Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
Alfred Delp was born in Mannheim, Germany. He joined the Jesuits when he was nineteen, after having become a convert to Catholicism. He was editor of Stimmen der Zeit (voices of the time) from 1939 until 1942, when the Nazis suppressed the publication. In 1943, at the height of World War II, he joined in the work of the Kreisau Circle, an anti-Nazi group devoted to planning a new social order built on the principles of Christianity. Delp joined the circle at the invitation of Count Helmuth von Moltke, and with Moltke he stood trial for treason and was sentenced to be executed. The execution took place in Plotzensee prison on February 2, 1945.
The principles of Christian spirituality revealed in The Prison Meditations of Father Alfred Delp are wrapped in the personal experiences of a man sentenced to die by the Nazis. Delp and a group of his friends were arrested by the Gestapo in 1944. He had joined a secret group called the Kreisau Circle who expected German chancellor Adolf Hitler’s defeat and were planning a new social order to be built on Christian lines after World War II. These “rechristianising intentions” were considered heresy. Charges that he was part of a plot to assassinate Hitler were dropped; the trial was plainly a religious one. Delp maintained that he was condemned because he “happened to be, and chose to remain, a Jesuit.” After a mock trial and a perfunctory sentencing he was executed in Plotzensee prison on...
(The entire section is 1411 words.)
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