2 May 2022


 As I write, the TV journalists are busily discovering nice old ladies and gentlemen in Central Europe who have brothers and sisters the other side of the border which divides Ukrainia from the Russian Federation and/or Belorus. The old dears can't understand why their siblings don't understand the current war in the way they do. Manifestly, they themselves don't see things as their estranged siblings do.

At the North end of Lake Garda, there was, until the aftermath of WWI, an international border. To the North, called 'South Tyrol', was a province of substantially German culture and language, part of the Austrian Empire. As Italy's reward for selecting the right side in the War, the entire kaboodle, lock stock, and barrel, was transferred to Italy. It still is part of Italy, although German-language newspapers are on sale. 

Josef Mayr-Nusser was born in the 'South Tyrol' in 1910 as an Austrian citizen. He declined the possibility of leaving for Germany in 1939. 

After the collapse of Italian Fascism, the Germans occupied the South Tyrol. Josef, now an Italian citizen but considered an Ethnic German, was drafted into the Waffen-SS. But, being a devout Catholic Christian, he declined to take the oath of allegiance to the Fuehrer and Kanzler of the German Reich. Accordingly, he was sentenced to death. Loaded onto a cattle wagon, he was sent off to Dachau. But damaged railway lines at Erlangen meant that his wagon could go no further. He died there on February 24, 1945, of pneumonia and hunger.

He was beatified on March 18, 2017; his liturgical commemoration is on October 3. 

There was much about the "European Union" which merited criticism; for me, its lowest point came with the Brussels proposal to adopt a constitution which glorified Antiquity and the 'Enlightenment' and made not the slightest reference to the common Christian centuries which came in between.

But there was and is one saving grace in the EU ... enormously saving and very much a Divine Grace.

National borders slowly but surely started to ... melt; those borders which were so bound up with the Passion and Martyrion of Blessed Josef.

A character in Evelyn Waugh remarked: "I am a Croat, born under the Habsburg Empire. That was a true League of Nations. As a young man I studied in Zagreb, Budapest, Prague, Vienna - one was free, one moved where one would; one was a citizen of Europe. Then we were liberated and put under the Serbs. Now we are liberated again and put under the Russians. And always more police, more prisons, more hanging."

When I hear politicians glorifying Nationalism and British Values and all the rest of that stuff, I ask myself Cui bono?


Cus said...

Citizens of Europe - yes, we were under the Habsburgs. But also sons and daughters of Bohemia, Hungary, Croatia. Deep cultural, historical etc. differences and nobody wanted to eliminate these. Nowadays EU means no borders - and no right for being different, either. Reading your wonderful blog (and the comments!) takes me back to our happy common roots in Antiquity and Christianity... that's the unity I long for.

J N said...

Dear Father

I think I should change the introduction to your question.

When I hear politicians glorifying the EU, I think "Cui bono?"

Buckle13 said...

The success of the Good Friday Agreement is wrongly attributed to Clinton, Blair, Ahern and Senator Mitchell. It was almost exclusively due to the EU's Custom Union and Single Market which rendered the border an irrelevance. These same mechanisms facilitated the amicable divorce of Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

armyarty said...

I would rather have British citizenship outside the EU, than have any kind of status within it. The EU is not Europe, it is a systematic rejection of everything actually European, and is slowly displacing the actual peoples and cultures of the place, to be replaced by migrants and non-Christians, all under the dictatorial control of a godless bureaucracy, intent on abolishing history, in favor of the modern all-controlling superstate.