Sunday, January 31, 2010

Marked and Sealed and Signed

Dietrich von Hildebrand, the great 20th-century Catholic philosopher, lamented, as far back as the 1920s, the loss among Catholics of the sense of the supernatural.  He became aware of this loss when, as a professor in Catholic Bavaria, he was criticized for giving precedence to his priest students, because the students were not Ph.D.s.  Today, many priests themselves seem either unaware or ashamed of their incomprehensible dignity, as though they had gone through all those years of seminary training and received the indelible imprint of the priesthood on their souls all so that they could go back to being just like everybody else.

Introducing a bracing tonic in the shape of an opposing point of view from one who dedicated his life to reparation, especially for other priests.
“BUT, mother, is Jesus really there behind that little golden door? Does He never go away? Does He ever get tired? Is He never hungry, or sleepy, and how did He get in there?”

Two big eyes, full of eager questioning, looked up into mother‟s face, as if fearful that the story of Jesus, dwelling in the Tabernacle, might not be really true.

“Mother, how did He get in there?”
The lady smiled with pleasure as she saw how deeply her words had sunk into the heart of her little son, five years of age; and lifting him up in her arms, as she sat before the altar in her castle chapel, she explained to him the mysteries of the Holy Sacrifice and the wonders Of the Real Presence.

The child listened eagerly while she told him of those whom God had chosen to be His priests, and of the power given to them alone of bringing the great God down from Heaven to live with us on earth. She told him what a priest could do; how he could wash away every sin and raise the dead soul to life; bring back peace and happiness to the broken-hearted; change the bread and wine at Mass into the living Body of Christ, and bear Him in his hands to be the food of others.

“The holy priest does all that, René, and it is he who puts dear Jesus in the Tabernacle, that you may go to Him and ask Him all you want. He is always glad to see you come to visit Him, He will never grow tired of your company, and, perhaps, if you asked Him, René, He might some day make you also one of His priests, and let you hold Him in your consecrated hands.”

With a throbbing heart the mother stood rooted to the spot, as she watched her little René bring a chair and climb upon the altar.

“He must be asleep,” he murmured, “I‟ll wake Him up.”

Tap, tap, tap, upon the Tabernacle door. The child paused, bending forward to hear an answer.

Tap, tap— “O Jesus,” he cried, with a sob of disappointment in his voice, “I am so sorry You are asleep, for I wanted to ask You to make me a holy priest. I want so much to be a priest that I might hold You in my arms and kiss Your little face as often as I like. Good night, now, dear Jesus; but when You are awake tomorrow I‟ll come back to you again, for I do want, Oh! so much, to be one day a holy priest.”
From Shall I Be a Priest? by Rev. William J. Doyle, S.J.
Read the entire pamphlet here.

Lest you be tempted to dismiss this as sentimental tripe, here is another extract from Fr. Doyle, written during the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in human history, on October 11, 1916. 

By cutting a piece out of the side of the trench, I was just able to stand in front of my tiny altar, a biscuit tin supported by two German bayonets. God's angels, no doubt, were hovering overhead, but so were the shells, hundreds of them, and I was a little afraid that when the earth shook with the crash of the guns, the chalice might be overturned. Round about me on every side was the biggest congregation I ever had: behind the altar, on either side, and in front, row after row, sometimes crowding one upon the other, but all quiet and silent, as if they were straining their ears to catch every syllable of that tremendous act of Sacrifice - but every man was dead! Some had lain there for a week and were foul and horrible to look at, with faces black and green. Others had only just fallen, and seemed rather sleeping than dead, but there they lay, for none had time to bury them, brave fellows, every one, friend and foe alike, while I held in my unworthy hands the God of Battles, their Creator and their Judge, and prayed to Him to give rest to their souls. Surely that Mass for the Dead, in the midst of, and surrounded by the dead, was an experience not easily to be forgotten.

Fr. William Doyle, chaplain to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 16th Irish Division in World War I,  was killed by a shell while ministering to the dying at the Battle of Ypres on August 16, 1917.


