Christian dictatorship that was diametrically opposed to the Truth of Christ, but that would certainly do for enough of a challenge for one lifetime for anyone.  (Hitler privately denounced Christianity as a Jewish superstition and looked forward after the War to “settling accounts”, as he put it, with Christianity in general and Roman Catholicism in particular.)

Priests who spoke out against the Third Reich were being rounded up and shipped off to concentration camps.  What was a bishop to do in the face of such massive evil?  Well, for the Bishop of Munster, Clemens von Galen, there could be only one answer.

A German Count, von Galen was from one of the oldest aristocratic families in Westphalia.  Always a German patriot, the political views of von Galen would have made my own conservatism seem a pale shade of pink in comparison.  Prior to becoming a bishop, he was sometimes criticized for a haughty attitude and being unbending.  He was chosen Bishop of Munster in 1933 only after other candidates, no doubt recognizing what a dangerous position it would be with the Nazis now in power, had turned it down.  I am certain  it did not hurt that he was an old friend of Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII.

Von Galen immediately demonstrated that he had not agreed to become Bishop of Munster in order to avoid danger.  He successfully led a fight against the Nazi attempt to take over Catholic schools, citing article 21 of the Concordat between the Vatican and Nazi Germany.  He then began a campaign, often using humor and ridicule, against the Aryan racial doctrines proposed by Alfred Rosenberg, chief Nazi race theorist, and a man even some high level Nazis thought was little better than a crank.  Von Galen argued that Christianity totally rejected racial differences as determining how groups should be treated, and that all men and women were children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ.  The Bishop spoke out against Nazi attacks on the “Jewish Old Testament” stating that Holy Writ was Holy Writ and that the Bible could not be altered to suit current prejudices.

In early 1937 he was summoned by Pope Pius XI to confer with him on an encyclical in German, highly unusual for an encyclical not to be written in Latin as the primary language, that the Pope was in the process of drafting.  The encyclical was the blistering Mit Brennender Sorge (With Burning Heart) that the Pope ordered be read out in every parish in Germany on Palm Sunday 1937.  A head long assault on almost every aspect of National Socialism, it may be read here.

The language in the encyclical was blunt, direct and no doubt benefited from von Galen’s input and his experience from the battles he was waging with the Nazis.

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6 Responses to The Lion of Munster

  • This is a good history lesson.

  • Blessed von Galen shows an example far too many of us are unwilling to follow.

  • Agian, a timely piece of history from Mr. McClarey. Thanks.
    Number 42.
    A clarion call for all Catholics in America to engage in today’s conflict, the destruction of America through radical Socialist and Marxist ideologies which indoctrinate the young and silence the rationale of freedom of religion.

    The joy, triumph and hymn’s of gratitude must resound from coast to coast united in Truth.
    His Truth that all life is sacred. Perverse lifestyles are always going to be perverse. No amount of propaganda will change the Truth.
    He and His Word will never change.
    Our hearts must change. We must accept them, love them and pray with them, but never accept their concupiscence as a cherished choice of behavior.

    Our time is a critical time in history. The slope isn’t just slippery. It’s angle of decent is increasing dramatically and as it increases it will be extremely difficult to reclaim the pure air of the highlands. The stagnant repulsive air of the pit will become the new progressive National Socialist Amerika, an unrecognizable Nation of free people. A people serving and worshipping the State.

  • Gosh there are so many GREAT blessed of fairly recent history! I hope they will get the attention they apparently deserve. I also think of Cardinal Mindszenty.

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  • Would that we had his like in some of our dioceses today.

Now Where Have I Heard This Before?

Wednesday, May 13, AD 2015

MoS2 Template Master

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.

Ecclesiastes 1:9

 

 

One advantage of studying history is that you learn the truth of Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun.  That is why when I was reading this morning the latest antics of the deranged campus Left it seemed so familiar:

Out in Washington State, some students at Western Washington University have come up with interesting new techniques in the field of debate. For example, one of their state senators, Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) was found by the upset underclassmen to be a heretical non-believer when it comes to the issue of global warming. Ericksen, as it turns out, is an alumnus of WWU, so rather than debating him on the hot topic, they have issued demands to have his diploma revoked.

This isn’t an election year for state Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, but challengers do seek to wrest something from him — not his elected office but rather one of his college degrees.

A group of students with ties to Huxley College held a meeting at 5:30 p.m. today, Thursday, May 7, on campus, to start what promises to be an uphill — if not Quixotic — battle to convince university administration to strip Ericksen of his diploma.

“We’re framing it in a more radical way,” D’Angelo said. “We’re not just trying to have a conversation with him or hold him accountable. We’re trying to revoke his degree and get people to pay attention.”

