Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I AM A CATHOLIC- MODERN MARTYR FOR THE FAITH

The martyr who will have his cause for canonization introduced along with Father Guardini is  FRITZ MICHAEL GERLICH , a German convert to Catholicism,  who systematically denounced the Nazi barbarism and Hitler for over 13 years.  After his arrest, he was sent to the concentration camp of Dachau where he was killed.

Fritz was born in Stettin, Pomerania, and grew up as the eldest of the three sons of  a wholesale and retail fishmonger.  In 1902 he began his studies at the University of Munich, first majored in mathematics and natural sciences before switching to history. At the university, he was an active member of the Free Student Union. He wrote his doctoral dissertation "The Testament of Henry VI" and completed it in 1907.

On 9 October 1920, he married Sophie Botzenhart in  Munich.

In 1923 while working for a newspaper , Fritz Gerlich denounced “one of the most serious betrayals in German history,” referring to Hitler’s failed attempt to take power on November 8 of that year.

Fritz said Hitler was an “idiot,” but a dangerous one, because he knew how to manipulate others into doing what he wanted them to do.  In 1927, his life took an unexpected turn.  Used to living as an agnostic, he met Therese Neumann, who died in 1962 and whose cause for beatification is in process. 

She was known for bearing the stigmata and for having survived for 35 years without food or water, living only on the Eucharist. Initially, he wanted to expose her stigmatism as a fraud, but Fritz came back a changed man. Through his encounter with her, Fritz embraced the faith and was baptized on September 29, 1931, taking the name of Michael. From that year until his death, his resistance became inspired by the social teachings of the Catholic Church 
  
Therese Neumann

Fritz was not allowed to express his opinions in his articles and so he decided to found a new publication, in which he continued to criticize Hitler and  warned of the coming barbarism of Hitler.

In one of his more outspoken editorials he described Hitler as full of hatred and surrounded by a group of people “who all share one common objective: the desire to destroy.”

He also warned of the Nazi’s anti-Semitic plans to proclaim “a new religion on the basis of the myth of race.”  As the elections were held which put Hitler in power, Gerlich wrote: “Those who don’t vote today assume a grave responsibility before God, their children and their children.  And moreover we say: it is the duty of every Catholic to vote for the parties that defend the eternal principles of the Church.”

After the Nazis seized power on 30 January 1933, Fritz was arrested  in March despite his plan to flee to Switzerlandand held at the Dachau concentration camp, where he died on 30 June 1934 during the Night of the Long KnivesI am ready to respond with my life for what I have written. I will not retract.  I am a Catholic,” he proclaimed.

Artist- Andreas Pruck
 His killing was officially announced days after his murder, and the announcement was published in the international press at the time.

Fritz Michael Gerlich was portrayed in the TV movie Hitler: The Rise of Evil by actor Matthew Modine.


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