Von Galen on Martyrdom

Sunday, April 3, AD 2011

 

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 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.  Prior examinations of his 1941 sermons may be read  herehere and here.

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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2 Responses to Von Galen on Martyrdom

  • Wonderful and inspiring personal stories and history.

    We certainly need to be reminded of the brave souls throughout Christian history who, threatened with death, were willing to give their very life in sacrifice to Christ and His church rather than submit to the taunts or wiles of evil forces besieging mankind. These are true martyrs for the faith having chosen death of body over life without Christ.

    There is also another kind of martyrdom which our faith from time to time begs us to endure. That is a death of character to the status quo of elitist society. This sometimes is more painful than martyrdom by the sword because you must live with the “stigmata” of it in full view of your adversary or would be executioner. In our age and with the freedom granted to the minds of men in our multicultural “open society” which is pleased to challenge all Christian values there is great need for Culture Martyrdom.

    All of us, but bishops in particular, are given ample opportunities today to offer ourselves as candidates for a kind of martyrdom and stigma of conviction that goes with living and expressing our faith to the fullest with out regard for the cross of conscience a misguided media or pompous intellectuals will place upon us. Aptly named, the culture of death is upon us today and we pray it will be met with a huge wave of these most needed martyrs.

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Queen Elizabeth II Appalled At Church Of England

Monday, October 5, AD 2009

Queen Elizabeth unhappy

Richard Eden of the Daily Telegraph has reported that Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, who is also the head of the Church of England, is “appalled” at what has happened to the Anglican Communion.

The usually well-informed newspaper adds that the Queen, who is the Supreme Governor of the C(hurch) of E(ngland), is “also said to have an affinity with the Holy Father, who is of her generation”.

Quite good stuff to hear of the affinity that Queen Elizabeth has for Papa Bene.

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5 Responses to Queen Elizabeth II Appalled At Church Of England

  • That is becos the QUeen swore an oath to the Catholic faith

  • Liz,

    Could you provide any evidence?

    As Queen of England she is defender of the faith, in this regard, the Anglican faith, not the Catholic faith.

    Unless of course, I missed something.

  • I think certain folks here and elsewhere should educate themselves concerning the Act of Supremacy and the Oath, the very which are the roots of that horrendous Henrician heresy which proclaimed the King (and, years later, the Queen) as Supreme Head of the Church and Defender of the Faith.

    The very reason why John Cardinal Fisher, St. Sir Thomas More, the 105 Martyrs at Tyburn and all other recusants thereafter were put to death.

    It’s funny that the Queen should be appalled; doesn’t she know that she herself is actually Supreme Head of the Church?

    Hence, the responsiblity and, therefore, the blame falls rightly on her alone as well as her detestable lineage from which that very heresy sprung which hitherto only brought abominable ruin to what once was Catholic England!

  • e: Queen Elizabeth counts Margaret Tudor, Henry VIII’s sister, as one of her ancestors, but she has Habsburg blood as well. The family trees of the royal families of Europe are ridiculously intertwined.

  • Donna V.:

    Thanks for the info.

    At this point, I’d rather not dwell on that abomination otherwise known as The Tudors.

    God bless.

Age of Martyrs

Tuesday, June 2, AD 2009

 

Hattip to Southern Appeal.  The executions of Saint John Cardinal Fisher and Saint Thomas More as portrayed in The Tudors.   It was largely because of the courage that these men showed, and the courage  hundreds of other men and women demonstrated who were martyred under the Crowned Monster Henry VIII, his son, and Bloody Elizabeth, that a remnant of the Catholic faith survived for centuries in England, Wales and Scotland, in the face of bitter persecution, until Catholic Emancipation in 1829.

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4 Responses to Age of Martyrs

  • I posted a similar comment over at Feddie’s, but it is unfortunate that they got More’s line wrong: it is “… the King’s good servant AND God’s first.”

    It is important to remember that the obligations are not mutually exclusive. More believed he was serving the best interests of King and country by remaining faithful to God and the Church. In the same way, we best fulfill our patriotic obligations when we remain faithful to what God asks of us.

  • Much prefer the portrayal of Thomas Moore’s martyrdom in A Man For All Seasons.

  • I loved that movie, “A Man for All Seasons”. Thank you for reminding me of it, Anthony.

  • I loved that movie, “A Man for All Seasons”. Thank you for reminding me of it, Anthony.
    Sorry… forgot to say great post – can’t wait to read your next one!