Category Archives: Nazis

A Tailor’s Inspiration Brought the World a Pope *

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

The influence of St. John of the Cross, the great poet and mystic of the 16th century, reached across the centuries and inspired a simple tailor in Nazi occupied Poland to aspire to sainthood. In turn, this simple man became the catalyst for another man who was not even considering becoming a priest. Yet, this aspiring actor would one day become Pope. The man’s name was Jan Tyranowski. The man who would one day be pope was Karol Wojtyla.

Born in Krakow in 1900, Jan Tyranowski was the son of a tailor. His dad had bigger plans for his boy and Jan became an accountant. Jan was a bit of a loner and enjoyed being by himself allowing his abundantly curious mind to fill his spare time.

He loved science, studying foreign languages, gardening and even the new science of psychology. He especially loved photography. Even though he kept his mind filled with the wonders around him he knew something was missing. There was an emptiness, an unexplained void, which he could not fill.
Jan took ill in 1930 with a chronic stomach ailment which rendered him constantly sick. So he left accounting and took up tailoring with his father. Amazingly, with his stress levels reduced in his new job, Jan became a much happier man. His faith also began to increase and he became more and more active in his parish.

Jan Tyranowski–Courtesy Salesianity Blogs
Then came Jan’s “enlighteneing”. It happened at a Sunday Mass sometime in 1935. He was at Mass and the Salesian priest saying the Mass made a statement during his homily that changed Jan’s life forever. The priest simply said, “It is not difficult to be a saint.”

To Jan this was unprecedented. He thought sainthood was only for priests and religious. There was no room in the saintly world for lay people—or was there? The priest went on to say that lay people could also live saintly lives by going to frequent Mass, saying their prayers and doing good works.

Jan Tyranowski listened and realized the spirituality he thought he was not permitted to have was available to him too. All he would have to do would was embrace the work needed to attain it. When he he left the church that Sunday, he was a changed man.

He began growing in spirituality praying and meditating every morning for up to four hours and then devoting other parts of his day to prayer and reflection. Jan asked a parish priest for advice on some quality reading material and the priest gave him a prayer manual he had used in the seminary. Jan poured through the manual and expanded his reading eventually coming across the works of St. John of the Cross. The writings of this saint became his constant companion for the rest of his life.

By 1940 more than half the priestly population of Krakow had been deported. One of the parish priests asked Jan if he would become more involved with the youth ministry in the parish. Jan became the youth leader at St. Stanislaus Parish which also happened to be the university parish attended by a young man by the name of Karol Wojtyla. Karol aspired to be an actor.

Jan had an innate ability to inspire spirituality in others. His apostolate to the young quickly grew and among those who were part of it were the future pope. At first, Karol was turned off by Jan Tyranowki’s seemingly overbearing and strict manner of dealing with prayer and meditation. But when Jan formed a “Living Rosary”, Karol began to soften.

Karol Wojtyla’s dad died in 1941. The young man had no immediate family and bef
ore long he became an eager recipient of Jan’s guidance. When Jan introduced the works of St. John of the Cross to young Karol it changed his life. The 16th century mystic became one of the future pope’s lifelong inspirations. Jan Tyranowski more or less became a father-figure to Karol. They became great friends and often walked together talking about the things of God.

Karol Wojytla was ordained a priest on November 1, 1946. Jan Tyranowski died on March 15, 1947. He had lived to see his favorite student attain the priesthood. Father Wojytla would become Pope John Paul II on October 16, 1978. He would be canonized a saint on April 27, 2014 by Pope Francis. Pope St. John Paul II credited Jan Tyranowski with his recognizing his vocation and rejecting an acting career. St. John Paul II wrote of Tyranowski:

“He was one of those unknown saints, hidden amid the others like a marvelous light at the bottom of life, at a depth where night usually reigns. He disclosed to me the riches of his inner life, of his mystical life. In his words, in his spirituality and in the example of a life given to God alone, he represented a new world that I did not yet know. I saw the beauty of a soul opened up by grace.”

The Salesians of Don Bosco have put forward Jan for beatification and he has been declared a Servant of God.  We ask Jan Tyranowski to pray for us all.

*This article appeared in Aleteia on Jan 7,2017

                                   ©Copyright 2016 Larry Peterson

Executed for Refusing to Say “Yes”*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME 

By Larry Peterson


The pages of Catholic/Christian history are filled with countless names of those who came from virtual anonymity and proceeded to leave an indelible mark in our lives. St. Teresa of Calcutta is a prime example. Many have also reached the eternal heights of spiritual greatness but are not so well known. Meet Franz Jagerstatter.

Blessed Franz Jagerstatter    wikipedia commons

Franz was born in Austria in 1907. His father was killed in World War I and when Franz was around eight years old, his mom married Heinrich Jagerstatter who adopted young Franz, giving him his name. 


Franz received a basic education in the local schools and excelled in reading and writing. He learned religion from his maternal grandmother and would read the Bible and other religious works. He managed to develop a faith which nestled itself securely into his soul. As Franz grew older and wiser his faith grew right along with him.

In 1933, Franz, inherited his adopted father’s farm. He then met Franziska Schwaninger, a deeply religious Catholic woman, and they fell in love. They were married Holy Thursday, 1936, and after the ceremony proceeded on a pilgrimage to Rome. This is also when Franz’s spiritual life became his primary focus in all things.

