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Condemning the Nazi euthanasia programme (Cardinal von Galens' sermon )
Life ^ | Sunday, August 3, 1941 | Cardinal von Galens

Posted on 02/11/2012 11:40:58 AM PST by Vince Ferrer

Fellow Christians! In the pastoral letter of the German bishops of June 26, 1941, which was read out in all the Catholic churches in Germany on July 6, 1941, it states among other things: It is true that there are definite commandments in Catholic moral doctrine which are no longer applicable if their fulfillment involves too many difficulties.

However, there are sacred obligations of conscience from which no one has the power to release us and which we must fulfil even if it costs us our lives. Never under any circumstances may a human being kill an innocent person apart from war and legitimate self-defense.

On July 6, I already had cause to add to the pastoral letter the following explanation: for some months we have been hearing reports that, on the orders of Berlin, patients from mental asylums who have been ill for a long time and may appear incurable, are being compulsorily removed. Then, after a short time, the relatives are regularly informed that the corpse has been burnt and the ashes can be delivered. There is a general suspicion verging on certainty, that these numerous unexpected deaths of mentally ill people do not occur of themselves but are deliberately brought about, that the doctrine is being followed, according to which one may destroy so-called 'worthless life,' that is, kill innocent people if one considers that their lives are of no further value for the nation and the state.

I am reliably informed that lists are also being drawn up in the asylums of the province of Westphalia as well of those patients who are to be taken away as so-called 'unproductive national comrades' and shortly to be killed. The first transport left the Marienthal institution near Münster during this past week.

German men and women, section 211 of the Reich Penal Code is still valid. It states: 'He who deliberately kills another person will be punished by death for murder if the killing is premeditated.'

Those patients who are destined to be killed are transported away from home to a distant asylum presumably in order to protect those who deliberately kill those poor people, members of our families, from this legal punishment. Some illness is then given as the cause of death. Since the corpse has been burnt straight away, the relatives and also the criminal police are unable to establish whether the illness really occurred and what the cause of death was.

However, I have been assured that the Reich Interior Ministry and the office of the Reich Doctors' Leader, Dr. Conti, make no bones about the fact that in reality a large number of mentally ill people in Germany have been deliberately killed and more will be killed in the future.

The Penal Code lays down in section 139: 'He who receives credible information concerning the intention to commit a crime against life andneglects to alert the authorities or the person who is threatened in time...will be punished.'

When I learned of the intention to transport patients from Marienthalin order to kill them, I brought a formal charge at the State Court in Münster and with the Police President in Münster by means of a registered letter which read as follows: "According to information which I have received, in the course of this week a large number of patients from the Marienthal Provincial Asylum near Münster are to be transported to the Eichberg asylum as so-called 'unproductive national comrades' and will then soon be deliberately killed, as is generally believed has occurred with such transports from other asylums.

Since such an action is not only contrary to the moral laws of God and Nature but also is punishable with death as murder under section 211 of the Penal Code, I hereby bring a charge in accordance with my duty under section 139 of the Penal Code, and request you to provide immediate protection for the national comrades threatened in this way by taking action against those agencies who are intending their removal and murder, and that you inform me of the steps that have been taken."

I have received no news concerning intervention by the Prosecutor's Office or by the police...Thus we must assume that the poor helpless patients will soon be killed.

For what reason?

Not because they have committed a crime worthy of death. Not because they attacked their nurses or orderlies so that the latter had no other choice but to use legitimate force to defend their lives against their attackers. Those are cases where, in addition to the killing of an armed enemy in a just war, the use of force to the point of killing is allowed and is often required.

No, it is not for such reasons that these unfortunate patients must die but rather because, in the opinion of some department, on the testimony of some commission, they have become 'worthless life' because according to this testimony they are 'unproductive national comrades.' The argument goes: they can no longer produce commodities, they are like an old machine that no longer works, they are like an old horse which has become incurably lame, they are like a cow which no longer gives milk.

What does one do with such an old machine? It is thrown on the scrap heap. What does one do with a lame horse, with such an unproductive cow?

No, I do not want to continue the comparison to the end--however fearful the justification for it and the symbolic force of it are. We are not dealing with machines, horses and cows whose only function is to serve mankind, to produce goods for man. One may smash them, one may slaughter them as soon as they no longer fulfil this function.

No, we are dealing with human beings, our fellow human beings, our brothers and sisters. With poor people, sick people, if you like unproductive people.

But have they for that reason forfeited the right to life?

