Worthington : Holy Protectors of Our Immigrants

Catholics all over the world should take notice of an attack this week on the Catholic Church in Worthington, Minnesota.  Nobody was hurt, but Father Jim Callahan’s life was threatened.  Why?  He was attacked over protecting immigrants that have been released from the border.  It was reported that the priest received a death threat.  This message should be read by our nation’s cardinals and the Papal Nunzio who is visiting the United States right now.  I started sharing my thoughts before finding out about the threat against Father Callihan and the immigrants.  Did you click the blue link to find out?

A Catholic priest who has praised the immigrants who have been coming to Worthington has been “booed from the pews and received death threats.”  This is a community that depends on undocumented workers to sustain their farms.  This is a situation reminiscent of Donald Trump and his properties where undocumented workers filled an important role in Making Donald Trump and His Corporation Great.  The workers interviewed by CNN in Worthington pay their taxes and are entitled to protections under law as taxpayers, including living quarters and going to school in Worthington and to live there with unnecessary fears perpetrated by the community.

And turning to my readings about the hate that escalated against Jews in Austria in 1938, November was a horrible month in Austria and Germany when people were ready to attack people that they either hated or were growing to hate.  These were Jews and Catholics who were the victims of their times.  Let’s took a look at what happened and never forget that things could easily spread in Minnesota.  And there were “illegal” immigrants in France and other countries.  Jews left Poland, fleeing to German where they were “illegal” and soon faced deportation to concentration camps.  Holocaust studies is mandated in many states and this article shares critical information about Catholics and Christians during the Holocaust that may not be in those courses across the United States.  And right now people who are upset about their taxes in Worthington should not take sides with people who threaten Catholics and immigrants as those immigrants move into Worthington.  Solutions could be worked out and federal funding could be discussed with elected officials and finally worked out as a plan of action is signed into law.  But the hate has to stop now!  And Worthington, among other things, just had a case settled where a student had made threats to commit a school shooting.  I did not see any evidence in the article that I read that would link this to Donald Trump and his rhetoric.  And remember that Americans were deceived into believing that Mexicans would pay for Trump’s wall.  Now the United States military is about to pay billions for that wall.  Since Trump has diminished the need for the military to protect us by his actions, shouldn’t the taxpayers of Worthington open their eyes and mouths to ask for the money for their schools.  A resolution could start it and I wouldn’t be surprised if the House of Representatives approved it.  At that point the town would be able to clearly see what or who will hold up the effort or as you know it would need the Trump to stand behind it.  And I am still waiting for a White House statement about the Worthington Catholic situation involving important immigrant lives.

Things happened in Munich, Germany as drunk members of the Stosstrupp Hitler went on a rampage, but there were thugs in many places.  When the thugs could not find Jews or Jewish property to destroy they destroyed church property.  Catholics feared that they would be next.  And this history was also full of many acts of kindness, even by Nazi Party members.

There was a demonstration against Jews and Catholics in Munich. Cardinal Faulhaber’s palace was wrecked as he spoke out to protect the Jews.  Pope Pius XI spoke out (again as he had before) as he denounced the racial superiority promulgated by the Nazis and he wished to break off relations with Germany. 

Archbishop Joannes Sproll, an opponent of the Nazis, was expelled from his Diocese and could not return until 1945.  Catholics were “cowed” at this time as they feared the Nazis. 

And we can take a look at the previous months as Catholic officials were arrested for three months for forging documents for Jews.  Catholic associations were shut down by the Nazis.  Schools were shutdown and so was religious instruction.  The Nazis helped themselves to the wealth of the Catholic Church just as it was doing to Jewish wealth in Vienna.  Cardinal Innitzer spoke in his homily to between 6,000 to 8,000 Catholic youth.  “Christ is our Fuhrer and King” was his message.  Later Catholic youth outside his residence shouted out “Innitzer command…we will obey.”  And they would not be dispersed by Hitler youth.  Hitler youth did break into the archbishop’s residence the next day breaking and stealing things and 1,245 window panes were broken.  The church was denounced the next day and people walked around carrying banners that said, “String up the priests!” 

The anti-Semitic newspaper Der Sturmer depicted the fouling of the cross, Bethlehem in ruins during Christmas, and Christ had been banished from Christmas. 

