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Friday, October 21, 2016
Pax Christi members to attend Beatification of Franz Jagerstater
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 Pax Christi members from the UK, Ireland, the USA, Germany and Italy will travel to Austria this week to take part in a Mass for the beatification of Franz Jägerstätter the Austrian farmer who was beheaded in Brandenburg, Germany, on 9 August 1943, for refusing to fight in Hitler's army. Franz believed that he would be committing a sin if he acted against his conscience and agreed to fight for the National Socialist state. For him, this was a situation in which he had to obey God more than the commands of secular rulers. In following the commandment 'you shall love your neighbour as yourself' Franz decided that he could not fight with weapons of war. For refusing to undertake military service he was sentenced to death in Berlin and was beheaded in Brandenburg on 9th August 1943. The Mass will be celebrated on 26 October at 10am in St Mary's Cathedral in Linz, the home Diocese of the Franz Jägerstätter and his family. The celebrant will be Diocesan Bishop Dr Ludwig Schwarz, who was one of the promoters of the cause of beatification. Speaking of Franz the Bishop said: "Franz Jägerstätter is a prophet with a global view and a penetrating insight which very few of his contemporaries had at that time; he is a shining example in his fidelity to the claims of his conscience, an advocate of nonviolence and peace, a voice of warning against ideologies, a deep-believing person for whom God really was the core and centre of life. His prophetic witness to Christian truth is based on a clear, radical and far-sighted analysis of the barbarism of the inhuman and godless system of Nazism, its racial delusions, its ideology of war and deification of the state, as well as its declared programme of annihilating Christianity and the Church. His educated, mature conscience led him to say a resolute 'No' to Nazism and he was executed due to his consistent refusal to take up arms as a soldier in Hitler's war." There will also be celebrations on 27 and 28 October in St Radegund, the home village of the Jägerstätter family, where his widow Franziska and her three daughters still live. Pax Christi has long promoted the life and witness of Franz, holding an annual memorial service in August on the anniversary of his execution and producing publications and articles on his life. Pax Christi will host a Mass at Westminster Cathedral on 21 November to celebrate the Beatification.
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