Now possessing a deeply imbedded faith and love of Jesus, he soon was serving as a sexton at his local parish. He and Franziska would have three daughters and he began to live his life true to his faith and to Jesus Christ. He would no longer deviate from things that were “not right”. Some perceived him as “overly pious”.

He stopped going to taverns because, as a defender of truth, he was always getting into arguments about Nazism and wanted to avoid that. He stopped accepting donations he received as the church sexton and gave the money to the needy even though he and his growing family were poor too. Even though some folks mocked him, he was determined to do “what was right”.

In 1938, German soldiers began moving into Austria. Immediately, they began implementing the Nazification of the once peaceful nation. The “Anschluss”, which was the creation of a German-Austrian State, was put to a vote in Franz’s village and he was the only one in his town to vote “no”. The authorities rejected his vote and claimed the vote was unanimous. However, Franz was now under watch by the Nazis.

It did not matter to Franz. He knew he must do the right thing and remained openly anti-Nazi. He joined the Third Order of St. Francis and began serving as a sacristan at the local parish. He managed to get several exemptions from military service. Time was not to be Franz’s friend.

In 1940, when he was 33, Franz was conscripted into the German army. He finished basic training but managed to stay out of the active service because he qualified for an exemption given to farmers. Back home he began to evaluate the morality of war and even discussed the subject with his bishop. His bishop did not encourage Franz.

And so it was that on February 23, 1943, Franz Jagerstatter was called to active duty. He and Franziska now had three daughters, the oldest only six. Franz stood strong and refused to fight for the godless, Third Reich. He declared himself a “conscientious objector” and offered to serve as a paramedic. He was ignored. A priest from his town came to talk him into serving but he refused. He was immediately put in prison.

Against all advice to stop resisting, Franz persisted in his opposition to the Nazis. He was told by his spiritual advisors that he had an obligation to his family to protect his life. He was told that he was required morally to obey the “legitimate” authorities. A friend told him, “Just say yes. You don’t even have to shoot straight. But take the oath.” Franz rejected all arguments. Atheistic Nazism could not be supported. He was determined to do the “right thing”.

Franz wrote, “Everyone tells me, of course, that I should not do what I am doing because of the danger of death. I believe it is better to sacrifice one’s life right away than to place oneself in the grave danger of committing sin and then dying.”

Franz Jagerstatter held fast to his principles. On July 6, 1943, he was tried and sentenced to death. On August 9, 1943, he was executed by guillotine at Brandenburg-Gorden prison. He was 36 years old.
Franz Jagerstatter led an obscure life and his death was no different. But a priest by the name of Father Jochmann spoke to Franz right before his execution. He said later that Franz was the only saint he had ever met.

In 1964 the American sociologist, Gordon Zahn, wrote a book about Franz Jagerstatter  titled, In Solitary Witness.  That was followed by the renowned Trappist,Thomas Merton, writing a chapter about Franz in one his books, Faith & Violence.

Eventually, Franz story weaved its way to the Vatican and came before Pope Benedict XVI. In June of 2007, the Holy Father issued an apostolic exhortation declaring Franz a martyr. On October 27, 2007, Franz Jagerstatter was beatified by Cardinal Jose Martins in Linz, Austria.

 Franz believed that Jesus wanted him to do the “right thing”.  He even gave his life to do it. He is known as the patron of “conscientious objectors”.

Blessed Franz Jagerstatter, please pray for us.
*This article appeared in Aleteia on October 19, 2016

                                        ©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights reserved

Sara Salkahazi…Another Holocaust Victim Who Will Always Be a Shining Star*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Embedded among the thousands of shining stars who have been elevated to the rank of Canonized Saint in the Catholic Church are those I call, “hidden gems”. These are the  chosen folks more or less unknown to most Catholics. For me, when I decide to start looking for them, it is sort of like stopping at a yard sale. You never know what you may find. Well, I just stopped at a “cyber yard-sale”. I do not remember the address and it cost me nothing but some time to look around. Lo and behold, I found another “hidden gem”. Her name is Blessed Sara Salkahazi.

Image result for sara salkahazi
Blessed Sara Salkahazi   courtesy Aleteia .org

Sara was born in Hungary in 1899 and, from a young age, was a fiercely independent and strong willed girl.. Her brother described her as a “tomboy” who wanted to do things her way. The first thing she did as a young woman was to become a teacher.  She also began to write articles about the poor.

However, she did not like it that women were treated differently than men in society. She wanted to know why so she left teaching and took a job as a bookbinder’s apprentice being relegated to doing the dirtiest and hardest work. She thought that if she did a man’s job she might understand them better. She also continued writing about the disenfranchised.

Sara then went to work in a millinery shop selling and making women’s hats. From there her life slowly morphed into one of a journalist and soon she was an editor for the newspaper put out by the Christian Socialist Party which focused mostly on women’s issues. At this point in Sara’s life she was not religious at all. In fact, she was mostly agnostic bordering on atheism.

But then Sara came into contact with  the Sisters of Social Service. She felt a strong calling to be part of their group and asked how she could join. The Sisters of Social Service was a fairly new order dedicated to charitable, social and women’s issues. Sara, a fast talking, chain-smoking bastion of unbridled energy, was rejected as a possible candidate. She would not be deterred.

Sara kept trying to join the Sisters. She even quit her smoking habit which was more of a challenge for her than she ever imagined. Her perseverance paid off and in 1929, at the age of 30, Sara was admitted to the Sisters of Social Service. Her motto was from the Prophet Isaiah: “Here I am! Send me!” (Is 6:8b). Sara Salkahazi’s agnosticism had completely disappeared in her own rear-view mirror.

