A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Monday, March 21, 2016

An Unmarked Anniversary

Fr. Hunwicke, a former Anglican priest who is now in the Anglican Ordinariate, reminds us that Monday in Holy Week, 1937, is the day when the Gestapo ransacked Catholic diocesan offices and presbyteries all over Germany. Why? Because Passion Sunday was the day when, the churches being packed, priests all over Germany read publicly the Encyclical of Pope Pius XI, Mit Brennender Sorge,the only encyclical ever written in German. (An English translation is here.)
"It had been smuggled into Germany in the Nuncio's Diplomatic Bag and secretly printed; secretly distributed by special couriers and proclaimed in every pulpit. And nobody leaked it; at least, not in time for the government to intervene. It burst upon the Fuehrer and his admirers as the most wonderful surprise. Not many people in the state apparatus will have had much sabbath rest that Sunday, as arrangements were frantically made to secure all copies for destruction. Rumour has it that in some places a copy was hidden in the Tabernacle...

According to some reports, it had been drafted by Cardinal Faulhaber, Fr Ratzinger's ordaining bishop, no 'leftie' but an old-style conservative German nationalist; and toughened up a little by Cardinal Pacelli. Sadly, since I am not a Germanist, I am reduced to reading it in an English translation. But it still strikes me as immensely moving: to hear the authentic voice of the Vicar of Christ roundly condemning the Zeitgeist in such ringing and unmistakable tones brings tears to my eyes. Those were the days! I commend it to you, if you have not read it recently, or at all. I wonder how we shall celebrate its 80th Anniversary next year?

It condemns the ideology of Race and of Blood, and of a Superman who mystically incarnates in his own person those dangerous myths. But in its essence, it condemns something that is still very much with us today despite any legislative proscriptions of Nazism: the attempt, any and every attempt, to set up a rival to Christ the King."
 Good thing we don't have that problem any more.  No one setting himself up as Dear Leader anymore. No one stirring up the masses against the outsiders. No one attacking the Church.


  1. Whoever identifies, by pantheistic confusion, God and the universe, by either lowering God to the dimensions of the world, or raising the world to the dimensions of God, is not a believer in God.

    A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel,"

  2. > A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel

    A sound sentiment, and one I agree with. The idea of an insular Christian church which focuses solely on providing for its own is emphatically contrary to the Gospel.

    However, this wouldn't be a allusion to certain individuals calling for the building of specific walls in our modern political context would it? Because "building a wall" and "never building bridges" are two vastly different things. To label people who simply want to build *a* wall "bridgeophobics" (or something) would be both irrational and unjust.

    1. Surely. All one need do is name a bridge he proposes to build.

  3. "Fr. Hunwicke reminds us..." Was this a personal conversation? Or is there an article or blog post that you wouldn't mind linking to?

  4. "Fr. Hunwicke reminds us..." Was this a personal conversation? Or is there an article or blog post that you wouldn't mind linking to?

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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