Old Man Winter is not through in Boise yet.
The snow gathers in balls on the berries.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Best Vocations Video Ever

The Dominican nuns of Summit, New Jersey.  Sourpusses need not apply.

H/T Carolina Cannonball.

That They Too May Vandalize

When The Redoubtable Marcus Magnus told me about this ad from Quest magazine, the organ of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  Then when I saw it for myself, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  I still don't believe I'm looking at what I'm looking at.  I bet you can't, either.
TO:            The editor, Quest Magazine
FROM:     Anita Moore, Attorney at Law
RE:            Your Permobile scooter ad

As an attorney practicing full-time in the criminal courts of my great state, I want to thank you for the ad you ran in your latest issue for the Permobile scooter, showing how the scooter opens doors for disabled kids onto the fascinating world of malicious injury to property.  I would have thought that the idea of a scooter company encouraging felonious behavior would have raised an eyebrow or two in the editor’s office, but it is apparent that your publication has evolved beyond such outmoded, puritanical thinking.  Clearly, Quest Magazine is in the business of affirming and fulfilling every MDA sufferer’s dreams, however squalid and unlawful.  I congratulate you on your broad-mindedness.

I am not presently practicing in the juvenile court, so it will be a few years yet before I have the privilege of representing the young gentleman pictured in the ad in question; but it is always helpful to have a sneak preview of my future clientele.  My thanks to Quest Magazine for doing its bit to keep my filing cabinet in a constant state of overflow.

Very truly yours, &c.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Time Despised During Life

With the battle over end-of-life issues widening and intensifying, the pro-life movement is giving more and more attention to euthanasia and assisted suicide; and so, the keynote speaker at the March for Life rally in Boise last Saturday was David Gibbs, the attorney who fought to save Terri Schiavo.  I can recall that as the war over Terri Schiavo's life raged, her husband Michael -- with his baby-mama and his big, fat malpractice settlement -- alleged that his unfortunate wife had previously expressed a wish never to be maintained in a condition such as that which eventually provided a rationale for her judicially-sanctioned murder.

I, like everyone else, pray that I never become a helpless prisoner in a paralyzed body or a profoundly damaged brain.  On the other hand, I do not want anybody playing God and cutting the thread of my life before its time.  So, lest a time should come when somebody pretends to be complying with my purported wishes to be euthanized in the event of serious illness or injury, I wish to state now and for the record that:

-- I do not want to be put out of my misery.

-- I do want to be hooked up to as many machines as it takes to keep me alive, for as long as necessary.

-- I do want whatever procedures my situation indicates, and to have the risks and benefits of such procedures weighed by myself or my designated representative.

-- I do not want to spare others the trouble and expense of caring for me.  I do want to spare them the folly of murdering me out of a sense of misguided compassion.

In short:

-- I want to make as much noise as I can, take up as much space as I can, and make as much trouble as I can, for as long as I can, because I will never get back the time I have to do these things in.

And neither will you.

O time despised during life! you will be ardently desired by worldlings at the hour of death.  They will then wish for another year, another month, another day; but they will not obtain it: they will then be told that time shall be no longer.  How much would they then pay for another week, or another day, to settle the accounts of their conscience?  To obtain a single hour, they would, says St. Laurence Justinian, give all their wealth and worldly possessions.  But this hour shall not be given.

St. Alphonsus Liguori, Preparation for Death

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Bill to Watch

SB-1270, popularly known as the "freedom of conscience" bill, was introduced in the Idaho Senate on Friday.  Its co-sponsors are: Sen. Chuck Winder; Sen. Leland Heinrich; Sen. Russell Fulcher; Rep. Thomas Loertscher; Rep. Erik Simpson; Rep. Raul Labrador; Rep. Joe Palmer; and Rep. James Ruchti. 

