Clemens August Graf von Galen

Clemens August Graf von Galen (16 March 1878 – 22 March 1946) was a German count, Bishop of Münster, and cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. During World War II, Galen led Catholic protest against Nazi euthanasia and denounced Gestapo lawlessness and the persecution of the church. He was appointed a Cardinal by Pope Pius XII in 1946. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

Born into the German aristocracy, Galen received part of his education in Austria from the Jesuits at the Stella Matutina School in the town of Feldkirch. After his ordination he worked in Berlin at Saint Matthias. He intensely disliked the liberal values of the Weimar Republic and opposed individualism, socialism, and democracy. A staunch German nationalist and patriot, he considered the Treaty of Versailles unjust and viewed Bolshevism as a threat to Germany and the Church. He espoused the stab-in-the-back theory: that the German military was defeated in 1918 only because it had been undermined by defeatist elements on the home front. He expressed his opposition to modernity in his book Die Pest des Laizismus und ihre Erscheinungsformen (The Plague of Laicism and its Forms of Expression) (1932).[2]After serving in Berlin parishes from 1906 to 1929, he became the pastor of Münster's St. Lamberti Church, where he was noted for his political conservatism before being appointed Bishop of Münster in 1933.

Galen began to criticize Hitler's movement in 1934. He condemned the Nazi worship of race in a pastoral letter on 29 January 1934. He assumed responsibility for the publication of a collection of essays that criticized the Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg and defended the teachings of the Catholic Church. He was an outspoken critic of certain Nazi policies and helped draft Pope Pius XI's 1937 anti-Nazi encyclical Mit brennender Sorge (With Burning Concern). In 1941, he delivered three sermons in which he denounced the arrest of Jesuits, the confiscation of church property, attacks on the Church, and in the third, the state-approved killing of invalids.[3][4] The sermons were illegally circulated in print, inspiring some German Resistance groups, including the White Rose.[5]

Despite Bishop Galen's opposition to National Socialism, he nonetheless believed Germany was the last bulwark against the spread of godless Bolshevism. Parts of a sermon he gave in 1943 were used by the Nazis to aid in the enlistment of Dutch men to voluntarily join the SS.[6] Galen feared that German Catholics were being relegated to second-class status in Hitler's Germany and believed Hitler was missing the point that the Catholic Church and the state could be aligned against Bolshevism.. Bishop von Galen's selective opposition to elements of National Socialism never amounted to solidarity with excluded groups such as the Jews however, and whilst he spoke out against the euthanasia project he was silent on the equally important issues of roundups, deportations and mass murder of Jews.[7]

Clemens August Graf von Galen
Cardinal, Bishop of Münster
ChurchLatin Church
Appointed5 September 1933
Term ended22 March 1946
PredecessorJohannes Poggenburg
SuccessorMichael Keller
Ordination28 May 1904
by Hermann Dingelstadt
Consecration28 October 1933
by Karl Joseph Schulte
Created cardinal21 February 1946
by Pope Pius XII
Personal details
Birth nameClemens August Graf von Galen
Born16 March 1878
Dinklage Castle, Dinklage, Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, German Empire
Died22 March 1946 (aged 68)
Münster, Province of Westphalia, Allied-occupied Germany
BuriedMünster Cathedral
MottoNec laudibus nec timore (neither by flattery nor by fear)[1]
Coat of armsClemens August Graf von Galen's coat of arms
Feast day22 March
Beatified9 October 2005
Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City
by Pope Benedict XVI

Early years

Burg Dinklage Wikipedia
Galen was one of thirteen children born to an old aristocratic family in Burg Dinklage.

Galen belonged to one of the oldest and most distinguished noble families of Westphalia,[8] and was born in the Catholic southern part of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg (Oldenburger Münsterland, about 50 miles east of the German border with the Netherlands), on the Burg Dinklage, now in the state of Lower Saxony. The Galen name had a presence in the region since the early 1600s, Christoph Bernhard von Galen was named prince-bishop of Münster in 1650, after being raised as a Catholic from 1616 by his uncle, Heinrich von Galen, Canon of Münster. Clemens August was the eleventh of thirteen children, the son of Count Ferdinand Heribert von Galen and Elisabeth von Spee. His father was a member of the Reichstag, the German parliament, for the Catholic Centre Party.[9]

Until 1890, Clemens August and his brother Franz were tutored at home. At a time when the Jesuits were still not permitted in Münster, he received his main schooling at a Jesuit School, Stella Matutina in the Vorarlberg, Austria, where only Latin was spoken. He was not an easy student to teach, and his Jesuit superior wrote to his parents: "Infallibility is the main problem with Clemens, who under no circumstance will admit that he may be wrong. It is always his teachers and educators who are wrong.[10]

Clemens August von Galen and siblings (1884)
Clemens August (third from left) at age six.

Because Prussia did not recognize the Stella Matutina academy, Clemens returned home in 1894 to attend a public school in Vechta and by 1896 both Clemens and Franz had passed the examinations that qualified them to attend a university. Upon graduation, his fellow students wrote in his yearbook: "Clemens doesn't make love or go drinking, he does not like worldly deceit." In 1896 he went to study at the Catholic University of Freiburg, which had been established in 1886 by the Dominicans, where he encountered the writings of Thomas Aquinas. In 1897 he began to study a variety of topics, including literature, history, and philosophy. One of his teachers was history professor and noted biblical archaeologist Johann Peter Kirsch. Following their first winter semester at Freiburg, Clemens and Franz visited Rome for three months. At the end of the visit he told Franz that he had decided to become a priest though he was unsure whether to become a contemplative Benedictine or a Jesuit.[11] In 1899 he met Pope Leo XIII in a private audience. He studied at the Theological Faculty and Convent in Innsbruck, founded in 1669 by the Jesuits, where scholastic philosophy was emphasized, and new concepts and ideas avoided. Galen left Innsbruck in 1903 to enter the seminary in Münster and was ordained a priest on 28 May 1904 by Bishop Hermann Dingelstadt.[12] At first he worked for a family member, the Auxiliary Bishop of Münster, as Chaplain.[13] Soon he moved to Berlin, where he worked as parish priest at St. Matthias.[14]

Berlin (1906–1929)

Galen arrived in Berlin on 23 April 1906 and stayed until 16 April 1929. Germany's capital contained districts of Protestant elites, a Catholic community composed of primarily working-class people and a Jewish community of both middle-class and poorer immigrants. It was a booming commercial and cultural metropolis at the time he arrived — its population increased from 900,000 in 1871 to slightly less than 4 million by 1920. Religion did not bring the community together — "religion and fears of a loss of religious belief came to be a major source of internal division."[15] For the working class, Catholicism and Social Democracy competed for allegiance. In this atmosphere, Galen sought to be an energetic and idealistic leader of his parish. He made visits to the sick and poor, became president of the Catholic Young Men's Association, gave religious instruction in the schools, and for his efforts he was named Papa Galen by the parishioners he served. A commanding presence (6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m) tall) — his rooms were furnished simply, he wore unpretentious clothing, and he spoke plainly — he did not like the theatre, secular music (except for military marches), or literature. His only reported vice, which he refused to give up, was smoking his pipes.[16]

Clemens August von Galen (1899)
Clemens August von Galen in 1899 after a hunt.

