August 3 – The day the bishop cursed his country

August 4, 2014

On August 3, 1941, Bishop Clemens August Graf von Galen informed his listeners in a third sermon about the continued desecration of Catholic churches, the closing of convents and monasteries, and the deportation and murder of mentally ill people (who were sent to undisclosed destinations), while a notice was sent to family members stating that the person in question had died. This is murder, he exclaimed, unlawful by divine and German law, a rejection of the laws of God. He informed them that he had forwarded his evidence to the State Attorney. “These are people, our brothers and sisters; maybe their life is unproductive, but productivity is not a justification for killing.” If that were indeed a justification for execution, he reasoned, everybody would have to be afraid to even go to a doctor for fear of what might be discovered. The social fabric would be affected. Von Galen then remarked that a regime which can do away with the Fifth Commandment (thou shalt not kill) can destroy the other commandments as well.

“A curse on men and on the German people if we break the holy commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ which was given us by God on Mount Sinai with thunder and lightning, and which God our Maker imprinted on the human conscience from the beginning of time! Woe to us German people if we not only license this heinous offense but allow it to be committed with impunity!”

The sermons were reproduced and sent all over Germany to families, and to German soldiers on the Western and Eastern Fronts. The resulting local protests in Germany broke the secrecy which had hitherto surrounded the euthanasia program Aktion T4. The local Nazi Gauleiter was furious and demanded the immediate arrest of von Galen. However, Joseph Goebbels, Bormann and others preferred to wait until the end of World War II, to avoid undermining German morale in a heavily Catholic area. Of von Galen’s remarks, perhaps the most effective was his question asking whether permanently injured German soldiers would fall under the programme as well. A year later, the euthanasia program was still active, but the regime was conducting it in greater secrecy.


Bl Clemens August von Galen______________

Also of interest:

March 22 – He Stood Up to Hitler Without Flinching

June 8 – The Noble Countess Who Dedicated Her Life to Bringing Dissolute Women to Repentance


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