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BOOK reviews99 What caused this change ofheart? In addition to the humane treatment mentioned several times over by Höß himself, Deselaers points to the psychological trauma experienced by Höß at the sudden and total collapse in 1945 of the ideological world in which he had believed so passionately. The second half of the book is a philosophical and theological consideration of the questions posed in the subtitle. Appealing to the philosophy of the French Jew Emmanuel Levinas, and others, Deselaers develops a theoretical model of moral responsibility, guilt, and repentance. He applies this to Höß in the book's conclusion. Historians will appreciate especially the author's diligence as a biographer, in particular the critical spirit in which he examines each of his subject's statements . It would have been easy for Deselaers, as a Catholic priest, to exploit Höß's repentance as an example of Catholicism's spiritual power. There is no hint of such triumphalism in these pages. Repeatedly Deselaers points out the limits of Höß's repentance, especially his failure to mention Jews in his final declaration. In explanation (not amelioration) Deselaers cites the observation ofa prison chaplain:few criminals express any regret for their crimes at all; and when they do so the change of heart comes slowly, so that (humanly speaking) one can expect no more than the beginning of repentance. On no page of this impressive work, for which Deselaers was awarded the doctorate in theology summa cum laude by the Papal Academy of Theology at Krakow, does he lose sight of his stated aim: "I dedicate this work to the victims of Auschwitz." JohnJay Hughes Archdiocese ofSt. Louis Kardynal Adam Stefan Sapieha. By Jacek Czajowski. (Wroclaw: Ossolineum. 1997. Pp. 225. Paperback.) Although Cardinal Prince Adam Stefan Sapieha (1867-1951) belonged to the highest Polish aristocracy, and though he permanently inscribed himself in the Polish national pantheon, littie was written about him in the past.Yet forty-six years after his demise, Dr.Jacek Czajowski, a junior faculty member atJagiellonian University in Cracow, came out with a full-scale biography of him. According to the author, the cardinal disliked all pomp and magnificent religious services. He was reserved and self-effacing. On occasions, however, he could be quick-tempered, ready to reprove and proverbially stubborn, a feature inherited from his Sapieha ancestors. The prelate was a Polish patriot and cared for the national heritage, and he most enthusiastically greeted the birth of the Second Polish Republic in November, 1918. Then, he got actively involved in Poland's struggle for its frontiers in 1918-1921. 100BOOK REVIEWS Czajowski claims that the archbishop of Cracow was neither a prominent theologian nor a charismatic orator. But he was a born organizer. He decided to divide large parishes (30,000 faithful or more) into smaller ones. He aimed at providing the congregation with an easy access to the clergy. Sapieha particularly cared for close links between the laity and clergy. To facilitate such a close association, he fully supported the founding of lay communities at the parish level. The prelate was open to liturgical and other novelties inaugurated by Pope Leo XIII, the Benedictines (the cardinal particularly favored them), and others. Furthermore, he wanted each rural community to have a church or at least a chapel. Sapieha often inspected the parishes under his jurisdiction. In addition, he got actively involved in charity work, which activity was particularly evident during World Wars I and II. Then, too, he was a compassionate person. He did much to alleviate the plight of the needy. He also cared for orphanages and homes for the elderly. The cardinal frequently appealed to the rich not to forget about the poor. At the same time, he was relatively conservative;he condemned the class-struggle theory, advocating social solidarity in its stead. With regard to the State, Sapieha was a firm advocate of Church autonomy. He was, for example, opposed to concordats and energetically fought against that of 1925, concluded between the Holy See and Poland. At the same time, Pope Pius XI favored them. The author also speculates on the reasons for Sapieha's relative isolation under his pontificate. He developed a conflict with the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 99-101
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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