Sunday, January 30, 2011

Remembering Alfred Delp, S.J. on the 65th anniversary of his martyrdom




















Feb 2, 2010 will mark the 65th anniversary of the martyrdom of Alfred Delp, S.J., a 37 year old Jesuit priest, hung to death by the Nazis in 1945. His crime? Being faithful to the call of Christ to speak out for the social teaching of the church and oppose regimes that dehumanize men and women. May we rise to the challenges of our times as Fr. Alfred Delp did to his. Peace, Rick.
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"It is undeniable that every human being is entitled to living space, daily bread, and the protection of the law as a common birthright; these are fundamentals and should not be handed out as an act of charity. " — Alfred Delp, S.J.

"God does not need great pathos or great works. He needs greatness of hearts. He cannot calculate with zeroes" — Alfred Delp, S.J.

"It is the time of sowing, not of harvesting. God is sowing; one day He will harvest again. I will try to do one thing. I will try to at least be a healthy and fruitful seed, falling into the soil. And into the Lord God's hand" — Alfred Delp, S.J.

"Whoever does not have the courage to make history, becomes its poor object. Let's do it!" — Alfred Delp, S.J.

"When we get out of here, we will show, that (ecumenicism) is more than personal friendship. We will continue to carry the historical burden of our separated churches, as baggage and inheritance. But never again shall it became shameful to Christ. Like you, I do not believe in the utopia of complete unity stews. But the one Christ is undivided, and when undivided love leads to him, we will do better than our fighting predecessors and contemporaries" — Alfred Delp, S.J.

"If there was a little more light and truth in the world through one human being, his life has had meaning." — Alfred Delp, S.J.

"In half an hour, I'll know more than you do." — Alfred Delp, S.J. These were the last words of Alfred Delp. He whispered them jokingly, to the Prison Chaplain Rev. Peter Buchholz, who accompanied him to his execution.


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From America Magazine (Click here for full article)

A Martyr to the Nazis
Hitler wanted Alfred Delp forgotten, but his way of resistance still inspires.




Final Hours

The Nazis had offered Delp a reprieve if he would leave the Jesuit order. Instead, on the day of his execution, Alfred Delp wrote to his fellow Jesuits:

The real reason for my conviction is that I am and have remained a Jesuit. They could not show a connection to July 20. And the Stauffenberg charge could not be upheld. The other sentences that really had to do with knowledge of July 20 were less serious and more matter of fact. The atmosphere was so full of hate and hostility. The basic thesis was: a Jesuit is a priori an enemy and opponent of the Reich.

In the last hours of his life, Delp still hoped that the Russian troops would press forward to Berlin and free him. “Can’t history be a little faster?” he asked the Catholic prison chaplain, who had no reply. “In half an hour,” said Delp, fearful at the brink of death, “I shall know more than you.”

That same day Freisler condemned to death Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s brother Klaus and his brother-in-law Rüdiger Schleicher. The next day an air raid alarm went off during another trial, and the court building was hit dead center. Freisler, on his way to a bomb shelter in the basement, was killed by the collapsing ruins.

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From Ignatian Spirituality.com

"Alfred Delp was a German member of the Society of Jesus, who was executed for his resistance to the Nazi regime.

Alfred Delp was born in Mannheim, Germany, to a Catholic mother and a Protestant father. Although baptized Catholic, he was raised and confirmed a Lutheran. At the age of 14 he left the Lutheran church and received the sacraments of First Eucharist and Confirmation as a Catholic. In his later life Delp was a fervent promoter of better relations between the churches.

Delp joined the Jesuits in 1926. In the next 10 years he continued his studies and worked with German youth, made more difficult after 1933 with the interference of the Nazi regime. Delp was ordained in 1937.

Unable for political reasons to continue his studies, Delp worked on the editorial staff of the Jesuit publication Stimmen der Zeit (Voice of the Times), until it was suppressed in 1941. He then was assigned as rector of St. Georg Church in Munich. Delp secretly used his position to help Jews escape to Switzerland.

Concerned with the future of Germany, Delp joined the Kreisau Circle, a group that worked to design a new social order. He was arrested with other members of the circle after the attempted assassination of Hitler in 1944. After suffering brutal treatment and torture, Delp was brought to trial. While he knew nothing of the attempted assassination, the Gestapo decided to hang him for high treason.

Delp was offered his freedom if he would renounce the Jesuits. He refused and was hanged February 2, 1945. His body was cremated and his ashes spread on an unknown field.

While his physical remains disappeared, Alfred Delp left behind letters smuggled out of prison. They reveal a man of courage who told the prison chaplain accompanying him to his death, “In half an hour, I’ll know more than you do.”

*****************************************************************

With Bound Hands Loyola Press: Book on Fr. Delp, S.J.

Alfred Delp, S.J: Prison Writings (Orbis Books)

Michael Holman, S.J.: Reflections on Alfred Delp. "Faith is Very Rare"

15 Comments:

Anonymous Mary Arnold said...


Thank you for all of this information. It is absolutely painful to read. Fr. Delp pray for us.

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