During the First World War, Galen volunteered for military service in order to demonstrate his loyalty to the Kaiser. As parish priest, he encouraged his parishioners to serve their country willingly. In August 1917 he visited the front lines in France and found the optimistic morale of the troops uplifting. "Feelings of German nationalism, apparently, could triumph over concern for the violations of the sanctity of human life in war."[17] In 1916 and 1917 he welcomed reports that the German military had a plan to colonize Eastern Europe, stating that German Catholics should be moved into the area, especially Lithuania, with the goal not of expelling the Lithuanians, but educating them to think and feel as Germans.[17]

Following the German surrender in November 1918, Galen, still in Berlin, he worked to create soup kitchens, aid societies, and clothing drives to deal with immediate problems of hunger and poverty. He feared the lower classes would embrace radicalism and anarchy. Galen deplored the fall of the monarchy and was suspicious of the new Weimar democracy, believing that "the revolutionary ideas of 1918 had caused considerable damage to Catholic Christianity."[18] He believed the stab-in-the-back myth, which held that the German Army hadn't been defeated in battle but by being undermined by defeatist elements on the home front[19] and, as did most Germans, considered the Treaty of Versailles unjust.

Throughout the Weimar years he remained on the right of German politics. He often criticized the Centre Party for being too left-wing.[19] Galen openly supported the Protestant Paul von Hindenburg against the Centre Party's candidate, Wilhelm Marx, in the presidential elections of 1925. Galen was known as a fierce anti-Communist (he later supported the battle on the Eastern Front against Joseph Stalin's regime in the Soviet Union). His views on Communism were largely formed as a consequence of the Stalinization and relentless persecution of Christians within the Soviet Union after 1918, during which virtually all Catholic bishops were either killed or forced underground. He also expressed his opposition to modernity in his book Die Pest des Laizismus und ihre Erscheinungsformen (The Plague of Laicism and its Forms of Expression) (1932).[20]


Galen became the pastor of St. Lambert's Church, Münster, where he initially upset some parishioners with his political conservatism. At a meeting in Münster of the Association of Catholic Academicians in June 1933, Galen spoke against those scholars who had criticised the Nazi government and called for "a just and objective evaluation of [Hitler's] new political movement".[20] In 1933, Galen was elected bishop of Münster, although he was not the popular candidate to succeed the previous bishop, Johannes Poggenburg, and was selected only after other candidates had declined to be nominated and despite a protest from the Papal Nuncio Cesare Orsenigo, who reported that Galen was bossy and paternalistic in his public utterances.[21]

Galen was named bishop by Pope Pius XI on 5 September 1933. On 28 October, he was consecrated as bishop in Münster's cathedral by Cardinal Karl Joseph Schulte.[12] He chose as his motto "Nec laudibus nec timore", a phase from the liturgy used for a bishop's consecration when the consecrating bishop prays that the new bishop be overcome "neither by flattery nor by fear".[1] As bishop, Galen campaigned against the totalitarian approach of the Nazi Party in national education, appealing to parents to insist on Catholic teaching in schools. Citing the recently agreed-upon Reichskonkordat assurance that the Church had the right to determine its own religious instruction, he successfully forced 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 against the government, which was one of the intentions of Pope Pius XI.[22] In 1933, when the Nazi school superintendent of Münster issued a decree that religious instruction be combined with discussion of the "demoralising power" of the "people of Israel", Galen refused, writing that such interference in the school curriculum was a breach of the Concordat and that he feared children would be confused as to their "obligation to act with charity to all men" and as to the historical mission of the people of Israel.[23] Galen often protested against violations of the Concordat to Hitler directly. In 1936, when the Nazis removed crucifixes from schools, Galen's protest led to a public demonstration. Together with Munich's Cardinal Faulhaber and Berlin's Bishop Preysing, Galen helped to draft Pope Pius XI's anti-Nazi encyclical Mit brennender Sorge (With Burning Concern) of 1937.[24][25]

In 1934, Bishop Galen began to attack the racial ideology of the Nazi regime, partly poking fun at it, partly critiquing its ideological basis as presented by the Nazi ideologist Alfred Rosenberg. He declared it unacceptable to argue that Jewish authorship of the Old Testament diminished its authority, or that morality and virtue were in any way derived from the perceived usefulness of a particular race.[26] In January 1934, he criticized Nazi racial policy in a sermon and, in subsequent homilies, equated unquestioning loyalty to the Reich with "slavery". He spoke against Hitler's theory of the purity of German blood.[25] Bishop Galen also derided the neo-pagan theories of Rosenberg in The Myth of the Twentieth Century as perhaps no more than "an occasion for laughter in the educated world", but warned that Rosenberg's "immense importance lies in the acceptance of his basic notions as the authentic philosophy of National Socialism and in his almost unlimited power in the field of German education. Herr Rosenberg must be taken seriously if the German situation is to be understood."[27]

In retaliation, two senior SS officers visited Galen to pressure him into endorsing Rosenberg's doctrines publicly, threatening the confiscation of Church property and an anti-Catholic propaganda campaign. One of them was the future SS General Jürgen Stroop, who later recalled, "Bishop von Galen was a great gentleman, a true aristocrat, a Renaissance prince of the Church. He welcomed us politely but with reserve."[28] Galen began by commending Stroop's mother for her devout Catholicism, then categorically refused to accept or praise Rosenberg's doctrines of euthanizing or forcibly sterilizing the disabled. He denounced the Nazis for trying to introduce Germanic neo-paganism into his diocese. He scoffed at marriage ceremonies and funerals conducted before altars dedicated to Wotan, surprising Stroop, who had attended such a ceremony only days before. Galen closed by assuring the officers that the Church would remain loyal to the state in all lawful matters. He expressed his deep love for Germany and reminded them that he had been the first bishop to publicly acknowledge the new regime.[28] In Stroop's view, Galen's German patriotism "was tainted by Papist ideals, which have been harmful to Germany for centuries. Besides, the Archbishop's orders came from outside the Fatherland, a fact which disturbed us. We all know that despite its diverse factions, the Catholic Church is a world community, which sticks together when the chips are down."[28]

In June 1935 he delivered a sermon that connected the heresy of the Anabaptists to the "sins of the Jews". He told his audience that "whoever does not listen to the Church is a heathen and officially is a sinner". He described how "the Israelites debased the Savior", and how people who resisted Jesus as the Christ appeared on the "side of the blinded Jews". He equated the rejection of Christianity with rejection of worldly authority, leading to anarchy and chaos. He pointed to the Russians also as among those who had not respected God-given authority. Galen did not protest the antisemitic 1935 Nuremberg Laws, or the Kristallnacht pogrom of 1938. Until his death, he refused to recognize that referring to Jews as "degenerate", "rejected", and "lost" or labeling anarchy or liberalism as "Jewish", in any way aided the Nazi regime or and its racist antisemitism.[29]

By late 1935, Galen was urging a joint pastoral letter from the German bishops to protest about an "underground war" against the church.[23] By early 1937, the church hierarchy in Germany, which had initially attempted to co-operate with the Nazi government, had become highly disillusioned. In March, Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical Mit brennender Sorge (With Burning Concern), accusing the Nazi government of violating the 1933 Concordat and of sowing the "tales of suspicion, discord, hatred, calumny, of secret and open fundamental hostility to Christ and His Church".[30] Galen was part of the five-member commission that prepared the papal encyclical. The Nazis responded with an intensification of their campaign against the Catholic Church.[31] There were mass arrests of clergy and church publishing houses were expropriated.[32]

In 1941 Galen welcomed the German war against the USSR as a positive development[33] as he had rallied also to the cause of Germany when Hitler invaded Poland, offering a patriotic benediction.[34]


Coat of arms of Clemens August von Galen
Coat of Arms of Cardinal von Galen.