The Republican senator has been at odds with Democrats over how to craft policy on climate change and carbon reduction. He butted heads with Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, on the Climate Legislative and Executive Workgroup. Ericksen removed language in the bill creating the workgroup that mentioned “climate change” and the threat it posed to the state.

While Ericksen may have stripped the phrase “climate change” out of a bill, upsetting the young Democrats, he had primarily worked to prevent any tax increases which were supposed to pay for carbon capping. But but does that make him a “climate change denier” in the full sense of the word? Not exactly.

The students refer to Ericksen as a “climate denier” on their Facebook page. He told this blogger a couple years back he was a “climate agnostic,” which may be more accurate. While he stripped the words “climate change” from the 2013 Climate Legislative and Executive workgroup bill, he at least conceded the possibility of human-caused climate change in 2015 legislation that would give utilities more flexibility in meeting state-mandated alternative energy goals. (Ericksen’s bill, SB 5735, passed the Senate on March 9 but has not yet made it through the House.)

In an amendment Ericksen introduced, the bill’s intent section reads, “The Legislature finds that climate change is real and that human activity may contribute to climate change.”

This is apparently the bar which must be met when dealing with college campus activists. Publishing legislation which says that climate change is real and human activity may contribute to it isn’t going to cut the mustard, folks. You’re going to have to do better than that. And if you don’t, your opponents will work with the university to strip you of your credentials.

Go here to Hot Air to read the rest.  The idiots behind this lunacy worked in the campaign of the defeated Democrat opponent of Ericksen.  While I was reading this, I knew I recalled similar measures taken against political adversaries before.  It took me a moment, and then it came to me:  Nazi Germany!

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7 Responses to Now Where Have I Heard This Before?

  • These same left wing lunatics wholly given over to the false gospel of goddess Gaia will not support the only other form of baseload electricity besides fossil fuel that would obviate the emission of so-called green-house gas CO2: nuclear. In fact, they single-mindedly oppose nuclear energy with the same vehemence and ferocity that they support the false notion of anthropogenic global warming. This isn’t about protecting the environment. It is rather about constricting the energy supply so that politicians can decide who gets energy and who doesn’t. It will be the same as it was before: Jews and Christians will be denied: first their college diplomas, then energy, then food, then freedom, then finally their lives.

  • Some scientists have said that as the ice cap on the arctic melts and shrinks, the ice cap on the antarctic grows in direct proportion, which means that only a portion of the globe is in warming. The global warming enthusiasts like to share only half truths to progress their agenda. Freedom of speech is only engaged through the truth, The rest is perjury in a court of law. This mob mentality, imminent death and death without purpose and death with out Divine Providence, death without God causes hysteria, and panic. The best place to run and or hide is in Church with Jesus as they did in H. G. Wells WAR OF THE WORLDS. Denying Faith from God is a terrible crime against our people. The mob needs to prove that global warming is not a normal occurrence to indict the senator. Otherwise imposing their dearly held beliefs is unconstitutional and scientific heresy.

  • Nazi Germany revoked the teaching license of every Jewish professor, including Lisa Mitner who discovered atomic fission and whose nephew, (cannot remember his name) headed up America’s construction of the atomic bomb which was planned to be dropped on Germany, but was precluded by the end of the war in Europe. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot or in Hitler’s case, in the head. Thank you Mr. MCclarey for remembering.

  • With this and every other “controversy” that involves vocal/extreme Leftist activism, the underlying truth is “The issue isn’t the issue. The issue is the Revolution.”
    .
    The Revolution’s only real goal is the destruction of The Church; it’s a pretty short putt to discern then who exactly is ultimately behind the Revolution.

  • So, does that mean “conversation,” like “dialog,” is now officially newspeak for “shut up.”

  • We (real) scientists are currently fond of saying that this sort of thing shows how desperate the warmists have become…they grasp at any straw as their house of cards falls.
    .
    However, Mr. WK is so very right. The issue isn’t the issue. After this ruse fails, they’ll just move on to some other big lie, to advance Satan’s agenda.
    .
    A warm seat in Hell…

May 7, 1945: Nazi Germany Surrenders

Thursday, May 7, AD 2015

 

Home alive in ’45 was the watchword of US troops as they headed into Germany in the spring of 1945, although I imagine that many of them could not quite believe it.  Then it was all over.  Hitler added to his lengthy murders by killing himself on April 30, and his successors wasted no time in putting an end to a hopeless struggle.  V-E day was celebrated in Europe on May 7 and in the US on May 8.

Not all Americans celebrated.  Those fighting in the Pacific realized their war was far from over, as Eugene Sledge, serving with the Old Breed (1rst Marine Division) recalled:

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November 16, 1934: Winston Churchill Warns of Nazi Germany

Sunday, February 16, AD 2014

The things that you find on Youtube!  Churchill warning in a radio broadcast during the second year of Nazi rule of the threat posed by them to the peace of Europe.  Churchill tells a very old truth:  one side of a dispute embracing functional pacifism, short of abject surrender, will not make war less likely, but rather ensure the coming of war.

