Category Archives: German History

#277 – Cenodoxus and the Dangers of Pride

During the Counter-Reformation, Jesuits used theater to warn of the dangers of Hell and the guide to the glories of Heaven. Performances of Jacob Bidermann, SJ’s Cenodoxus were no exception, causing some audience members to do penance and leading others into religious vocations.

Links:
Websites about Cenodoxus and Jacob Bidermann can be found here and here and here.
Cenodoxus performed by the Augsburger Puppets

Sources:
Best, Thomas W. Jacob Bidermann. Twayne’s World Authors Series ; Germany TWAS 314. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1975.
Bidermann, SJ. Jakob. Cenodoxus. Translated by D. G. Dyer. Edinburgh Bilingual Library 9. Edinburgh: University Press, 1975.
Bloemendal, Jan. “Receptions and Impact: Early Modern Latin Drama, its Effect on the Audience and its Role in Forming Public Opinion.”  Neo-Latin Drama: Forms, Functions, Receptions. Olms, 2008. 7-22.
Dyer, Denys. Jacob Bidermann a Seventeenth Century German Jesuit Dramatist. Cambridge, 1950.
Gorman, Michel John. “Mathematics and Modesty in the Society of Jesus: The Problems of Christoph Grienberger.”  The New Science and Jesuit Science: Seventeenth Century Perspectives. Archimedes. Dordrecht ; Boston, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003. 1-120.
Herdt, Jennifer A. Putting on Virtue: The Legacy of the Splendid Vices. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
Loyola, SJ. Ignatius. The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola: An American Translation from the Final Version of the Exercises, the Latin Vulgate, into Contemporary English. New York: J.F. Wagner, 1968.
Martin, Dennis D. Fifteenth-Century Carthusian Reform: The World of Nicholas Kempf. Studies in the History of Christian Thought v. 49. Leiden ; New York: E.J. Brill, 1992.
Miola, Robert S. “Jesuit drama in early modern England.” Theatre and Religion: Lancastrian Shakespeare. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003. 71-86.
Murdoch, Brian. Adam’s Grace: Fall and Redemption in Medieval Literature. Woodbridge, UK ; Rochester, NY: D.S. Brewer, 2000.
Parente, James A. Religious Drama and the Humanist Tradition: Christian Theater in Germany and in the Netherlands, 1500-1680. Studies in the History of Christian Thought v. 39. Leiden ; New York: E.J. Brill, 1987.
Sinn, Christian. “The Figure in the Carpet: Metadramatical Concepts in Jacob Bidermann’s Cenodoxus (1602).” The Play Within the Play: The Performance of Meta-Theatre and Self-Reflection. Internationale Forschungen Zur Allgemeinen Und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft 112. Amsterdam ; New York: Rodopi, 2007. 61-76.
Wild, Christopher J. “Jesuit Theater and the Blindness of Self-Knowledge.” A New History of German Literature. Harvard University Press Reference Library. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2004. 270-274.

Image:
Eustache Le SueurRaymond Diocres Repond Apres sa Mort

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podcasticon#277 – Cenodoxus and the Dangers of Pride

#275 – The Papal Peace Note

Pope Benedict XV repeatedly called for an end to the violence of the First World War, but his cries just as repeatedly were rejected by the governments of belligerent countries that would be satisfied with nothing less than total victory. Yet, it was not only the governments of belligerent countries that thwarted Benedict’s mission – many Catholic bishops and cardinals also rejected the “Pope’s peace”.

Links:
Benedict XV’s Papal Peace Note
Benedict XV’s Peace Offering Calendar

Sources:
Griffin, Mike. “Snubbed: Pope Benedict XV and Cardinal James Gibbons”. Sign of Peace Journal.
Peters, Walter H. The Life of Benedict XV. Milwaukee: Bruce Pub. Co, 1959.
Pollard, John F. The Unknown Pope: Benedict XV (1912-1922) and the Pursuit of Peace. London: Geoffrey Chapman, 2000.

Image:
“The Peaceful Pope” – cover of Simplicissimus 1915.

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podcasticon#275 – The Papal Peace Note

#271 – Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM – Part Two

After his ordination, Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM ministered in Prisoner of War camps braving the anger of German Nazis and French guards. More than once his life will be in grave jeopardy. He will have to endure much before he finally fulfills his dream of going to Japan.

Links:
Biography and photos of Fr. Goldmann, OFM
Wikipedia article on Fr. Goldmann, OFM
German video with interview of Fr. Goldmann, OFM

Sources:
Gereon K. Goldmann, OFM. The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM. Ignatius Press, 2003.
Seitz, Joseph. Against the Current: Thrilling Experiences of the Ragpicker of Tokyo, Father Gereon Goldmann. 1971.

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podcasticon#271 – Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM – Part Two

#270 – Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM – Part One

When WWII broke out, Gereon Karl Goldmann, a Franciscan seminarian, was ordered to enlist in the German Army. He will struggle to remain faithful to his Church and to his country both as an officer in the Wehrmacht and, later, in Hitler’s Waffen SS. This struggle will bring him on the path to the priesthood and to membership in a plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler.