Have you, have I the right to live only so long as we are productive, so long as we are recognized by others as productive?

If you establish and apply the principle that you can kill 'unproductive' fellow human beings then woe betide us all when we become old and frail! If one is allowed to kill the unproductive people then woe betide the invalids who have used up, sacrificed and lost their health and strength in the productive process. If one is allowed forcibly to remove one's unproductive fellow human beings then woe betide loyal soldiers who return to the homeland seriously disabled, as cripples, as invalids.

If it is once accepted that people have the right to kill 'unproductive' fellow humans--and even ifinitially it only affects the poor defenseless mentally ill--then as a matter of principle murder is permitted for all unproductive people, in other words for the incurably sick, the people who have become invalids through labor and war, for us all when we become old, frail and therefore unproductive.

Then, it is only necessary for some secret edict to order that the method developed for the mentally ill should be extended to other 'unproductive' people, that it should be applied to those suffering from incurable lung disease, to the elderly who are frail or invalids, to the severely disabled soldiers. Then none of our lives will be safe any more. Some commission can put us on the list of the 'unproductive,' who in their opinion have become worthless life. And no police force will protect us and no court will investigate our murder and give the murderer the punishment he deserves.

Who will be able to trust his doctor any more?

He may report his patient as 'unproductive' and receive instructions to kill him. It is impossible to imagine the degree of moral depravity, of general mistrust that would then spread even through families if this dreadful doctrine is tolerated, accepted and followed.

Woe to mankind, woe to our German nation if God's Holy Commandment 'Thou shalt not kill,' which God proclaimed on Mount Sinai amidst thunder and lightning, which God our Creator inscribed in the conscience of mankind from the very beginning, is not only broken, but if this transgression is actually tolerated and permitted to go unpunished.

+ Clemens von Galen - August 3, 1941

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: catholic; ethics; medical
Editorial note from the original website:

This is an excerpt of the sermon by Catholic Cardinal Clemens von Galen, delivered on Sunday, August 3, 1941, in Münster Cathedral, in which he risked his life by openly condemning the Nazi euthanasia program.

1 posted on 02/11/2012 11:41:10 AM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: Vince Ferrer

2 posted on 02/11/2012 12:02:34 PM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Ceterum autem censeo, Obama delenda est.)
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To: Vince Ferrer
Did someone mention Nazi Democratic Party euthanasia programs?

With scant investigation of these two articles nevertheless I feel that they are germane.

The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics

The Democrats’ Dirty Little Secret: Eugenics

The Nazis return the favor to the Democratic Party

Medicare going broke.. Obamacare cuts costs!
"Just give 'em a pill." Obama
"Palliative End of Life Optimum Serenity Initiative." PELOSI

"Nazi propaganda for their compulsory 'euthanasia' program: 'This person suffering from hereditary defects costs the community 60,000 Reichsmark during his lifetime. Fellow German, that is your money, too.'"

(Source is in the link to the image.)

3 posted on 02/11/2012 12:10:44 PM PST by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: Vince Ferrer

In all fairness to the science of eugenics, which was all the rage among scientists from the late 19th to the early 20th Centuries, it has several facets that need to be looked at independently of each other.

Likewise, there were corruptions to eugenics that are as different from eugenics as modern creationism is from evolution.

To start with, eugenics is an outgrowth of genetics, in itself a new science of the 19th Century. It was an effort to determine what elements of physiology and even psychology are inherited.

For example, many volumes were written in the early 20th Century about identical twins who were separated at birth and raised in different circumstances. These studies looked at the similarities and differences in their lives.

There was a realization, even then, that both genetics and environment played strong roles in peoples’ lives, and there was also a desire to correct both horrible genetic and environmental problems.

Frederick Nietzsche, the son of a minister, asserted that Christianity, by defying nature and saving the lives of people who would have otherwise died, was playing a risky genetic game, that over generations could cause terrible harm to the human species.

And this line of thinking was not limited to him. All over the world, it was decided that people who were retarded, mentally ill, disposed to criminal violence, etc., should be prevented from reproducing, in the hope that they would not transmit what was wrong with them to their children.

Only because of the philosophers, not scientists, who created a corrupt form of this, advocating the *killing* of people deemed inferior, did eugenics fall out of favor.

Importantly, all this means is that the use of the word was discontinued. Those who embraced those ideas still do, but are loathe to admit it.

4 posted on 02/11/2012 12:45:55 PM PST by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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