VATICAN CITY, OCT 9, 2005 (VIS) - Today at 9.30 a.m., Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, presided at a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica during which, by order of Benedict XVI, he read the Holy Father's Apostolic Letter proclaiming as Blessed, Servant of God Cardinal Clemens August von Galen (1878 - 1946), bishop of Munster, Germany.
At the end of Mass, the Holy Father arrived in the basilica to venerate the relics of the new blessed and, after addressing some words to the assembly, imparted his apostolic blessing.
The Holy Father greeted pilgrims and civil and religious authorities from Munster and other parts of Germany, who had come to Rome for the ceremony. Speaking of Cardinal von Galen in off-the-cuff remarks, he said: "All people, especially we Germans, are thankful because the Lord gave us this great witness of faith who brought the light of truth to shine in times of darkness, and showed the courage to oppose the power of tyranny. But we must also ask ourselves where did he get such intuition from, at a time when intelligent people seemed blind? And where did get the strength to oppose, at a time when even the strong showed themselves to be weak and vile?
"He drew intuition and courage from the faith, which showed him the truth and opened his heart and his eyes. He feared God more than he feared man, and God gave him the courage to do and to say what others did not dare say and do. Thus, He gives us courage and again exhorts us to live our faith, teaching us how this can be achieved in simple and humble things that nonetheless are great and profound."
The Pope also stressed how the new Blessed "shows us this simple Catholicity, in which the Lord meets us, in which He opens our hearts and gives us discernment of spirit, courage of faith, and joy at being saved. Let us give thanks to God for this great witness of the faith and pray that he illuminates and guides us."
Returning to his prepared text, the Holy Father continued: "Among the many witnesses of Christ in the twentieth century, the figure of this zealous pastor and generous bishop stands out. The Lord gave him the heroic courage to defend the rights of God, of the Church and of man, which the National Socialist regime gravely and systematically violated in the name of an aberrant neo-pagan ideology.
"His beatification today again presents him as a model of profound and intrepid faith. We invoke the intercession of the new Blessed: may he bless the Church and human society in Germany, Europe and the entire world."
Later, during the Angelus, Benedict XVI reminded the thousands of faithful filling St. Peter's Square that Blessed von Galen was "an intrepid opponent of the Nazi regime. Ordained a priest in 1904, for a long time he practiced his ministry in a parish of Berlin, before becoming bishop of Munster in 1933."
"In the name of God, he denounced the neo-pagan ideology of National Socialism, defending the freedom of the Church and human rights which were being so gravely violated, and protecting Jews and others whom the regime considered as refuse to be eliminated."
The Holy Father mentioned the "three famous sermons" pronounced by Bishop von Galen in 1941, then recalled how a month after being created a cardinal by Pius XII in 1946, he "died amid the veneration of the faithful who recognized in him a model of Christian courage. Here is Blessed von Galen's ever-present message: faith cannot be reduced to a private emotion, perhaps even to be hidden when it becomes inconvenient, rather faith implies coherence and testimony, also in the public sphere, in favor of mankind, justice and truth."
AC/BEATIFICATION VON GALEN/SARAIVA VIS 20051010 (650)