The bill would create a new section in Title 18, Idaho's criminal code, immunizing from liability health care professionals who refuse to engage in specified activities that violate their consciences.  It went to the Senate State Affairs Committee today.  This is the text of the bill:

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
SECTION 1. That Chapter 6, Title 18, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby amended by the addition thereto of a NEW SECTION, to be known and designated as Section 18-611, Idaho Code, and to read as follows:
(a) "Conscience" means the religious, moral or ethical principles sincerely held by any person.
(b) "Health care professional" means any person licensed, certified or registered by the state of Idaho to deliver health care.
(c) "Health care service" means an abortion, dispensation of an abortifacient drug or drugs that may act as abortifacients, human embryonic stem cell research, human embryo cloning, euthanasia or assisted suicide.
(d) "Provide" means to counsel, advise, perform, dispense, assist in or refer for any health care service.
(2) No health care professional shall be required to provide any health care service that violates his or her conscience.
(3) Employers of health care professionals shall reasonably accommodate the conscience rights of their employees as provided in this section, upon written notification by the employee. Such notice shall suffice without specification of the reason therefor.
(4) No health care professional or employer of the health care professional shall be civilly, criminally or administratively liable for the health care professional declining to provide health care services that violate his or her conscience.
(5) It shall be unlawful to discriminate against any health care professional based upon his or her declining to provide a health care service that violates his or her conscience, unless the accommodation of a health care professional’s conscience rights creates an undue hardship on the employer. If an employer determines that an undue hardship is created, the employer shall make an effort to work with the affected health care professional to find a reasonable accommodation of the health care professional’s conscience rights.
(6) The provisions of this section do not allow a health care professional or employer of the health care professional to refuse to provide health care services because of the patient’s race, color, religion, sex, age, disability or national origin.
(7) Nothing in this section shall affect the rights of conscience provided for in section 18-612, Idaho Code [refusal to perform abortions], to the extent that those rights are broader in scope than those provided for in this section.
SECTION 2. The provisions of this act are hereby declared to be severable and if any provision of this act or the application of such provision to any person or circumstance is declared invalid for any reason, such declaration shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this act.

This bill is by no means perfect.  I, for one, regret that the bill dignifies abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, cloning and physician-assisted suicide with the title of "health care services": words shape thoughts, and rhetorical concessions, regardless of their political expediency, have consequences.  Also, the bill does not go far enough.  There is no protection for health care professionals who refuse in conscience to provide other services the Church teaches are morally reprehensible, such as artificial insemination and fertilization procedures and artificial contraceptives.  Could this conspicuous omission be the result of the indifference of too many Catholics to the Church's firmly-held teachings on these subjects?  There is no doubt that for decades, we Catholics have been lying down on the job.

Despite these flaws in SB-1270, it is still a step in the right direction.  Let it be the first of many steps in the right direction. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

Deadly Medicine and the Seared Conscience

Warning: Graphic and disturbing descriptions

 "I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and in like manner I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion."

-- The Hippocratic Oath, classical version (excised from the modern version)

Most of you know what it means to see 100 corpses lying together, or 500, or 1000. To have stuck it out and at the same time - apart from exceptions caused by weakness - to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard. This is a page of glory in our history which has never been written and shall never be written...

-- Excerpt of speech by Reichsfuehrer Heinrich Himmler justifying the extermination of the Jews, spoken to senior SS officers in Poznan, Poland, October 4, 1943

It is morally and ethically wrong to do abortions without acknowledging what it means to do them. I performed abortions, I have had an abortion and I am in favor of women having abortions when we choose to do so. But we should never disregard the fact that being pregnant means there is a baby growing inside of a woman, a baby whose life is ended. We ought not to pretend this is not happening."

-- Judith Arcana, abortion activist, at a London seminar, October 1999

"I know that the fetus is alive during the process most of the time because I can see fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound. . . I think brain death would occur because the suctioning to remove contents is only two or three seconds, so somewhere in that period of time, obviously not when you penetrate the skull, because people get shot in the head and they don't die immediately from that, if they are going to die at all, so that probably is not sufficient to kill the fetus, but I think removing the brain contents eventually will. . . My intent in every abortion I have ever done is to kill the fetus and terminate the pregnancy."

