British World War II Sub Found

Friday, May 27, AD 2016

An appropriate story for a Memorial Day weekend.

 

“It is 100 per cent the P311, as this was the only submarine with those very special characteristics that set it apart,” said Ms Pegararo. 

“He went down Sunday with a go-pro on his helmet, but decided to go down again today with lights to take better quality video. He has made all the announcements to the competent authorities.”

Mr Bondone dove to a depth of 103 meters to explore the submarine, which he reported as intact, with some damage to the bow believed to be from a mine, but otherwise “hermetically sealed.” 

“When it sunk, it went straight down as it is intact on the seabed, and still very well preserved, with a lot of crustaceans and colourful marine life,” Ms Pegararo said. 

“It looks like it probably went down with air sealed inside, leaving the crew to die eventually of oxygen deprivation,” Mr Bondone told La Nuova Sardegna.

HMS P 311  was lost while engaged in Operation Principle, the Chariot attack on Italian cruisers at La Maddalena.

HMS P 311 left Scotland in November 1942 with sister-boats HMS Thunderbold and HMS Trooper after addition of human torpedo deck-mounted watertight containers, direct for Malta.

P 311 departed from Malta on 28 December 1942. She sent her last signal on 31 December 1942 from position 38º10’N, 11º30’E.

After this signal she was not heard from again and she is presumed sunk by Italian mines in the approaches to Maddalena on or around 2 January 1943.

 

 

 

 

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USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage

Friday, May 27, AD 2016

 

A film is being released today on the final voyage of the USS Indianapolis.  I will be seeing it on the first weekend in June, to be followed by a review from me.

 

 

The USS Indianapolis, was immortalized in popular culture by the Jaws video clip above.  The cruiser delivered Little Boy, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, to Tinian on July 26, 1945.  On July 30, 1945 it was sunk by Japanese sub I-58.  900 of the crew made it into the water.  SOS signals, contrary to the Jaws video clip, were sent off.  Three Navy stations received the SOS signal.  At the first station the commander was drunk.  At the second station the commander had left orders not to be disturbed.    The third station wrote off the SOS signal as a Japanese prank.  The Navy denied that the SOS signals had been received for years, and only the release of declassified material revealed the criminal negligence involved.  When the ship failed to dock at Leyte as expected on July 31, 1945, the port operations director Lieutenant Stuart B. Gibson inexplicably failed to report that the Indianapolis had gone missing.

This resulted in the men of the Indianapolis being in the water for 3 and a half days until they were spotted by a routine air patrol.  Heroic efforts were then undertaken to rescue the survivors.  321 men were rescued, four of whom died soon thereafter.  Most of the almost 600 men who escaped the ship and died in the water had been killed by hundreds of sharks who swarmed about the survivors.    Among the dead was Lieutenant Thomas Conway, the ship’s Catholic chaplain.  He spent his time in the water swimming from group to group, praying with the men, encouraging them, and reasoning with men driven to despair.  When Father Conway died on August 2, 1945, he was the last American chaplain killed in World War II.

Captain Charles B. McVay III, the skipper of the Indianapolis, had been wounded in the sinking and was among those who survived to be rescued.  He repeatedly asked why it took so long for the Navy to rescue his men, a question the Navy did not answer.  Instead McVay  was court-martialed, a scapegoat for an episode that had tarnished the image of the Navy.  He was convicted for not zigzagging, which was farcical since he had been told to use his discretion in regard to zigzagging, and with high-speed torpedoes and improved aiming devices aboard subs, zigzagging was not an effective technique for a ship to avoid being torpedoed by the end of World War II.  Admiral Chester Nimitz, the commander of the Pacific Fleet, recognizing the fundamental injustice of the court-martial, restored McVay to duty and he retired as a Rear Admiral in 1949.  Although most of the surviving crewmen of the Indianapolis regarded him as a hero, McVay was eaten away by guilt over the deaths of his crewmen, guilt that was exacerbated by hate mail and hate phone calls he periodically revealed from a few of the families of some of the men who died in the sinking and its aftermath.

After the death of his wife in 1966, McVay took his own life, clutching in his hand a toy sailor given to him by his father.  In 1996 a twelve year old school boy, Hunter Scott, launched a campaign to clear McVay’s name.  The campaign to clear McVay was supported by former Lieutenant Commander Mochitsura Hashimoto who had commanded the I-58 and who noted in a letter that zigzagging would have had no impact on his torpedo attack.

