German ‘synodal way’ is ‘conscious statement against catechism’, says official – Catholic World Report


Münster, Germany, March 22, 2017 / 07:04 (CNA/EWTN News).- When Father Clemens August von Galen was consecrated Bishop of Münster in October 1933, he chose as his episcopal motto Nec laudibus, nec timore — neither by praise nor by fear, which summed up his ministry throughout Germany’s Nazi era.

The motto was taken from the liturgy of episcopal consecration, which prays that the new bishop will love humility and truth, and not be overwhelmed by either praise or fear.

Bishop von Galen wrote in his first pastoral letter that “Neither the praise of men nor the fear of men will move us. On the contrary, our glory will be to promote the praise of God, and our constant effort will be to always walk in a holy fear of God.

Throughout his episcopate, the bishop spoke out against the Nazi euthanasia program and racial theories, and championed human rights and the cause of justice. He was the most outspoken of the bishops in Germany at that time and helped draft Pius XI’s anti-Nazi encyclical in 1937. Mit brennender Sorge.

He was made cardinal in February 1946, just a month before his death on March 22, and he was beatified in 2005 by Benedict XVI.

Blessed von Galen’s motto “would be an excellent motto for a bishop to have,” Fr. Daniel Utrecht of the Toronto Oratory told CNA. Pr. Utrecht is the author of The Lion of Münster: The Bishop Who Roars Against the Nazis.

Prof. Utrecht was drawn to write about Blessed von Galen because he was a model bishop.

“I was telling some people about him at World Youth Day in 2005, and they said, ‘We need bishops like this, why have we never heard of this guy? Someone should write a book about him,” he said.

The priest recalled reading in German a two-volume work of documents, letters and sermons of Blessed von Galen written as a bishop. “They were getting more and more fascinating, and there just wasn’t much in English to read about him. I finally came to the conclusion that it was up to me to write a biography in English.

Blessed von Galen was born into a German noble family in 1878 and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Münster in 1904. As a priest he wrote on the origins and limits of state power, and on the importance of voting as a responsibility for the common good rather than doing it for private interests.

In the last years of the Weimar Republic, Blessed von Galen supported the German Center Party, which strove to present a Christian voice for the defense of Catholic interests and human rights in the public square, and formed coalition governments with other parties in an effort to balance power.

But the priest failed to convince many of his acquaintances to support the Center Party – other Catholics argued that the Nazi Party was the most compatible with Catholic ideals.

Many bishops had banned Catholics from being members of the National Socialist movement. But when Hitler softened his anti-religious stance and declared in early 1933 that Christianity would figure prominently in the German regime, the bishops took him at his word and began to allow Catholics to join the movement.

But when Blessed von Galen was appointed bishop later that year, he maintained his anti-Nazi beliefs. Within a year, he clashed with government officials over the rights of Catholic schools and the racial and anti-Jewish ideology of the Nazis.

He was most outspoken against the Nazis’ involuntary euthanasia program, under which the handicapped, mentally ill, deformed, senile, people with Down’s syndrome and the terminally ill were killed. The program began in 1939 and over 70,000 people have been euthanized under it.

Blessed von Galen led the Catholic protest against euthanasia. He delivered three sermons in the summer of 1941 that condemned the program, as well as Nazi attacks on the Church, and raised awareness of what was happening. After the sermons were delivered, he was nicknamed “The Lion of Münster”, and they resulted in a Nazi propaganda minister, Walter Tiessler, recommending that he be executed.

The bishop remained outspoken against Nazi atrocities throughout World War II, and later spoke out against injustices committed by occupying Allied forces.

“I see a lot of parallels today,” the father said. Utrecht told CNA. “I hope people who read the book will get it themselves.” “The example of courage and capacity to speak out in defense of human life of Blessed von Galen is of interest, of great interest today, in the fight against abortion and euthanasia…the defense freedom, religious freedom, defending a place for religion in the public square is a very, very big lesson he has for us.

In addition to supporting Catholic witness to the value of human life in the face of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide and the dictatorship of relativism, Fr. Utrecht said the cardinal can also speak to Catholics facing to political dictatorships.

The priest recounted how, on a recent trip to Germany, he met a priest from Africa who “is very keen to make von Galen known to Africans, for he said: ‘In many places we have governments totalitarians and not enough bishops are speaking out”, – so he thought there was a great parallel there.

Since Cardinal von Galen was beatified 12 years ago, it is necessary to develop a devotion to him, Fr. Utrecht reflects. “Greater devotion to him is the next step, not just locally, but globally.”

“There are a lot of people who know him and are growing in devotion to him, but it needs a new boost, so hopefully we can get a boost, and not just there. , but among English speakers elsewhere. ”



Comments are closed.