Jewish wealth was being wiped out by the Nazis and some of Catholic wealth as well.  The Nazis needed money for war and it was forced out of those people.  There was lots of corruption, as well, as community people and members of the Party stole. 

Himmler defined the problem and how everything was attached to the Jews.  He spoke out against “the Jews, freemasons, Marxists, and the churches of the world.”  And among those critical ideas is we can also learn that Himmler thought that “people should be kind and decent” but when it came to preserving race he could kill lots of people and expected the same from “his men.”

We can also learn that while the “Reichkristallnacht” was taking place which led to the destruction of synagogues, murders of Jews and suicides of Jews over what was taking place, and the confiscation of their wealth to support Germany’s war machine, there were many acts of kindness by average citizens and even by members of the Nazi Party.  There was a tremendous sense of shame over what the Nazi leaders were doing and soon Hitler lost the support of even the nationalists.  Take a look.  Eleanor von Trott in Bebra went to each Jewish shop owner and apologized to the owners for the damage done.  Her late husband had been in the imperial government serving as a minister.  A Party member sent flowers to a Jew showing his support.  In Creglingen, a Party member in association with a local leader of the Nazi War Veterans’ Association helped a Jew escape and there were various acts of kindness and help granted to Jews who fought alongside people during World War I.  And this thinking saved lives as people in communities could not launch atrocities against people that they knew well for decades.  German non-Jews were ready to leave Germany and the Bielenberg’s in Hamburg almost left for Ireland, but were convinced by the son of Eleanor von Trott to stay and fight the evil that was taking place. 

This horrible beginning led to the “Final Solution” created by the Nazis.  There were 267 synagogues destroyed, over 7,000 Jewish businesses were destroyed or damaged at a moment when Jews were declared “illegal” by the Nazis, and 30,000 Jewish men were incarcerated in concentration camps.  On at least one occasion, Jews were temporarily placed in a jail so that they would not be sent to a concentration camp (they were released from that jail that protected them). 

Hitler gave the order for that horrific destruction of property and Jewish life, but he acted as though it revolted him.  Although he could be kind to some Jews and Jewish friends, he led the way to the Holocaust.  The divisions were there among the people who participated in the destruction and the kind acts.  Among the things that were hoped for as change is always expected in governments was the possible restoration of the monarchy in Austria.  Even the former monarch’s son was highly in favor of the changes brought about by the Nazis and the divisions existed as you have noticed within this fascist group as right-wingers did not trust those who were more liberal.  Their think tank included those who would commit violence and those who preferred to do things “legally.”  The drive to expel the Jews was stalling everywhere as doors were being closed everywhere to Jews and there wasn’t enough money to send the Jews to Palestine which was at the top of the list of the Nazis.  The total confiscation of Jewish wealth followed and Jews were no longer allowed to practice occupations that enriched them, which presented the problem of how to feed the Jews.  Suicides were increasing among Jews and that was a relief to many Nazi leaders.  Among all of these political, economic, and social facts, the Final Solution was quickly devised, leading to the annihilation of six million Jews. 

Archbishop Lang (English) protested the treatment of Jews over the killing of one German in Paris by a Jew.   Two times now in the twentieth century, horrible punishment was inflicted on people by the death of one or two people.  The other case was the killing of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria that set off World War I.    We do not see that happening in America but use your imagination and thinking skills.  Donald Trump has used the technique in relation to El Salvador as he attacked the MS-13 and vilified the people crossing the border.  And he did the same thing when he said that Mexico is sending US rapists and others.  I certainly would be upset if an undocumented immigrant were killing or raping people in Worthington, but what Trump did was to blame innocent people which is exactly what the core of anti-Semitism is about.  You do not blame an entire people for a few bad people. 

The town has been divided for about five years as the immigrants arrived and went to school there.  This is Trump country 62 percent vote) as Trump won the county.  One person said that the children should never have left their homes in Central America, but it would be important to know if that is the same thinking of all the opponents of the immigrants.  And why now are there threats made against a priest for praising humanity?  Father Callahan has been threatened and spat on and feels what is going on is “racism.”  The bus driver named Don Brink wants an ICE raid to get rid of the immigrants, not knowing that a judge was ruling in the case of a landlord who threatened a tenant with calling ICE and now that landlord must pay $17,000 ($12,000 of which is for emotional distress).  Also the reporter indicated that these immigrants had revived the town which reminded me of Hazleton. Pennsylvania and its mayor at that time who was Lou Barletta.  There the right-wing has pretty much been defeated as people there live and work together.  I was a guest speaker there at the Casa Dominicana or Dominican House where six members came out to greet me the night I arrived at the motel.  We went around town the next day and visited homes where I was welcomed as a friend.  And all of this happened after realtors took out ads to lure Dominicans from the Bronx to Hazleton. 

