In these incredibly dark times, with health care workers struggling to save the lives of those afflicted with the Coronavirus plague, it is useful to reflect on to the lives of those who, at great risk to themselves, have worked heroically to save human life (See my blog on the Coronavirus...https://americanconservativeinlondon.blogspot.com/2020/03/beignets-whiskey-and-coronavirus.html).
One of these was a Fighting Celt from the Emerald Isle named Hugh O'Flaherty. This is a chapter from our forthcoming work, 101 Fighting Celts: From Boudicca to MacArthur...
1898 - 1963
Killarney, Republic of Ireland
To win in a war,
sometimes you need not guns, hate
but a heart and love.
Fighting Celts sometimes fight off the battlefield and sometimes without weapons.
One of the most remarkable heroes of World War II was neither a soldier nor a politician. He was an Irish priest who became the Celtic Oskar Schindler.
The Celtic Schindler
O’Flaherty was a Monsignor in Rome when World War II broke out. As one of the Vatican’s best golfers, one of his duties was to chaperone golf-playing visitors to the Holy See.
In June of 1940, Mussolini entered the war on the Axis side by attacking across the border with France and from Libya into Egypt. In July of 1943, the Allies invaded Sicily. Britain’s Field Marshal Montgomery and US General Patton had their famous “race to Messina.” Shortly after the fall of Sicily, the Italian government essentially switched sides in the war, and Mussolini was arrested by King Victor Emmanuel III’s government.
|Nazi Occupation of Rome|
During this critical period, O’Flaherty played a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the Nazi overlords who controlled Rome up to the Vatican gates. He made use of space in monasteries and convents to conceal Allied soldiers and Jews. His actions are estimated to have saved around 6,500 lives. Many of the men he saved were downed Allied airmen who had flown missions over Nazi-occupied Italy.
1907 - 1978
After the war, O’Flaherty was honored by many nations for his wartime services. He received a Medal of Honor from the US government and a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) from the United Kingdom.
Kappler, on the other hand, went to prison after the war. But he requested that Monsignor O’Flaherty visit him in prison. Kappler made his confession to his old nemesis and even converted to Roman Catholicism.
|Scarlet & the Black|
O’Flaherty returned to Ireland, where he died in 1963 following a stroke. His life was featured in a made-for-television movie (The Scarlet and the Black) starring Gregory Peck as the priest. A statue of this Celtic hero stands today in Killarney behind the motto: God has no country.
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And my interview...www.thebook-club.com/blog/bookshelf-interview-with-christopher-kelly
And my most recent interview...http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2018/08/17/america-invaded-christopher-kelly