On November 9th, 2008, it was 70 years since Maurice Bavaud tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler in Munich. After prolonged torture, he was murdered by the Nazis on May 14th, 1941, after ‘legal’ proceedings followed by a sentence to death on the guillotine. He was officially rehabilitated by Germany in 1956.
In his letter to the people and the nation of Switzerland of November 2008, Swiss President Pascal Couchepin reminded his fellow ‘comrades in oath’ (the official term used for all Swiss nationals ‘Eidgenossen’) of Maurice Bavaud. He drew attention to the perspicacity of the then 22 year old in seeing in Adolf Hitler a danger to Humanity, Switzerland, and the Catholic Church. The passage in the text of the President’s speech was taken directly from Bavaud’s statement in the process in Germany leading to his death sentence. His exemplary sacrifice should be remembered and honored by the nation and the world now and in future times.
Maurice Bavaud was born in 1916 in Neuchâtel, capital in the Canton and Republic of the same name, a French speaking state of Switzerland. After finishing technical school in his home city, he entered the seminary at the University of Fribourg in the neighboring canton to become a Catholic missionary and priest. In October 1938 he traveled to Germany, spending first time in Munich to establish himself as an ardent follower of Hitler and later in Berchtesgaden.
In Berchtesgaden, he tried to gain entry into Hitler’s highly secured retreat. His disguise as a fervent Nazi worked and he was allowed into the grounds, only to find that the Fuhrer had already left earlier that morning. He therefore returned to Munich and made his way to Nuremberg.
He hoped by pretending to be a fanatical follower of the Fuhrer to be accorded a place of honor at the gathering in Nuremberg to commemorate Reichskristallnacht, in which he succeeded as his contacts meanwhile were considerable. Concealing a pistol in his mantle, he failed to execute the deed due to a too great distance between his seat and Hitler.
He was executed on the guillotine in 1941 in Berlin. For all that, he should have been sainted by the Catholic Church a long time ago. It must be a clear sign that the Catholic Church was run by Nazis during and after the Second World War as he has not been canonized despite his martyrdom. Martyrdom, should you be unawares of it, grants you immediate access to canonization and sainthood without need for miracles to be proven in the process. And the case of Maurice Bavaud is just one of hundreds.
It was a sign of the Nazi leadership of the Catholic Church during the last Pope's tenure that he has not been among the many newly canonized. As Pope Benedict XVI was an active member of Hitler Youth movement, this may hardly surprise though. Among the canonized of Pope Benedict's choice are the, outside of Venezuela, completely unknown nun Mother Bernarda of Switzerland and gay Cardinal Newman, a former Church of England vicar. The exclusion of Maurice Bavaud in such proceedings that include unknown and controversial figures has therefore the greatest significance. It is to be seen if successor Francis I is a born Christian to lead the Catholic Church the way it was intended to be guided in the first place.