While the Nazi extermination of Jewish people took place primarily on Polish territory, the murder of people with disabilities (viewed by the nazi regime as "invalid" individuals) became public knowledge because it took place on German soil and interfered directly in Catholic and Protestant welfare institutions. Church leaders who opposed it – chiefly Bishop Galen and Theophil Wurm, the Lutheran Bishop of Württemberg – were able to rouse widespread public opposition.[35] The regime initiated its euthanasia program in 1939.[36] It targeted people with dementia, cognitive/mental disabilities, mental illness, epileptic, physical disabilities, children with Down's Syndrome and people with similar afflictions.[37] The programme systematically murdered more than 70,000 people between September 1939 and August 1941.[36] After 1941 the killing continued unofficially, with the total number of deaths estimated at 200,000.[38]

In 1941, with the Wehrmacht still marching on Moscow, Galen, despite his long-time nationalist sympathies, denounced the lawlessness of the Gestapo, the confiscations of church properties, and the Nazi euthanasia programme.[39] He attacked the Gestapo for converting church properties to their own purposes – including use as cinemas and brothels.[40] He protested against the mistreatment of Catholics in Germany: the arrests and imprisonment without legal process, the suppression of the monasteries, and the expulsion of religious orders. But his sermons went further than defending the church, he spoke of a moral danger to Germany from the regime's violations of basic human rights: "the right to life, to inviolability, and to freedom is an indispensable part of any moral social order", he said – and any government that punishes without court proceedings "undermines its own authority and respect for its sovereignty within the conscience of its citizens".[41] Galen said that it was the duty of Christians to resist the taking of human life, even if it meant losing their own lives.[42]

Hitler's order for the "Aktion T4" Euthanasia Programme was dated 1 September 1939, the day Germany invaded Poland. As word of the programme spread, protest grew, until finally, Bishop Galen delivered his famous August 1941 sermons denouncing the programme as "murder".[41] On 3 August 1941, in one of his series of denunciations, Galen declared:[43]

"Thou shalt not kill." God engraved this commandment on the souls of men long before any penal code... God has engraved these commandments in our hearts... They are the unchangeable and fundamental truths of our social life... Where in Germany and where, here, is obedience to the precepts of God? [...] As for the first commandment, "Thou shalt not have strange gods before me," instead of the One, True, Eternal God, men have created at the dictates of their whim, their own gods to adore: Nature, the State, the Nation, or the Race.

1941 sermons

Galen's three powerful sermons of July and August 1941 earned him the nickname of the "Lion of Münster". The sermons were printed and distributed illegally.[40] Hitler wanted to have Galen removed as a bishop, but Goebbels told him this would result in the loss of the loyalty of Westphalia.[40] The sermons protested against Nazi policies on Gestapo terror, euthanasia, forced sterilization, and concentration camps.[44] His attacks on the Nazis were so severe that Nazi official Walter Tiessler proposed in a letter to Martin Bormann that the Bishop be executed.[44]

On 13 July 1941, Galen attacked the regime for its Gestapo tactics of terror, including disappearances without trial, the closure of Catholic institutions without any stated justifications, and the resultant fear imposed on all Germans. The Gestapo, he argued, reduced even the most decent and loyal citizens to fear of ending up in a cellar prison or a concentration camp. Even though the country was at war, Galen rejected the notion that his speech undermined German solidarity or unity. Quoting Pope Pius XII's Opus Justitiae Pax and Justitia fundamentum Regnorum, Galen noted that "Peace is the work of Justice and Justice, the basis for dominion", then attacked the Third Reich for undermining justice, the belief in justice and for reducing the German people to a state of permanent fear, even cowardice. He concluded: "As a German, as a decent citizen, I demand Justice".[45]

In a second sermon on 20 July 1941, Galen said that all written protests against the Nazi hostilities had proved to be useless. The confiscation of religious institutions continued unabated. Members of religious orders were still being deported or jailed. He asked his listeners to be patient and to endure, and said that the German people were being destroyed not by the Allied bombing from the outside, but from negative forces within.[46]

On 3 August 1941, Galen's third sermon described the continued desecration of Catholic churches, the closing of convents and monasteries, and the deportation of mentally ill people 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 said 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. Galen then remarked that a regime which can do away with the Fifth Commandment ("Thou shalt not murder.") can destroy the other commandments as well.[47] Galen went on to raise the question of whether permanently injured German soldiers would fall under the programme as well.

Thousands of copies of the sermons were circulated throughout Germany.[41] The resulting local protests in Germany broke the secrecy that had surrounded the euthanasia programme known as Aktion T4.[48] The local Nazi Gauleiter was furious and demanded Galen's immediate arrest. Joseph Goebbels and party pragmatists preferred to wait until the end of hostilities to avoid undermining German morale in a heavily Catholic area.[49] A year later, the euthanasia programme was still active, but the regime was conducting it in greater secrecy.

According to Robert Jay Lifton, "[t]his powerful, populist sermon was immediately reproduced and distributed throughout Germany — indeed, it was dropped among German troops by British Royal Air Force flyers. Galen's sermon probably had a greater impact than any other one statement in consolidating anti-'euthanasia' sentiment."[50] Howard K. Smith called Galen "heroic", writing that the movement he represented was so widespread that the Nazi government could not arrest the bishop.[51] Ian Kershaw called Galen's "open attack" on the government's euthanasia programme in 1941 a "vigorous denunciation of Nazi inhumanity and barbarism".[52] According to Anton Gill, "Galen used his condemnation of this appalling policy to draw wider conclusions about the nature of the Nazi state."[37]

The sermons inspired various people in the German Resistance. The Lübeck martyrs distributed the sermons.[53] The sermons influenced the Scholl siblings in founding the White Rose pacifist student resistance group.[5] One of von Galen's sermons of 1941 was the group's first pamphlet.[54] Generalmajor Hans Oster, a devout Lutheran and a leading member of the German Resistance, once said of Galen:[55]

He's a man of courage and conviction. And what resolution in his sermons! There should be a handful of such people in all our churches, and at least two handfuls in the Wehrmacht. If there were, Germany would look quite different!