-- Leroy Carhart, testifying under oath in 1997 about what he does to commit abortion, Asheville Tribune

"[T]he abortion patient has a right not only to be rid of the growth, called a fetus, in her body, but also has a right to a dead fetus. . . [I] never have any intention of trying to protect the fetus, if it can be saved. . . as a general principle [t]here should not be a live fetus."

-- Robert Crist, abortion doctor, testifying in federal court in 1980

" 'Forceps, please,' Mr. Smith slaps into his hand what look like oversized ice-cube tongs. Holtzman pushes it into the vagina and tugs. He pulls out something, which he slaps on the instrument table. 'There,' he says, 'A leg. You can always tell fetal size best by the extremities. Fifteen weeks is right in this case.' I turn to Mr. Smith. 'What did he say?' 'He pulled a leg off,' Mr. Smith says. 'Right here.' He points to the instrument table, where there is a perfectly formed, slightly bent leg, about three inches long. It consists of a ripped thigh, a knee, a lower leg, a foot, and five toes. I start to shake very badly, but otherwise I feel nothing. Total shock is painless. 'I have the rib cage now,' Holtzman says, as he slams down another piece of the fetus. 'That's one thing you don't want to leave behind because it acts like a ball valve and infects everything.... There, I've got the head now. Also a piece of the placenta.' I look at the instrument table where next to the leg, and next to a mess he calls the rib cage but that I cannot recognize, there lies a head. It is the smallest human head I have ever seen, but it is unmistakably part of a person."

-- Magda Denes, abortion advocate, clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, In Necessity and Sorrow; Life and Death Inside an Abortion Clinic, 1978

"When you're a doctor who does these abortions and the leaders of your movement appear before Congress and go on network news and say these procedures are done in only the most tragic of circumstances, how do you think that makes you feel? You know they're primarily done on healthy women and healthy fetuses, and it makes you feel like a dirty little abortionist with a dirty little secret. I think we should tell them the truth, let them vote and move on. In the vast majority of cases, the procedure is performed on a healthy mother with a healthy fetus that is 20 weeks or more along. The abortion-rights folks know it, the anti-abortion folks know it, and so, probably, does everyone else."

-- Ron Fitzsimmons, Executive Director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, in "An Abortion Rights Advocate Says He Lied About Procedure", New York Times (February 26, 1997)

"Is birth control an abortion? Definitely not; an abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun."

-- Planned Parenthood pamphlet (August 1963)

"The pro-life groups were right about one thing, the location of the baby inside or outside the womb cannot make much of a moral difference. We cannot coherently hold it is alright to kill a fetus a week before birth, but as soon as the baby is born everything must be done to keep it alive. The solution, however, is not to accept the pro-life view that the fetus is a human being with the same moral status as yours or mine. The solution is the very opposite, to abandon the idea that all human life is of equal worth."

-- Peter Singer, Princeton "ethicist" and death enthusiast, Practical Ethics, pp. 185-8, 1993

"It was my pseudonym, Jane Roe, which had been used to create the 'right' to abortion out of legal thin air. But Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffey never told me that what I was signing would allow women to come up to me 15, 20 years later and say, 'Thank you for allowing me to have my five or six abortions. Without you, it wouldn't have been possible.' Sarah never mentioned women using abortions as a form of birth control. We talked about truly desperate and needy women, not women already wearing maternity clothes."

-- Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade, testimony to the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights (January 21, 1998)

"We have some experience with late terminations; about 10,000 patients between 24 and 36 weeks and something like 800 fetal anomalies between 26 and 36 weeks in the past 5 years."

-- George Tiller, declaring his pro-abortion credentials in a speech to the National Abortion Federation, April 2-4, 1995, New Orleans, LA

"I do think abortion is murder—of a very special and necessary sort. What else would one call the deliberate stilling of a life? And no physician involved with the procedure ever kids himself about that...legalistic distinctions among 'homicide,' 'justified homicide,' 'self-defense,' and 'murder' appear to me a semantic game. What difference does it make what we call it? Those who do it and those who witness its doing know that abortion is the stilling of a life."