Links:
Biography and photos of Fr. Goldmann, OFM
Wikipedia article on Fr. Goldmann, OFM
Jimmy Akin Podcast

Sources:
Gereon K. Goldmann, OFM. The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldman, OFM. Ignatius Press, 2003.
Seitz, Joseph. Against the Current: Thrilling Experiences of the Ragpicker of Tokyo, Father Gereon Goldmann. 1971.

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podcasticon#270 – Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM – Part One

#269 – Two Christmas Traditions and a Third

Many cultures have special traditions for the celebration of Christmas. Polish Catholics celebrate with the sharing of opłatki. Austrian and German Catholics await the coming of the Christkindl. New traditions are also being established – for example, the Christmas Pickle.

Links:
You can purchase opłatki from here and here and here.
An example of the ritual of the sharing of opłatki can be found here and here.
A good video about the opłatki is available here.
Wikipedia’s article on the Christkind.
An article on the Austrian opposition to Santa Claus.
Article on the Christmas Pickle.
You can purchase a Christmas Pickle here.

Sources:

Image of opłatki by Julo
Image of Christkind by Albärt

An image of the Christkindl Angel can be found here.

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podcasticon#269 – Two Christmas Traditions and a Third

#255 – Saving Husserl’s Nachlass

Father Herman Leo Van Breda, OFM played a key role in the preservation of the nachlass of Edmund Husserl. At great risks to himself, he ensured that these priceless writings concerning phenomenology would survive – writings that would in turn prove tremendously influential upon Catholic philosophy and John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.

Links:
For more on Husserl you might listen to this presentation by Fr. Robert Sokolowski. You might also look at Fr. Sokolowski’s book Husserlian Meditations.

You might also look at this paper by Ken Archer – “Why Phenomenology Matters to Theology”

Sources:
Breda, OFM, Father Herman Leo Van. “The Rescue of Husserl’s Nachlass and the Founding of the Husserl-Archives.” History of the Husserl-Archives. 2007. pp. 39-69.
Vongher, Thomas. “A Short History of the Husserl-Archives Leuven and the Husserliana“. History of the Husserl-Archives. 2007. pp. 99-126.

Photo of Fr. Breda courtesy of Dr. Thomas Vongehr.

CNMC – Catholic New Media Celebration

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podcasticon#255 – Saving Husserl’s Nachlass

Today in Catholic History – The opening of the University of Heidelberg

On 19 October 1386, the first lectures were given at the University of Heidelberg making it the oldest university in Germany.

Because of the Great Schism which had split the Catholic Church between allegiance to Rome or to Avignon, German professors in Paris who gave their allegiance to Rome were unable to remain at the University of Paris. Rupert I, the Elector Palatine of the Rhine, took advantage of the situation to get papal support to establish a new university for these German professors in Heidelberg to be modeled after the University of Paris.

The University played an important part in the history of Europe and was involved in many of the religious controversies of the period including the Councils of Constance and Basel. It also received the support of the papacy throughout this period. In April 1518 Martin Luther debated at the University and when Otto Henry, the Elector Palatine, became Calvinist he made University into a Calvinist institution. During the late Counter-Reformation, the University came under the control of the Jesuits and later the Lazarists. Over the next centuries, the university entered a period of decline until it was reestablished as a state-owned institution in 1803 and it remains a public university today.

Today in Catholic History – The Peace of Augsburg

On 25 September 1555, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the Lutheran Schmalkaldic league agreed to the Peace of Augsburg.

The Peace of Augsburg brought at temporary end to the fighting between Lutherans and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire by establishing the principle Cuius regio, eius religio. Each German prince in the Empire could choose to practice either Lutheranism or Catholicism and those within each prince’s domain would be obliged to follow the faith of their liege. There was a brief period of time given for families of one denomination to move to a German state practicing their particular faith.

The Peace of Augsburg established a permanent division in the Holy Roman Empire between Lutherans and Catholics. Moreover, because other Protestant denominations such as Calvinism and the Anabaptists were not included in the Peace of Augsburg religious conflicts would again break out in the Thirty Years War and result in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.

Today in Catholic History – Colloquy of Worms

Between 11 September and 8 October 1557, Catholic and Protestant theologians met at Worms to discuss their theological differences. The Catholic theologians included Michael Helding, and St. Peter Canisius, SJ. The Protestant theologians included Philip Melanchthon, Johannes Brenz and Erhard Schnepf. Canesius had previously condemned these type of gatherings as “The experience of centuries gives
ample proof that at such meetings time is only frittered away with profitless talk. At the end, neither party
will ever allow itself to have been beaten ; each side claims the victory ; contradictory reports of the trans-
actions are spread about, and the result is not tranquillisation of minds and temper, but only worse division and embitterment.” Canesius’ words will be prophetic.

The discussions began with issues concerning the relationship of the Bible and tradition. When the doctrines of original sin and justification became the topics of concern, Canasius noted that difficulty in trying to find a common Protestant/Catholic understanding when the various Protestant movements did not have agreement amongst themselves – a particularly contentious issue was whether good works were necessary for salvation. Unable to come to agreement on these issues, the meeting was dissolved. The failure of the Colloquy/Conference of Worms will reveal for the first time the serious divisions growing within the Protestant movement.