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Martyrs of totalitarian eras named

Jonathan Luxmoore

THE GERMANBishops’ Conference has pub- lished a new martyrology, detailing the cases of Catholic clergy and laity who died for their faith under Nazi and Communist rule. “I myself was shocked at how many

Christians remained faithful to the Gospel when the atheist Nazi and Communist orders held sway here”, said Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne. “Today’s generation should preserve the memory of our witnesses to faith, since it’s through honouring these great exemplaries that we highlight our

■The new Jesuit provincial in Germany has declared himself in favour of ordaining married men and also of considering women’s ordination to the priesthood, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt. Fr Stefan Kiechle SJ told the

Church’s spiritual priorities.” The cardinal was speaking at the launch of Zeugen für Christus (Witnesses for Christ), with detailed biographies of 76 martyred German Catholics, mostly killed under Nazi rule. The book’s edi- tor, Mgr Helmut Moll, said the aim of the study, launched in 1994, had been to show the “full dimensions” of the Catholic Church’s losses under both totalitarian regimes. Tens of thousands of German Catholics died in SS and Gestapo interrogation and tor- ture centres under Nazi rule, as well as at the concentration camps of Sachsenhausen, Mauthausen, Buchenwald and Dachau, the last of which hosted 411 German priests out of a total of 2,720 clergy. The martyrology includes biographies of eight priests and 14 lay Catholics who died in Communist prison camps in the German Democratic Republic, as well as several nuns raped and killed during the Red Army occu- pation of East Germany and the Sudetenland. (See John Cornwell, page 8.)

Cardinal Höffner Circle, an association of Catholic MPs in the Bundestag, such steps were necessary as the Church was going through a “massive crisis” and there was a drastic shortage of priests, in terms of both quantity and quality.

Fr Kiechle recalled that the

Greek-Catholic Church, in full communion with Rome, ordains married men yet is doctrinally conservative. In the Latin-rite Church, very few churchmen were capable of leadership today, he said.


Dialogue with the Orthodox hits buffers

THE LEADERof the Russian Orthodox dele - gation at last month’s meeting of the Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue Commission in Vienna has given a caustic and pessimistic assessment of the usefulness of the talks, writes Christa Pongratz-Lippitt. On his return to Moscow after the meeting,

Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk said there had been “no breakthrough whatsover”. His statement published on the official website of the Russian Orthodox Church on 28 September said the entire meeting was devoted to a discussion on the role played by the Bishop of Rome in the first millennium, the plan being to finalise a document drafted previously. As the Orthodox insisted “from the begin- ning” that the draft would have to be revised and would even then merely be a working document in their eyes with no official status, the discussions had taken up “too much time”, he said. In the end, the commission had agreed that the draft should be improved and that a final decision should be made at the next ses- sion – probably in two years’ time.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.

[Matthew 25:35]

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