Bonus:  The actor Robert Hardy in 1986 gave a ninety minute presentation on Churchill.  In the below excerpt he talks about socialism and the impossibility of isolationism as a foreign policy for the United States:

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9 Responses to November 16, 1934: Winston Churchill Warns of Nazi Germany

  • Into the Storm is the title of one of our families DVD’s. A brief story of this man made for the times he lived in, Mr. Churchill.

    He mentions the strength in numbers.

    Christian unity in our time is essential in my poor humble opinion.

  • The only proper response to an evil like Hitler’s is the response that the Maccabean brothers gave to the evil that was Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The evil that is Barack Hussein Obama’s is the same in like and kind: a murderer of innocents, a promoter of filth, a thief of the public’s treasury and trust, and each of these did thus under the pretext of hope and change.

  • I’m telling you, the Allies lost World War 2, and then some time in the future a time traveller came back to make history better. It’s the only way to explain the presence of that man at that moment.

  • Brilliant. Profound. It would be wonderful to hear statesmen today treat listeners with a respect for their intelligence and be willing to go into depth and really say Something! so many time now so called “leaders” are avoiding actually saying anything.
    Wouldn’t it be great to run Churchill on some channel opposite the “state of the union”– and let people see and hear and think.
    God bless us with leaders, Please.

  • The same stuff could happen again.

    Look at how they (the pacifists) are letting the evil Iranian regime get the bomb.

    The more things change…the more they stay the same.

  • I am not the accomplished reader that Mr. McClarey is, but I consider Winston Churchill to be the true master of the English language in modern times. Calling Churchill eloquent doesn’t begin to describe Churchill. Churchill was a visionary. He saw what was coming and put it into words in a way that nobody else ever could.

    Churchill was not alone in his foreboding view of the Nazi dictatorship Pilsudski of Poland wanted to join with France and invade Nazi Germany in 1934. The two of them could have pulled it off. Granted, Poland could not have gone it alone – Poland has never been as big as Germany, but both nations could have taken Hitler and his boys out.

  • “armaments are not necessarily a cause of war and that the want of them has been no guarantee of peace. If, for instance, all the explosives all over the world could, by a wave of a magic wand be robbed of their power and made harmless, so that not a cannon nor a rifle could fire ……..would it insure peace? That is the question. On the contrary, in my belief, war would begin almost the next day when enormous masses of fierce men armed with picks, spades, or with clubs and spears, would pour over the frontiers into the lands they covet”.
    Churchill was a realist. He recognized that as Cato (or maybe it was Cicero) said, “Fury will find its weapon”. This is true of nations and of persons. The incidence of crime is less in states having less infringement of the right to keep and bear arms. A strong nation and an armed citizenry are expressions and protectors of the right to life. Those who argue otherwise bring the culture of death in their train.

  • Penquins Fan. You are Polish. God bless.

Biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Compares Obama Contraceptive Mandate to Nazi Germany

Wednesday, February 8, AD 2012

 

Hattip to Matthew Archbold at Creative Minority ReportEric Metaxas, biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Protestant minister and theologian martyred by the Nazis, compares the contraceptive mandate to steps taken by the Nazis against the churches in the thirties.

 

 

“I met the president. I gave him a copy of my book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which he said he’s going to read,” Metaxas said during the interview. “In that book, you read about what happened to an amazingly great country called Germany…”
“In the beginning, it always starts really, really small. We need to understand as Americans — if we do not see this as a bright line in the sand — if you’re not a Catholic, if you use contraception — doesn’t matter. Because eventually, this kind of government overreach will affect you.”

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16 Responses to Biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer Compares Obama Contraceptive Mandate to Nazi Germany

  • This is only partially about birth control.

    It is all about control.

  • Litmus test in progress …
    Re: Free exercise of religion and 1st Amendment rights
    We are the lab rats, but the cage isn’t scheduled for locking until after 11/12.

    It’s so sickening that this test is based on connecting religion to birth control etc., the most private area of people’s lives. Like a replay of Satan, Eve, and the apple.

    The test is invalid, but it is part of our reality now.

  • “cage isn’t scheduled for locking until after 11/12” gives me chills– right now the other side still has to play ball with us because they still have to be elected– once they no longer have to worry about re-election– God help us.

  • The dismissal of God from the public square around 1962 has begotten an era of defining man as having no free will, no unalienable rights and no immortal soul made in the image and likeness of the Supreme Sovereign Being, God.

  • I hope our Catholic leadership realizes, belatedly as it is, that there should be no possibility of negotiating with the Obama administration. Even if they back down, they have proven they can not be trusted. Do not leave them with the power to do this again.