Galen suffered virtual house arrest from 1941 until the end of the war. Documents suggest the Nazis intended to hang him at the end of the war.[39] In a Table Talk from 1942, Hitler said: "The fact that I remain silent in public over Church affairs is not in the least misunderstood by the sly foxes of the Catholic Church, and I am quite sure that a man like Bishop von Galen knows full well that after the war I shall extract retribution to the last farthing".[56]

In his history of the German Resistance, Theodore S. Hamerow characterised the resistance approach of Galen as "trying to influence the Third Reich from within". While some clergymen refused ever to feign support for the regime, in the Church's conflict with the State over ecclesiastical autonomy, the Catholic hierarchy adopted a strategy of "seeming acceptance of the Third Reich", by couching their criticisms as motivated merely by a desire to "point out mistakes that some of its overzealous followers committed" in order to strengthen the government.[57] Thus when Bishop Galen delivered his famous 1941 denunciations of Nazi euthanasia and the lawlessness of the Gestapo, he also said that the church had never sought the "overthrow" of the regime.[58]

Post-war positions

After the war, Galen protested against the mistreatment of the German population by the Allied occupation forces. On 13 April 1945, he raised a protest with American military authorities against the rape of German women by Russian soldiers and the plundering of German homes, factories, and offices by American and British troops.[59][60]

In a joint interview with British officials, Galen told the international press that "just as I fought against Nazi injustices, I will fight any injustice, no matter where it comes from".[61] He repeated these claims in a sermon on 1 July 1945, which was copied and distributed throughout occupied Germany. The British authorities ordered him to renounce it immediately, but he refused.[62] In the face of his resistance and broad popularity, they allowed him free speech without any censorship. In an interview with Swiss media, Galen demanded punishment for Nazi criminals but humane treatment for the millions of German prisoners of war who had not committed any crimes and who were being denied contact with their relatives by the British. He criticized the British dismissal of Germans from public service without investigation and trial.[63] He forcefully condemned the expulsion of German civilians from former German provinces and territories in the east annexed by communist Poland and the Soviet Union.

When SS-General Kurt Meyer, accused of complicity in the shooting of eighteen Canadian prisoners of war, was sentenced to death, Galen pleaded for his life to be spared: "According to what has been reported to me, General Kurt Meyer was sentenced to death because his subordinates committed crimes he didn't arrange and of which he did not approve. As a proponent of Christian legal opinion, which states that you are only responsible for your own deeds, I support the plea for clemency for General Meyer and pledge for a pardon." On second review, a Canadian general, finding only "a mass of circumstantial evidence", commuted Meyer's death sentence to imprisonment.[64]

College of Cardinals

Unexpectedly, at Christmas 1945 it became known that Pope Pius XII would appoint three new German cardinals: Bishop Clemens August von Galen, Bishop Konrad von Preysing of Berlin, and Archbishop Josef Frings of Cologne. Despite numerous British obstacles and denial of air travel, Galen arrived in Rome 5 February 1946.[65] Generous American cardinals financed his Roman stay, as German money was not in demand. He had become famous and popular, so after the pope had placed the red hat on his head with the words: 'God bless you, God bless Germany', Saint Peter's Basilica for minutes thundered in a "triumphant applause" for Galen.[66]

While in Rome, he visited the German POW camps in Taranto and told the German Wehrmacht soldiers that he would take care of their release, and that the Pope himself was working on the release of POWs. He took a large number of comforting personal messages to their worried families.[67]

After receiving the red hat, Galen went to see Madre Pascalina, the faithful servant of the Pope. He told her how the Pope had quoted long passages from Galen's 1941 sermons from memory and how the Pope thanked him for his courage. Galen told the Pope, "Yes, Holy Father, but many of my very best priests died in concentration camps, because they distributed my sermons." Pius replied that he was always aware that thousands of innocent persons would have been sent to certain death if he as pope had protested. They talked about the old days in Berlin, and Galen declared: "for nothing in the world would I want to have missed those two hours, not even for the red hat."[68]

The tomb of Clemens August Cardinal von Galen in Münster Cathedral.

Death and beatification

Following his return from the wearisome travel to Vatican City, the new cardinal was celebrated enthusiastically in his native Westphalia and in his destroyed city of Münster, which still lay completely in ruins as a result of the air raids. He died a few days after his return from Rome in the St. Franziskus Hospital of Münster due to an appendix infection diagnosed too late. His last words were:[69] "Yes, Yes, as God wills it. May God reward you for it. May God protect the dear fatherland. Go on working for him... oh, you dear Saviour!" He was buried in the family crypt of the Galen family in the destroyed Cathedral of Münster.

The cause for beatification was requested by his successor, Bishop Michael Keller of Münster and began under Pope Pius XII in 1956. It was concluded positively in November 2004 under Pope John Paul II. Clemens August Graf von Galen was beatified on 9 October 2005 outside St. Peter's Basilica by Pope Benedict XVI, the 47th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius (1958).

Terminology note

  • Graf is a German title rendered as Count in English, not a first or middle name. The use of von before the family name Galen is indicative of this status. The noble particle (or preposition) von is traditionally dropped in prose when using the family name without the given name or the title Graf. - Note also that if Graf is recognized as a title of non-reigning nobility (and not as a mere part of the name as officially the case after 1919 in Germany), then it is surpassed by the title of Cardinal and thus not used together with it.


