Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Priest who defied the Nazis beatified in Germany

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 17th, 2011
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

German priest Georg Haefner preached long and hard against the Third Reich in his native Germany. Sixty-eight years after he died of starvation and disease at Dachau, Haefner, whose death at the hands of the Nazis was judged to be "in odium fidei" -- out of "hatred for the faith."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Haefner became the fourth member of the fold who perished in the concentration camps to be raised to the honors of the altar. The other saints include Maximilian Kolbe and Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), and Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, the Austrian farmer who was executed for refusing to be conscripted into Hitler's army.

During traditional Sunday greetings to pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict, who grew up in Bavaria and was forced by the Nazis to serve as a teen in the Hitler Youth, praised Haefner.

"In the confusion of National Socialism, Georg Haefner was willing, as a faithful shepherd, to protect his flock and deliver the sacrament and the water of life to many people, until the end of his life," the pope said, speaking in German.

"He forgave those who wronged him and in a letter to his parents from prison, he wrote, 'We want to be at peace with everyone.'"

The Vatican's lead saint maker, Cardinal Angelo Amato SDB, presided at the ceremonies in the cathedral of Haefner's native Wurzburg, Der Deutschpapst, he commemorated the occasion at his noontime Regina Caeli with these words:

"Amid the tumult of Nazism, Georg Hafner was present as a faithful pastor, sacrificing his life to feed his flock, leading many people to the waters of life in the proclamation of the truth and the administration of the sacraments.

"He forgave his tormentors from his heart, for as he wrote to his parents from prison: "Let us seek to be good with everyone." Let us entrust ourselves to his intercession, so that we too may hear the voice of Christ, the good shepherd, and so be led to life and joy in abundance.

In Germany, Georg's feast will be observed on the date of his death, 20 August.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)