Monday, January 16, 2017

Blessed Otto Neururer: Martyred For Marriage

Today I learned about a priest whose example of holiness is inspiring.  Born into a peasant family in Austria during the early 1880's, Otto Neururer was eventually ordained as a diocesan priest. In 1938, while the Nazis occupied Austria, Fr. Neururer advised a young woman not to marry a divorced man who was living a notoriously dissolute life.  Angered by her rejection, the man in question complained to a high ranking Nazi official who was his close friend. As a result, Fr. Neururer was arrested, sent to Dachau and later to Buchenwald.

Despite being tortured mercilessly, he shared the little food he had with others. While in the camp, he was approached by another prisoner who asked to be baptized. Although Fr. Neururer suspected it was a trap, he could not refuse the request. After baptizing the prisoner, Fr. Neururer was sent to the "bunker" where he was hanged upside down until he died on May 30, 1940. He was the first priest murdered in one of the Nazi concentration camps. He was beatified by St. John Paul II in 1996.

Blessed Otto Neururer suffered torture and death because he was faithful to the truth about the sacraments. To the young woman who came to him for advice, Fr. Neururer clearly handed on to her the truth revealed by Christ himself. This brought about his arrest, torture, and internment. To the man who sought baptism (perhaps as a way of entrapping him), Fr. Neururer obliged. For that, he was tortured and executed.

The Blesseds and Saints are like lights shining in a dark world. By illuminating the right path, they keep us safe from obstacles, point us to the truth, and remind us that we are not alone.

Blessed Otto Neururer, pray for us.

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