  1. ^ a b The Order Followed in the Consecration of a Bishop. The Cathedral Library Association. 1922. p. 24. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  2. ^ Krieg, Robert A. (2004). Catholic Theologians in Nazi Germany. Continuum. p. 74.
  3. ^ "The Murder of Unproductive Persons" Clemens von Galen
  4. ^ Ericksen, Robert. Complicity in the Holocaust. p. 111.
  5. ^ a b Anton Gill, An Honourable Defeat: A History of the German Resistance to Hitler; Heinemann; London, 1994, p.188
  6. ^ Griech-Polelle, p. 22, 125.
  7. ^ Bishop von Galen, German Catholicism and National Socialism, Beth A. Griech-Polelle, p.22
  8. ^ Galen Family
  9. ^ Heinrich Portmann, Kardinal von Galen, Aschendorff, Münster, 1948, p. 9–35
  10. ^ Maria Anna Zumholz, Die Tradition meines Hauses. Zur Prägung Clemens August Graf von Galens in Elternhaus, Schule und Universität, in: Joachim Kuropka (Hrsg.): Neue Forschungen zum Leben und Wirken des Bischofs von Münster, Regensberg, Münster 1992, S. 18.
  11. ^ Griech-Polelle, p. 14.
  12. ^ a b "Bl. Clemens August von Galen". La Santa Sede. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  13. ^ Gottfried Hasenkamp: Der Kardinal – Taten und Tage des Bischofs von Münster Clemens August Graf von Galen. Aschendorff, Münster, 2. Aufl. 1985, ISBN 3-402-05126-5, S. 9 f.
  14. ^ In Joachim Kuropka (Hrsg.): Neue Forschungen zum Leben und Wirken des Bischofs von Münster. Regensberg, Münster 1992, S. 32 f. ISBN 3-7923-0636-0
  15. ^ Smith, German Nationalism and Religious Conflict, cited by Griech-Polelle, p. 16. Smith argues that anti-Semitism coexisted with confessional antagonisms between Catholics and Protestants.
  16. ^ Griech-Polelle, p. 17
  17. ^ a b Griech-Polelle, p. 18.
  18. ^ Portmann, p. 66.
  19. ^ a b Griech-Polelle, p. 20.
  20. ^ a b Krieg, Robert A. (2004). Catholic Theologians in Nazi Germany. Continuum. p. 74.
  21. ^ Ludger Grevelhörster: Kardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen in seiner Zeit. Aschendorff, Münster 2005, ISBN 3-402-03506-5, S. 57
  22. ^ Löffler (Hrsg.): Bischof Clemens August Graf von Galen – Akten, Briefe und Predigten 1933–1946. Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn/Munich/Vienna/Zurich, 2nd edition 1996, p. 46 f. ISBN 3-506-79840-5; and Rudolf Willenborg: "Katholische Eltern, das müßt ihr wissen!" – Der Kampf des Bischofs Clemens August Graf von Galen gegen den totalen Erziehungsanspruch des Nationalsozialismus. Wirkungen auf Partei und Staat unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des oldenburgischen Teils der Diözese Münster. In Joachim Kuropka (Hrsg.): Neue Forschungen zum Leben und Wirken des Bischofs von Münster. Regensberg, Münster 1992, p. 101, 102 f. ISBN 3-7923-0636-0
  23. ^ a b Theodore S. Hamerow. On the Road to the Wolf's Lair (1997), p. 139.
  24. ^ Krieg, Robert A. (2004). Catholic Theologians in Nazi Germany. Continuum. p. 75.
  25. ^ a b Anton Gill; An Honourable Defeat; A History of the German Resistance to Hitler; Heinemann; London; 1994; p.59
  26. ^ Rudolf Morsey, Clemens August Kardinal von Galen – Bischöfliches Wirken in der Zeit der Hitler-Herrschaft. Landeszentrale für politische Bildung, Düsseldorf 1987, p. 14
  27. ^ Richard Bonney; Confronting the Nazi War on Christianity: the Kulturkampf Newsletters, 1936-1939; International Academic Publishers; Bern; 2009 ISBN 978-3-03911-904-2; p. 128
  28. ^ a b c Kazimierz Moczarski (1981), Conversations with an Executioner, Prentice Hall, p. 56-57.
  29. ^ Griech-Polelle, Bishop von Galen. German Catholicism and National Socialism, p. 99, 108.
  30. ^ William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Secker & Warburg; London; 1960; p. 234-235.
  31. ^ Ian Kershaw; Hitler a Biography; 2008 Edn; W.W. Norton & Co; London; p. 381–82
  32. ^ Joachim Fest, Plotting Hitler's Death: The German Resistance to Hitler 1933-1945, Weidenfeld & Nicolson; London; p.374
  33. ^ Peter Löffler (Hrsg.): Bischof Clemens August Graf von Galen – Akten, Briefe und Predigten 1933–1946. Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn/München/Wien/Zürich, 2. Aufl. 1996, pp. 901, 902 ISBN 3-506-79840-5
  34. ^ Theodore S. Hamerow, On the Road to the Wolf's Lair (1997), p. 262-263.
  35. ^ Peter Hoffmann; The History of the German Resistance 1933–1945; 3rd Edn (First English Edn); McDonald & Jane's; London; 1977; p.24
  36. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica Online: Blessed Clemens August, Graf von Galen; web Apr 2013
  37. ^ a b Anton Gill; An Honourable Defeat; A History of the German Resistance to Hitler; Heinemann; London; 1994; p. 60
  38. ^ Michael Burleigh (1994), Death and Deliverance: 'Euthanasia' in Germany, C.1900 to 1945 CUP Archive, ISBN 0521477697.
  39. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica Online: Blessed Clemens August, Graf von Galen; web Apr 2013.
  40. ^ a b c Anton Gill; An Honourable Defeat; A History of the German Resistance to Hitler; Heinemann; London; 1994; p.60
  41. ^ a b c Theodore S. Hamerow, On the Road to the Wolf's Lair (1997), p. 289-290.
  42. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica's Reflections on the Holocaust
  43. ^ Library : The Bishop vs. the Nazis: Bl. Clemens von Galen in World War II Germany – Catholic Culture
  44. ^ a b Allen, John L., Cardinal Ratzinger, p. 26, Continuum International Publishingh 2000
  45. ^ Peter Löffler (Hrsg.): Bischof Clemens August Graf von Galen – Akten, Briefe und Predigten 1933–1946. Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn/Munich/Vienna/Zurich, 2nd edition 1996, p. 843 ff. ISBN 3-506-79840-5
  46. ^ Peter Löffler (Hrsg.): Bischof Clemens August Graf von Galen – Akten, Briefe und Predigten 1933–1946. Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn/Munich/Vienna/Zurich, 2nd edition 1996, p. 855 ff. ISBN 3-506-79840-5
  47. ^ Peter Löffler (Hrsg.): Bischof Clemens August Graf von Galen – Akten, Briefe und Predigten 1933–1946. Ferdinand Schöningh, Paderborn/Munich/Vienna/Zurich, 2nd edition 1996, p. 874 ff. ISBN 3-506-79840-5
  48. ^ Winfried Süß: Bischof von Galen und die nationalsozialistische "Euthanasie". In: zur debatte 2005, S. 18 f. Onlineausgabe
  49. ^ Joachim Kuropka: Clemens August Graf von Galen (1878–1946) – Ein großer Niedersachse. Begleitheft zur Ausstellung im Niedersächsischen Landtag 10. bis 19. Juni 1992, p. 5 f.
  50. ^ Robert Jay Lifton, Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, p. 94.
  51. ^ Smith, Howard K. (1942). Last Train from Berlin. Knopf. p. 277.
  52. ^ Ian Kershaw; Hitler a Biography; 2008 Edn; W.W. Norton & Co; London; pp. 210-11
  53. ^ Eduard Müller; German Resistance Memorial Centre, Index of Persons; retrieved at 4 September 2013
  54. ^ The White Rose Archived 2008-02-06 at Wikiwix Shoah Education Project Web
  55. ^ Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, Valkyrie: The Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler, by its Last Member, Vintage Books, 2009. p. 70.
  56. ^ Hitler's Table Talk 1941–1944, Cameron & Stevens, Enigma Books, p. 90, 555.
  57. ^ Theodore S. Hamerow, On the Road to the Wolf's Lair (1997), p. 198.
  58. ^ Graml, Mommsen, Reichhardt & Wolf; The German Resistance to Hitler; B. T. Batsford Ltd; London; 1970; p. 225
  59. ^ Portmann, p. 234.
  60. ^ Beevor, Antony 'They raped every German female from eight to 80', dated 1 May 2002, in The Guardian
  61. ^ Portmann, p. 237.
  62. ^ Portmann, p. 239.
  63. ^ Portmann, p. 245.
  64. ^ Meyer served nine years in British and Canadian POW prisons. Portmann, p. 246.
  65. ^ Portmann, p. 264–265.
  66. ^ Portmann, p. 290.
  67. ^ Portmann, p. 296–297.
  68. ^ Pascalina Lehnert, Ich durfte Ihm dienen, Würzburg, 1988, p. 151
  69. ^ Gottfried Hasenkamp, Heimkehr und Heimgang des Kardinals, a.a.O., S. 13

External links

Clemens August Graf von Galen
Born: 16 March 1878 in Dinklage Died: 22 March 1946 in Münster in Westphalia
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Johannes Poggenburg
Bishop of Münster
Succeeded by
Michael Keller
1878 in Germany

Events from the year 1878 in Germany.

