Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Clemens August Cardinal Graf von Galen (2)

Here is a series of photos showing Cardinal von Galen on the day of his return to Münster from Rome. It was the 16th of March, 1946, the day of his 68th birthday.

As you can see on this first photo, Münster was almost completely destroyed during the war. The cathedral was hit badly, the episcopal palace was totally gutted and most of the old center of the town was gone. You can also see that pretty much everybody was out on the streets that day, to give a warm welcome to "their" cardinal.

Cardinal Graf von Galen arrived in an open coach...

... was welcomed by the major (left)...

... and proceeded to a platform in front of the cathedral...

... where he gave a very moving speech. Here is an excerpt:
    "Thousands of people felt painfully with me and like me that the truth of God and the justice of God, human dignity and the human rights were being set aside, despised and trampled on; with me and like me they felt it a bitter injustice also toward the true well-being of our people that the religion of Christ was hemmed in and ever more confined. I knew that many had suffered grievous wrong, very much more grievous than what I myself suffered personally, in the persecutions of truth and justice that we have been through.

    They could not speak, they could only suffer. Perhaps in the eyes of God – for whom suffering, yes suffering, weighs much more than acting and speaking – and perhaps also many of those here now have in reality merited more in the sacred eyes of God, because they have suffered more than me.

    But my right and my duty was to speak out and I spoke out, for you, for the countless persons gathered here, for the countless people of our beloved country of Germany, and God blessed my words, and your love and your fidelity, my beloved diocesans, kept me from what could have been my end, but perhaps they also prevented me from receiving the more beautiful reward,
    [in a voice choked with tears] the glorious crown of martyrdom.

    Your fidelity prevented it. Because you were behind me, and the powerful knew that the people and the bishop in the diocese of Münster formed an unbreakable unity, and that, had they struck at the bishop, all the people would have felt stricken."

Cardinal Graf von Galen died only six days later. He already was weakened because of the long and tiresome trip to Rome and back and he wasn't able to fight down an appendix infection, which was diagnosed too late.

Clemens August Cardinal Graf von Galen was beatified on October 9th, 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI.

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