 Sister Sara, a bundle of energy,  began organizing work for Catholic Charities, editing and publishing a women’s journal, managing a religious bookstore, teaching and supervising a shelter for the poor. Sara was then asked by the Bishops of Slovakia to organize the National Girls’ Movement. Her life was now busier than she could have ever imagined. More responsibilities were on their way. Some of the sisters in the order thought she was “showing off”.

In one year Sara received 15 different assignments, from teaching at the Social Training Centre to cooking for the needy. She became exhausted, not only physically but spiritually. Sara’s greatest challenge was dealing with the fact that the order deemed her “unworthy” to renew her temporary vows. Sara was heartbroken. She prayed and prayed and decided to “stay the course” for the ONE who had called her. About a year later, her prayers were answered and  she renewed her vows.

Nazi ideology was sweeping Hungary and the Hungarian Nazi Party was gaining strength. They began to persecute the Jews. The Sisters of Social Service began to provide safe havens for Jewish people. Sister Sara opened the Working Girls’ Home to help those being displaced. In March of 1944, German troops began their occupation of Hungary.

Sister Sara, realizing the extreme danger now confronting all Hungarians, offered herself as a victim-soul for her fellow Sisters of Social Service. Permission was needed to do this and she asked her superiors for it. It was granted and, at the time, they alone knew about her self-offering.

In 1943 Sister Sara began smuggling Jewish refugees out Slovakia. During the final months of World War II, she helped shelter hundreds of Jewish people in buildings belonging to  the Sisters of Social Service. As director of the Hungarian Catholic Working Women’s Movement, she smuggled over one hundred to safety all by herself. Unfortunately, time was not on her side.

On the morning of December 27, 1944, Sister Sara and another sister were returning from a visit to another Girls’ Home. Little did they know that a woman who worked in the house had betrayed them. They could see the Nazis standing in front of their house. They could have snuck away but Sister Sara, as the director, would not do so. They went into the house and were immediately arrested.

That night, Sister Sara and her friend, four Jewish women and one Christian worker,  were loaded onto vehicles and driven to the edge of the Danube. They were stripped and shot to death, their naked bodies being tossed into the freezing river. Miraculously, Sister sara’s sacrifice must have been accepted by the Lord. None of the other Sisters of her community were ever harmed.

Sister Sara Salkahazi was declared “Righteous Among Nations” by Yad Vashem in 1969. On September 17, 2006,  Peter Cardinal Erdo, the Archbishop of Budapest, read a proclamation from Pope Benedict XVI  beatifying Sister Sara as “Blessed”, the last step before Sainthood. The proclamation said, “She was willing to assume risks for the persecuted…in days of great fear. Her matryrdom is still topical… and presents the foundations for our humanity.”

Blessed Sara Salkahazi, please pray for us.

*An edited version of this article appeared in Aleteia on Sept 12, 2016

                                                   ©Larry Peterson 2106 All Rights Reserved

Reality Check: Does Having Judeo-Christian Values Make You a Candidate for Genocide?

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

The words–annihilation, extermination, carnage, and slaughter, to name a few, are synonyms for the word “Holocaust”. The word “genocide”not invented until 1941, fits right in there. But none of those words bring us to the core of what those words truly represent. They are the by-product of the malevolent, hideous, and hate filled evil that consumes and takes control of certain human beings.

During the 20th century, seven periods of genocide  took place. Beginning with the  Armenian Genocide of  1915-1918, moving  to the Holocaust of 1938 -1945, seeing the horrors of Rwanda in 1995 and jumping forward to today’s worldwide daily carnage, what has changed? Not a damn thing.

The pages of history are filled with countless numbers of people who have seen fit to perform evil, vicious acts against those of their own kind. It defies logic, common sense, and so many other traits that are part of the human condition. Supposedly “good” people, upstanding citizens, if empowered and able to hide behind a mantra of legality, turn on their own kind and subject them to the most incredulous pain and suffering they can conjure up. How many Nazi war criminals used the excuse of “just following orders” to justify their actions?

But we lose a sense of the horror when we talk about the “millions” of innocents annihilated. We somehow need to look at individual people to grasp a sense of what did  happen and is happening up and including this very day. In fact, history proves that the our humanity is tied together with our ancestors, those part of our present and those that will follow us in the future.

In early April I wrote about the only nun ever sentenced to death by a Nazi court. Her name was Sister Maria Restituta (now Blessed Maria). Blessed Maria’s “crime” was  that she refused to remove Crucifixes from hospital bedrooms. I would now like to mention the very first priest to die in a Nazi concentration camp. Just like Blessed Maria he was also born in Austria. His name was Otto Neururer.

Father Neururer was a parish priest and a young woman came to him seeking advice. She wanted to know whether or not she should marry a divorced man. The man had a shady past and Father Otto advised her against the marriage. She told this man what Father had told her and he promptly went to his friend who was a high ranking Nazi official in the area. Father Neururer was arrested for “slander to the detriment of German marriage” and sent to Dachau Concentration Camp. From Dachau he was sent to  Buchenwald which was under the command of Martin Sommer aka “The Hangman of Buchenwald”.

While at Buchenwald, Father Neururer performed a “forbidden” Baptism. He was caught, sent to the punishment block and Martin Sommer decided to have him hung upside down. Father Neururer was left that way until he died 36 hours later. He was 58 years old and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1996.

