Michael von Faulhaber

German Roman Catholic Cardinal (1869-1952)

Michael von Faulhaber (5 March 186912 June 1952) was a Roman Catholic Cardinal, who was Archbishop of Munich from 1917 to 1952.

Michael von Faulhaber (around 1936)


Faulhaber preached five sermons on the four Sundays of Advent (December 3,10,17, and 24), and on New Years Eve, 1933, in St. Michael's, the largest church in Munich. An English translation of the sermons was published in 1934, by which point its distribution in Germany had been banned. Adolf Hitler had come to power in March of 1933 and the Nazi movement had been challenging the semitic origins of Jesus Christ and the Bible in order to comply with Nazi racial ideology, and was seeking to eradicate the teaching of Christianity in German schools:

Sermon 1Edit

  • ...a demand was raised for the total separation of Judaism from Christianity, and for the complete elimination from Christianity of all Jewish elements... To-day these single voices have swelled together into a chorus : Away with the Old Testament! A Christianity which still clings to the Old Testament is a Jewish religion, irreconcilable with the spirit of the German people... Even the Person of Christ is not spared by this religious revolution. Some have indeed tried to save Him with a forged birth-certificate, and have said that He was not a Jew at all but an Aryan... But so long as historical, sources count for more than surmise, there can be no doubt about the fact. The first chapter of the first gospel gives us the genealogy of Jesus... And so others now take up the cry : Then we must renounce Him, if He was a Jew..."
  • So that I may be perfectly clear... Before the death of Christ during the period between the calling of Abraham and the fullness of time, the people of Israel were the vehicle of Divine Revelation. The Spirit of God raised up and enlightened men who by the law, the Mosaic Thorah, regulated their religious and civil life, by the Psalms provided them with a prayer book for family devotion and a hymn-book... It is only with this Israel of the early biblical period that I shall deal in my Advent sermons. After the death of Christ Israel was dismissed from the service of Revelation.
  • ...among no people of the pre-Christian era do we find so great a number of intellectually prominent men who, by their words and by their whole personality, have devoted themselves to the religious guidance of their nation, as among the people of the early Bible... our Germanists would do well to notice... the science of religions is able to make the comparison; and to the people of Israel it will award this certificate: You have excelled them all by the sublimity of your religion...
  • In the Gospel of the New Testament the ancient conception of God is perfected and fulfilled... The same God who spoke from the bush on Mount Horeb had now appeared visibly in the Person of Emmanuel, God with us... The God of the New Testament is not a different God from the God of the Old.
  • Let us venerate the Scriptures of the Old Testament... By accepting these books Christianity does not become a Jewish religion. These books were not composed by Jews; they are inspired by the Holy Ghost, and therefore they are the word of God, they are God's books. [-] Antagonism to the Jews of today must not be extended to the books of pre-Christian Judaism.
  • Cardinal Manning once said to the Jews : * I should not understand my own religion, had I no reverence for yours. Let us venerate the Scriptures of the Old Testament! And let us not allow Bible history to be abolished in our schools !
  • The German classics honoured the Scriptures of the Old Testament... If we are to repudiate the Old Testament and banish it from our schools and from our national libraries, then we must disown our German classics. We must cancel many phrases from the German language... We must disown the intellectual history of our nation.
  • The people of Israel, through the Mother of the Saviour, were kinsmen of Christ. But in the kingdom of God ties of blood are not sufficient... Christ, therefore, rejects the ties of blood ; He demands the tie of faith, the hearing of the word of God. Whoever is united with Christ by baptism and by living faith is mother or brother to Him. So the question is not : Was Christ a Jew or an Aryan ? It is : Are we members of Christ by baptism and by faith ? For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision ; but a new creature (Gal. vi, 15).
  • So everyone, through Christ and with Him and in Him, must fulfil the Old Testament in himself. Only then have we passed from the kingdom of the shadows of the Old Testament into the kingdom of the light of the Gospel, from the letter of the service of God to the spirit of Divine sonship, from Judaism to Christianity...

