Monday, 26 April 2010

Smears against the Catholic Church by anti-lifers go back to sinister times

Blessed Clemens von Galen
The Foreign Office official’s memo smearing the Catholic Church for its defence of the sanctity of human life and the family is one of a number of similar recent smear campaigns. Yet few people know that such smear campaigns by those motivated by anti-life/anti-family ideology date back many decades. Enraged by Mit brennender sorge (1937), Pope Pius XI’s famous encyclical condemning Nazism, Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, ordered a revenge campaign against the Catholic Church. The campaign involved exploiting the relatively few cases of child abuse within the Catholic Church in Germany at the time to create the impression that such abuse was endemic among Catholics.

One of the Church leaders who had taken swift action against child abuse was Blessed Clemens August Cardinal Graf von Galen (pictured), bishop of Munster. He later also took swift action to oppose the Nazi euthanasia programme. For this courageous opposition, Hitler vowed that “after the war I shall extract retribution to the last farthing.”

Shrugging off smear campaigns clearly motivated by anti-life/anti-family ideology as merely bad jokes is a signal failure to defend the Pope and the Catholic Church. Melanie Philips has today explained very well the gravity and significance of the Foreign Office memo.

The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church teaches (n. 81):
“The Church’s social doctrine has the task of proclamation, but also of denunciation [emphasis in the original] … This social doctrine also entails a duty to denounce, when sin is present: the sin of injustice and violence that in different ways moves through society and is embodied in it.”
We need true Catholic voices prepared to cry in the wilderness, not reeds who prefer to bend with the wind.

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