Demonstrating the connection from yesterday to today and onward to tomorrow let us jump ahead to  April 7, 2014. The place is Homs, Syria. Creatures of habit, most of us more than likely went through our usual daily routine of showering, brushing our teeth, having coffee, getting dressed and doing the things we usually do in whatever order we do them which is unique to each of us as individuals.

And then there were those that did not have an ordinary kind of day. One of them was Father Frans Van der Lugt a 75 year old Jesuit who had spent 50 years in Syria helping the poor and needy. This day would be his last.    

On Monday morning, April 7, masked assailants stormed into the monastery where Father Frans was tending to the remaining few dozen Christians left in Homs, (down from the 60,000 a few years earlier). These ISIS cowards dragged the 75 year old priest from the church, beat him mercilessly and then shot him in the head, killing him.

Father Fran’s crime was for being a Catholic priest and serving Jesus and loving his neighbor. What was Father Otto’s crime 70 years earlier? He was a Catholic priest serving Jesus and loving his neighbors. And dear Blessed Maria, she was just a Catholic nun and a nurse who loved Jesus and was beheaded for refusing to remove a Crucifix from a hospital wall.

To tie the entire century together lets not forget the Armenian Martyrs of 1915 thru 1918. Being part of the Judeo-Christian world means we must always be prepared and always be ready to stand up for God and Jesus and Goodness. Not one of those mentioned and the millions of their  murdered brethren ever thought  a day like that would come their way. Were they all ready to die for their faith? Would you or I be ready? Maybe it is time for ALL of us to think about that.

                                 ©Larry Peterson 2016 All Rights Reserved

Meet the Only Nun Sentenced to Death by a Nazi Court: Her Crime? "Hanging" Crucifixes*

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

*An edited version of this article appeared in Aleteia on April 12, 2016.

Just imagine being arrested on Ash Wednesday for the crime of “hanging Crucifixes”. I cannot imagine how I would handle it. Maybe I would have taken the Crucifixes down. Honestly, I do not know. Helena Kafka, who became known as Sister Maria Restituta, refused. She was sentenced to death. The following year, on Tuesday of Holy Week, she was executed .
May 1, 1894, was  a happy day for Anton and Marie Kafka.  Marie had just given birth to her sixth child and mom and her daughter were both doing fine. The proud parents named their new baby girl, Helena.  Devout Catholics, Anton and Marie had Helena baptized into the faith only thirteen days after her birth.
The ceremony took place in The Church of the Assumption, in the town of Husovice, located in Austria.  Before Helena reached her second birthday, the family had to move and settled in the city of Vienna.  This is where Helena and her siblings would remain and grow up.
Helena was a good student and worked hard. She received her First Holy Communion in St. Brigitta Church during May of 1905 and was confirmed in the same church a year later. After eight years of school she spent another year in housekeeping school and, by the age of 15, was working as a servant, a cook and being trained as a nurse.
In 1913, she became an assistant nurse at Lainz City Hospital. This was Helena’s first contact with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and she was immediately moved to become a Sister herself.  On April 25, 1914, Helena Kafka  joined the Franciscan sisters and on October 23, 1915, became Sister Maria Restituta. She made her final vows one year later and began working solely as a nurse.

When World War I ended Sister Maria was the lead surgical nurse at Modling Hospital in Vienna.  She and all other Austrians had never heard of Adolf Hitler and could never have imagined that one day, because of this man, their beloved nation would be annexed into the German Republic.
Blessed Maria Restituta

On  March 12, 1938, the Austrian Nazi Party pulled off a successful coup d’etat taking control of the government. These unforeseen and unimagined things had come to pass. The Nazis, under Hitler, now controlled the once proud Austrian nation.
Sister Restituta was very outspoken in her opposition to the Nazi regime. When a new wing to the hospital was built she hung a Crucifix in each of the new bedrooms. The Nazis demanded that they be removed. Sister Restituta was told she would be dismissed if she did not comply. She refused and the crucifixes remained hanging on the walls. 
One of the doctors on staff, a fanatical Nazi, would have none of it. He denounced her to the Nazi Party and on Ash Wednesday, 1942, she was arrested by the Gestapo after coming out of the operating room. The “charges” against her included, “hanging crucifixes and writing a poem that mocked Hitler”.
Sister Maria Restituta, the former Helena Kafka, loved her Catholic faith and, filled with the Spirit, wanted to do nothing more than serve the sick. The Nazis promptly sentenced her to death by the guillotine for “favouring the enemy and conspiracy to commit high treason”.  The Nazis offered her freedom if she would abandon the Franciscans she loved so much.  She adamantly refused. She would be the only Catholic nun ever sentenced to death by the Nazis.
An appeal for clemency went as far as the desk of Hitler’s personal secretary and Nazi Party Chancellor, Martin Bormann. His response was that her execution “would provide effective intimidation for others who might want to resist the Nazis”.  Sister Maria Restituta spent her final days in prison caring for the sick. Because of her love for the Crucifix and the Person who was nailed to it and died on it, she was beheaded on March 30, 1943 which also happened to be Tuesday of Holy Week. She was 48 years old.
                                                   
Pope John Paul II visited Vienna on June 21,1998.  That was the day Helena Kafka, the girl who originally went to housekeeping school to learn how to be a servant, was beatified by the Pope and declared Blessed Maria Restituta.  She had learned how to serve extremely well. But the one she served best of all was her Savior. She gave Him her life.
Blessed Marie Restituta, please pray for us.
    