Albert Stohr

Albert Stohr (13 November 1890 – 3 June 1961) was Bishop of Mainz from 15 July 1935 until his death.

Stohr was born in Friedberg, Germany. He entered the seminary in Mainz in 1909 and was ordained as a priest on 19 October 1913 in Mainz Cathedral. After the death of Bishop Ludwig Maria Hugo, he was elected bishop by the cathedral chapter on 10 June 1935 and confirmed by Pope Pius XI on 17 July 1935. He was consecrated by Archbishop Conrad Gröber on 24 August 1935.His time in office was dominated by World War II and the subsequent reconstruction efforts. He died in Seligenstadt.

Amid 1941 Catholic protests over Nazi euthanasia led by Bishop Clemens August Graf von Galen, Stohr sermonized against the taking of life.

Catholic bishops in Nazi Germany

Catholic bishops in Nazi Germany differed in their responses to the rise of Nazi Germany, World War II, and the Holocaust during the years 1933–1945. In the 1930s, the Episcopate of the Catholic Church of Germany comprised 6 Archbishops and 19 bishops while German Catholics comprised around one third of the population of Germany served by 20,000 priests. In the lead up to the 1933 Nazi takeover, German Catholic leaders were outspoken in their criticism of Nazism. Following the Nazi takeover, the Catholic Church sought an accord with the Government, was pressured to conform, and faced persecution. The regime had flagrant disregard for the Reich concordat with the Holy See, and the episcopate had various disagreements with the Nazi government, but it never declared an official sanction of the various attempts to overthrow the Hitler regime. Ian Kershaw wrote that the churches "engaged in a bitter war of attrition with the regime, receiving the demonstrative backing of millions of churchgoers. Applause for Church leaders whenever they appeared in public, swollen attendances at events such as Corpus Christi Day processions, and packed church services were outward signs of the struggle of ... especially of the Catholic Church - against Nazi oppression". While the Church ultimately failed to protect its youth organisations and schools, it did have some successes in mobilizing public opinion to alter government policies.The German bishops initially hoped for a quid pro quo that would protect Catholic schools, organisations, publications and religious observance. While head of the Bishop's Conference Adolf Bertram persisted in a policy of avoiding confrontation on broader issues of human rights, the activities of Bishops such as Konrad von Preysing, Joseph Frings and Clemens August Graf von Galen came to form a coherent, systematic critique of many of the teachings of Nazism. Kershaw wrote that, while the "detestation of Nazism was overwhelming within the Catholic Church", it did not preclude church leaders approving of areas of the regime's policies, particularly where Nazism "blended into 'mainstream' national aspirations"—like support for "patriotic" foreign policy or war aims, obedience to state authority (where this did not contravene divine law); and destruction of atheistic Marxism and Soviet Bolshevism - and traditional Christian anti-Judaism was "no bulwark" against Nazi biological antisemitism. Such protests as the bishops did make about the mistreatment of the Jews tended to be by way of private letters to government ministers, rather than explicit public pronouncements. From the outset, Pope Pius XI, had ordered the Papal Nuncio in Berlin, Cesare Orsenigo, to "look into whether and how it may be possible to become involved" in the aid of Jews, but Orsenigo proved a poor instrument in this regard, concerned more with the anti-church policies of the Nazis and how these might effect German Catholics, than with taking action to help German Jews.By 1937, after four years of persecution, the church hierarchy, which had initially sought to co-operate with the new government, had become highly disillusioned and Pope Pius XI issued the Mit brennender Sorge anti-Nazi encyclical, which had been co-drafted by Cardinal Archbishop Michael von Faulhaber of Munich together, with Preysing and Galen and the Vatican Sectretary of State Cardinal Pacelli (the future Pope Pius XII). The encyclical accused the Nazis of sowing "secret and open fundamental hostility to Christ and His Church". The German Bishops condemned the Nazi sterilization law. In 1941, Bishop Clemens von Galen led protests against the Nazi euthanasia programme. In 1941, a pastoral letter of the German Bishops proclaimed that "the existence of Christianity in Germany is at stake", and a 1942 letter accused the government of "unjust oppression and hated struggle against Christianity and the Church". At the close of the war, the resistor Joseph Frings, succeeded the appeaser Adolf Bertram as chairman of the Fulda Bishops' Conference, and, along with Galen and Preysing, was promoted to Cardinal by Pius XII.

The Anschluss with Austria increased the number and percentage of Catholics within the Reich. A pattern of attempted co-operation, followed by repression was repeated. At the direction of Cardinal Innitzer, the churches of Vienna pealed their bells and flew swastikas for Hitler's arrival in the city on 14 March 1938. However, wrote Mark Mazower, such gestures of accommodation were "not enough to assuage the Austrian Nazi radicals, foremost among them the young Gauleiter Globocnik". Globocnik launched a crusade against the Church, and the Nazis confiscated property, closed Catholic organisations and sent many priests to Dachau. A Nazi mob ransacked Cardinal Innitzer's residence, after he had denounced Nazi persecution of the Church. In the Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany, the Church faced its most extreme persecution. But after the invasion, Nuncio Orsenigo in Berlin assumed the role of protector of the Church in the annexed regions, in conflict with his role of facilitating better relations with the German government, and his own fascistic sympathies. In 1939, five of the Polish bishops of the annexed Warthegau region were deported to concentration camps. In Greater Germany through the Nazi period, just one German Catholic bishop was briefly imprisoned in a concentration camp, and just one other expelled from his diocese.


Clemens is both a Late Latin masculine given name and a surname meaning "merciful". Notable people with the name include:


Adelaide Clemens (born 1989), Australian actress.

