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  • In the Shadow of His Wings

    Well, I've finished Brotherhood of Warriors, and now I'm about to start on another really great memoir, entitled In the Shadow of His Wings, a true story about a German seminarian who gets drafted into the SS early on in the war, but is discharged in '41. He still manages to get ordained, and after being discharged from the SS serves as a chaplain and NCO in the Wehrmacht. After the war I believe he went to Japan and ministered there. Should be a fascinating read! A great book for anyone interested in the SS, WWII memoirs, Germany during WWII, or just a slightly different aspect of WWII. The copy I have is softcover and was relatively inexpensive.



    Regards,
    Alex

  • #2
    Originally posted by CatholicCrusade View Post
    Well, I've finished Brotherhood of Warriors, and now I'm about to start on another really great memoir, entitled In the Shadow of His Wings, a true story about a German seminarian who gets drafted into the SS early on in the war, but is discharged in '41. He still manages to get ordained, and after being discharged from the SS serves as a chaplain and NCO in the Wehrmacht. After the war I believe he went to Japan and ministered there. Should be a fascinating read! A great book for anyone interested in the SS, WWII memoirs, Germany during WWII, or just a slightly different aspect of WWII. The copy I have is softcover and was relatively inexpensive.

    Regards,
    Alex
    Alex,

    This looks like an interesting read. Thanks for posting it.

    Although I am not a Christian myself, I think you would find Dietrich Bonhoeffer interesting to read about (if you have not already)

    Here is the website to the Bonhoeffer reading room:
    http://www.tyndale.ca/sem/mtsmodular...age.php?pid=54

    and wiki:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by skoblin View Post
      Alex,

      This looks like an interesting read. Thanks for posting it.

      Although I am not a Christian myself, I think you would find Dietrich Bonhoeffer interesting to read about (if you have not already)

      Here is the website to the Bonhoeffer reading room:
      http://www.tyndale.ca/sem/mtsmodular...age.php?pid=54

      and wiki:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer
      skob,

      Thanks for the kind words. I always try to share good reads, even if some people might not agree 100% with the views of the author or book itself. Some good books that I have read I didn't totally agree with.

      I've heard about Dietrich Bonhoeffer before and his courage in standing up to the Nazis, but I must admit that I don't know very much about him. I'll look into it. Thanks.

      Alex

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by CatholicCrusade View Post
        skob,

        Thanks for the kind words. I always try to share good reads, even if some people might not agree 100% with the views of the author or book itself. Some good books that I have read I didn't totally agree with.

        I've heard about Dietrich Bonhoeffer before and his courage in standing up to the Nazis, but I must admit that I don't know very much about him. I'll look into it. Thanks.

        Alex
        Well, Alex, one of the main issues regarding the Bonhoeffer case - which poses a certain problematic for Christianity - is when does the dictum "give unto Caesar what is Caesar's" becomes over-ruled by the Christian duty to help the weak and oppressed, and whether violence committed by a Christian is theologically justified if it is done for the sake of opposing oppression and tyranny. If I remember rightly, St. Thomas attempted to deal with this issue regarding "a just revolution" but I think as far as he got was stating that if a revolution is successful, then it is just - for obviously God decreed that it be successful. Not really helpful when one is debating violent opposition to a tyranny before the fact.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by skoblin View Post
          Well, Alex, one of the main issues regarding the Bonhoeffer case - which poses a certain problematic for Christianity - is when does the dictum "give unto Caesar what is Caesar's" becomes over-ruled by the Christian duty to help the weak and oppressed, and whether violence committed by a Christian is theologically justified if it is done for the sake of opposing oppression and tyranny. If I remember rightly, St. Thomas attempted to deal with this issue regarding "a just revolution" but I think as far as he got was stating that if a revolution is successful, then it is just - for obviously God decreed that it be successful. Not really helpful when one is debating violent opposition to a tyranny before the fact.
          Good points. From my knowledge of Catholic moral theology regarding these issues, a revolution is just if it is undertaken against an evil, amoral, and oppressive government. I'm not sure if the requirements for a just revolution against an evil government would follow the same guidelines as the requirements for a just war, but it would make sense if they did, so here's the Just War Doctrine (from Catholic Answers website):

          JUST WAR DOCTRINE TODAY

          The most authoritative and up-to-date expression of just war doctrine is found in paragraph 2309 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It says:

          The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

          * the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
          * all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
          * there must be serious prospects of success;
          * the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.