In 2000 Congress passed a resolution calling for the Navy to exonerate McVay.  The resolution stated in part:

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Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’

Saturday, May 21, AD 2016

 

Something for the weekend.  Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’.  A historical curiosity of 1943.  The only gospel song that I am aware of that praises Joseph Stalin, it was inspired by this remark in a speech by FDR:

The world has never seen greater devotion, determination, and self sacrifice, that have been displayed by the Russian people and their armies under the leadership of Marshall Joseph Stalin.  The song was performed a cappella by the gospel group Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet.  The song was a moderate success in 1943 and has mercifully been largely forgotten since that.  A tribute to war time tunnel vision and the delusional view of Stalin firmly embraced by President Roosevelt and many other liberal Americans, inside and outside of his administration, at the time.

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  • Tunnel vision. An apt description. May the Lord protect from a failure to discern and discriminate. Help us to see and steer clear of evil – with the twin helps of our Mother’s Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, closely available to us in Eucharist.

The Year Of the Missing Federal Income Tax

Monday, April 18, AD 2016

1942 was the year of the 1942 revenue bill, perhaps the largest tax increase in American history.  Thirteen million more Americans would find themselves paying federal income tax.  This was out of a population of 130,000,000 and where, prior to the War, most families had only the father of the family as a breadwinner.  Only the War made such a radical expansion of the federal income tax politically feasible.  In 1943 wage withholding of taxes would begin.  The problem was that all of these new federal taxpayers would be trying to meet their 1942 tax obligations as their checks were being subject to federal income tax withholding, a train wreck in the making.  Beardsley Ruml, chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and chairman of R.H. Macy and Co. hit upon an ingenious solution:  forgive the federal income tax owed for 1942!  Ruml compared it to daylight savings time, moving”the tax clock forward, and cost the Treasury nothing until Judgment Day.  One  wag completed the thought that on Judgment Day, “no one will give a damn.”  President Roosevelt was reluctant, viewing the forgiveness as a windfall to wealthy Americans used to paying income tax, but the idea was overwhelmingly, unsurprisingly popular in Congress and with the American people, and the tax debt for 1942 was duly forgiven.

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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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  • 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.

January 26, 1945: Audie Murphy Earns Medal of Honor

Tuesday, January 26, AD 2016

The real heroes are dead.

Audie Murphy

When Audie Murphy starred in his aptly titled World War II biopic, To Hell and Back, his battlefield exploits were downplayed.  Partially this was due to Murphy’s modesty, he had not wanted to appear in the movie and did so only after he was promised that much of the focus of the film would be on his buddies who died during the War, and partially due to the fact that what he did during the War was so unbelievably courageous that film audiences might have refused to believe it.  Here is his Medal of Honor citation that he earned in truly hellish fighting near Holtzwihr, France on January 26, 1945:

By direction of the President, under the provisions of the act of Congress approved 9 July 1918 (WD Bul. 43, 1918), a Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty was awarded by the War Department in the name of Congress to the following-named officer:

Second Lieutenant Audie L. Murphy, 01692509, 15th Infantry, Army of the United States, on 26 January 1945, near Holtzwihr, France, commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. Lieutenant Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him to his right one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. It’s crew withdrew to the woods. Lieutenant Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, Lieutenant Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer which was in danger of blowing up any instant and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to the German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. the enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminated Lieutenant Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he personally killed or wounded about 50. Lieutenant Murphy’s indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy’s objective.

* * * * *
BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR:
OFFICIAL:
EDWARD F. WITSELL
Major General
Acting the Adjutant General
G.C. MARSHALL
Chief of Staff
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One Response to January 26, 1945: Audie Murphy Earns Medal of Honor

