Who says you can't fight fascism in a cassock?
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About the Author
The Reverend Fergus Butler-Gallie holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Oxford and a bachelor's degree in theology from the University of Cambridge. He once accidentally appeared on Only Connect. This is his first book.
The Reverend Fergus Butler-Gallie holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Oxford and a bachelor's degree in theology from the University of Cambridge. He once accidentally appeared on Only Connect.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A well written, engrossing, fun to read and interesting book about Christian people who opposed oppressive regimes. It's a great reading experience and it made me discovered interesting characters. Highly recommended! Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
When I was young, I devoured stories of WWII heroes, and like any young (tom)boy was sure, that put in the same position, I would stand up to the Nazis and be a hero too. Thankfully, the war was long over, and my mettle was never tested. I grew up and grew wiser, and eventually realised, that – like the overwhelming majority of people – I would probably just keep my head down. Not collaborate – just not get overtly involved. I also realised, that you do not ‘decide’ to become a hero. Heroes do not see themselves as such, they see something that must be done because it is right to do it, something so wrong that it cannot be ignored and must be opposed, whatever the personal cost. When you have nothing to lose, bravery can be relatively ‘easy’. It is when you have so much to lose – family, friends, status, wealth etc – but still decide that you must act, and you put the welfare of others above that of your own. This is a book full of genuine heroes. They are connected by their Christian faith, but – for me – it is their overwhelming humanity that enables them to reach out beyond their own lives and communities to save the lives and livelihoods of others – regardless of the race, creed or political adherence of those in danger. This is a book of unlikely alliances: the Irish Monsignor in the Vatican who worked with the detested English; the traditionally oppositional Catholic Archbishop of Utrecht and Dutch Reform pastor; communists working with priests; Black and White, Baptists, Greek Orthodox and Jews all marching together. Some died while saving others, some lived (such as the wonderfully flamboyant Cardinal Kir) and played major roles in the aftermath. Some were leaders of their country’s Church, some were local clergymen or nuns, with little political power. Some lived in occupied countries, some objected to what their country had become. The book concentrates mainly on the opposition to the Nazis (specifically against the Holocaust) – in Germany, the Vatican and the occupied territories. The end section is on the civil rights campaigns in the USA. One of my favourite heroes was the Archbishop of Athens, Damaskinos Papendeou. His letter to the Nazi occupiers (which was widely disseminated throughout Greece) stated: “In our national consciousness, all the children of Moher Greece are an inseparable unity: they are members of the national body irrespective of religion or dogmatic differences. Our Holy Religion does not recognize superior o inferior qualities based on race or religion, as is stated: ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek’ (Gal 3.28) and thus condemns any attempt to discriminate or create racial or religious differences.” To save many of the Jews of Greece, he instructed his clergy to issue over 27 000 fake baptismal certificates and identification cards. He used his international contacts to smuggle food for starving Athenians through Turkey. He made his stand against the Nazis openly, and inspired many other Greeks to do the same. In days when the media is full of stories of clerics who have done evil, or who looked aside when evil was done, it is refreshing to read about Christians who have been inspired by their faith to do amazing, heroic things – for the betterment of all humanity. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in heroes and/or history – whether they are religious or not. These stories are truly inspiring. I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review