Page 1, 23rd December 1937

23rd December 1937
Page 1
Page 1, 23rd December 1937 — BISHOPS OF PERSECUTED GERMANY SPEAK OUT
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Locations: Berlin, Aachen

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BISHOPS OF PERSECUTED GERMANY SPEAK OUT

Reveal What Catholics Suffer

"Whey Are Making Many

Martyrs„ Parody Of Religious

Instruction

State Paganism Advances

CHRISTMASTIDE SEES A VIGOROUS DEVELOPMENT OF THE PERSECUTION IN GERMANY AGAINST BOTH CATHOLICS AND EVANGELICALS.

While the Confessional Church has been declared illegal and forced to accept pastors of the State's nomination, the Catholics are being attacked on many points.

1. The financial ruin of the Church is being sought.

2. Schools, hospitals and other institutions are being confiscated.

3. A religious instruction based on neo-Germanic paganism is being introduced.

4. The elimination of all Christian influence from the education of youth, and from the cult ural and social life of the German people is proceeding apace.

In recent striking pastorals, German Bishops are fearlessly denouncing this persecution, some of the grosser details of which are described in the Bishop of Trier's Letter.

All this news more than confirms the Pope's recent words: " Impious and atrocious deeds are being prepared in Germany."

How they Tried to Get the Scho of Lists, described in Triers Bishop's Pastoral below Lapsed Catholic Teachers, described in Munster Bishop's Letter below -Evangelical Persecution, see page 9—Editorial Comment, page 8.

CHRISTIANITY AT STAKE

The Bishops' Conference at Fulda decided that on the approach of Christmas, an appeal should be published exhorting clerics and laymen alike to join together in the Apostleship of Prayer. Germany cannot be saved for the Faith without prayer, no matter what other efforts we may make.

The Bishop of Triers. Mgr. Bornewasser, gives details of the persecution in his diocese.

This Pastoral had to be circulated in complete secrecy so as to escape confiscation, with the result that it was not read on the same day in every church.

" You know that on November 2," the bishop writes, "State schools were set up all over the diocese.

" Last Sunday I appealed to you to make a protest, according to your legal rights. Many of you have done so boldly, and in spite of the presence of numerous spies.

Safely Hidden

"The lists (of the names and addresses of those in the Catholic schools) have been safely hidden. Only one parish list—that of St. Mathias at Triers—was intercepted and seized by the authorities.

"The evening of the same day, four priests of Triers were arrested while coming from a meeting, and brought before the Gestapo. There, they were searched minutely, but nothing was found."

New tactics were then invoked to get hold of these " incriminating" lists.

During the week which followed the unsuccessful arrest and search of the priests, the Secret Police told the Catholics " we have the lists!" " The lists are safely at Berlin by now!"

These statements, the Bishop affirms, are pure lies, and a trick to intimidate the Catholics.

Martyrs Today

The Bishop then voices his belief and pride in his flock :— " After watching the events of this week, I know that on this earth of the bishopric of Triers, watered as it is with the blood of the martyrs, there are martyrs still today, men and women, who are firmly purposed tr sacrifice their lives and all in order to remain faithful to their Church!

" They have said, no doubt, ' We don't make martyrs of people,' but they are making many martyrs out of my hearers whom they are attacking, body and soul. On their attitude of firm courage reposes today, as in other dark pages of the Church's history, the hope for better times." Dealing with the persecution to which Catholics are subject, the Bishop gives instances of what Catholics have to suffer.

" Officers of the Army and police went round from house to house and tried again and again to terrorise the women. They even talked about sabotaging' governmental decrees, of want of patriotism, of a hostile attitude towards the State, and they threatened disciplinary inquiries by the Nazi party or the State.

" As a German Bishop I must solemnly appeal to the text of the Concordat, part of the law of the Empire. . . ."

The Archbishop of Munster denounces the persecutors and commands and implores the Catholics to stand firm.

Dissolution of Catholic Societies

The Archbishop, after praying for the persecutors " because they know not what they do," goes on to say: " On October 29, without previous warning . . . without legal procedure, without the possibility of defence, the Catholic youth organisation of the diocese of Munster was banned.

" By the terms of the order of the State secret police," the Archbishop goes on,

" not only are the diocesan organisations dissolved, but with them all parish youth organisations, and even, it appears, the sodalities of Our Lady, and all the religious confraternities. All their property, even down to their banners, have been seized ... I have sent a telegram to the ChancellorLeader telling him of the new decree, and asking him to rescind the orders of the secret police." The Bishop then goes on to refer to the new regulation that all religious instruction in primary schools was in future to be given by laymen as part of the official school curriculum. " An energetic protest made by the President of the Bishops' conference at Fulda has been left unanswered to this day . . . "

Priests Banned from Schools The Bishop then touches on the institution of lay teachers of religious doctrine in schools. " In view of this, I remind Catholic fathers and mothers of their strict obligation of conscience and their heavy responsibilities as regards religious instruction . . . "

The Bishop points out that the decree excluding priests from the schools is illegal, and an open violation of the Concordat.

"It is unhappily undeniable that certain teachers . .. who till lately have been convinced Catholics, have not remained faithful to the Catholic Church: they are unworthy of giving instruction in religion."

"Don't Tell Your Parents"

The Bishop then gives another warning to Catholic parents : " When such teachers actually dare to forbid their pupils to tell their parents what they are learning at school, and what is said in explanation of the truths of religion, remind yourselves that something is happening there which they wish to conceal, and which is liable to destroy your children's love for you."

" You are under the formal obligation of protesting against such leachers, and that by all the legal means at your disposal."

The Necessity of Strenuous Prayer

The Vicar-General of the (vacant) diocese of Aachen has also published a pastoral letter to fortify all those who " by reason of the numberless manifestoes and diatribes published against the Church find themselves in spiritual peril." Meanwhile the systematic stifling of the Church is going on. Not content with the banning of Catholic newspapers, the Nazis are banning books written by Catholics, especially any book which tries to defend the Catholic view of religion against such works as Rosenberg's Myth of the Twentieth Century.

Hallelujah into Heil I

The Nazis. in their campaign for a culture in which Christianity plays no part have gone so far as to modify the words of Bach's Passion and Handers Messiah to " bring them into harmony with national-socialist doctrine."




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