  • Imagine this instead: The Department of Education mandates that there be vending machines to distribute condoms, placed in every high school.

    Or imagine this: The Department of Education mandates that a gay studies curriculum be part of every school’s offerings.

    They’d do it in a heartbeat if they thought they could get away with it. As for the Stupidly Evil party (as opposed to the Evilly Stupid party), the words of Hamlet come to mind: “I will trust them as I do adders fanged.”

  • Yeah, Tony, the “Stupidly Evil” party, the vast majority of whose elected representatives have been voting against abortion for decades, as opposed to the Democrat party that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Planned Parenthood. When it comes to the fight against abortion I find such a pox on both their houses attitude unwarranted, fashionable though it may be.

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  • Dr. Esolen:

    In Canada, the Department of Education of the Province of Ontario is “mandat[ing] that a gay studies curriculum be part of every school’s offerings.” That includes the Province’s state-supported Catholic schools. See this story from LifeSiteNews for the details.

  • Tony
    those things you ask us to imagine are no longer unimaginable! I wonder how long it will be until the government tries to require Christian ministers to “marry” gays.
    … already pharmacists in some states are required to sell morning after pills …the government banning bibles for soldiers who want to carry them in Afghanistan? Is the government going to come to catechism class and threaten the teacher…?

    on another note I have been re reading your “rough beast” article- may take me a few more times through to get it– but if I am right – the danger is not in the attitude that leads to torturing nature so she can be dominated– but even less respectful than that–redefining nature God bless you

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  • From this ravaged Continent of Africa, we are supporting you – beloved American Catholics – with Prayers and Divine Mercy Chaplet at the Hour of Great Mercy. Fight courageously and fearlessly. Heaven is on your side.

  • I am heartened to learn about the Bonhoeffer book as it reminds us that democracy not only requires voting but also an understanding of history and philosophy. I recently learned that hole digging is a new and popular sport in Japan. I can’t believe that people sit around and cheer as competitors dig holes (by hand). Then I think about the complacency and ignorance we North Americans show when it comes to various ethical issues and wonder if this sport isn’t a metaphor for we intellectual couch-potatoes of the 21st century?

  • I live in Denver and watched the Democratic Convention. Not too close mind you but the press did reveal much though they were not aware of doing such, the revealing of who were the fellow travellers on the ticket, Planned Parenthood, NARAL representatives and others with the same thoughts. So that clearly was a marker that it seems most people did not catch but was clear to myself. So you can only guess what were my choices? I voted for the other guy who I was in Vietnam the same time he was.
    I was under fire further south as he was taken his beatings up north.

  • TShaw, yes control.
    The government should not force the Catholic Church to go against it teaching.

    Regardless of the other subj. …
    which it is using as a LCD tool to confuse enough catholics into not seeing the forest for the trees.

    Not seeing that they need to stand and vote for Religious Liberty and Right of Conscience (H.R. 1179 S. 1467) no matter what.

    Birth control will be intact. The Church needs everyone’s vote to be able to exist also.

  • Think of the cruel scourging Our Lord suffered at the pillar and the heavy blows which tore His Sacred Flesh.

    I desire a spirit of mortification.

Advent Light in Darkest Night

Sunday, December 18, AD 2011

 It is time to awaken from sleep. It is time for a waking up to begin somewhere. It is time to put things back where God the Lord put them.

Father Alfred Delp, SJ

During Advent 1944 Father Alfred Delp, a Jesuit, wrote a reflection on Advent.  Go here to read it.  It is a fine Advent meditation.  The circumstances of its writing demonstrate that the light of Christ, which I have always felt most strongly during Advent, can permeate any darkness.  Father Delp wrote it while he was a prisoner of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany.

Alfred Delp first saw the light of this world on September 15, 1907 in Mannheim Germany.  The son of a Catholic mother and a Protestant father, he was raised as a Protestant although he was baptized as a Catholic.  He was confirmed in the Lutheran church in 1921.  Following a bitter argument with his Lutheran pastor, he embraced Catholicism, made his first communion and was confirmed.  His Catholic pastor, seeing rare intelligence in the boy, arranged for him to continue his studies.

In 1926 he joined the Jesuits.  In 1937 he was ordained as a priest.  His further philosophical studies curtailed at  the University of Munich due to his anti-Nazi beliefs, Father Delp worked on a Jesuit publication until it was suppressed by the Nazis in April 1941.  He was then assigned as rector of Saint Georg church in Munich.  All the while he was helping Jews escape into Switzerland.  Father Delp’s Jesuit provincial Augustin Rosch was active in the anti-Nazi underground.  He introduced Father Delp to the Kreisau Circle of anti-Nazi activists.  Father Delp taught Catholic social teaching to the Circle and arranged contacts between them and  Catholic leaders.

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