January 4, 1945: Isadore S. Jachman Dies Fighting

Monday, January 4, AD 2016

Jachman

For some American soldiers in World War II, the War was not simply a matter of foreign affairs, but intensely personal.  That was certainly the case with Staff Sergeant Isadore S. Jachman  of the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 17th Airborne Division.  His family had come from Germany to America when he was two.  The Nazis murdered several of his relatives, including six uncles and aunts.  Maybe that was part of his motivation when the chips were down for his unit seventy-one years ago.  His Medal of Honor citation tells us what happened:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty at Flamierge, Belgium, on 4 January 1945, when his company was pinned down by enemy artillery, mortar, and small arms fire, 2 hostile tanks attacked the unit, inflicting heavy casualties. S/Sgt. Jachman, seeing the desperate plight of his comrades, left his place of cover and with total disregard for his own safety dashed across open ground through a hail of fire and seizing a bazooka from a fallen comrade advanced on the tanks, which concentrated their fire on him. Firing the weapon alone, he damaged one and forced both to retire. S/Sgt. Jachman’s heroic action, in which he suffered fatal wounds, disrupted the entire enemy attack, reflecting the highest credit upon himself and the parachute infantry.

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2 Responses to January 4, 1945: Isadore S. Jachman Dies Fighting

  • Greet them ever with grateful hearts.

  • “…with men, this is impossible. But not with God; for all things are possible with God.” -Douay-Rheams Mark 10:27

    Would it be too presumptuous to guess S/Sgt. Jachman said a prayer before the dash into open range? Another great story of self sacrifice.

Bob Hope Show: Christmas 1945

Wednesday, December 30, AD 2015

Broadcast on December 18, 1945, the Bob Hope Christmas show for 1945 gives an interesting insight into America as it observed its first peacetime Christmas in five years.  Hope mentions product shortages in his jokes and in a skit the housing shortage comes up.  His guest star was actor Wayne Morris.  Morris had served as a Navy flier, shooting down seven Japanese planes and contributing to the sinking of five ships, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  He earned four Distinguished Flying Crosses and two Air Medals.  A rising star before the War, Morris never recovered from putting his career on hiatus during the War.  He spent the rest of his career mostly in low budget Westerns.  He died of a heart attack in 1959 at age 45 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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One Response to Bob Hope Show: Christmas 1945

  • “A rising star before the War, Morris never recovered from putting his career on hiatus during the War.”

    It’s amazing to me how these brave young men were able to return home and try to fit right back into their respective careers. It must of been frustrating. How does one clear the mind of years of traumatic or near death experiences?

    God bless each of our Vet’s. As for Bob Hope.
    An icon. The lives he touched, especially the combat solider. The bar he set for future entertainer’s is an extremely high one.
    God bless Mr. Hope.

Christmas at Bastogne

Thursday, December 24, AD 2015

In 1944 at Christmas the American and German armies were slugging it out in the Battle of the Bulge, the last German offensive of the War.

Patton’s Third Army rammed its way through to relieve the Americans desperately fighting to defeat the attacking German forces.  The weather was atrocious and Allied air power was useless.  Patton had a prayer written for good weather.  Patton prayed the prayer, along with an extemporaneous one he prayed for good weather on December 23, 1944.  The skies cleared after Patton prayed, and Allied air power was unleashed on the attacking Germans.

During the Battle of the Bulge, the 101rst Airborne Division made a heroic stand at Bastogne from December 20-27 which helped turn the tide of the battle.  On December 25, a packed midnight mass was held in Bastogne, with Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, who commanded the 101rst troops at Bastogne, in attendance.  Afterwards the General listened to German POWS singing Silent Night, and wished them a Merry Christmas.

General McAuliffe issued a memorable Christmas message to his troops:

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December 23, 1945: Funeral of General Patton

Wednesday, December 23, AD 2015

And I see not in my blindness
What the objects were I wrought,
But as God rules o’er our bickerings
It was through His will I fought.

George S. Patton, Jr.

 

 

 

Fate denied General Patton the death he deserved:  in battle, at the head of his men.  His death was much more prosaic, the result of an automobile collision on December 8, 1945 caused by drunk joyriding GIs.  He spent most of the next 13 days in traction, paralyzed from the neck down.  His verdict on his situation was succinct and characteristically blunt:  “This is a hell of a way to die.”  He died on December 21, 1945 in his sleep.  It is perhaps superfluous to note that Patton met death with calm courage.  At West Point as a cadet he had already discerned the essential reality of death:  “What then of death?  Is not the taps of death but the first call to the reveille of eternal life?”  Per his request he was buried with other Third Army dead in the Luxembourg American Cemetery, the simple white cross above his grave precisely the same that marked the graves of the Christian GIs who had fallen in what Eisenhower had aptly called the Great Crusade.

