Faulhaber, Michael von

(1869-1952)
   Archbishop and Cardinal; a devout Christian who became a powerful opponent of National Socialism. Born in Klosterheidenfeld in Lower Franconia, he spent a year (1888-1889) in the army before entering the priesthood. Ordained in 1892, he served briefly as a parish priest and then resumed studies in Rome. In 1899 he qualified at Wurz-burg as a lecturer and in 1903 became Professor of Old Testament Exegesis and Biblical Theology in Strassburg. He was named Bishop of Speyer in 1911 and Archbishop of Munich-Freising in 1917 (a position he retained until his death) and received a Cardinal s cap in 1921.
   Faulhaber was a pioneer at analyzing uncertainties in church history. A great organizer and a celebrated and commanding speaker, he served well beyond the borders of his archdiocese—indeed, he was active throughout German-speaking Europe. He sought to intensify the religious spirit of the church by deepening an understanding of the catechism and homiletics within the priesthood while also instituting continuing education opportunities for priests. He hoped to re-vitalize missions through the introduction of services in railway stations (1924), through establishment of the Sisters Organization for Catholic* Home Missions in parsonages (1922), and through construction of over one hundred new churches. He was also a powerful advocate for confessional schools.
   With mixed results, Faulhaber carefully avoided direct involvement in politics and prohibited such activity on the part of priests except in instances where government measures were deemed to violate either the beliefs or the ethos of the church. Shaken by the departure of Germany s kings, he entitled his sermon of 31 December 1918 "Regierung von Jehovas Zorn" (Government of Jehova's wrath) and later asserted that the Weimar Constitution* bore the mark of Cain. Hostile to both socialism and parliamentary democracy, he deplored the Center Party s* cooperation with the SPD, and despite Konrad Adenauer s* attempt in 1922 to convince him that he was out of touch with the mood of German Catholics, he believed that the Republic epitomized centralism, socialism, and Protestantism.* Uneasy with the regime s attitude toward religion, he rebuked the separation of church and state and assisted with the 1924 concordat between Rome and Bavaria.* Although Faulhaber censured anti-Semitism* and claimed in 1923 that the NSDAP platform did not accord with Christianity, he greeted Hitler s* 1933 appointment as a sign of progress. Yet with unequivocal courage he quickly denounced Hitler s chauvinism and anti-Semitism (Munich students had dubbed him "the Jewish cardinal as early as 1923). With Bishop Konrad von Preysing, he traveled to Rome in 1933 to warn Pope Pius XI (without effect) of the pitfalls inherent in a concordat with Hitler; then, through a series of Advent sermons, he defended the Old Testament against its critics while rebuking the Nazi po-sition on race. In March 1937 he wrote the first draft of Mit brennender Sorge (With burning anxiety), an outline of the points on which the Nazis had violated the concordat; smuggled throughout the country, the sermon was read from every Catholic pulpit in Germany.
   REFERENCES:Donohoe, Hitler's Conservative Opponents; Kershaw, Popular Opinion; NDB, vol. 5; Scholder, Churches and the Third Reich.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • Faulhaber, Michael von — born March 5, 1869, Heidenfeld, Bavaria died June 12, 1952, Munich, W.Ger. German religious leader and prominent opponent of the Nazis. Ordained in 1892, he was bishop of Speyer before becoming cardinal and Munich s archbishop. In 1923 he… …   Universalium

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