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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Theological Notebook: AP Story Accuses Pope of Doing VERY STRANGE THINGS 
2nd-Jun-2007 03:36 pm
Guy Has Issues
A very oddly-worded headline....

Pope Martyrs Austrian Beheaded by Nazis
Jun 2, 8:44 AM (ET)

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI approved recognition of martyrdom for an Austrian who was beheaded by the Nazis for refusing to serve in Hitler's army, a step toward possible sainthood.

Ten years ago, a Berlin court posthumously exonerated Franz Jaegerstaetter, who was drafted after Germany annexed his native Austria, for refusing to serve in the Nazi army. His request to be excused from regular army service had been denied, and he was ordered executed for treason.

Jaegerstaetter had been the only person in his village to vote against the creation of a so-called "Greater Germany" shortly after Austria was annexed in 1938. He was beheaded in 1943.

Benedict also approved martyrdom Friday for 188 Japanese who were decapitated, burned at the stake or scalded to death in volcanic hot springs in the early 1700s. Among them was a Jesuit priest, Peter Kibe, a convert to Christianity whose work as a missionary was opposed by authorities.

He and the other Japanese died for refusing to renounce their faith.

The pope also approved a miracle attributed to Antonio Rosmini, an Italian priest and philosopher who died in 1855 and whose writings were once condemned by the Vatican. In 2001, the then-head of the Vatican's watchdog office for doctrinal errors, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, ruled the concerns over his writings were outdated.

Rosmini developed a philosophical system that incorporated political and social ideas with Roman Catholicism. The approval of a miracle opens the way for Rosmini's beatification, the last formal step before sainthood in the Catholic Church.

Being declared a martyr, which means the men died for the church, eliminates the requirement of a miracle to be beatified. However, after beatification, martyrs need to have a miracle confirmed if they are to become saints.

The complicated processes of beatification and canonization usually takes decades and sometimes lasts centuries.
3rd-Jun-2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
Stories of martyrdom never fail to awe and inspire me.
3rd-Jun-2007 06:20 pm (UTC)
I hear that. But I still say that the headline was an absurd mis-use of the language....
4th-Jun-2007 07:18 pm (UTC) - Martyrs?
I might not have a complete enough grasp, but it seems to me that the man who was executed for "refusing to serve in Hitler's army" wouldn't exactly fit under the martyr term, or what I thought it meant.

St. Edith Stein is another example that confuses me.
...and in fact, upon Wiki-ing her I read the following, "Some Jewish groups have challenged the beatification of Edith Stein. They point out that a martyr is, according to Catholic doctrine, someone who died for his or her religion; whether Stein was killed for her Jewish ethnicity, her faith, or both, is, for them, open to debate. The position of the Catholic Church in this matter is that Edith Stein also died because of the Dutch hierarchy's public condemnation of Nazi racism in 1942—in other words, that she died to uphold the moral position of the Church, and is thus a martyr."

So I suppose that line of reasoning would apply to Jaegerstaetter as well. We could almost call them Martyrs of the Natural Law/Virtue rather than Martyrs of the Catholic Church.
4th-Jun-2007 07:57 pm (UTC) - Re: Martyrs?
Actually, I think if you look him up, even just Google the story more broadly, you'll find that he's been popularly revered as a martyr for some time, and that his motives were explicitly and publicly drawn from his faith.

Most martyrdoms – certainly those under the Romans in antiquity – have a political component to them: I don't think that that is a significant factor in whether something ought not be considered a martyrdom. For the Romans, the Christians were simply treasonous citizens who, because of their perverse faith, refused to offer public allegiance to the State. Not so different for the Nazis. Does that make sense?
6th-Jun-2007 04:24 am (UTC) - Re: Martyrs?
Yes, it does.

For some reason I'm trying to separate these people's faith from their resistance, and from the Nazi's sphere of concern. One of those preconceived notions.
6th-Jun-2007 04:44 am (UTC) - Re: Martyrs?
Do you think that that could that just be the influence of the philosophy of Secularism that we're surrounded with, just influencing you in such a way that you're trying to create the separate sphere for faith here in this arena as well?

For myself, I'm always amazed at the way I can find various strands of Modernity and its philosophies have taken root in my head completely unconsciously, just by virtue have being from the time and place I'm in in history, even if against conscious desires or beliefs of mine.
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