World: Catholic Church Beatifies Anti-Nazi Priest Who Died in Concentration Camp - - PressFrom - US
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World Catholic Church Beatifies Anti-Nazi Priest Who Died in Concentration Camp

00:06  02 october  2019
00:06  02 october  2019 Source:   newsweek.com

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Popes Pius XI (1922–39) and Pius XII (1939–58) led the Roman Catholic Church through the rise and fall of Nazi Germany. Around a third of Germans were Catholic in the 1930s.

The Catholic Church celebrated in Germany the beatification of Richard Henkes, a priest who was an outspoken critic of the Third Reich during the 30s and 40s and who died of typhus while ministering to the sick at the Dachau concentration camp.

a person standing in front of a building: The main entrance to Dachau concentration camp.© Horace Abrahams/Getty The main entrance to Dachau concentration camp.

"Due to Fr. Henkes' selfless abandonment of his life for other people, even unto death, Pope Francis has recognized him as a martyr," said Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Pope's representative at the beatification ceremony, according to National Catholic Reporter. "Father Henkes stands out to us as a martyr of charity, who sacrificed his life for Christ and therefore holds a share of Christ's cross."

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The Roman Catholic Church suffered persecution in Nazi Germany. The Nazis claimed jurisdiction over all collective and social activity and the party leadership hoped to dechristianize Germany in the long term.

The priesthood is one of the three holy orders of the Catholic Church , comprising the ordained priests or presbyters. The other two orders are the bishops and the deacons.

Henkes was ordained in 1925 and gained a reputation in the 30s for his criticism of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. The Gestapo arrested Henkes and put him on trial in 1938, but he was ultimately released. He continued to advocate against the Nazi regime in sermons and encouraged school students to question Nazi ideology.

His own order of priests banished him and sent him to obscure postings multiple times to distance themselves from his criticisms. Henkes was eventually arrested and sent to Dacha, where he worked as a forced laborer and cared for his fellow inmates. He continued to celebrate Mass and encouraged his fellow prisoners to pray. In late 1944, a typhus outbreak overtook Block 17 of the camp, which the Nazis quarantined off and abandoned; Henkes volunteered to remain in the section.

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Georg Häfner, a priest who died at a concentration camp for defying the Nazi regime, was beatified by the Catholic church in a ceremony in Bavaria on Sunday. Cardinal Angelo Amato came from the Vatican to carry out the beatification ceremony at the Würzburg Cathedral, in a service attended by

Priest Georg Haefner preached 'let us be good with everyone' German priest Georg Haefner preached long and hard against the Third Reich in his native Sixty-eight years after he died of starvation and disease at Dachau, Haefner, whose death at the hands of the Nazis was judged to be "in odium fidei"

"People are dying in masses because they are completely starving. There are only skeletons. A gruesome picture. I have been vaccinated against typhus fever and I hope that the Lord God protects me," he wrote in a letter smuggled out of the camp, according to the Catholic News Agency. "However, one thinks of how this will end up here. We can do nothing, we can only rely on the Lord God."

After eight weeks in the infected section of the camp, Henkes contracted typhus and died. "Father Henkes did not seek martyrdom, but he freely and voluntarily accepted it as a consequence of his loyalty to his Catholic faith," Koch said at the beatification.

Henkes' beatification was attended by around 1,000 from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic on September 15 in Limburg, Germany. The ceremony was broadcast live on radio and made available for live streaming, and it was followed by a festival. Henkes has a local following in the region: he is the subject of a graphic novel and is included in the history exhibit in Limburg, "Witnesses for Humanity: The Resistance of German Christians in the Sudetenland 1938—1945."

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