Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen
(March 16, 1878 – March 22, 1946) was a German count, Bishop of
Münster, and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic
Church. He received his education in Austria at the Stella
Matutina (Jesuit School). After his ordination he worked in Berlin at Saint Matthias, were he
became close friends with Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli, later to be Pope
Pius XII. An outspoken critic of the Nazi regime, he issued forceful,
public denunciations of the Third Reich's euthanasia
programs and persecution of the Catholic Church, making him one of the most
visible and unrelenting internal voices of dissent against the Nazis.
Blessed Bishop Clemens August
Graf von Galen
March 16, 1878(1878-03-16), Dinklage Castle,
March 22, 1946 (aged 68), Münster, Germany
2005 by Pope Benedict XVI
Clemens August von Galen belonged to one of the oldest of the most distinguished noble families of Westphalia, and was born in the Catholic southern part of the Duchy of Oldenburg (Oldenburger Münsterland, near the German border with the Netherlands), on the Burg Dinklage, now in the state of Lower Saxony. He was the son of Count Ferdinand Heribert von Galen, a member of the Imperial German parliament (Reichstag) for the Catholic Centre Party, and Elisabeth von Spee.
He received his main schooling in the elite Jesuit boarding school Stella Matutina in Austria, where only Latin was allowed to be spoken. He was not an easy student to teach, and his Jesuit superior wrote to the parents: “Infallibility is the main problem of Clemens, who under no circumstance will admit that he may be wrong. Wrong are always his teachers and educators.
Because Prussia did not recognize his Austrian degree, Clemens spent the last years of his education near home. Upon graduation, his fellow students wrote in his yearbook: Clemens doesn't make love or drinking, he does not like the worldly swindling. In 1897 he began to study a variety of topics, including literature, history, and philosophy. In 1899 he met Pope Leo XIII in a private audience and after that decided to join the priesthood. He studied in Innsbruck and Münster and was ordained in 1904. At first he worked for a family member, the Auxiliary Bishop of Münster, as Chaplain.
Soon he moved to Berlin, where he worked as parish priest at St. Matthias. A memorable event occurred there, which changed his life: During a sermon he noticed the presence of the Papal Nuncio among the listening faithful. He lost his train of thought and began to stammer. From then on the two became very close friends. Eugenio Pacelli knew to poke fun: When Galen, on a beautiful sunny day, encouraged him to enjoy nature and stop working for a change, Pacelli replied with a laugh, before I could do that I must develop much humility, become parish priest in St. Matthias, so I too may get stuck in a sermon. They both joked over this incident in February 1946, when Pope Pius XII elevated von Galen into the College of Cardinals.
Bishop of Münster
Von Galen was elected bishop of Münster in 1933. Documents in the Vatican Archives, which opened related information in 2003, indicate that von Galen was elected only after other candidates had turned down the offer, and in spite of a protest from Nuncio Orgegnio to Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, who expressed his opinion that von Galen is bossy and paternalistic in his public utterances :
Once elected, von Galen campaigned against the totalitarian approach of the National Socialist Party in national education, appealing to parents to insist on Catholic teaching in schools. He successfully used the recently agreed-upon Reichskonkordat (§ 21, granting the Church the right to determine on its own religious instruction) to force the National Socialists to permit continued Catholic instruction in Catholic schools. It was one of the first instances where the Reichskonkordat was used by the Church as a legal instrument against Germany, which was one of the intentions of Pope Pius XI.
Shortly thereafter, von Galen began to attack the racial ideologies of the new regime, partly poking fun at it, partly critiquing its ideological constructs as published by Alfred Rosenberg. He declared it as unacceptable to refuse the Old Testament because of its Jewish authorship, and to limit morality and virtue to the perceived usefulness of a particular race.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI and a German count and bishop of Munster and friend of Pius XII when he was Papal Nuncio Pacelli. He knew of and relentlessly condemned Nazi rule
and had a sermon condemning the euthanasia program of the Nazis. He was later made a cardinal by Pius XII. His sermon on Euthanasia inspired the White Rose movement. I surmise he was educated as a Jesuit. Hitler wished to arrest him but Goebbels advised against it due to his tremendous popularity. His sermons and widespread popularity makes me take notice that the mass of the people knew of the Euthanasia atrocities and of the camp atrocities as well. THEY KNEW. Most were silent and bystanders . Note the memorable event that changed his life as boldened in green below. I deem his aristocratic lineage served to protect him as well as his church standing and popularity with the masses. Note the manner of his election as Bishop of Munster. He was accused of being bossy and paternalistic. e criticized the Nazi approach to education in their preventing the establishment of Catholic schools, and like Pacelli used the Concordat to legal advantage championing Catholic Schools. He criticised Nazi racial ideologies as did Pius XI and attacked the ideological constructs of Alfred Rosenberg. He refused their criticising the Old Testament because of its Jewish authorship.