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2 Responses to December 23, 1945: Funeral of General Patton

  • Arguably, Patton and MacArthur (forget Manchester’ crap) were the last pure soldiers.
    .
    Schwartzkopf was able to fight the First Gulf War as war should be waged. However, Korea, Vietnam, Bush’s boondoggles in Afghanistan and Iraq, Hillary’s proxy wars in Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. were not fought as wars because callow, yellow politicians, not soldiers, called the shots.
    .
    In short, never underestimate the foe. Deploy maximum firepower, maximum maneuver. Never cede the initiative. Prepare for the most forceful response from the enemy. “If you find yourself in a fair fight, you did not properly plan the operation.” David Hackworth. After WWII, generally the US violated these maxims.
    .
    In our Republic soldiers don’t pick the wars and objectives. They fight and die in them. That is where MacArthur stepped over the line.

  • To the liberal media, the abortion providers and supporters, the politicians and judges that disregard the Natural Law, God’s law. To them we whisper; “All glory is fleeting.”

    To uncle Joe Taylor, tank operator in the battle
    of the buldge, my god Father. To you dear uncle, God be with you.

The Master Sergeant Was a Modest Hero

Sunday, December 13, AD 2015

Roddie Edmonds

 

A nightmare for every Jewish GI serving in the European Theater of Operations was to be captured by the Nazis.  For a group of American Jewish POWs on January 27, 1945, their worst nightmares seemed about to come true.  The previous day Commandant of Stalag IXA, Major Siegmann, had ordered that the Jews among the thousand American POWs report outside their barracks the next morning.  Their probable grim fate could be imagined.  Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds of the 422nd Infantry Regiment, a resident of Tennessee, was the ranking NCO at the camp and he was not going to allow the Nazis to murder some of his men.  He ordered every American in the camp to show up outside the barracks, and informed the astonished Commandant that they were all Jews.  The Commandant exclaimed that they could not all be Jews and took out his pistol.  Edmonds remained calm:  “According to the Geneva Convention, we only have to give our name, rank and serial number. If you shoot me, you will have to shoot all of us, and after the war you will be tried for war crimes.”   The Commandant turned around and stalked off.  No further attempts were made by him to get his hands on the Jewish GIs.

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3 Responses to The Master Sergeant Was a Modest Hero

  • Heroism is incredible, a supernatural outpouring of the divine from within our depths. An invisible sharing of the ultimate gift reflected from the sacrifice or Christ’s Holy Cross. I’m always in awe of these great moments and the men, women and children who cross these thresholds as though they are immortal. You can kill my body but you can’t harm my soul.

    The prisoners of war may have viewed their surroundings as a valley of death. They may have recalled the truth that Christ conquered death. Their moment of truth might be captured in this psalm; “For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 Douay-Rheams.

  • This story does not surprise me either. That kind of modesty seems to have been common among WWII veterans. My father earned two Bronze Stars and never told me, my brother, or our mom exactly what he did to earn them. I found out after his death that Bronze Stars were and still are sometimes awarded for overall extraordinary performance in combat and not necessarily for a particular act of heroism — so it’s quite possible that he didn’t know what he’d done to merit those medals other than simply “doing his job”.

  • WONDERFUL!! affirmation that we can all make a difference. Especially this time of year ….. What a man Mr. Edmonds must have been to have as a neighbor

One Response to December 11, 1941: Germany Declares War on the US

Pearl Harbor: 1945

Monday, December 7, AD 2015

Seventy years ago the nation remembered Pearl Harbor for the first time in peace time.  Japan was now conquered, our troops occupying it.  Pearl Harbor had been avenged many fold.  It would perhaps have seemed that it was time to relegate the Pearl Harbor attack to the pages of History, but such has not been the case.  Spurred on by the families of the men who were murdered that day in the sneak attack, Pearl Harbor has been remembered each year.  As the World War II generation began passing from the scene, Congress passed on August 23, 1994 an act designating each December 7th as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  Only a handful of Pearl Harbor survivors remain with us, but still news stories, blog posts and other events mark the day and it is fitting that this is done.  The heroism of the Americans who fought at Pearl Harbor should be remembered, along with the terrible price that a nation can pay when it puts its guard down in the face of an aggressive would be adversary.

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