|Bl. Karl Leisner 1915-1945|
Weigel's article leads to questions. How does one keep the faith alive in a hostile environment? Are the "suggestions" in the Pan Amazon document likely to invigorate or further damage the faith? I think the answer to that question is obvious! The Pan Amazon synod is a disaster! What can we do about it? Now that is a question to ponder often and seriously as the synod approaches!
Catholics have always lived in hostile times somewhere in the world if not our own local communities. Could there be a more hostile environment than the German death camp at Dachau? Wiping out the priesthood (which appears to be on the agenda for the synod) was certainly on the Nazis' list of priorities. But even in that wasteland, God entered with His power to overcome evil with good.
Read Weigel's story of Heroism and the Priesthood and beg for the intercession of Fr. Karl Leisner who was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1996. We need all the help we can get and this young priest who ended up in Dachau for criticizing der Fuhrer (He was a transitional deacon at the time.) offers us encouragement. Leisner wrote this poem which could equally apply to our day since society resembles the corrupt Weimer Republic that was sinking into paganism even before Hitler appeared on the scene:
Though the road wind through the blackest night,Indeed!
Victory will be ours in the dawn's crimson light.
We are ready to proclaim, in all lands and climes,
That God is the Lord even of these our times.
Our pastor spoke the other day at morning Mass about a conversation with the local Protestant pastors. They all agree that we are on the verge of a "hot" persecution against Christianity. All the signs are in place and some Catholics and other Christians have already suffered loss of jobs, calumny and slander, etc. because of their fidelity to Christ.
Attending a wake last night for the mother/grandmother of a large Catholic clan I had a discussion with a mutual friend. We were both born in 1947 and graduated from college only a year apart. We both agreed there are many days we are ready to go, but want to stay as long as possible to help our children and grandchildren. As I said to her, I do not expect to live long enough to see the restoration, however my husband and I can do our part to try to keep the faith alive in our own family. By the grace of God, it's possible even when the obstacles include the Holy Father and our bishops.
For those with a sense of history, it's obvious that the United States is moving ever more inevitably toward persecution on a mass scale. America today resembles the corrupt Weimar Republic before Hitler came to power. It was the Sodom and Gomorrah of Europe, a party lover's paradise where hard drugs were legal and easily available, prostitution was legal and commonplace, androgyny (think gender fluidity) was all the rage, pornography abounded, sex with children was available.... Does any of this sound familiar?
|Berlin's 900 clubs and cabarets made the city a tourist hotspot for perversion and decadence!|
Even if some club owners tried to get on the right side of the Nazi regime from the mid-1920s onwards, the decadent, liberal lifestyle of the Weimar Republic would always be at odds with the authoritarianism of National Socialist ideology. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, the writing was on the wall, not just for the Berlin nightlife but for many of its star performers and biggest fans. After all, a scene which celebrated homosexuality and where many of the biggest producers and stars were Jewish could never be allowed to continue under Hitler.Blessed Karl is certainly a saint for our dark times. God fulfilled his greatest longing to become a priest which seemed impossible in the death camp. But a series of extraordinary events, including the internment of a bishop prisoner at Dachau, made it possible. Fr. Karl was, in fact ordained clandestinely and said his first (and only) Mass on Dec. 26, the feast of St. Stephen the Martyr. He died only a few months after the allies liberated Dachau. The last words in his diary, dated July 25, 1945 were those of St. Stephen as he was being stoned to death. "Bless my enemies, too, O Lord. 'Lord lay not this sin to their charge.'"
We should follow Blessed Karl's example. Our most ferocious enemies today are the Judases in the Church. Ironically, many lead the failing Church in Germany which makes Blessed Karl's intercession even more timely. We need to pray for them unceasingly. Think of the impact their conversion could have on Holy Mother Church.
Blessed Karl, pray for us!