At the Auschwitz concentration camp, and just days before the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Poland, a German archbishop has called for a stand against war and against the “abuses of power and arrogance” of politicians and leaders “who want to put themselves in the place of God”.

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As CNA reports, Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg celebrated a Mass Wednesday at Auschwitz on the 78th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish priest who offered his life in the death camp in place of a stranger.

“On the anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War, Maximilian Kolbe reminds us to profess that God is the Almighty to whom all must submit for peace and unity in our world today”, said Schick, who was joined at the Mass by Marek Jedraszewski, Arvhbishop of Krakow, and Piotr Greger, auxiliary bishop of Bielsko-Zywiec, in Poland.


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“God sets limits to all political powers”, Schick stressed, emphasising that God “gives the same dignity and rights to all peoples”.

This was the faith of Kolbe, the archbishop explained, for which reason the priest became “a thorn in the side” of the Nazis and had to be eliminated.

The saint – one of the patron saints of Europe – “must be an example to us today, in Germany, in Poland, in Europe and all over the world”, said Schick.

“No person can put themselves above God, and no nation can put itself above another”, the archbishop continued, adding that “the confession of the one and only benevolent God, the Father of all creation, is the most important contribution to peace and unity among the peoples that we Christians can give”.

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What’s next

Schick, the Chairman of the Contact Group of the German and Polish bishops’ conferences, is taking part this week in the 10th workshop of the Maximilian Kolbe Foundation.

Since last Sunday, 45 people from twelve countries around Europe have been taking part in talks on “Dealing with the violent past”.

Next on Novena:

“No memory, no future”: Sant’Egidio invites youth to build “global friendship” for peace