          Looking at these, it seems to me that a militant revolution and opposition to Nazi Germany by Christians would be fully justified. All of the major requirements for a just war against the Nazis seem, in my mind, to have been fulfilled, which would justify the efforts of German resistance fighters. Also, I think I read/heard somewhere that condition #3, about the prospect of success, is the least important of the four requirements, as at least some opposition, even if it is doomed from the outset, is better than none at all.

          Thus, from my knowledge of these matters, individuals like Bonhoeffer and Stauffenberg were fully and completely justified in opposing the Nazis and attempting to assassinate Hitler and end the Nazi rule of Germany. They were fighting to free Germany from evil, to stop the destructive Second World War that was largely the Nazis' doing, and to protect their fellow Germans, many of whom were being imprisoned or killed by the Nazis in the concentration camps for their beliefs, religion, or genetics.

          As far as a revolution being just because it is successful, I've never heard that St. Thomas taught or wrote that, but then again I'm not sure. I do know that Catholic theology teaches that, while everything that happens is the will of God, God can never actually desire, want, or directly cause evil to actually happen to people, since He is completely and perfectly good. Thus, while God may ALLOW an evil revolution such as that of the Nazis to take place and succeed, it does not mean that He condones or approves it; merely that He is allowing it to take place for some reason of His own, which fits in with His plan of salvation for the world. It may be hard for swallow (and I know it is for some people--the continued existence of the eternal questions, "Why would God, who is said to be so good, allow such bad things like the Holocaust to happen?!?" attests to that), but that's what the Catholic teaching is.

          Also, as far as when the dictum to "render unto Caesar" is superseded by that to "render unto God what is God's," I think that if there's a conflict between a government and God, duty to God (and by extension to our "neighbors" [other people], esp. if they're being oppressed or killed by an evil government) wins hands down. I have always been taught, from the time I was young, that the proper hierarchy for a Catholic is: God - Family - Country. I think that in special cases, such as Nazi-governed WWII Germany, the only way you can honestly, fully, and completely serve God is to NOT serve your country's government. You don't necessarily have to try to kill Hitler with a suitcase bomb; but you can at least try to avoid participating in the Nazis' aggressive war and murderous activities. Joseph Ratzinger (currently Pope Benedict XVI), for example, has been decried as a Nazi and the Panzer Pope for his brief service as an AA ammo loader in the Hitler Youth; but in reality he risked his life by deserting.

          Hope this all makes sense.......

          Alex
          Last edited by Alexander; 17 Jul 09, 13:52.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by CatholicCrusade View Post
            Good points. From my knowledge of Catholic moral theology regarding these issues, a revolution is just if it is undertaken against an evil, amoral, and oppressive government. I'm not sure if the requirements for a just revolution against an evil government would follow the same guidelines as the requirements for a just war, but it would make sense if they did, so here's the Just War Doctrine (from Catholic Answers website):

            JUST WAR DOCTRINE TODAY

            The most authoritative and up-to-date expression of just war doctrine is found in paragraph 2309 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It says:

            The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:

            * the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
            * all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
            * there must be serious prospects of success;
            * the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.


            Looking at these, it seems to me that a militant revolution and opposition to Nazi Germany by Christians would be fully justified. All of the major requirements for a just war against the Nazis seem, in my mind, to have been fulfilled, which would justify the efforts of German resistance fighters. Also, I think I read/heard somewhere that condition #3, about the prospect of success, is the least important of the four requirements, as at least some opposition, even if it is doomed from the outset, is better than none at all.

