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Hawkstone Hall

Redemptorist International Pastoral Centre


Priest martyrs held up as models for ecumenism

Christa Pongratz-Lippitt In Vienna

MORE THAN9,000 people from 11 countries attended the beatification last Saturday of three of the Lübeck martyrs and the “hon- ouring” of the fourth, a Lutheran priest. The four were beheaded together in 1943 for their resistance to the Nazi regime. Cardinal Walter Kasper, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, spoke of the four priests’ “ecumenical mar- tyrdom” and held them up as role models for ecumenism. Those present included several cardinals, 20 Catholic and four Protestant bishops and numerous prominent politicians. The Lübeck martyrs were three Catholic priests, Fr Johann Prassek, Fr Eduard Müller and Fr Hermann Lange from the Catholic Sacred Heart Church, who were beatified on Saturday, and their Lutheran colleague Pastor Friedrich Stellbrink, from the Luther Church in Lübeck, who was “honourably mentioned”. The four were close friends and exchanged information, ideas and shared sermons. In

EUROPE Churches and unions fight to protect Sundays

CATHOLIC CHURCH representatives have joined trade unions in a “European Sunday Alliance”, which will campaign to protect Sundays and uphold proper conditions for family life, writes Jonathan Luxmoore. “Sundays are the reference for time-organ- isation in state and society,” the Alliance said in a founding declaration. “Only a well-pro- tected, common work-free day each week enables citizens to enjoy full participation in cultural, sports, social and religious life, seek cultural enrichment and spiritual wellbeing, and engage in voluntary work. Without this day, all such forms of social interaction and

■PORTUGAL: The Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon gave an interview this month in which he said he believes there is no theological foundation to the non-ordination of women, writes Ana Vicente in Lisbon. “From a theological point of

pastime would be endangered.” The document announcing the Alliance’s launch in Brussels by 65 unions, family groups and church bodies said the EU should reinforce social cohesion by encouraging “reconciliation of professional and family life”. Supporters include the Commission of EU Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, the Conference of European Churches, the Central Committee of German Catholics, Solidarity union in Poland, and France’s Force Ouvrière. Asked why no British groups were involved, a Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales spokeswoman said she knew nothing about the Alliance.

view, I believe that there are no fundamental obstacles. The problem is on another level, in a strong tradition, which comes from Jesus, and in the ease with which the reformed Churches went that way. This did not make the

solution of the problem any easier,” Cardinal José Policarpo, 75, told the monthly newsletter of the Portuguese Bar Association, He also warned that change could not be expected in the foreseeable future.

his sermon on Palm Sunday 1942, Mr Stellbrink said the British air raid on Lübeck the night before had been “God’s judgement”. He was arrested and within two months his three Catholic colleagues had joined him in Hamburg’s Holstenglacis prison, which had set up a guillotine and was the regional centre for executions. The Catholic Bishop of Osnabrück appealed for clemency but it was rejected. Stellbrink not only received no support from his Church but was ejected from Holy Orders because of his convictions. Hitler and his propaganda chief, Goebbels, took particular interest in the priests’ cases. They were beheaded one after the other on

10 November 1943 for listening to enemy broadcasts, treason and demoralisation of the armed forces. Eyewitnesses reported that their blood ran together on the guillotine. Contemporaries saw this as a symbol of the ecumenical character of their resistance to a barbaric totalitarian regime. Pope Benedict told the German ambassador to the Vatican: “We can regard these witnesses as shining lights on our ... ecumenical path.”

Three Month Renewal Course Over 5,000 women and men in ministry worldwide have participated in this

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10-15 July Fr Brendan Callaghan SJ Issues Facing the Church 17-22 July Dr Clare Watkins

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The Human Journey - A Spiritual Destination

11-16 Sept Dr Stephanie Thornton Life’s Continuing Journey/ Stress Management

18-23 Sept Fr R McAinsh CSsR/Mr P Strong The Beginning of the Gospels 2-7 October Fr Denis McBride CSsR The Spirituality of Family Life 9-12 October Mrs Bairbre Cahill

The Death & Resurrection of Jesus 23-28 October Fr Denis McBride CSsR


Weekend Refl ective Retreat 29-31 July Dr Daniel O’Leary

Preached Retreat (Fully Booked) 1-6 August Fr Anthony Gittins CSSp Summer Retreat

15-19 August Fr Nick Harnan MSC

Refl ective Weekends: Friday pm-Sunday pm

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The Art of Understanding Each Other 28-30 October

Fr Kevin Callaghan CSsR & Sr Carol Mouat OP

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Visit: 2 July 2011 | THE TABLET | 29

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