March 1, 2015

“The largest cemetery for catholic priests” has a post, excerpted below, detailing a fact that, to me anyway, is not so well known to Catholics as it should. The world as a whole knows of the many political, religious and ethnic prisoners that populated the death camps in and around Germany during WWII. To this mix, again, the world probably knows there had to have been Catholic priests and laity in the mix. But what this article points out is that all of the Catholic priests, seminarians, religious and at least one Bishop, were all incarcerated in one camp - Dachau. It was the only camp that ever had a chapel and where The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was offered - in “...the same Latin words as all their confreres, at the same time, throughout the entire world” as one survivor would later testify.

In this time of Lent 2015, of Middle Eastern Catholic religious and laity being slaughtered, of religious persecution and genocide worldwide,  of our voluntary penitential "suffering" in the comfort of our homes, we should all reflect on the ultimate sacrifice that these Catholic priests were called to and willingly accepted. Prayers for the repose of their Souls are also in order, I think. And prayers for all of the Priests, Bishops, Cardinals - and Pope - of the Roman Catholic Church, who may yet be called upon to make the same choice.

This link will direct you to the French Publisher of the book noted at the end of the article. 

Germany: Dachau, “The largest cemetery for catholic priests”

9-dachauIn 1937, the German bishops wrote a memorandum to the minister in charge of religious questions, protesting against the attitude of Hitler’s regime towards Catholics, and in March 1937, Pope Pius XI published the encyclical Mit brennender Sorge (With Deep Anxiety), in which he expressed his worries at the Nazi government’s multiple violations of the Concordat. Hundreds of thousands of copies of this document were secretly printed and distributed in Germany; in retaliation, the Nazis arrested priests and young people who had distributed copies of the encyclical and deported them to concentration camps.
In 1938, the first priests arrived at the concentration camp of Dachau, 17 km to the northwest of Munich, even before the Second World War. From 1938 to 1945, 2,579 Catholic priests, seminarians and religious were deported by the Nazis to Dachau, including 1,780 Poles, 447 Germans and Austrians, 156 Frenchmen, as well as Italians, Czechoslovakians, Luxembourgers, Dutchmen, and Yugoslavians.

Copyright 2015 David Heath - All Rights Reserved

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