          ©LarryPeterson  2016

From Anti-Semitism to Anti-Christism; The 21st Century Holocaust is Upon Us

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

By Larry Peterson

Recently the Anti-Defamation League conducted a global survey asking questions about the Holocaust. Unbelievably, two-thirds of the respondents (mostly younger people) had NEVER heard of the Holocaust and, for those that had, many did not believe the history and suggested that it was simply exaggerated. The rejection of a history so recent and so well documented boggles the mind. 
The term, “Denial” is a stock psychological term and most everyone knows what it means when used in proper context. Denying the existence of the Holocaust transcends “Denial”.  I believe that Holocaust denial must first be fueled by a self-absorbed apathy that results in indifference to all things that do not concern the “denier”. The journey to denying Truth then becomes easier if it might cause one so absorbed to experience “pain or discomfort”.

After being so weakened with one’s own self-love, denying the Holocaust becomes easy. Let’s face it, the horrors inflicted upon millions and millions of fellow human beings by their own kind is hard to fathom. But to deny or reject the documented history of such an era is just asinine. If you are among those who might “deny” the Holocaust ever happened you are one step away from falling into the bottomless pit of idiocy.

Bundesarchiv, B 285 Bild-04413 / Stanislaw Mucha / CC-BY-SA
Entrance to Auschwitz~~Gateway to Extermination

Seventy (70) years ago Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated. Today, genocide is once again running rampant in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle-east, and is widening like a swarm of unstoppable locusts spreading slowly and viciously across the world. What is the difference of the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis in Germany or the genocide being perpetrated by ISIS and radical Muslim Extremists in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan and even Europe and bit by bit in the United States? The answer–NOTHING.

Nothing is different because the end result is the same. Extermination of those that are hated. Whatever the reason one has for committing these atrocities does not matter. Hate is hate and it comes from an ‘evil spirit’ that has captured and harnessed each and every one of those haters having them commit their atrocities with glee and pleasure. How sick and twisted this is. How sick and twisted it is to deny it is happening now as it did then. How irresponsible and derelict in their responsibilities are the  educators and historians and those who know better to NOT teach this history and, worse yet, to alter and/or taint it.

The picture above is not fake. It is not a sketch or a painting. It is of a REAL place. It is the entrance to Auschwitz/Birkenau in Poland. People like you and I—men, women, children, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, grandparents, cousins and friends—were all brought to this place against their will. Upon arrival at this annex of Hades, they were immediately either put to work as slaves or sent to the gas chambers and murdered. They had been dehumanized, declared  “sub-human” and efficiently eradicated.  Ladies and gentlemen, young and old alike, there is NO DENYING THIS.

Yes, they were real people. They had dreams and hopes and loved and sang and danced and enjoyed a nice meal. They loved Hanukkah and Christmas (there were over two thousand Catholic priests murdered in the Holocaust and many Catholic nuns). Included among those possessing “lives unworthy of life” were, gypsies, Soviets, homosexuals, disabled persons, Slavs, religious and political dissidents, and non-Jewish poles and Dutch and Austrians and French and on and on. Six million Jews and another six million non-Jews. And people DENY that the Holocaust actually happened. Are you kidding me?

It is the year 2015. When Auschwitz was liberated General Eisenhower told his people to photograph everything lest the day comes when people begin to forget. The photos and film and records of this vicious genocide is there for all the world to see. Yet people deny it and schools may teach it in a cursory manner if at all. ISIS is running rampant throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa wantonly killing Christians without repercussion.  Thousands upon thousands of innocent people, including Americans, have been killed in ISIS’s world wide “Jihad” against the “infidels”.

ISIS just published a 22 minute video of the the most heinous and barbaric execution of a captured Jordanian pilot. They burned him alive in a cage for all the world to see. Unlike the Nazis who tried to camouflage their genocide the cowardly barbarians of ISIS want the world to see what they do and hope that we cower in fear. They have publicly beheaded Americans, Japanese, French, British  and others from around the world. They plan to continue their barbarous work on our very shores. Remember Fort Hood, Boston, and Oklahoma City?

It seems to me that the United States of America, a country comprised of people rooted in all nations of the world and blessed with an abundance of technology and resources, has  a responsibility to take the lead in the fight against these maniacal terrorists who  kill, unhesitatingly, even our children. They hate us and are waging war against us and our friends around the world. It is time for our leaders to forget “political correctness”, strap on some American pride and spit bullets into the eye of this thing called ISIS.

The 20th century is gone but not forgotten for millions of us. Our children and grandchildren deserve to experience some 20th century peace and prosperity like we did. God help us all and may God always bless America.

                                                    copyright 2015 Larry Peterson

Evil Infects All of History: James Foley was Murdered because He Represented Goodness

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

The brutal murder of journalist, James Foley, had nothing to do with James Foley.  It had to do with the fact that the man represented Goodness.  Satan, in complete charge of his conquered souls, has had them inflicting horror and terror and barbaric acts of murder and cruelty on, not only men, but on women and children as well.  This evil has been with us since time immemorial.  Let us travel back a mere 71 years and meet a sweet and kindly lady by the name of Sister Maria Restituta.

May 1, 1894, was a happy day for Anton and Marie Kafka.  Marie had just given birth to her sixth child and mom and her daughter were doing fine.  The proud parents named their new baby, Helena.  Devout Catholics, Anton and Marie had Helena baptized  into the faith thirteen days later at the parish of The Church of the Assumption, in the town oh Husovice in Austria.   Due to financial circumstances, Anton was forced to move his family to the big city of Vienna.  Helena was barely two and she and her siblings would remain in Vienna where they would all grow up.

