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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Friday, March 03, 2006

A Tale of Two Cardinals

In 1941, at the height of Nazi power in Germany, few dared to speak out against the perversions of law that were occuring under Hitler's Third Reich. We all know the countless stories about what happened to those that did speak out against the regime. One only has to mention the names Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Sobibor to conjure up images that are the very incarnation of evil in the world. Yet, there were those who did speak out, and while they received vilification from the German press and even death at the hands of the German authorities, they continued to speak. They spoke out because it was their duty, they spoke out because it was right.

One such figure is Blessed Clemens Cardinal von Galen. As Bishop of Munster, he was known as the "Lion of Munster." There were three sermons, in particular, in 1941 where he took on the Nazi authorities. On July 13, he delivered a sermon against the dread Gestapo; on July 13, he delivered a sermon against the Nazi plunder and despoilation of Church property; and on August 3, he delivered a sermon against the Nazi Euthanasia policy. After this series of sermons, the Nazis retaliated by bombing the Bishop's residence. Undeterred, the "Lion of Munster" spoke out against the regime and exorted the faithful to remain faithful to God and Holy Mother Church.

Here is an excerpt from the Aug. 3 sermon worth reproducing:

My dearly Beloved, I trust that it is not too late. It is time that we realized today what alone can bring us peace, what alone can save us and avert the divine wrath. We must openly, and without reserve, admit our Catholicism. We must show by our actions that we will live our lives by obeying God's commandments. Our motto must be: Death rather than sin. By pious prayer and penance we can bring down upon us all, our city and our beloved German land, His grace and forgiveness.

But those who persist in inciting the anger of God, who revile our Faith, who hate His commandments, who associate with those who alienate our young men from their religion, who rob and drive out our monks and nuns, who condemn to death our innocent brothers and sisters, our fellow human beings, we shun absolutely so as to remain undefiled by their blasphemous way of life, which would lay us open to that just punishment which God must and will inflict upon all those who, like the thankless Jerusalem, oppose their wishes to those of God.

Contrast this with the "courage" of Roger Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles. The New York Times heaps praise in this editorial for His Eminence's courage for the least among us. (Hat tip: Diogenes.)

Suffice it to say, we leave for your consideration, a comparison of the two cardinals.