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‘A martyr who died laughing’: Cause of priest imprisoned by Nazis and communists advances

The sainthood cause of a Catholic priest who was imprisoned by both the Nazis and the communists has advanced with the conclusion of the initial diocesan phase of the cause.

Fr. Adolf Kajpr was a Jesuit priest and journalist who was imprisoned in Dachau concentration camp after publishing Catholic magazines critical of the Nazis. One issue in 1939 in particular had a cover that depicted Christ conquering death represented with symbols of Nazism.

Five years after his liberation from Dachau in 1945, Kajpr was arrested by the communist authorities in Prague and sentenced to 12 years in a gulag for writing “seditious” articles.

Kajpr spent more than half of his 24 years as a priest imprisoned. He died in 1959 in a gulag in Leopoldov, Slovakia.

The diocesan phase of Kajpr’s cause was completed on Jan. 4. Cardinal Dominik Duka offered a Mass in the Church of St. Ignatius in Prague to mark the occasion.

“Adolf Kajpr knew what it meant to speak the truth,” Duka said in his homily, according to the Jesuits’ Czech province.

Vojtěch Novotný, vice postulator of Kajpr’s cause, said that the diocesan investigation file being sent to Rome included archival documents, personal testimonies, and files that had been collected for evaluation by the Vatican as to whether Fr. Kajpr died as a martyr.

Novotný wrote that in studying the life of Fr. Kajpr, “I understood why Christian saints are painted with a halo: they radiate Christ, and other believers are attracted to them like moths to the light.”

He quoted Fr. Kajpr’s own words: “May we know how intoxicatingly beautiful it is to strive in the service of Christ, to spend time in it with unforced naturalness and a smile, literally like a candle on the altar.”

Read more at Catholic News Agency

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