Andrew Clemens (b. 1852 or 1857–1894), American folk artist

Aurelius Prudentius Clemens, 4th century Roman poet

Barry Clemens (born 1943), American basketball player

Bert A. Clemens (1874–1935), American politician

Brian Clemens (born 1931), British screenwriter and television producer

Clayton Clemens, American Professor of Government

Dan Clemens (born 1945), American politician

George T. Clemens (1902–1992), American cinematographer

Harold W. Clemens (1918–1998), American politician

C. Herbert Clemens (born 1939), American mathematician

Isaac Clemens (1815–1880), Canadian farmer and politician

James Brackenridge Clemens (1825–1867), American entomologist

Jacob Clemens non Papa (c. 1510 to 1515–1555 or 1556), Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance

James Clemens, Lord Mayor of Liverpool 1775-6

James Clemens, pen name of author James Paul Czajkowski

James Clemens, Jr. (1791–1878), a US Senator

Jean Clemens (1880–1909), youngest daughter of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Jeremiah Clemens (1814–1865), U.S. senator and novelist

Josef Clemens (born 1947), German bishop

Joseph Clemens (1862–1936), American missionary and plant collector

Joseph Clemens of Bavaria (1671–1723), German archbishop

Kellen Clemens (born 1983), American football player

Koby Clemens (born 1986), American baseball player

Marcus Arrecinus Clemens (disambiguation), multiple people

Martin Clemens, British World War II soldier and Solomon Islands coastwatcher

Mary Strong Clemens (1873–1968), American botanist and plant collector

Olivia Langdon Clemens (1845–1904), wife of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Orion Clemens (1825–1897), brother of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Paul Clemens (born 1988), American baseball player

Roger Clemens (born 1962), American baseball player

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain (1835–1910), author

Sherrard Clemens (1820–1881), American politician and lawyer

Titus Flavius Clemens (consul), great-nephew of the Roman Emperor Vespasian and (as Flavius Clemens) a saint in the Greek Orthodox Church

William Clemens (film director) (1905–1980), American film directorGiven name:

Clemens (rapper), (born 1979), real name Clemens Legolas Telling, Danish rapper, singer, music writer, actor

Clemens (impostor) (d. c. 15 AD), ancient Roman

Clemens Alexandrinus (Clement of Alexandria, c. 150 – c. 215), Christian theologian

Clemens Arnold (born 1978), German field hockey player

Clemens Baeumker (1853–1924), German historian of philosophy

Clemens Bollen (born 1948), German politician

Clemens Brentano (1778–1842), German poet and novelist

Clemens Denhardt (1852–1929), German explorer of Africa

Clemens Fritz (born 1980), German footballer

Arno Clemens Gaebelein (1861–1945), Methodist minister

Clemens Maria Hofbauer (1751–1820), patron saint of Vienna

Clemens Holzmeister (1886–1983), Austrian architect

Clemens Kalischer (born 1921), German-American photographer

Clemens Klotz (1886–1969), German architect

Clemens Krauss (1893–1954), Austrian conductor

Clemens August Graf von Galen (1878–1946), German count, Bishop of Münster, and Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church

Clemens von Pirquet (1874–1929), Austrian scientist and pediatrician

Prince Clemens Wenceslaus of Saxony (1739–1812), German Archbishop

Clemens Westerhof (born 1940), Dutch football manager

Clemens Wilmenrod (1906–1967), German television cook

Clemens Winkler (1838–1904), German chemistFictional characters:

Dr. Jonathon Clemens, a character in the 1992 film Alien 3 played by the British Actor Charles Dance

See Cambridge Latin Course for Clemens, a fictional slave

Collegium Canisianum

The Collegium Canisianum or simply Canisianum in Innsbruck, Austria, is an international priests' seminary of the Roman Catholic church run by the Jesuits.

Elisabeth Hoemberg

Elisabeth Kandal Montague Hoemberg, (31 August 1909 – 1994) was a Canadian historian and writer. She married a German professor in 1938 and wrote about her experiences in Münster during the Second World War and the aftermath.

Franz Rudolf Bornewasser

Franz Rudolf Bornewasser (born 12 March 1866 in Radevormwald; died 20 December 1951 in Trier) was a Roman Catholic Bishop of Trier, in Germany, during the Nazi era.

In 1941, the Bishop of Münster, Clemens August von Galen, publicly denounced the Nazi “euthanasia” program in a sermon, and telegrammed his text to Hitler. Franz Bornewasser also sent protests to Hitler, though not in public.Documents prepared by the American OSS, and used in evidence at the Nuremberg Trials, record that the Nazis were cautious with regard to the murder of church leaders, and conscious of not wanting to create martyrs. Nevertheless, Catholic leaders frequently faced violence or the threat of violence, particularly at the hands of the SA, the SS or Hitler Youth. A number of cases were cited by the OSS, including two attacks against Bishop Bornewasser of Trier.

Galen family

Von Galen is an old, noble, Westphalian family, historically Roman Catholic, from the County of Mark.

German resistance to Nazism

German resistance to Nazism (German: Widerstand gegen den Nationalsozialismus) was the opposition by individuals and groups in Germany to the National Socialist regime between 1933 and 1945. Some of these engaged in active resistance with plans to remove Adolf Hitler from power by assassination and overthrow his regime.

The term German resistance should not be understood as meaning that there was a united resistance movement in Germany at any time during the Nazi period, analogous to the more coordinated Polish Underground State, Greek Resistance, Yugoslav Partisans, French Resistance, Dutch Resistance, Norwegian resistance movement and Italian Resistance. The German resistance consisted of small and usually isolated groups. They were unable to mobilize political opposition. Except for individual attacks on Nazis (including Hitler) or sabotage acts, the only real strategy was to persuade leaders of the Wehrmacht to stage a coup against the regime: the 1944 assassination attempt against Hitler was intended to trigger such a coup.Approximately 77,000 German citizens were killed for one or another form of resistance by Special Courts, courts-martial, People's Courts and the civil justice system. Many of these Germans had served in government, the military, or in civil positions, which enabled them to engage in subversion and conspiracy; in addition, the Canadian historian Peter Hoffman counts unspecified "tens of thousands" in Nazi concentration camps who were either suspected of or actually engaged in opposition. By contrast, the German historian Hans Mommsen wrote that resistance in Germany was "resistance without the people" and that the number of those Germans engaged in resistance to the Nazi regime was very small. The resistance in Germany included German citizens of non-German ethnicity, such as members of the Polish minority who formed resistance groups like Olimp.

Joannes Baptista Sproll

Joannes Baptista Sproll (2 October 1870 – 4 March 1949) was a German bishop and prominent opponent of the Nazi regime.

Sproll was born in Schweinhausen, near Biberach, the son of a street mender, Josef Sproll, and his wife, Anna Maria née Freuer. He attended the Latin school in Biberach and the Gymnasium Ehingen. He studied Catholic theology at the University of Tübingen from 1890 to 1894. In 1898, he received his Ph.D. for his work on the history of the law and constitution of the Tübingen monastery of St. George. On 14 June 1927 he became the Bishop of Rottenburg.

During the Nazi era, Sproll often spoke out against the regime, and his abstention from the plebiscite over the Anschluss led to preliminary proceedings and staged demonstrations against him. At the end of August 1938, Sproll was expelled from his diocese and could not return again until 1945. On 1 August 1940 Conrad Gröber, Archbishop of Freiburg, and the Vicar General of the Diocese of Rottenburg (acting for Sproll) protested against the euthanasia programmes in Grafeneck; this was also the year of the protest of the Bishop of Münster, Clemens August Graf von Galen. Sproll died in 1949 in Rottenburg am Neckar.

Johann Peter Kirsch

Johann Peter Kirsch (November 3, 1861 – February 4, 1941) was a Luxembourgish ecclesiastical historian and biblical archaeologist.