            Thus, from my knowledge of these matters, individuals like Bonhoeffer and Stauffenberg were fully and completely justified in opposing the Nazis and attempting to assassinate Hitler and end the Nazi rule of Germany. They were fighting to free Germany from evil, to stop the destructive Second World War that was largely the Nazis' doing, and to protect their fellow Germans, many of whom were being imprisoned or killed by the Nazis in the concentration camps for their beliefs, religion, or genetics.

            As far as a revolution being just because it is successful, I've never heard that St. Thomas taught or wrote that, but then again I'm not sure. I do know that Catholic theology teaches that, while everything that happens is the will of God, God can never actually desire, want, or directly cause evil to actually happen to people, since He is completely and perfectly good. Thus, while God may ALLOW an evil revolution such as that of the Nazis to take place and succeed, it does not mean that He condones or approves it; merely that He is allowing it to take place for some reason of His own, which fits in with His plan of salvation for the world. It may be hard for swallow (and I know it is for some people--the continued existence of the eternal questions, "Why would God, who is said to be so good, allow such bad things like the Holocaust to happen?!?" attests to that), but that's what the Catholic teaching is.

            Does what I said make sense?

            Alex
            Makes very good sense, Alex...and I might have gotten Aquinas mixed up with Augustine.

            It looks like Aquinas' position is that authority must be obeyed since it is derived from God, but authority may be defied if it is clear that the authority in question is not derived from God, either because:

            1. The current authority has usurped power or has otherwise obtained it through violent, unlawful or illegal means - or
            2. The current authority is committing actions which run counter to the purpose and function of lawful government (very Aristotelian) or is exceeding the lawful competence of government

            In this sense, Bonhoeffer would have been justified to oppose Hitler as Hitler had acquired power through fraudulent means (Reichstag fire, outlawing of political parties, suspension of elections) and was exercising the power of the state beyond its function (establishing a military empire) and exceeding its lawful competence.
            Last edited by Skoblin; 17 Jul 09, 14:11.

            Comment


            • #7
              Alex, I've found the relevant source for this now....from Thomas Aquinas' commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard...

              But, as we have already said, authority may fail to derive from God for two reasons: either because of the way in which authority has been obtained, or in consequence of the use which is made of it. There are two ways in which the first case may occur. Either because of a defect in the person, if he is unworthy; or because of some defect in the way itself by which power was acquired, if, for example, through violence, or simony or some other illegal method. The first defect is not such as to impede the acquisition of legitimate authority; and since authority derives always, from a formal point of view, from God (and it is this which produces the duty of obedience), their subjects are always obliged to obey such superiors, however unworthy they may be. But the second defect prevents the establishment of any just authority: for whoever possesses himself of power by violence does not truly become lord or master. Therefore it is permissible, when occasion offers, for a person to reject such authority; except in the case that it subsequently became legitimate, either through public consent or through the intervention of higher authority.
              With regard to the abuse of authority, this also may come about in two ways. First, when what is ordered by an authority is opposed to the object for which that authority was constituted (if, for example, some sinful action is commanded or one which is contrary to virtue, when it is precisely for the protection and fostering of virtue that authority is instituted). In such a case, not only is there no obligation to obey the authority, but one is obliged to disobey it, as did the holy martyrs who suffered death rather than obey the impious commands of tyrants. Secondly, when those who bear such authority command things which exceed the competence of such authority; as, for example, when a master demands payment from a servant which the latter is not bound to make, and other similar cases. In this instance the subject is free to obey or disobey.
              http://www.shadowcouncil.org/wilson/...es/005614.html

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks skob. I was going to reply earlier but didn't have time.

                As far as Aquinas' rules for obeying authority, you are right: Bonhoeffer (and Stauffenberg and every other German who disobeyed and opposed the Nazis and Hitler) were perfectly justified on both counts. Not only did the Nazis not justly and rightfully ascend to power, they also overstepped and terribly abused the limits of their authority by creating a military state, launching unjust and aggressive wars, and proceeding to carry out the Holocaust and other acts of oppression and bloodshed.

                Thanks for the passage from Aquinas.

                Alex

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