"Lion of Muenster" Will Be a "Blessed"

Bishop von Galen Opposed Hitler

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 20, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The path to beatification has been cleared for Cardinal Clemens August von Galen, the «Lion of Muenster» who raised his voice against Hitler.

Von Galen «was always dedicated to pastoral service, first as a parish priest and later as bishop of Muenster,» said Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, today in the presence of John Paul II.

The cardinal was promulgating a decree officially recognizing a miracle attributed to von Galen (1878-1946).

«He defended the people from the errors and aggressions of National Socialism, risking arrest and death,» the Vatican prefect said. «The Supreme Pontiff Pius XII created him cardinal, but he died a holy death one month later of peritonitis.»

The miracle, on which the Vatican congregation pronounced itself, is the case of Henrikus Nahak, a student from India who in 1995 was completely cured of an illness after praying for the intercession of von Galen.

Bishop of Muenster during the Nazi period, von Galen raised his voice in defense of the rights of the poor and the sick, and protested vigorously against euthanasia, the seizing of monasteries and convents, the persecution of Jews and the expulsion of religious.

To avoid revolts because of the bishop’s condemnation of euthanasia, Hitler gave an order to block officially the execution of an euthanasia program. The Nazis still practiced euthanasia in low-profile cases.

Pope Pius XII used to read the Bishop von Galen’s homilies and presented him as a «hero» to German soldiers in Westphalia.

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