-- Magda Denes, abortion advocate, clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, "Performing Abortions," Commentary Magazine (October, 1976)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The World Needs More Dead Haitians

That, at any rate, is what the International Planned Parenthood Federation thinks.

H/T Fr. Z.

Comment Moderation Enabled

Thanks to a Catholic-bashing jerk who insists on posting here after being told he was no longer welcome to do so, I have been compelled to enable comment moderation. 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Are We Institutionalized?

Why do we want the Church -- and the liturgy -- to conform to the times, when time is a prison?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti's Agony

I can't help comparing and contrasting the devastating earthquake that has just stuck Haiti with the Northridge Earthquake -- which, come to think of it, hit almost exactly 16 years before the Haiti quake (January 17, 1994).  The actual epicenter of the earthquake was in Reseda, about ten miles beneath the intersection of Reseda Boulevard and Saticoy Street -- just a couple of blocks from where I lived.  It happens that the biggest industry in the San Fernando Valley is pornography -- in fact, the Valley could well be the porn capital of the whole universe -- so if there was ever a part of the world that does not deserve a break when it comes to natural disasters, that's it.   Yet, as violent as the Northridge Earthquake was (magnitude 6.7) and as much devastation as it wrought (72 deaths and $20 billion in damage), we were extremely lucky in many ways that the Haitians are not.

The Northridge quake took place on Martin Luther King Day at 4:31 a.m.  (For at least six months afterwards, I woke up at 4:30 every morning.)  Most people were not out on the freeways at that hour, nor hitting the malls for the sales.   Nobody was at Cal State Northridge, where the new parking garage was destroyed and other buildings on campus -- especially the Oviatt Library -- suffered heavy damage.  If the quake had happened just a few hours earlier or later, a lot more people would have been killed.  The earthquake in Haiti, on the other hand, took place at 7 minutes to 5 in the afternoon local time -- with just half an hour of daylight left for searching for survivors.

As much destruction as there was in the Northridge quake, most of the buildings in the Valley were built to withstand earthquakes.  I was fortunate to be living in a very solidly-built house dating back to just before World War II.  But imagine an earthquake in a poverty-stricken country full of lousy construction, and neighborhoods where the only real difference between pre-earthquake conditions and post-earthquake conditions is that before the earthquake, the rubble was standing up.  Hospitals, schools, jails, and even the National Assembly building, the presidential palace and the Cathedral came down.  Who knows how long it will be before all the missing are accounted for, and the toll is known?

 As bad as things were in the wake of the Northridge quake, we got back up and running fairly quickly.  My neighborhood never lost running water, and had power restored that night, although it was a week before the gas company could come and turn the gas back on.  Other parts of the valley were without water and power for several days.   Yet after these brief interruptions, service was restored fairly quickly.  The freeways that had collapsed in the quake were back up and operational in a matter of months.  We were fortunate to start out with a good infrastructure the like of which Haiti cannot boast.  The Haitians cannot hope to come through this alone.

In this country, we are so fortunate that even devastating natural disasters within our borders serve to highlight how fortunate we are.  Now we are in a position to share our good fortune with our devastated brothers in Haiti.

And keep praying for them, as well as for those who are risking their lives in the disaster zone to render aid.  One thing about an earthquake: it is never over.  They have already  had a large number of aftershocks, quite a few of which exceeded magnitude 5.0; and there will be many more in the weeks and months ahead.  Keep St. Emidius busy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Suffering Haiti

Wretched Haiti is even more wretched in the wake of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, followed by numerous aftershocks, at least ten of which were greater than magnitude 5.0.   It is reported that many of the most important buildings and landmarks in the capital, including the National Assembly building, the presidential palace and the Cathédrale de Notre-Dame have been destroyed.  As for the unfortunate Haitians themselves, who knows how many thousands lie buried beneath the rubble in the slums of Port-au-Prince?