Helena was a good student and worked hard.  She received her First Holy Communion in May of 1905 in St. Brigitta Church and was confirmed in the same church one year later.  After eight years of school she spent another year in housekeeping  school and by the age of 15 was working as a servant, a cook and learning to be a nurse.  She became an assistant nurse at Lainz City Hospital in 1913.  This was when Helena  first had contact with the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.  She immediately felt the call to become a Sister herself.  On April 25, 1914, Helena Kafka, joined the Franciscan Sisters and on October 23, 1915, she became Sister Maria Restituta.  One year later she made her final vows and began working solely as a nurse.

SisterRestituta.jpg
Blessed Maria Restituta

When World War I  ended, Sister Maria  was lead surgical nurse at Modling Hospital in Vienna.  She and all other Austrians had never heard of Adolf Hitler and could never have imagined that one day their beloved nation would be annexed into the German Republic because of this man.  On March 12, 1938, a successful coup d’etat by the Austrian Nazi party took place and the Nazis, under the now feared, Adolf Hitler, took control of the once proud Austrian nation.  Things would never be the same.

Sister Restituta was very outspoken in her opposition to the Nazi regime. When a new wing to the hospital was built Sister hung a Crucifix in each of the new bedrooms.  The Nazis demanded that they be removed telling Sister Maria that she would be dismissed if she did not comply.  She adamantly refused and the Crucifixes remained on the walls.  One of the doctors on staff, himself a fanatical Nazi, would have  none of it.  He denounced her to the Nazi Party and, on Ash Wednesday,  1942, she was arrested by the Gestapo as she exited the operating room.  The “charges” against her included   “hanging crucifixes and writing a poem that mocked Hitler”.

Sister Maria Restituta, the former Helena Kafka, loved her Catholic faith and, filled with the Holy Spirit, wanted to do nothing more than to serve the sick.  The Nazis promptly sentenced her to death by guillotine for “favouring the enemy and conspiracy to commit high treason”.  The Nazis offered her freedom if she would abandon the Franciscans she loved so much.  She refused.

An appeal for clemency went as far as the desk of Martin Bormann, Hitler’s personal secretary and Nazi Party Chancellor.  His response was that her execution “would provide effective intimidation for others who might want to resist the Nazis”.  Sister Maria Restituta spent her final days in prison caring for the sick.  Because of her love of the Crucifix and for the Person who was nailed to it and died hanging on it,  Sister Maria was sent to the guillotine and was beheaded on March 30, 1943.  She was 48 years old.

Pope John Paul II visited Vienna on June 21, 1998.  That was the day that Helena Kafka, the girl who started off in housekeeping school and became a servant and then went on to be a nurse in the Franciscan Sisters of Charity, was beatified by the Pope and became Blessed Maria Restituta. She had learned how to serve extremely well, always serving others before herself.

Let us ask Blessed Maria that she pray for the repose of the soul of James Foley who was murdered by the forces of evil because he, too, represented Goodness.  We ask her to remember his family and friends as they deal with this terrible abomination done to their loved one.  We also ask Blessed Maria and all the saints to pray for us all.
                                                                                                             

"The Scandal that is a "Shameful Silence"


IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson                                                         

“Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.”   Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran theologian in Germany during the reign of Adolf Hitler.  His book, “The Cost of Discipleship”, has become a classic.  Focusing on the “Sermon on the Mount”, the book more or less spelled out what  Bonhoeffer thought was the true way to follow Christ.  In addition to his theological writings and teaching, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a staunch, anti Nazi dissident.  He spoke out vigorously against Hitler’s euthanasia and genocidal persecution of the Jews and, in so doing,  became a hated enemy of the Third Reich. As such, he was arrested in April 1943 and on April 9, 1945 was hanged, accused of  the ambiguous crime of “plotting against the Nazis”.

We move ahead 69 years to 2014.  The following is a statement from His Grace, Bishop Suriel of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Diocese of  Melbourne:
“The world watches in silence as the last Christians are expelled from Mosul, Iraq, in one of the most merciless and barbaric acts of genocide we have seen in the 21st  Century.”

We are absolutely fascinating creatures, we humans are.  Many of our species can be so kind and compassionate, loving and gentle, sweet and understanding.  Many people will save a tiny bird with an injured wing or a cat stuck up in a tree.  They will send money to perfect strangers to help them through a crisis.  They will feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and give drink to the thirsty.

Then you flip the coin over and you have many of the very same species who are filled with a self-gratification which culminates in a hate and disdain for others of their own kind.  These include those who will torture and kill their fellow humans  for the most obtuse reasons such as:  religion, skin color, birthplace,  political beliefs or whatever other self-serving reason a murderer may come up with.  Many kill and torture saying they were “only following orders” and had no choice. Others kill because of pride fueled by envy and greed.

So I ask why?  Why are we, all of the same species, so different in our hearts?  How can some of us kill and others forgive them for doing so?   Why do some of us willingly and joyfully give of ourselves for people we may not even know?  Why do some of us  hate others they may not even know?  Why are there those that love their fellow human being unconditionally?  The answer has to be because of the very existence of “good vs evil”.  What is “Good vs Evil”?  I can tell you what it is and I do not care if you disagree. It  is the war waged by Satan and those that follow him against  the God of Love that created him and all of his followers.  If you take a breath and look at the world of today and then glance back at yesterday and the centuries before, what has changed in the hearts of man?

