On Sunday, before leading the weekly Angelus prayer, Pope Benedict visited the relics of the newly blessed Servant of God, Cardinal Clemens August von Galen, the late bishop of Münster, Germany who, the Pope said, was given the gift, through faith, to see clearly when much of the German intelligentsia went blind to the horrors of the Nazi regime.
Speaking off the cuff about the Cardinal, the Holy Father said that, "All people, especially we Germans, are thankful because the Lord gave us this great witness of faith who brought the light of truth to shine in times of darkness, and showed the courage to oppose the power of tyranny."
"But we must also ask ourselves where did he get such intuition from, at a time when intelligent people seemed blind? And where did get the strength to oppose, at a time when even the strong showed themselves to be weak and vile?"
The late Cardinal, who fought against the Nazi's during the second World War "drew intuition and courage from the faith," the Pope said, something "which showed him the truth and opened his heart and his eyes."
"He feared God more than he feared man," Benedict pointed out, "and God gave him the courage to do and to say what others did not dare say and do. Thus, He gives us courage and again exhorts us to live our faith, teaching us how this can be achieved in simple and humble things that nonetheless are great and profound."
He stressed how the new Blessed "shows us this simple Catholicity, in which the Lord meets us, in which He opens our hearts and gives us discernment of spirit, courage of faith, and joy at being saved. Let us give thanks to God for this great witness of the faith and pray that he illuminates and guides us."
After praying the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, the Pope recalled that only a month after being made a cardinal by Pius XII in 1946, he "died amid the veneration of the faithful who recognized in him a model of Christian courage. Here is Blessed von Galen's ever-present message: faith cannot be reduced to a private emotion, perhaps even to be hidden when it becomes inconvenient, rather faith implies coherence and testimony, also in the public sphere, in favor of mankind, justice and truth."
"In the name of God," Benedict said, "he denounced the neo-pagan ideology of National Socialism, defending the freedom of the Church and human rights which were being so gravely violated, and protecting Jews and others whom the regime considered as refuse to be eliminated."
Cardinal von Galen was declared blessed Sunday morning by Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints during a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica. There, Cardinal Martins read an Apostolic Letter from Pope Benedict proclaiming as Blessed, Servant of God von Galen, who lived from 1878 - 1946.