November: Prof. Kevin Spicer. C.S.C. 75th
Commemoration of the November 9-10 anti-Jewish pogrom in Nazi
Germany known as “Kristallnacht":
When Nazism swept Germany, how did
religious leaders respond to attacks not only on their fellow
citizens and their government but on their faith as well? Despite
charges of complacency, most of the Catholic clergy of the Berlin
diocese in fact maintained a quiet resistance to the Nazi regime by
offering their parishioners an alternative to National Socialism.
In thus broadening the definition of resistance, Kevin Spicer shows
why Nazism was so powerfully alluring in the first place. It
provided—indeed demanded—a total way of life, encompassing rituals
and social belonging, personal identity and charismatic leadership,
moral values and a sense of purpose. In a word, it was a
Spicer juxtaposes Catholicism and Nazism to provide a clear,
balanced understanding of the challenges the clergy faced simply by
celebrating the sacraments and teaching the faithful. By following
individual priests in their day-to-day ministries, he documents how
effectively they guarded their flock from a predatory ideology.
Along the way, he highlights the leadership of Bishop Konrad von
Preysing of Berlin, who enabled the diocesan clergy to speak out
against Nazi violations of Catholic doctrine and practice, and
Monsignor Bernhard Lichtenberg, who was sentenced to prison for
publicly praying for Jews and other victims of Nazi oppression.
Yet the clergy's opposition to Nazism did not, for the most
part, inspire them to act on behalf of the oppressed. Spicer
explores the reasons why one group—the so-called "Brown
Priests"—even chose to support National Socialism and what that
choice meant for the Church.
January: Professor Mary
Christine Athans BVM,”In Quest of the Jewish
Jesus, as is well known, was born and raised as a Jew in
first-century Palestine. A great deal of theological study has
focused on the Jewish cultural and religious context of his life
and ministry. It is only natural that this attention should lead us
to a new approach to his mother, Mary of Nazareth. To some extent,
this quest for the Jewish Mary involves excavating beneath
centuries of devotional reflection and artistic depictions that
have presented a mythologized Mary, detached from history and from
her specific Jewish identity.
In this book, Mary Christine Athans draws on the latest
historical research, the fruits of post-Vatican II Jewish-Christian
dialogue, the insights of feminist theology, and contemporary
spiritual reflection to rediscover the Jewish Mary a woman of
enormous courage, strength, and prayer. In restoring Mary to her
own time and place, she helps us rediscover Mary.