Mosul,  the very cradle of Christianity, can trace the followers of Jesus back to the first century.  As of today it seems that the entire Christian population of Mosul has been purged from this ancient and historic city.  Murder, including beheading of  civilians and the wanton murder of women and children has virtually eradicated the city’s Christians.  And what do we see and hear from the print and broadcast media?  We hear the sound of nothing. We hear the sound of a “Shameful  Silence” that reverberates throughout the very souls of all the people vanquished because they were Christians.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself.”  He was hanged by the Nazis for his “crimes” over 70 years ago.  What has changed? The press was quiet then as the Nazis purged the world of the “hated Jew”.  Most of the main stream media (print and broadcast) is quiet now as the Islamists purge the world of the “hated Christian”.  The Shameful Silence is a disgrace.  Nothing has changed, nothing at all.

The Genocide Continues–but Without the Music

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME

by Larry Peterson

The pages of history are littered with the evil purveyors of death by genocide.  But the Nazis have to be awarded Satan’s Black Medal of Evil.  They managed to accomplish the three Ps all at the same time: proficiency, productivity and performance.  Yup, no one has ever killed so many innocents with the efficiency of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime.

These disciples of all that is evil, even fine-tuned the process to a point where they had orchestras playing music as the doomed were “merrily” paraded to their deaths.   The irony was that the Nazis had silenced Jewish musicians throughout Germany and their occupied countries.  Then some of the upper echelon “death designers”,  in their ongoing quest to speed up and expedite the extermination process, decided to add beautiful music to the blood curdling screams coming from those about to die.  So they began rounding up the silenced musicians, gathered up confiscated instruments (including many grand pianos) and distributed them to death camps.  The orders were for the commanders of these camps to put together an orchestra and have them play music for the prisoners as they departed the death trains and as they were marched to their deaths.

Imagine the utter callousness of the conquerors.  They decided to use orchestras to drown out the anguished cries coming from the camps.  The prisoners dubbed this practice, “Symphonia Diabolica” or the “Devil’s Symphony”.  At the Janowska concentration camp located near Ukraine, SS officer Wilhelm Rokita, a former violinist, ordered the inmate orchestra to compose something a bit more “lively” than the standard classical fare. They came up with a little ditty called, “Tango fun toyt” or “Tango of  Death”.  This piece had some ‘bounce” to it and it encouraged the condemned to “move more quickly” as they were herded to their executions.  This is hard to even imagine but it happened and was orchestrated by folks who not long before were, for the most part,  regular, hardworking, family types who seemingly would not hurt anyone or anything.  It is proof that we must never, ever underestimate the power and influence of evil.

That was then and this is now.  What has changed?  The genocide continues—but without the music.  As we sit and move through our day Christians and Jews are the targets of the the forces of the Evil One.  I do not mean to minimize what is happening in Gaza but there is an  intentional massacre and elimination of Christians and Christianity taking place in Iraq and other places.  One third of Iraq has already been conquered by Islamist radicals who have declared the territory a new Caliphate.  This means that this is now a Muslim nation under Sharia Law and the Constitution of Medina.  There is NO place for Christianity in this place.  The entire nation of Iraq is targeted for complete  takeover.

There are no up to date numbers as to how many Catholics and non-Catholic Christians have been executed.  All Christians have been ordered to convert to Islam or leave the city immediately, leaving their belongings behind.  Penalty for non-compliance is  immediate death.  The Islamist maniacs and butchers have no concentration camps and there is definitely no music being played.  These evil-doers simply kill you and they actually seem to get “joy” from lopping off the head of an “infidel”.  Where is the world’s outrage?

There were supposedly one million plus Christians in Iraq before 2003.  The last number (before the US completely pulled out) was 400, 000.  There are unconfirmed reports from Mosul that all women between the ages of 11 and 46 will have to go for immediate “circumcision”.  What kind of medieval, barbaric behavior is this.  Why aren’t the women’s organizations screaming about this?   Why isn’t our mainstream media reporting it?  Why hasn’t our administration  engaged with this?  American dead from the Iraq war comes to 4800.  Almost 32,000 Americans were wounded.  We stabilized that nation and now it is being stolen away by lunatics.  Doesn’t anyone give a damn?  We are not only watching the annihilation of Christianity in the mid-east but Christianity is under attack all over the world.

Violence against Christians has become a global epidemic.  From North Korea, to Syria, to Iraq, and Libya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan,  Iran, and most of  sub-Saharan Africa, Christians are being tortured and killed.  In Europe they are being slowly but surely minimized on their way to the secular and Islamist goal of eradication.

Right here, in the United States of America, the land of the “free”, Christianity is being portrayed as indifferent and intolerant because it stands its ground against the forces of secularism.  There are Americans who want to purge it from the public square, this in a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles.   We have those who are offended by a cross and go to court to have it removed.  They must not have a clue as to how they are chipping away at the very foundation of the greatest nation ever to exist.

They might want to consider that the Islamist radicals want them dead too.  They hate them as much as they hate any Christian simply because they are American.  They hate anyone that doesn’t defer to their religious fanaticism.  If they ever manage to come here they will not be playing music.  It is time for everyone to pray.

                                                                                             

Pride–the Main Ingredient in the Evil That Surrounds Us

by Larry Peterson

Eleven Nuns of Nowogrodek.jpg
Blessed Martyrs of Nowogrodek

The abuse, torture and killing of men, women and children continues. Throughout the history of humankind this has been so.  Why?  We might say it is because of  prejudice or pride or ego or just unabashed hatred.  Maybe contempt and envy enter into it.  Whatever it is, whatever causes human beings who are supposed to have the use of reason to turn against their own kind, eludes me.  It also sickens me.