St. Emidius, patron against earthquakes, intercede for poor, devastated Haiti.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Crucifix versus the Swastika

Now that the veneration of Pope Pius XII has ignited another firestorm of Catholic bashing on the part of those who persist in believing -- in the face of the Everest of evidence to the contrary -- that the Church in general, and Ven. Pius XII in particular, did nothing to oppose Hitler, it seems the time is ripe for re-posting my honor roll of Catholic heroes from last spring -- with some additions (it is still a very short list).

St. Maximilian Kolbe
Franciscan priest, a prisoner at Auschwitz. In July of 1941, a prisoner from his barracks escaped; as a punishment, the guards chose ten men out of the barracks to be starved to death. One of them, Franciszek Gajowniczek, lamented for his wife and family; St. Maximilian approached the guards and offered his own life in place of Gajowniczek's. The offer was accepted. After three weeks of starvation and dehydration, St. Maximilian was dispatched by an injection of carbolic acid. The man he saved was later reunited with his wife (although his sons perished in the war), and lived to see the canonization of the priest who had given his life for him.

The Martyrs of Nowogrodek
When the Nazis arrested 120 citizens of Nowogrodek, Poland on July 18, 1943, the town's community of Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth unanimously offered in prayer to take their places. In the name of their community, Sister Mary Stella, their superior, begged God that if the sacrifice of lives was needed, to take their lives in place of the imprisoned, who included their chaplain. On July 31, 1943, all but one of the sisters was arrested; the following day, they were taken out to the woods and shot, and buried in a common grave. Meanwhile, most of the other prisoners, including their chaplain, were spared.

St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
From afar, Edith Stein, who had been born and raised Jewish, discerned the fate that awaited her people at the hands of the Nazis. In 1933, she wrote: "I had heard of severe measures against Jews before. But now it dawned on me that God had laid his hand heavily on His people, and that the destiny of these people would also be mine." Six years later, in her last will and testament, the child who had been born on the Day of Atonement would offer herself up for the sake of atonement: "Even now I accept the death that God has prepared for me in complete submission and with joy as being His most holy will for me. I ask the Lord to accept my life and my that the Lord will be accepted by His people and that His Kingdom may come in glory, for the salvation of Germany and the peace of the world." Although her order smuggled her to the Netherlands for her safety, she desired to share the fate of her Jewish brethren. This desire was granted on August 9, 1942, when St. Theresa Benedicta and her sister Rose, also a convert to the Faith, were murdered in the gas chamber at Auschwitz.

Bl. Hilary Pawel Januszewski
Carmelite friar. When the Gestapo came to arrest some friars out of the Carmel in Cracow in December of 1940, Fr. Hilary volunteered to go in place of a sick, elderly friar. He gave himself to the care of dying prisoners at Dachau, and died of typhus in 1945 -- just days before the camp was liberated.

Bl. Julia Rodzinska
A Dominican nun, Sr. Julia was interned in the Stuthoff concentration camp, where she gave herself to serving the Jewish women prisoners. She died of typhoid at the camp in 1945.

Bl. Natalia Tulasiewicz
Bl. Natalia Tulasiewicz was a teacher from Poznan, Poland. She volunteered to be deported with other women sent to do heavy slave labor in Germany in order to give them spiritual comfort. On finding out what she was up to, the Gestapo arrested and tortured her, and sent her to Ravensbruck concentration camp. On March 31, 1945 -- Good Friday -- Bl. Natalia used the little strength she had left to mount a stool and give the other prisoners a talk about the Passion and death of Jesus. Two days later, she was put to death in the gas chamber.

Stanislawa Leszczynska
Polish midwife, arrested by the Germans in 1943 and sent to work in Hell on earth, the "sick ward" at Auschwitz. She delivered more than 3,000 babies at Auschwitz, and made sure every one was baptized. Miraculously, despite the unspeakable conditions, she never lost a single mother or child in childbirth, though few of the babies survived the war. Despite threats on her life, she flatly refused to drown newborns, even facing down the notorious Dr. Mengele. She died in 1974, and is still venerated in Poland. Evidence is being gathered for her cause for sainthood.

