Beatification process moving forward for German bishop who opposed Nazis


The cause for beatification of Cardinal Clemens August von Galen, Bishop of Muenster during World War II and the Nazi regime could be completed next year, according to Archdiocesan sources.

A study of the heroic virtues of the prelate, who became Bishop of Muenster shortly before Hitler came to power in 1933, will be concluded before Christmas, said Karl Hagemann, spokesman for the Archdiocese.

Cardinal von Glalen was known for his fiery sermons against euthanasia, which was carried out by the Nazis on the homeless and the handicapped.  In 1941 he preached three historic sermons against the Nazis, who had taken the lives of more than 100,000 handicapped individuals.

“We have sacred obligations of conscience from which no one has the power to release us, and we must fulfill them even at the cost of our lives,” the Cardinal said in one of the sermons from the pulpit of the Cathedral of Muenster.

After revealing how the handicapped were being killed, he said the Nazis treated them “like an old machine that no longer works, like a cow that won’t produce anymore milk.”

“May humanity be damned, may our German nation be damned, if the holy commandment of God ‘Thou shall not kill’ is not only broken but the transgression is tolerated and is allowed to go on unpunished,” he also said.

His sermons forced the Nazi government to change tactics and devise more deceitful methods for doing away with the handicapped. 

Bishop Galen was born in 1878 and died in 1946, just a few weeks after Pope Pius XII named him Cardinal.

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