Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Archfather Remembers Holocaust, Recalls Catholic Victims

By Jean DuBois 


Today His Holiness and Eminence the Archfather Rutherford I gave an address in remembrance of the Holocaust during World War II. The vast number of Catholic victims were especially recalled, including heroes like the Polish priest Saint Maximilian Kolbe and the Irish priest Monsignor O’Flaherty. Saint Maximilian took the place of a complete stranger and died in Auschwitz. Monsignor O’Flaherty helped countless Jews, soldiers, and others escape from the Nazis in Rome. His Holiness and Eminence also spoke of the continued anti-Catholic persecution in so-called free and tolerant societies today, calling on civil governments to ensure protection and progress eliminating persecution and intolerance against Catholics. The complete text is below: 

Archpatral Statement on the
Commemoration and Remembrance
of the 
27 January 2021

On this day annually we commemorate and remember the Holocaust of the mid-20th century. Approximately 2 million Catholics, 3 million Slavs, and 6 million Jews perished at the hands of the Nazis. Indeed, as is so often forgotten, many of our Catholic people, many of those being ethnic Poles, were slaughtered alongside Jews and others deemed to be “undesirable” by the Nazi regime. Many other Catholics, Slavs, and Jews, among others, who were not killed nevertheless suffered imprisonment, torture, and persecution at the hands of that group of malefactors that permeated Europe known as the Gestapo simply for being who they were. As one noteworthy example, the priest Saint Maximilian Kolbe earned the martyr’s crown when, as a prisoner in Auschwitz, he volunteered to take the place of a complete stranger in the death chamber. His canonisation was pro-claimed by another Polish priest who fared better, but still was under the shadow of the Nazis, Pope Saint John Paul II.

The Nazi ideology cast a tremendous shadow over Europe before and during the Second World War. The German people themselves were victims of the mad lunacy that controlled the government, and countless Germans suffered likewise at the hands of the Gestapo. That the Nazi leaders imposed their ideology as policy in the name of the German people was an affront to the true spirit of the German people and an insult to their long and venerable history.

Nazi domination of Eastern Europe was a policy of intended elimination of the majority of the population and enslavement of the rest. In the rest of Europe, domination still resulted in countless deaths that can only morally be deemed murder. Even when it did not involve death, it restricted basic human rights, trampled on human dignity, and imposed fear persecution. Catholics were targeted, for the Catholic faith stood in stark contrast and in defiant opposition to the Nazi regime and ideology. Pope Saint Pius XII (Pius XII was canonised earlier this year within the Anglican Patriarchate and New Roman Communion), contrary to the calumny heaped upon him, not only walked a diplomatic tightrope to avoid giving the Nazis the excuse that they wanted to invade the Vatican City and further persecute Catholics around Europe, but also engaged in many secretive activities to safeguard the lives of count-less people, including Jews, escaped soldiers, and more. The future Pope Saint Paul VI, Monsignor Montini, likewise aided in that ef-fort, as did the Irish priest attached to the Vatican, Monsignor O’Flaherty whose exploits were commemorated in the movie The Scarlet and the Black. Holy Mother the Church risked herself to feed her sheep and save all who found themselves in need of her assistance and protection.

Last year marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, yet persecution of various groups of people, including Catholics, persists around the world – even in societies that claim freedom and tolerance. Europe and the United States are no exception. Anti-Catholic rules and regulations exist in the United King-dom. Even in the United States, blatantly anti-Catholic laws are still on the books. While it is easy to say that this is at least not on the same level of what the Nazis did, for we are not being herded together and killed, it is nevertheless the same spirit of intolerance and hatred that leads to the persecution of Catholics in ostensibly tolerant and free societies today. Its form today is often more subtle, though. Whereas the Nazis were brutal, violent, and direct, anti-Catholic persecution today often is very subdued and silent, with exploitation of laws and regulations to deny the rights of Catholics, or simply working quietly behind-the-scenes to ensure that Catholics do not advance if they openly proclaim and live their faith.

We as head of the Stato Pontificio and Anglican Patriarchate call upon, therefore, the civil governments of the world, and in particular of Europe and the Americas to do their part in ensuring an end to anti-Catholic persecution. As so many of the societies right now have initiatives to end racism and intolerance, the Catholic people are so often ignored – especially Catholic minorities. These sorts of double standards should be rooted out and likewise eliminated for the bigotry that they are.

While we work for its end, we nevertheless should offer up any such persecution that we suffer for the benefit of the poor souls in purgatory. It places us in solidarity with those who suffered so much more than most of us have suffered or even can comprehend at the hands of the Nazis. Let us then again pause to reflect and join our-selves across the years with our brethren, our fellow human beings who suffered and died in the Holocaust.