Bl. Franz Jägerstätter
Austrian farmer, husband and father of four. Jägerstätter was outspokenly anti-Nazi, and was the only one in his village to vote against the Anschluss (the annexation of Austria by Germany). After being drafted in the German army and serving for a brief period, he refused to serve any further, and was arrested.  Though tormented by the fear that he was acting out of pride, and therefore condemning himself to damnation, he held firm.  He spent time in prison before finally being beheaded, saying that it was better for his children to live without a father than for them to keep their father as a Nazi collaborator.  Here are some excellent articles on the trials of this courageous martyr for the faith.

Bl. Maria Restituta Kafka
A Franciscan Sister of Charity, Bl. Maria Restituta was born in Brno in what is now the Czech Republic. A trained nurse, she went to work at the hospital in Mödling, south of Vienna after World War I, eventually becoming the head surgical nurse. Her refusal to take down crucifixes that she had hung in the hospital, plus her writings critical to the regime, led to her arrest by the Gestapo on Ash Wednesday, 1942. She was eventually sentenced to death, and was beheaded on March 30, 1943. Here is the link to Pope John Paul II's homily on the occasion of her beatification.

Mother Ricarda Beauchamp Hambrough and Bl. Mary Elizabeth Hasselblad

When Pope Pius XII ordered the convents and cloisters of Rome to open their doors to Jewish refugees in 1943, Bl. Mary Elizabeth Hasselblad, Bridgettine abbess, and her assistant, Sr.  (later Mother) Ricarda Beauchamp Hambrough, an Englishwoman, sprang into action.  Thanks to their efforts, Casa di San Brigida, became a refuge for more than 60 Jews during the war.  Bl. Mary Elizabeth died in 1957, whereupon Mother Ricarda, who died in 1966, succeeded her as abbess.  Pope John Paul II beatified Bl. Mary Elizabeth in 1999; early last year, the Bridgettines petitioned Rome for permission to open a cause for the sainthood of Mother Ricarda, who played a leading role in this life-saving work.

Irena Sendler

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, Irena Sendler used her position as an employee of Poland's Social Welfare Department to smuggle Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, to which her duties gave her access.  While apparently conducting health inspections, Sendler hid children in boxes, suitcases, packages, trams, ambulances, and whatever else would answer the purpose, and got them out to various refuges and hiding places.  In order to make it possible for the children to be reunited with their families after the war, she buried jars full of lists of their names.  In 1943, the Gestapo caught Sendler, put her to torture and sentenced her to death; bribed by her friends, the guards whose task was to take her to her execution abandoned her in a wood instead, unconscious and with broken arms and legs.  Officially dead, Sendler passed the war in hiding but continued her work.  After the war, she dug up the jars she had buried and tried to reunite the approximately 2,500 children she had saved with their families; however, most of the latter had perished in the death camp at Treblinka.  Sendler died in 2008 at the age of 98.

Dietrich von Hildebrand

Born in 1889 in Florence to a renowned German sculptor, Dietrich von Hildebrand was raised in a milieu in which natural gifts and virtues flourished in an absence of religion.  Gifted himself with a brilliant intellect, the young von Hildebrand decided to become a philosopher, and studied first at the University of Munich, and then the University of Göttingen.  In 1914, he and his wife accepted Baptism and entered the Catholic Church.  Von Hildebrand was an early and vocal denouncer of the budding Nazi party, and quickly earned a place of honor on their blacklist.  When Hitler tried to take over Bavaria in November of 1923 (the infamous "Beer Hall Putsch"), von Hildebrand was compelled to flee, but returned after the putsch failed.  When the Nazis came to power in 1933, von Hildebrand was compelled to abandon his property and his professorship at the University of Munich and return, penniless, to Florence, the city of his birth.  Appalled and grieved at the confusion of those -- especially Catholics, and even Catholic clergy -- who failed to recognize the evil of the Nazi ideology, von Hildebrand determined to continue to wage war against it; later in 1933, he moved to Vienna and, with the backing of Chancellor Dollfuss, founded a magazine devoted entirely to attacking and exposing the intellectual underpinnings of Nazism and its first cousin, Communism.  Von Hildebrand -- whom the Nazis had sentenced to death in absentia -- again became a refugee after the Anschluss and, after many adventures in Switzerland and France, made it to America in 1940.   The author of a large body of theological and philosophical works (Pope Pius XII called him a "20th-century doctor of the Church"), von Hildebrand died in New Rochelle, New York in 1977.

Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss of Austria

Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss called himself the youngest (43) and the shortest Chancellor in all of Europe.  A devout Catholic, he was also the only European head of state to actively and openly oppose Hitlerism in the 1930s.  In 1933, he met Dietrich von Hildebrand and agreed to provide financial backing for Hildebrand's anti-Nazi, anti-Communist magazine.  Determined to preserve the independence of Austria, Dollfuss took stern measures in the face of  Nazi and Communist attempts to take power.  On July 25, 1934, as part of an attempted coup, Nazi assassins dressed as Austrian guards invaded the Chancery and shot Dollfuss.  Dollfuss lay dying for seven hours, during which time the Nazis refused to bring him either a doctor or a priest; he breathed his last praying for his murderers.

Bl. Clemens August Graf von Galen

Bl. Clemens, a Count and a scion of one of Germany's oldest noble families, became bishop of Münster in 1933, the same year that Hitler came to power in Germany.  He immediately became a thorn in Hitler's side with his vocal and unrelenting campaigns against Nazi racial ideology, concentration camps, forced sterilization, euthanasia, deportation of the Jews and the persecution of the Catholic Church.  Copies of his sermons circulated throughout war-torn Europe.  As much as the Nazis would have liked to be rid of this turbulent bishop, they did not dare to kill him.  After the war, Bl. Clemens earned the wrath of the British by speaking out injustices perpetrated on the populace by occupying forces.  In 1946, Ven. Pius XII created him a cardinal; he died a few days after his return from the Vatican of appendicitis.  He was beatified in 2005, on the anniversary of Ven. Pius' death.

Msgr. Angelo Roncalli (Bl. John XXIII)
Working from Istanbul with Chaim Barlas of the Jewish Agency Rescue Committee, Msgr. Roncalli arranged for false papers, transit passes, false baptismal certificates and other documents that made it possible for thousands of Jews to escape the slaughter in Europe.

And last (though only on this list) but certainly not least...

Eugenio Pacelli (Ven. Pius XII)
Just a few of the things Pope Pius XII -- whom the Nazis mocked as a "Jew-lover," and whom Hitler plotted to kidnap -- did to save the Jews before and during World War II include:

-- As Cardinal Pacelli, helped to author Mit Brennender Sorge (With Burning Sorrow), Pope Pius XI's anti-Nazi encyclical
-- As Pope, calmly confronted Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop with a list of Nazi atrocities in Poland during a personal audience, to Ribbentrop's deep mortification
-- Ordered the opening of monastaries, convents and even cloisters to Jewish refugees
-- Sheltered thousands of Jews at Castel Gandolfo
-- Sheltered as many refugees in the Vatican as could make their way there, and kept the railway lines into the Vatican running so as to be able to supply for all their needs
-- Came up with 100 pounds of gold to ransom the Jews of Rome, whom the Nazis threatened with deportation during the occupation, never revealing what he had to melt down to get it
-- Personally intervened to halt the deportation of Jews out of Hungary, Romania and Slovakia
-- Contributed unstintingly to relief efforts, even personally assisting those affected by the devastation of air strikes in Rome
-- Stuck to his post in Rome, despite the dangers to himself personally; his mere presence was a hindrance to Nazi atrocities in Rome

It is worth noting that when, after the war, Israel Anton Zoller, Chief Rabbi of Rome from 1939 to 1945, converted to Catholicism, he took the baptismal name Eugenio Zolli in honor of Pope Pius XII.

No, it is not the Catholic Church that owes an apology for the Holocaust. If any apologies are owed, they are owed by people whose blind hatred of the Church makes them equally blind to the facts, and enemies of the truth.