What causes others to  purposely and oftentimes, gleefully abuse, torture, rape and kill their own kind, makes no sense.  Scorn, loathing and derision can combine and form a hatred so deeply imbedded that people actually kill themselves (suicide bombers) to destroy their perceived enemy even if that person is a little child.  Where can such hatred come from? How can it be so deep and vicious?  And why, why is it, that so many times the killings are carried out using God and virtue as justification.  The God I know is all about love and forgiveness.  We must not forget that He has given us free will and we choose our behavior.

Killing out of hatred while using God as the reason is an abomination of all that is good and pleasing to God. It is the ultimate hypocrisy committed by men and women and this even applies to avowed atheists who deny God’s existence. They fit the profile simply because everyone knows, believer and non-believer alike, that NOT killing is the right thing.  It is part of our genetic material.

If you do kill due to pride, envy, anger, greed or lust you have abdicated your very self to the forces of evil.  Of all of these, pride is the greatest because it is the king of self-destruction and the primary portal to the evil that lurks waiting to embrace each and every one of us..                                                                                        

The word “genocide” was coined in 1948 by Raphael Lemkin. His word has been with us ever since. Scholars and historians can trace genocide all the way back to prehistoric man and some believe that even the Neanderthal was wiped out by genocide. The 20th century alone has seen seven periods of genocide.  It  started with the Armenians who were systematically murdered by the Turks between 1915 and 1918. The Turks managed to kill 1,500,000 of their “enemy”.

In 1933 the Nazis opened their first concentration camp, Dachau.  Here over 25,000 Jews and Christians were killed as the Nazi genocide began. The atrocities continued until 1945.  When the allies finally liberated Germany it was found that Hitler’s death machine had  managed to kill  more than 6,000,000 Jews and millions of others including Catholics and Christians, Gypsies, Hungarians, Romanians, Dutch, French, Poles, Russians, and the sickening list goes on.

We have seen genocide in Rwanda where, in 1994 alone, 800,000 people were brutally murdered.  Pol Pot in Cambodia managed to torture and kill over 2,000,000 people between 1975 and 1979.  Under Joseph Stalin’s  forced famine over 7,000,000 Russians died between 1932 and 1933.  Many millions more died under his brutal and paranoid dictatorship. The 20th century alone has seen literally countless millions of people,  people just like you and I, systematically exterminated usually because some maniacal individual has seized power and the people who follow him are ready and willing to do his killing.

During the Nuremberg Trials how many of the accused Nazis used the excuse that they were just “following orders”.  How cowardly to hide behind such an excuse. Yet, how many do that the world over?  Just because something has been declared a “law” does not necessarily mean it is right.  At what point do we as individuals stand up for what IS “right”?  How many of us would put ourselves on the line to defend what is ‘right”?  The fact is, most of us know what “right” is but what price honor and integrity and freedom?  When it comes right down to it, many choose to turn their backs.

The picture in the upper right is of eleven nuns. These Sisters had honor, integrity and loved their fellow man. They were  prisoners of the Nazis in the town of  Nowogrodek in Poland. The year was 1942. The Nazis had already exterminated or sent to work camps all of the 10,000 Jews in Nowogrodek and now they were killing the Polish people.

The Sisters volunteered to die in place of 120 other prisoners who were scheduled for execution. The Nazis agreed and released half of the Polish prisoners, sending  the rest to work camps. The nuns were taken out into the woods, made to stand next to an open pit, and individually shot to death. The date  was August 1, 1943.  They had such respect for life they willingly died to save ten times their number.

We can only imagine what they were feeling as they watched their friends before them fall into that pit, holding hands with each other one moment and dead the next. Today they are known as the Blessed Martyrs of  Nowogrodek. They were beatified by St. John Paul II on March 5, 2000.  How many of us would do that for people we did not know?

Today we watch mass killings taking place throughout the Middle East and parts of Asia and Africa. The murder and attempted annihilation of Christians continues unabated and is on the increase at this very moment.  From the individual killing of  Father Frans Van der Lugt, beaten and murdered in Syria in April for being a Catholic priest, to the 80 people in North Korea executed last November for owning Bibles to the imprisonment of Meriam Ibrahim with her two babies for being Christian to the massacres of  Christians taking place in so many places around the world, the hatred and demonic behavior increases day by day. It has been going on since the existence of mankind has been recorded.  It is a behavior that flies in the face of what we are as a species.  Somewhere, it is happening at this very moment.

                                                          Father Frans van der Lugt
I believe there is a self-centeredness and false pride that exists in all of us.  It is the gateway for evil to enter into us.  Many reject this evil.  Many have too much love in their hearts to be influenced by such temptation. Many do not.  Lucifer is alive and well and using these open “gateways” that are available to him all over the world.  Quite often he is very successful at gaining entrance into available souls.

Bottom line, Lucifer, aka Satan, was the greatest of all God’s angels. But his pride made him choose to challenge his Creator. He lost that battle and was cast out.  He is filled with a vitriolic hatred for God and Love and has been waging his evil war against  God and Love ever since.  Often time he finds an open “gateway” and has successfully used this path to recruit millions of willing souls. But, he can never win.

                                            ©Larry Peterson 2014 All Rights Reserved