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Jakob Marx on the Exhibition of the Holy Shroud in Trier (1844)

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There is, however, one tie that goes beyond all human differences, that dissolves all separation and individual groups, and that transcends all distances and borders, all classes of age, status, gender, wealth, education, and occupation. It unifies all into a huge, wonderful entity and a multi-faceted, mystical corpus, beyond the grasp of death and human time. This bond is the Catholic faith, the Catholic church, and we have seen a picture of this union in that great feast. The thousands and thousands of people who would have otherwise moved in their own circles, gone their own way, and followed their own tendencies, have joined as one, as brothers and in faith, loyalty, and fellowship in the church. Here there were no Frenchmen, nor Germans, Belgians, Swiss, Bavarians or people from Baden. There were only Catholics who recognized their own religious feelings in every other pilgrim, whatever their country or race, whatever language they spoke, whatever class they may have belonged to. They saw in each other their own faith, their agreement on the most important and most holy matters, and the most comforting harmony. They all felt at one with each other through a divine association with Christ and his Church. At this festival, it was not the scholar or the wealthy man or the man of affairs, artist, or farmer who arrived as a representative of his individual class or career. No, at the festival were only the religious faithful, the loyal sons of the church which extends across the whole earth, through all social classes, carrying the banner of the Redeemer. Under this banner we are all brothers and sisters, children of the same father who are called to the same inheritance as St. Paul said, “You are all children of God through your faith in Jesus Christ. All of you who have been baptized in Christ are clothed in Christianity. Here there is neither slave nor free person, man nor woman, because you are all one in Christ.”

After this, everyone knew every other stranger automatically, however far away their homeland was, whatever language they spoke, and whatever position they had in society. They loved and treated each other as old friends and enjoyed personal discussions with each other about their thoughts and feelings, without holding back. Wherever pilgrims met each other they recognized each other as friends and partners in the same cause, regardless of the country, state or city they were from. One example of this was shown in a loving way when the Bishop of Amsterdam traveled from Trier to Koblenz on a steamship on which there also happened to be many pilgrims from various churches, provinces, and cities on board. During the trip, there were common prayers and songs sung together and when the ship arrived in Koblenz, all the pilgrims kneeled and bade the Bishop farewell, receiving his blessing on their pilgrimage.

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