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Sunday, May 28, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI Visits Auschwitz
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(Pawel Kopczynski/Reuters)

Right now I'm watching Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Auschwitz, the death camp of WWII. As he entered, our Holy Father stopped at Wall of Death, where the Nazis killed thousands of prisoners. Then he placed a lighted candle before the wall. 32 survivors stood to greet Benedict XVI, most of them Catholic, and he put his hands on the head of one woman. The Holy Father also visited the dark cell in the basement of one of the buildings, the place where St. Maximilian Kolbe was executed by the Nazis after he voluntarily took the place of a condemned prisoner so that the prisoner could be spared and return to his family. Pope Benedict XVI stopped to pray in the cell, standing before a candle placed there by John Paul II during a 1979 visit.

The pain is so evident at that place of death. From Auschwitz, Pope Benedict XVI arrived at Birkenau, the very close death camp accompanying Auschwitz. There he stopped at each marker to pray for the victims of the Nazis and meditate on the scope of this tragedy. He looked at each of the nationalities on the markers.

This is his third visit to Auschwitz, his first as pope. As he walked back to his chair, during the ecumenical service, a beautiful rainbow appeared behind him. The sky is think gray with the lone rainbow shining through. Following this, a group of young people came and each placed a candle on each of the markers, and the Holy Father prayed for God's forgiveness for the horrors committed by the Nazis.

Psalm 22 and Psalm 23 were then solemnly sung to all present [believed to be the modern Psalm numbering, not the traditional Catholic numbering of the Psalms]. A member of the Orthodox church, the Roman Catholic Church, and a rabbi each spoke praying for God's forgiveness. Let us pray for God's forgiveness for all of the sins committed by the Nazis in WWII. [This instance of ecumenism is unfortunate though]

4 comments:

del_button May 28, 2006 at 3:52 PM
Saint Peter's helpers said...

Thank you for the posts Moneybags! I was touched by the Auschwitz visit especially seeing the beautiful rainbow.

Also, a Blessed feast day of the Ascension to you! I remember that this day was special for you since the Ascension is your logo.

del_button May 28, 2006 at 9:11 PM
4HisChurch said...

That's a beautiful post on the Holy Father's visit to Auschwitz. I just posted about a Zenit article on the modern eugenics movement. The fight against the culture of death goes on.

del_button May 28, 2006 at 10:07 PM
Moneybags said...

Thank you for both of your comments. And, yes, today's feast is very special to me. Fr. Benedict Groeschel has called the Ascension one of the most overlooked feasts. We need to celebrate it better, so thank you for bringing it up.

del_button May 30, 2006 at 4:53 AM
marie said...

It is a terrible thing that an 'Auschwitz' even took place. So I was deeply moved to see Pope Benedict pray there..and then the rainbow....But as one inmate scrawled on the walls while he was imprisoned

'Where is God?'

Underneath another inmate wrote...

"Where is Man?"

Amen.

beautiful posts TY moneybags.

Marie

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