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

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This unusual event, with its roots in the spiritual world, appeared so lovely and grand that it must have made a deep impression upon all thinking people and upon all open hearts. Even men who were suspicious of the religious movement in the beginning were convinced by its purity, authenticity, and motivating force. The Independant, a ministerial newsletter in France, discusses this religious manifestation, “in which France and Germany greet each other” in the following way: “Since the exhibition of the Holy Shroud in the Trier Cathedral, we quietly observed the movement of a part of Catholic Europe. The excitement which accompanied the first news of this did not convince us, because superstition and gullibility have their excitement, too. These are different from the excitement which flows from true religion and faith. Now there is no doubt that these millions (!) of Christians who flock together to the noble metropolis of Trier are filled with the purest of faith; this impression is made even on people who are accustomed to having concrete evidence before giving their approval, because of these numerous processions in which all classes of society come together, where the educated walk next to country boys, where professors from elite universities sing songs of praise together with manual laborers. Whole cities are led by their city councils in processions to Trier in wonderful order and harmony. The moment they step aboard the holy ship, the pilgrims begin to devoutly sing songs which have been consecrated by the piety of religion and which in Germany have a special characteristic of the deepest majesty.”

This union of various people from varying intellectual backgrounds, from every age group, rank, status, and gender is only possible within the Catholic church. This faith is the same in all regions and among all populations on earth. This faith promotes the same humility, obedience, and duty for all of its followers, the skilled and unskilled, the noble and the peasant, the rich and the poor – all of them receive the same blessed gifts from on high. Yes, such a wonderful unity rejoices in this faith, which in its essence is removed from interpretations based on the arbitrariness of humans. This faith is not shaped by, nor is it bendable to, everyday wisdom and fashion, not influenced by the wishes and special interests of one class or group, not subservient to a nation or state, but untouchable and above any earthly power. God has given this and Heaven, from where He comes, protects His creation with a gentle power until our salvation opens our hearts, without our own will interfering. This connects us

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