Victor Perez Balbuena of the Casa Dominicana assured me that the important change that turned the hateful rhetoric in Hazleton didn’t just happen.  Yes people were kicked out, but that work done by their hostile mayor was declared by the Supreme Court unconstitutional.  There are still thousands of undocumented immigrants in that town along thousands of new immigrants who are not undocumented.  The people who resisted change soon found out that people were taking jobs in the middle of the night to survive and to help Hazleton to survive.  Lou Barletta lost the battle as people woke up to the taxes that were actually being paid and the increase in school taxes were being absorbed by everyone.   So the people who cared most about their increase in taxes were absorbed into the group who were supportive of the immigrants from the start.   It’s all a learning process, but we should never give power over to groups that are guided by hate.  The Dominican House in Hazleton stands tall and proud and are an integral part of the American fabric which we desire to protect.

The lesson to learn is that there are Republicans and Repugnicans and we should keep the latter away from power.  I know about the financial hardships that come with a new, large population to a town.  It happens in New York as well and the numbers are much greater.  The money problem probably could be worked out with the next administration in Washington, D.C.  It just takes thinking out of the box and a commitment to Make America Safe which Trump has failed at.  And we have heard it from Trump himself.  An important question is what has Worthington’s congressman done since the article was published, especially since a death threat has been made and that is a more serious offense than calling ICE.  And what has Trump done, knowing that the Mueller Investigation is over and there is more time to help the American people?  It is true that the problem started before Trump and the problem in Germany started long before Hitler, but the Holocaust did not take place long before Hitler.  There were pogroms, both official and unofficial in countries where Jewish property and lives were destroyed.  There is a huge divide right now in Worthington, Minnesota which was predictable.  I have been writing about that since Trump was running back in 2015.  His rhetoric has garnered the support that has increased hostility to those immigrants in town.  Even if the support in numbers is not there, the increase in hostility resulting from the decay in tolerance has to be dealt with before things get much worse.  I have maintained that there is power in the Catholic Church to overcome the forces unleashed by Trump.  That force could be one cardinal taking the message or even a holy war to put an end to Trump’s terrible rhetoric and policies. 

Donald Trump has not killed anyone, but I feel that he has blood on his hands for some suicides that have taken place.  Do you recall the information about the legal killing of people in Nazi controlled lands?  It started for Trump with his statement about Mexico.  What he could have said is that Mexico has lots of good people, but they are sending US some people that are bad.  His comment about Mexicans was just like what the Nazis were doing to Jews and others.  That’s one of the premier reasons why so many Jews oppose him in spite of his relationship with Israel.  He showed no tolerance and he got votes to project him to do more of the same.  We noticed his talk about Muslims, nations that do not send us White people like Norway, and Baltimore recently which is more of the same talk.  If Trump had said the same thing about Israel, he would have been nowhere and Israel has its own problems with corruption that has been investigated for decades.  And I should say that a small powerful segment of the Jewish community allowed him to say those things and gave him a license to continue on his destructive path, never recognizing what I have just explained or even worse permitting the corruption of their own thinking.  It is also time for Jewish Republicans to realign themselves with policies that allow all people to breathe free.

Obviously I do not think that Trump will go to Worthington to harm anyone, but we can learn from the notes about the beginnings of Hitler before the Holocaust.  A few drunks influenced by Trump’s rhetoric can do some of the harm in Worthington that was done in Austria.  Worthington has a history of being divided.  My research showed me that Worthington was settled by lots of people with German roots and that caused a conflict among those locals during World War I, between some “Yankee” residents from New England and residents whose families came from Germany.  The problem then was should the United States enter the war against Germany and the large opposition among people who came from Germany.  That decision was finally made as we know and our nation entered the war.

Recently Catholic schools in Kentucky were helpful in achieving Holocaust studies for that state and there are several other states that mandate Holocaust studies.  I hope that the history in this article will be helpful to everyone.  History Matters!

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