Monday, August 10, 2009
Martyrs of the Nazis remind us of the cost of atheistic humanism
At his Angelus address yesterday given from Castel Gondolfo, Pope Benedict described two martyrs of the Holocaust, St. Edith Stein and St. Maximilian Kolbe. Edith Stein, a Jewish university professor turned contemplative nun, offered her life for the end of the war. Sent to the death camp because of her Jewish heritage she died at Auschwitz in 1942. Fr. Kolbe also died at Auschwitz. After an escape several prisoners were randomly selected to die in the "starvation bunker." One man selected fell to his knees and begged for his life because he was a husband and father. Fr. Kolbe stepped out of the line of prisoners and offered to take the man's place. Despite having only part of one lung he was the last survivor, acting as a chaplain preparing the other prisoners for death. The Nazis finally killed him after two weeks of suffering by lethal injection.
The pope spoke of "the antithesis" between Christian humanism and atheistic humanism "which spans history, but that with the contemporary nihilism, has come to a crucial point.... The Nazi concentration camp - as every death camp, can be considered an extreme symbol of evil, of the hell that comes to earth when man forgets God, and when He is replaced, usurping from Him the right to decide what is good and what is evil, to give life or to take life. Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not confined to the death camp."
In the 21st century, our enlightened age, death camps thrive in every major city. They are called "women's reproductive centers" and disguise their bloody holocaust as choice. And the men playing God work there or in the halls of Congress where they write health care legislation mandating that taxpayers participate in the murder. Some things never change. The nihilists in every age continue their deathly rampage.
Pray God they can be stopped. St. Edith and St. Maximilian, pray for us.