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Abbé Franz Stock - Biography of Life

Abbé Franz StockFranz Stock (21 September 1904, Neheim – 24 February 1948, Paris) was a German Roman Catholic priest. He is known for ministering to prisoners in France during World War II, and to German prisoners of war in the years following.

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Franz Stock - a video portrait

FFS Video Dranz Stock - a video portrait (18 min.) This video will give the viewer an overview of both Franz Stock's life, as well as of his peace aiming actions.

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Address during the 2nd Annual Anniversary of the Seminary Incorporation

Franz Stock bei einer Ansprache im LagerNow I want to address myself to you, my dear theologians and ask you, to observe the following as a program. Because you know, like me, that during the crisis of structures, in which the western humanity is standing today, theologians and young priests, other than until now, directly and candidly, have to face the problems of our time, with a clear spirit, open heart, standing amidst the limelight, arousing dangers, healing wounds, to bring more close to all those searching or desperate, redemption and comfort.

Our world has become different, and you will be frightened facing disruptions, which this war has caused at home in the souls of human beings and minds. Soon it will have to be proven, if the gingerly solitariness of the seminary has not wafted you out of sight to the world but also molded you in such a way, that youthful elan and optimism would not shortly thereafter be shattered to pieces and lie fractured on the ground. Then it will show, if we have really meant it in earnest during these years and if it was the right course.

When an earthquake is happening for a town, the church towers along with halls and houses tumble. When an economical and social crisis shatters the world, establishments and the life of the church are not spared, being unable, indeed, to hold on outside of the general occurrence.

The more deep the crisis, the more fundamental values of the human existence are in turmoil, the more strong it also will shake on the corpus of the church. And to-day, a great number of things are disappearing, bursting, there is nothing firm or secure all around. Traditional opinions, values of blessed keepsake, they dwindle and a most bizarrely hypothesis finds credence.

Under these circumstances it would be strange, that the incarnated and human church would remain to be an oasis of rest at the edge of a general disbanding.

If what is divinely to the church and eternal, would stay unchangeable, then one recognizes what is human for the church torn away like in the frenzied Spanish dance of the saraband.

Modern civilization, driven forward by the technical progress, which has knocked over within 150 years the social life, is developing itself with a speed akin to tetanus. A new culture is developing in an epochal manner, which for the moment is still introducing itself under the sign of a mechanized barbarianism. Humanity, at cross roads, can make a mistake to chose the right direction and elect the human termite heap or the atomic suicide instead of the real progress, existing therein, to control through the spirit the achievements of science and technology, for the benefit of humanity. In this Neo Middle Age, the church can play the role which it possessed on the treshold of the grand Middle Age: As messenger of the supernatural she can rescue nature; as commissary of God set free humans.

Our time is tired of individualism, is inclined to forms of fellowship. Search is directed to destinations, where there is no scope to flourish: In the party and in the state. Our church must show humanity the ideal model for the society, based in the worldly community upon the participation of the highest fellowship, the mystery of Corpus Christ.

Our time is always speaking about crowds of people and we know, they are presently more far away from christianity than the heathen in far away countries. The time of great persecutions may evolve again, where christians are simply declared to be enemies of humanity. And the nearness of heathendom requires from us new effective methods. The possibility of martyrdom calls for a return to the sources, to the spirit of the time, where the blood of the martyrs mixed itself daily with the wine of the Eucharist. In a time of modern heathendom our church will have to become again a missionary. The task is not only expressed by the methods applied but also through the spirit, which must embrace the entire clergy and the loyal believers.

Hypnotized by the existence of huge crowds certain people appear to have to believed, that the ideal of the modern christian is existing in the possibility to descend within the crowds, like the raindrop is being lost in the ocean. But even within crowds, Christians must stand out, impinge, become a spectacle, for precisely with this scandalous shock begins the apostolate. And this Christian world must be manlike, a Christendom which is present, takes a stand, which obliges, a Christian World which like a beacon brings light to darkness, a strong Christendom for a century of iron, a Christendom, which blazes in our time of the atomic energy. Our time is activistic, irritable, is erotic, interchanges the spiritual with the temporal. Our time sees the triumph of hate, is anarchistic, revolutionary, cathastrophic, lines ruins to ruins, in towns as well as in souls.

Our time is split, dissolved in nationalism, which is so ridiculous like the old clothing of a Zouave.

Hence our time has two axis points of sphere, one is drawing us towards apostacy, the other one towards holiness, one is repulsing church, the other one attracting the same. It depends, to be a child of our time, which brings together our church and the modern world.

The number of saints as wanted by God suffices, to save our time. Saints, who devote themselves to this appeal and who in virtues changes the effectiveness of our time. Saints, who renounce the affection of human beings, knowing full well, what they give up, who live the way of their life of human order by their exemplary life and example. Saints, who are not afraid of catastrophes nor of revolutions, who use each and every chance, to direct their entire state of being to the second coming of the Saviour. Saints, who bring into harmony their attachment to their homeland with the love for humanity, beyond all the borders of nations, empires, races and classes.

This call for holiness providence is presented to us through the voice of history. And we are to follow this assignment.


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