Disciples, Apostles, and Saints!
On August 9th, we celebrated a modern saint, Edith Stein, Philosopher, Monastic, and Martyr. Born a Jew in Germany in 1891, Edith converted to Christianity in the 1920s. This would not protect her from being a victim of genocide, however, as she died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942. Her story resonates today.
Here is an excerpt from Lesser Feasts and Fasts:
Back in 1933, Edith had written forcefully to the pope, beseeching him to condemn the actions of the Nazi government. “Everything that happened and continues to happen on a daily basis originates with a government that calls itself ‘Christian.’ For weeks not only Jews but also thousands of faithful Catholics in Germany, and, I believe, all over the world, have been waiting and hoping for the Church of Christ to raise its voice to put a stop to this abuse of Christ’s name. Is not this idolization of race and governmental power which is being pounded into the public consciousness by the radio open heresy? Isn’t the effort to destroy Jewish blood an abuse of the holiest humanity of our Savior, of the most blessed Virgin and the apostles? Is not all this diametrically opposed to the conduct of our Lord and Savior, who, even on the cross, still prayed for his persecutors? And isn’t this a black mark on the record of this Holy Year which was intended to be a year of peace and reconciliation? We all, who are faithful children of the Church and who see the conditions in Germany with open eyes, fear the worst for the prestige of the Church, if the silence continues any longer.”
Her letter received no response.