Sermon TwoEdit

  • ...the most serious charges are made nowadays, not against the religious values of the Old Testament, but against its ethical values....the Sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament, which all Christians, of whatever denomination, treat with reverence, are spoken of in blasphemous terms which may not be repeated in this holy place.
  • These ten commandments come to us as a Divine Revelation, as a document signed by God Himself [-] But these books contain a higher wisdom besides. Not the wisdom of the street corners, nor the wisdom of the learned schools, but the conduct which God requires of us
  • Outside Palestine the ancient East treated women as slaves without rights... in the fourth commandment, Thou shalt honour thy father and thy mother, the mother is set upon the same level as the father in the eyes of the children. Such reverence for women was not revealed by oriental 'flesh and blood.'
  • In recent years the fourth commandment has been stigmatized as un-German because it proposes a reward for its observance... on November I3th, 1933, the German Christians passed the following resolution : We expect our national Churches to shake themselves free of all that is un-German, in particular of the Old Testament and its Jewish morality of rewards... But it is not true to say that the fourth commandment teaches children a mercenary attitude with regard to God, that it encourages and consecrates an un-German spirit of self-seeking.

Sermon ThreeEdit

  • The times are not far distant when we used to hear the cry in Communistic circles: 'Private property is a theft from the people.' Fortunately these voices are now silenced.
    • Sermon Three, p. 53

Sermon FourEdit

  • Notwithstanding all the guidance of divine grace Israel did not know the time of her visitation. [-] The great majority of the people rejected the Messiah with the cry: 'His blood be upon us and upon our children' (Matt. xxvii, 25).
    • Sermon Four, p. 79

Sermon FiveEdit

  • No nation ever insisted more on race and ties of blood than the Israelites of the Old Testament. But in the fullness of time the dogma of race was eclipsed by the dogma of faith. Around the cradle of Bethlehem there were Jews and pagans, shepherds from the land of Juda and wise men from the East. In the kingdom of this Child, according to the words of His Apostle, there is no distinction of the Jew and the Greek, for the same is Lord over all (Rom. x, 12).
    • Sermon Five, p. 108
  • The Christian, so long as he observes the above conditions, is not forbidden to stand up for his race and for its rights. It is possible, therefore, without divided allegiance, to be an upright German and at the same time an upright Christian. Hence there is no need to turn our backs upon Christianity and to set up a Nordic or Germanic religion, in order to profess our nationality. But we must never forget: we are not redeemed with German blood. We are redeemed with the Precious Blood of our crucified Lord (I Pet. i, 9).
    • Sermon Five, p. 108

Quotes about FaulhaberEdit

  • Cardinal Michael Faulhaber, Archbishop of Munich and temporary vice-rector of the Anima, even referred to his episcopal colleague [ Alois Hudal ] as 'court theologian of the NSDAP', even though he himself had for a long time maintained bridges between fascism and the Church. After 1945, however, he changed his position and distanced himself from Hudal.
  • Hitler biograpger Ian Kershaw described Faulhaber as "a man of sharp acumen, who had often courageously criticized the Nazi attacks on the Catholic Church". (Ian Kershaw; Hitler a Biography; 2008 Edn; WW Norton & Company; London; p. 373)
  • The Encyclopedia Britannica says: "Repelled by Nazi totalitarianism, neopaganism, and racism, Faulhaber contributed to the failure of Hitler’s Munich Putsch (1923)... During the Nazi regime he delivered his famous sermons entitled Judaism, Christianity, and Germany... Throughout his sermons until the collapse (1945) of the Third Reich, Faulhaber vigorously criticized Nazism, despite governmental opposition. Attempts on his life were made in 1934 and in 1938. He worked with American occupation forces after the war, and he received the West German Republic’s highest award, the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit."

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