Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lucia Medal of Honor and Sainthood

Another heroic priest, whose sister-in-law couldn't image as anything other than just a normal parish priest. Yet, when given the opportunity he showed complete selflessness and heroism.

On 2 November 1950, Father Kapaun made the decision that led to his death.

The Korean war chaplain was in the middle of a firefight, with the American forces overrun by Chinese soldiers outside a crossroads town called Unsan in North Korea.

Lighting forest fires to frustrate US reconnaissance planes, the Chinese surrounded the Americans and pressed in, attacking with small arms, grenades and even bayonets.

Meanwhile, Chaplain Emil Kapaun, a Catholic priest from a farming village in Kansas, gathered the wounded in a dug-out shelter made of logs and straw.

When American officers ordered the able-bodied to retreat, Father Kapaun, a 35-year-old captain, refused to leave the wounded.

As the Chinese soldiers began lobbing grenades into the dug-out, Kapaun negotiated a surrender.

"Father Kapaun had several chances to get out," Warrant Officer John Funston later told a Catholic priest who collected accounts of Fr Kapaun's actions in Korea, "but he wouldn't take them."

His capture and forced march northward with hundreds of other American prisoners was merely the beginning of Father Kapaun's trial, an ordeal that ended in his death from starvation, cold and lack of basic medical care at a prison camp in North Korea six months later.

For his heroism, a group of Kansas politicians are pushing to have him awarded the Medal of Honor, America's highest military decoration.

Reports of Kapaun's selfless bravery have got him short-listed for another rare high honour: the Catholic church has named Kapaun Servant of God, the first step toward sainthood, and the Vatican has opened a formal inquiry into whether he merits canonisation.

Related link: Recognition finally for a warrior priest's heroics ~ BBC

3 comment(s):

leftrightout said...

There have been many people who could be described as heroes. Some fought in wars, others showed their heroism in other theatres. Some have been christian, some muslim, some atheist. Some have been men, some have been women. Some have even been children.

And yet they all had one common characteristic - they all DID something. Not one of these heroes just sat down and prayed.

Whenever a hero acts, it is Man, not god, that is the hero.

God's absence in times of need is the best proof of his non-existence.

Ciaron said...

By crikey, you miss the point.

Lucia Maria said...


You know, at times you seem as if you are a typical atheist who doesn't believe in God, but your comment here today belies that. You do believe, you just seem to hate Him.

In time of need, God is totally there. He doesn't necessarily make the bad things go away, but He does pour down His grace so that those in difficult situations are able to do the best they can and help the most people.

There are many types of heroes - the best are motivated by love.

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