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Archive for December 8th, 2009

On this day, an imprisoned priest found freedom

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Exactly 65 years ago, on December 8, 1944, Fr Alfred Delp made his final vows for the Society of Jesus in Tegel Prison, Berlin. He was executed by the Nazis less than two months later, on February 2, 1945.

The Ignatius Press blog has this moving description of the scene:

Is it surprising that on the morning of the 8th, Father Delp was so moved that he almost could not control his emotions as he pronounced his vows? What an unusual celebration it was! The prison guard sat at the desk and Father Delp sat to his right, wearing a simple gray suit. He was without his handcuffs. Father Tattenbach sat at the narrow end of the desk.

The conversation, very constrained because of the presence of the guard, began with news about home and his fellow Jesuits. Even all of these things moved Father Delp deeply. Then technical matters related to obtaining an attorney were covered.

As the talk turned to signing the profession formula, Father Delp fell completely silent and sank back in his chair. Only when I asked whether he really wanted to sign, he said ”Yes,” silently read the formula to himself, took the pen and quickly and energetically signed in his characteristic, hard script. Only with visible effort could he control his emotions enough to read the formula aloud, as is required for canonical validity of the vows.

Then, because we had already far exceeded the visiting time, this very extraordinary meeting was hastily concluded with a few inconsequential sentences.

On the evening of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Father Delp wrote, ‘…It was so much all at once… During the whole Novena leading up to December 8, I had prayed for a message of mercy. And then this fulfillment… I have finally signed my life away. Now the external chains have become irrelevant, for the Lord has made me worthy to wear the vincula amoris (chains of love).’


Written by Luke Coppen

December 8, 2009 at 9:52 am

Praise for a pioneer of the Catholic blogosphere

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Jeffrey Tucker pays tribute to Shawn Tribe, founder of the New Liturgical Movement (NLM) website:

When the history of our liturgical epoch is written, I believe that NLM will play a huge role, and NLM is made possible only through the work of Shawn Tribe, who has dedicated himself so passionately and resolutely to causes that are depreciated in the culture at large: beauty and truth.

He has an incredibly difficult job but you would never know it from the way he manages the site. Grace and good will define his style, and the daily sacrifices he makes for the Catholic world are rarely noted. He doesn’t seek praise, for that matter. He seeks to do good things. And no, he does not know that I would be writing or posting this tribute.

Fr Tim Finigan says the praise is well deserved:

The standard of writing and the excellence of content at NLM has been consistent, reliable and always in accord not only with the liturgical teaching of the Catholic Church but also with her moral and spiritual teaching. The blog is a model of all that Pope Benedict has said concerning the online apostolate. It has a deserved place high up on every Catholic blogger’s blogroll. I heartily second Jeffrey’s tribute.

I’ve been working on a long Q and A interview with Shawn, which I hope will see the light of day in 2009 (actually, make that 2010).

Written by Luke Coppen

December 8, 2009 at 9:34 am