Franz Justus Rarkowski, S.M. (June 8, 1873 – February 9, 1950) was the Catholic military bishop of Nazi Germany. The existence of such a role was provided for by the Reichskonkordat (1933), and Rarkowski had been acting head of the military chaplaincy since 1929, before he was officially consecrated on February 29, 1938 as episcopus castrensis. Rarkowski's title was translated into English as "Field Bishop of the German Army".
The Most Reverend
Franz Justus Rarkowski,
|Field Bishop of the German Army|
|See||Military Vicariate of Germany|
|Appointed||January 7, 1938|
|Term ended||February 1, 1945|
|Other posts||Titular Bishop of Hierocaesarea|
|Ordination||January 9, 1898|
|Consecration||February 20, 1938|
by Cesare Orsenigo
|Born||June 8, 1873|
Allenstein, East Prussia (today Olsztyn, Poland)
|Died||February 9, 1950 (aged 76)|
Rarkowski was born in Allenstein, East Prussia (today Olsztyn, Poland). He was a former associate of President Paul von Hindenburg, and Ambassador Diego von Bergen was informed in July 1935 that he was the favored candidate of the Nazi Party. Rarkowski had not graduated from high school, but was admitted to study theology for the priesthood in Switzerland, where he left his religious order. According to historian Guenter Lewy, the German bishops' opposition to Rarkowski's candidacy "stemmed from the episcopate's feeling that he was their inferior and a threat to their status rather than from the unacceptability of his political ideas". Nuncio Cesare Orsenigo argued that Rarkowski, at 62, was too old for the post, but raised no other objections. Rarkowski was named acting army bishop in August 1936. He was consecrated by Orsenigo, assisted by Konrad von Preysing and Clemens August Graf von Galen.
The Catholic bishops in Nazi Germany had long opposed the existence of such a role, while Hitler's government demanded that the military chaplaincy be exempt from the episcopal jurisdiction of the diocesan bishops. Once the hierarchy consented to Rarkowski's consecration, he was excluded from the meetings of the Fulda Conference except when military matters were discussed. His office was in the defense ministry in Berlin.
Rarkowski was a public and vocal supporter of the Nazi regime, known especially for his nationalistic and militaristic speeches and writings. On the eve of the 1939 invasion of Poland, Rarkowski told soldiers: "Comrades, the issue is your homeland and your people! Be manly and strong!". In an October 4, 1940 pastoral letter, Rarkowski argued that Germany was "waging a just war" and praised German Catholic soldiers for the "Christian attitude they have maintained on the field of battle". Rarkowski continued:
There were 560 Catholic military chaplains in Nazi Germany at the outbreak of World War II. Hermann Göring had forbidden such chaplain in the air force, but the other branches of the military were generally supportive of the institution.
After the remilitarisation of West Germany in 1955, when the military vicarate was re-established, it was independent of the army authorities; Pius XII appointed Cardinal Josef Wendel of Munich as new military ordinariate for West Germany. In communist East Germany there was no established military chaplaincy.
|Catholic Church titles|
Title last held byHeinrich Joeppen (1918)
| Field Bishop of the German Army
1938 – 1945
Title next held byJosef Wendel (1956)
John Marie Laval
| Titular Bishop of Hierocaesarea
1938 – 1950
Timothy Phelim O'Shea
Events from the year 1873 in Germany.1950
was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar, the 1950th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 950th year of the 2nd millennium, the 50th year of the 20th century, and the 1st year of the 1950s decade.Hierocæsarea
Hierocaesarea, from the Greek for "sacred" and the Latin for "Caesar's" was a town and bishopric in the late Roman province of Lydia, the metropolitan see of which was Sardis.Military Ordinariate of Germany
The Military Ordinariate of Germany (German: Katholische Militärseelsorge; Deutsches Militärordinariat) is a military ordinariate of the Roman Catholic Church. Immediately subject to the Holy See, it provides pastoral care to Roman Catholics serving in the German Armed Forces and their families.
Franz-Josef Overbeck, who was appointed Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Essen by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, was also appointed Military Ordinary for Germany on 24 February 2011.Military chaplain
A military chaplain ministers to military personnel and, in most cases, their families and civilians working for the military. In some cases they will also work with local civilians within a military area of operations.
Although the term chaplain originally had Christian roots, it is generally used today in military organizations to describe all professionals specially trained to serve any spiritual need, regardless of religious affiliation. In addition to offering pastoral care to individuals, and supporting their religious rights and needs, military chaplains may also advise the executive on issues of religion, and ethics, morale and morals as affected by religion. They may also liaise with local religious leaders in an effort to understand the role of religion as a factor both in hostility and war and in reconciliation and peace.Military chaplains normally represent a religion or faith group but work with military personnel of all faiths and none. Some countries, like the Netherlands and Belgium, also employ humanist chaplains who offer a non-religious approach to chaplain support.Nazism and the Wehrmacht
The relationship between the Wehrmacht, the regular combined armed forces of Nazi Germany, and the regime it served has been the subject of a voluminous historiographical debate. Broadly speaking, there have been two camps. The myth of the Clean Wehrmacht claims that the Wehrmacht had minimal participation in war crimes and genocide. More recently, scholarship has emerged demonstrating that the Wehrmacht was complicit in the Holocaust.Olsztyn
Olsztyn ([ˈɔlʂtɨn] (listen); German: Allenstein (listen); Old Polish: Holstin; Old Prussian: Alnāsteini or Alnestabs; Lithuanian: Olštynas) is a city on the Łyna River in northeastern Poland. Olsztyn is the capital of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, and is a city with county rights. The population of the city was estimated at 173,070 residents in 2017.
Founded as Allenstein in the 14th century, Olsztyn was under the control and influence of the Teutonic Order until 1466, when it was incorporated into the Polish Crown. For centuries the city was an important centre of trade, crafts, science and administration in the Warmia region linking Warsaw with Königsberg. Following the First Partition of Poland in 1772 Warmia was annexed by Prussia and ceased to be the property of the clergy. In the 19th century the city changed its status completely, becoming the most prominent economic hub of the southern part of Eastern Prussia. The construction of a railway and early industrialization greatly contributed to Olsztyn's significance. Following World War II, the city returned to Poland in accordance with the Potsdam Agreement.
Since 1999 Olsztyn has been the capital city of the Warmia-Masuria. In the same year, the University of Warmia and Masuria was founded from the fusion of three other local universities. Today, the Castle of Warmian Bishops houses a museum and is a venue for concerts, art exhibitions, film shows and other cultural events, which make Olsztyn a popular tourist destination.The most important sights of the city include the medieval Old Town and the Olsztyn Cathedral, which dates back more than 600 years. The picturesque market square is part of the European Route of Brick Gothic and the cathedral is regarded as one of the greatest monuments of Gothic architecture in Poland.Olsztyn, for a number of years, has been ranked very highly in quality of life, income, employment and safety. It currently is one of the best places in Poland to live and work. It is also one of the happiest cities in the country.