What May Save Us
Around our house, we’ve been reading lately about a figure largely unknown to the world – as almost all of us are – but courageous and saintly and worthy of notice: Sylvester Krcmery. A Czechoslovak doctor and Catholic layman, Krcmery was engaged in lifelong evangelization, outreach to those marginalized under Communism, organizing the underground Catholic Church, clandestine publications, and leadership in the “Candle Demonstration.”
That last item was, in 1988, a peaceful protest – on the demonstrators’ side anyway (the Communist government turned water cannons on the grandfathers and grandmothers, parents with children, and students who flooded a square in Bratislava because they had had enough of “scientific” socialism). That brutality was one of the sparks that set off the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, which encouraged similar uprisings throughout the Warsaw Pact.
This heroic history along with many other stories has been lost to us because we care and teach about almost nothing in the past now except the alleged sins of the West and the Church. Even the great Cardinals who resisted Nazism and Communism – Faulhaber, von Galen, Stepinac, Wysinski, Mindszenty – have all but disappeared down the memory hole.