Johannes Joachim Degenhardt

Johannes Joachim Degenhardt (31 January 1926 in Schwelm – 25 July 2002 in Paderborn) was the Archbishop of Paderborn, Germany, as well as a cardinal.

Johannes Quasten

Johannes Quasten (3 May 1900 in Homberg – 10 March 1987 in Freiburg im Breisgau) was a Roman Catholic theologian and scholar of patristics.


Kirchenkampf (German: [ˈkɪʁçn̩kampf], "church struggle") is a German term pertaining to the situation of the Christian churches in Germany during the Nazi period (1933–1945). Sometimes used ambiguously, the term may refer to one or more of the following different "church struggles":

the internal dispute between the German Christians (Deutsche Christen) and the Confessing Church (Bekennende Kirche) over control of the Protestant churches;

the battle between the Nazi regime and the Protestant church bodies; and

the battle between the Nazi regime and the Roman Catholic Church.When the Nazis took power in 1933, 95.2% of Germans were Christian, with 62.7% being Protestant and 32.5% being Catholic. Many historians maintain that Hitler's goal in the Kirchenkampf entailed not only ideological struggle, but ultimately the eradication of the churches. Other historians maintain no such plan existed. The Salvation Army, Christian Saints, Bruderhof, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church all disappeared from Germany during the Nazi era.Nazi ideology was hostile to traditional Christianity in various respects and the Nazi Party saw the Church Struggle as an important ideological battleground. Hitler biographer Ian Kershaw wrote of the Struggle in terms of an ongoing and escalating conflict between the Nazi state and the Christian churches. Historian Susannah Heschel wrote that the Kirchenkampf refers only to an internal dispute between members of the Confessing Church and members of the (Nazi-backed) "German Christians" over control of the Protestant church. Pierre Aycoberry wrote that for Catholics the phrase kirchenkampf was reminiscent of the kulturkampf of Otto von Bismarck's time – a campaign which had sought to destroy the influence of Catholicism in majority Protestant Germany.

List of beatified people

This is a list of beatified individuals or blesseds according to the Catholic Church. The list is in alphabetical order by Christian name but, if necessary, by surname, the place or attribute part of name as well.

Nunciature of Eugenio Pacelli

Eugenio Pacelli (future Pope Pius XII) was a nuncio in Munich to Bavaria from 23 April 1917 to 23 June 1920. As there was no nuncio to Prussia or Germany at the time, Pacelli was, for all practical purposes, the nuncio to all of the German Empire.

Pacelli was appointed Nuncio to Germany on 23 June 1920, and his nunciature was moved to Berlin after the completion of a concordat with Bavaria in 1925. Many of Pacelli's Munich staff would stay with him for the rest of his life, including his advisor Robert Leiber and Sister Pascalina Lehnert – housekeeper, friend and adviser to Pacelli for 41 years.

Theophil Wurm

Theophil Wurm (7 December 1868, Basel – 28 January 1953, Stuttgart) was the son of a pastor and was a leader in the German Protestant Church in the early twentieth century.

Wurm was active in politics. He was a member of the Christian Social Party before World War I, and thereafter of the Citizens’ Party. He held a seat in the Württemberg State Parliament (German: Landtag) until 1920.

As a young man Wurm was a prison chaplain, and became a parish pastor when he was 45. He progressed in the hierarchy of the Lutheran Evangelical State Church in Württemberg and became church president in 1929, with this office being retitled into Landesbischof (bishop of the regional Protestant church) in 1933. Like many churchmen, he initially favored the Nazi regime, but its church policy soon moved him into opposition.

In September 1934 Wurm was deposed from his bishopric by Reich's bishop Ludwig Müller because of his views on church policy (including the Barmen Declaration), and was placed under house arrest. These extreme measures were eventually rescinded by Hitler in the wake of protests and the stripping of power from Müller. Wurm then held the office of bishop until 1948.

Wurm withdrew from the German Christians and aligned himself with the Confessing Church, attending its synods, but he did not advocate the more extreme policies of the church's more militant wing. Nevertheless, he was not politically apathetic and made numerous complaints to the Nazi party and the Nazi state. After the start of the war, he protested the murders of psychiatric patients under the Nazi euthanasia program. Wurm and the Catholic Bishop of Münster, Clemens August Graf von Galen, were able to lead widespread public opposition to the murder of invalids. This earned him a 1944 ban against public speaking and writing.

He associated with the resistance movements that centered on Carl Goerdeler and Ludwig Beck.

He was admired by his fellow churchmen and in 1945 (in connection with the Allies' de-nazification efforts) he was elected chairman of the Council of the newly created Protestant umbrella Evangelical Church in Germany.

He was a signatory of the October 1945 Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt.


Überwasserkirche is the common name of a Gothic hall church in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is a Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Dear Lady), dedicated to St. Mary. Officially St. Marien Überwasser, it is also called Liebfrauen-Überwasser. The name literally means "church beyond the water" and describes the location as on the other side of the Aa river, looking from the Münster Cathedral. It was inaugurated as part of an educational Stift in 1040, which later became the University of Münster.

On 20 July 1941, Clemens August Graf von Galen delivered a famous sermon against the Nazi regime at the Überwasserkirche. The church was destroyed in World War II. It underwent a restoration that was completed in 1968 and another in 2016. It features two organs built in 1972 and 1985. It now serves as the parish church of a larger merged parish.

Clemens August Graf von Galen ancestors
16. Wilhelm Ferdinand von Galen
8. Graf Clemens August von Galen
17. Sophie von Merveldt
4. Graf Johann Matthias von Galen
18. Johann Mathias Kaspar Friedrich Joseph von Ascheberg
9. Anna Angela Caroline von Ascheberg
19. Maria Franziska Carolina Josepha Ferdinanda von Etzbach
2. Graf Ferdinand Heribert von Galen
20. Clemens August Antonius Ignatz von Ketteler
10. Freiherr Maximilian von Ketteler
21. Maria Anna Alexandrina von Galen
5. Freiin Anna Maria von Ketteler
22. Freiherr Clemens August von der Wenge zu Beck
11. Clementine von der Wenge zu Beck
23. Maria Ludovika von Eynatten
1. Kardinal Graf Clemens August von Galen, Bischof von Münster
24. Graf Carl-Wilhelm von Spee
12. Graf Franz von Spee
25. Freiin Elisabeth Augusta von Hompesch-Bollheim
6. Graf August von Spee
26. Graf Ferdinand-August von Merveldt
13. Gräfin Sophie Maria von Merveldt
27. Gräfin Theresia von Pergen
3. Gräfin Elisabeth von Spee
28. Graf Alois Friedrich von Brühl
14. Graf Friedrich August von Brühl
29. Gräfin Josepha Christina Amalie Schaffgotsch genannt Semperfrei von und zu Kynast und Greiffenstein
7. Gräfin Franziska von Brühl
30. Graf Franz Joseph von Sternberg-Manderscheid
15. Gräfin Auguste von Sternberg-Manderscheid
31. Gräfin Maria Franziska von Schönborn-Heussenstamm

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