The war against the Nazis had universal support because it was popularly recognised that their leaders and regime were evil. The difference between the Allies and Axis powers was that we recognised the inalienable human rights of individuals. The Nazis’ institutionalised evil by choosing to kill innocent human beings as a solution to social problems. In the 1960’s UK society choose to go down the same path by legalising the killing of unwanted babies. In the 1990’s we legalised experimentation on embryonic human beings, and unlimited abortion of babies with disabilities. We have to ask ourselves, if in deciding that the human rights of unborn children would not be protected by the law, have we descended to the level of Hitler and the Nazi criminals?


During the Nazi regime only a couple of German bishops spoke out against the atrocities against the Jewish people or against the Nazis’ euthanasia programme. Two prominent opponents of Nazism were Cardinal von Faulhaber, the Archbishop of Munich, and Blessed Cardinal von Galen, Bishop of Münster.


During Advent 1933 Cardinal von Faulhaber delivered a series of sermons in the heartland of National Socialism that challenged Nazism and demanded the protection of the Jewish people. In response to the atrocities against the Jewish people and rumours of the ‘Final Solution’ Cardinal von Faulhaber ordered yellow armbands with the Star of David to be placed on all the statues of Christ and Mary throughout the Archdiocese of Munich.


In response, the Nazis’ raided Cardinal von Faulhaber’s palace, breaking the windows, and shouting ‘Take the traitor to Dachau’. The Nazis’ also discussed plans to murder Cardinal von Faulhaber and on three occasions the Gestapo confiscated copies of the cardinal’s sermons and destroyed them.


Blessed Cardinal Von Galen, the Lion of Munster, was the first to publically expose the Nazis’ secret euthanasia programme, Aktion T4 in a series of homilies condemning the Nazi reign of terror, including his denouncement of the Nazis’ concentration camps. Blessed Cardinal Von Galen warned, ‘Woe betide mankind, woe betide our German people , if the divine commandment “Thou shalt not kill’, which God our Creator wrote into man’s conscience from the beginning, if this commandment is not merely violated but the violation is tolerated and remains unpunished!’ He concluded that it was the duty of Catholics to resist the taking of human life, even if it meant losing their own lives.


As a consequence of his public and very vocal opposition to the Nazis’ euthanasia programme local Nazi officials sought permission for his arrest and execution. He was placed under house-arrest in 1941, with the expectation that he would be executed once the Nazis’ won the war.


Making the comparison with these two German bishops who spoke out against the evil of the Nazi Holocaust and euthanasia programmes, which bishops in our own days stand out as prominent opponents of the murder of babies through abortion in Ireland and the UK? What are the names of bishops who have been relentlessly pilloried in the media or ridiculed in the Dáil Éireann or House of Commons for protesting the murder of babies through abortion? I can’t even think of one!


When we stand before Our Lord Jesus Christ, and He says, ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was sick and you looked after me, I can imagine Him also saying, I was unborn and you protected me. What will you answer?

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