Monday, November 10, 2008
Clemens August Cardinal Graf von Galen
Beatified on October 9th 2005, this German bishop went down in history as the "Lion of Münster". "Lion" for sure if you consider that he was one head taller than his average contemporaries. While he was a conservative patriot and a fierce anti-communist he also had the guts to speak out against the confiscation of monasteries and the expulsion of nuns and monks by the Nazis and against the laws of euthanasia which were implemented during the Third Reich. In 1941 three of the bishop's homilies were printed on leaflets and widely distributed. So widely, that a certain Karol Wojtyła, who was doing forced labor in a chemical plant in Poland, held a copy in his hands one day.
Countless stories/legends are told about Cardinal von Galen. One of the more famous ones is the report about an initial attempt by the Nazis to arrest the bishop. Allegedly the GEstapo came to the episcopal palace one day and ordered von Galen to come with them. The bishop asked whether he could put on some warmer clothes. They said he could. He vanished and returned 15 minutes later in complete choir dress with rochett, cappa, cappello and pectoral cross. The Gestapo men just turned around and left, knowing they'd be torn apart by the people of Münster if they saw them lead away their beloved bishop.
When he was made a cardinal in 1946, red leather was more that rare in Germany. His red buckled shoes therefore were made from a handbag donated by a lady who apparently was a big admirer.
Pretty much every brave Catholic who was alive in the terrible years between 1933 and 1945 and achieved some fame by either speaking out against the terror or silently organizing help and relief sooner or later will be dragged through the mud by the liberal/leftist "historians" that so love to keep those bulls of excommunication coming from their ivory towers of post-war- and post-persecution-security. Von Galen is no exception, although fortunately the attempts to slander his name went by pretty much unnoticed thanks to the positive national and international recognition the bishop got and still gets.
All these photos show von Galen as a bishop. Tomorrow I'll post some photos of him as a cardinal.