“With guardini, we will need longer”

With a festive service in the Liebfrauendom, Cardinal Marx of Munich opened two beatification proceedings on Fritz Gerlich and Romano Guardini on Saturday.

Two beatification proceedings are being prepared in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. They are dedicated to the NS-critical publicist Fritz Gerlich (1883-1934) and the religious philosopher Romano Guardini (1885-1968).

Witness interviews and objections

In the diocesan phase of the trials, witnesses are questioned who can provide information about the personality, biography and work of both of them. All the faithful are called upon to send relevant information to the archdiocese. This also involves references to any misconduct or problematic statements.

Postulator Johannes Modesto, who is in charge of both proceedings, expects a shorter processing time with Gerlich. His case could be completed in Munich by 2021, he told the Catholic News Agency (KNA) on Monday in Munich.

"With Guardini we will probably need three years longer."A second phase follows at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican, before the Pope makes the decision. The last beatification of a member of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising was that of the Redemptorist Father Kaspar Stanggassinger in 1988.

Illustrated magazine becomes NS-critical campaign organ

Fritz Gerlich (1883 to 1934) was one of the earliest opponents of the Nazi movement and one of its first victims. With his weekly newspaper "Der gerade Weg" (The Straight Path), he tried to prevent Adolf Hitler's rise to power from the summer of 1931 onwards, and accepted his own death for it.

Gerlich came from a Calvinist family in Stettin, studied various subjects in Munich and initially ended up in the Bavarian archives service. His political views alternated between left-liberal and national conservative. A habilitation project failed, as did his application for a seat in parliament.

From 1920 on, Gerlich was the main editor of the "Munchner Neuesten Nachrichten" and supported its anti-republican course, at first also with sympathies for the Nazi movement. In 1928 he had to leave after a quarrel with the management.

Life turning point through encounter with Therese Neumann

Encounter with Upper Palatinate ecstatic Therese Neumann led to life change. At first Gerlich wanted to expose her as a fraud, then he converted to Catholicism in 1931. In the circle around Neumann, Gerlich found comrades-in-arms for his new mission, the intellectual struggle against the Nazis.

Hitler had him imprisoned in March 1933. According to fellow prisoners, Gerlich endured his "protective custody" until his murder in the summer of 1934 by praying and immersing himself in theological reading. Fritz Gerlich was arrested without charge or trial on the night of 1. July 1934 murdered in the concentration camp of Dachau.

Gerlich's bold attempt at journalistic resistance went unnoticed for a long time. In 2016, the Speyer historian Rudolf Morsey presented a comprehensive scientific biography. Monuments in Munich and Regensburg commemorate the controversial journalist. In 1999, the Catholic Church included him in its "German Martyrology of the 20th Century". Century – Witnesses for Christ" and awards a film prize named after him every year.

"Conscience in a time of consciencelessness"

The Munich journalist Heribert Prantl calls Gerlich "the conscience in a time of consciencelessness". Munich historian Paul Hoser points to darker sides. In the early 1920s, Gerlich had driven a former Bavarian minister to his death.

A martyrdom trial is underway for Gerlich, which follows somewhat different rules. The main question to be examined is whether the publicist was murdered for his faith and not just eliminated as a political opponent. Whether he took Christian virtues to heart throughout his life is of secondary importance.

Theologian and philosopher of religion Romano Guardini

Romano Guardini (1885-1968) is considered one of the most influential Catholic thinkers of the 20th century. In the second half of the twentieth century. Guardini had a formative influence on the Catholic youth and liturgical movement and thus became an intellectual forerunner of the Second Vatican Council (1962 to 1965).

In Munich he was one of the founders of the Catholic Academy in Bavaria. As an articulate academic teacher and author, he shaped generations. Like few others, he succeeded in building bridges between the modern world and religious symbolism, between faith, science and art.

Born in Verona, Guardini grew up in Mainz, was ordained a priest there in 1910, and took German citizenship a year later. After studies in Freiburg and Tubingen, he habilitated in Bonn in 1922 with a thesis on the medieval Franciscan theologian Bonaventure. Shortly thereafter he was appointed to the newly established chair of "Philosophy of Religion and Catholic Worldview" at the University of Berlin. In 1939 the National Socialists ordered his forced retirement.

Peace Prize of the German Book Trade

Immediately after the war, Carlo Schmid, Minister of Culture in Wurttemberg, established a chair for Guardini in Tubingen. In 1948 he was called to Munich, where he taught and was a university preacher until his retirement in 1962. In 1952, the philosopher of religion received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, followed by many other high awards.

Guardini did not participate in the Second Vatican Council, since he suffered increasingly from depression in the last years of his life. Since 1982, his estate has been administered by the Catholic Academy in Bavaria, which he co-founded, and which also awards a prize named after him. In Berlin, there is still a Guardini Foundation Profer. The Guardini chair in Munich has not been occupied since 2012 and is to be rededicated.

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